27 things to do in Montreal this May

Apr 25 2017, 6:43 pm

Kick off the start of summer in Montreal with any one of the 27 activities below!

From culinary festivals and electronic dance parties, to The Weeknd, La Ronde, and Piknic Electronik, there are plenty of ways to spend your weekends this month.

Check out 27 things to do in Montreal this May.

$1 Croissant Day

The best day of the year, otherwise known as $1 Croissant Day, is back this month. Taking place on May 6, 2017, Croissant Day promises to celebrate the most delicious of French pastries: the croissant. Happening all over Greater Montreal, from Westmount to Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Montrealers can expect to pay just $1 for a croissant at any one of the event’s participating bakeries and cafes. Over 50 eateries are participating, making it especially easy for you to take advantage of this awesome culinary event.
When: May 6, 2017
Where: For a list of locations, click here.

Bal en Blanc

Bal en Blanc returns! Beloved by both tourists and locals, Bal en Blanc is an underground electronic music event that takes place in Montreal each year. 2017 marks the 22nd edition of Bal en Blanc, an event that was taken over by New City Gas operators, Produkt, in 2016. This year’s event is set to take place at Jean Drapeau Park, a marked departure from last year’s warehouse location and the year before which was held at the Bell Centre. So far, performers include Sander, Martin Garrix, Borgore, and San Holo.
When: May 28, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

Atwater Market’s Craft Beer Festival

Celebrate the start of terrasse season at Montreal’s Atwater Market. Atwater Market’s Beer Festival returns for three days this May. Kicking off May 5th, the event will feature a wide selection of Quebec microbreweries. Le Castor, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Dieu du ciel, Le Bilboquet, La Chouape, and Pit Caribou will all be represented. Atwater Market’s Beer Festival is organized in cooperation with Fromagerie Atwater, which has decided to also showcase roughly 12 Quebec wineries at this year’s craft beer event. Entrance to the festival is free of charge, however tasting coupons are 2 for $1 (with $.50 being donated to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation). If you love craft beer, this inexpensive, outdoor festival is not to be missed!
When: May 5 – 7, 2017
Where: Atwater Market


Friday Nocturnes are back and better than ever. Introducing a brand new concept for their Nocturne evenings, MAC will be open past midnight, during which time visitors are invited to stroll through exhibitions, watch a live performance or attend a gallery talk, and indulge in some appetizers and drinks. Artists and curators will be in attendance, as well as DJs, churning out music until the early hours of the morning.
When: May 5
Where: Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, 185 Sainte-Catherine St W

Aura at the Notre Dame Basilica

An immersive and luminous experience is happening right now at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica. Owing to the city’s 375th anniversary, Montreal’s most famous landmark is putting on a mesmerizing light show for the rest of 2017. Created by Moment Factory, Aura is a two-act multimedia show featuring both music and special lighting effects. According to the official description, “AURA will help visitors discover one of Canada’s greatest heritage monuments in a whole new way and will move them with its portrayal of its treasures.”
When: Everyday except Sundays
Where: Notre Dame Basilica, 110 Notre-Dame St W

The Weeknd

The Weeknd kicks off his first official world tour this year. Titled Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 World Tour, the Canadian singer begins his tour across the pond in Europe but will be back in North America by the end of April, where he’ll play his first show in Vancouver on April 25, 2017. Following a southern sojourn to the US, he’ll return to Canada again a month later to play shows in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. We suggest you don’t miss it. However, if you do happen to miss it, The Weeknd will be returning for Osheaga in August.
When: May 30
Where: Bell Centre

Mount Royal Discovery Walks

May is Mount Royal Month which means Les Amis de la Montagne are hosting several exciting mountain activities all next month. One such activity are their three-summit discovery walks. In honour of the city’s 375th anniversary, Les Amis de la Montagne has planned a 14km guided hike that takes Montrealers through the entire Mount Royal territory. The discovery walks will highlight breathtaking views, as well as Montreal’s anniversary legacy projects. It also promises to be “an exceptional way to learn more about the mountain and the issues of ecology, urban planning and landscape architecture that define it.” Tickets are $20 per person, the walks are in French only, and a reservation is required in advance.
When: Weekends in May between 9:30am-6pm
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

O-hanami Picnic Under the Flowering Crabapple Trees

Celebrate spring in the most magical way possible, with a cherry blossom tree picnic happening at the Montreal Botanical Garden this May. The event is named after o-hanami, a Japanese tradition of holding flower-viewing parties when the cherry blossom trees were in bloom. For the purposes of this springtime event, Montrealers are adopting this custom and joining the Botanical Garden in a peaceful afternoon picnic beneath the blooming flowers. Tickets cost $25 per person and must be purchased in advance. Bring a picnic blanket and prepare for a romantic day under the flowers.
When: May 21, 11:30 am-3:30 pm
Where: Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke E

Chagall: Colour and Music

A special exhibition on world-renowned painter, Marc Chagall, is on at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts right now. The exhibit, titled “Chagall: Colour and Music,” explores the importance of music in Chagall’s life. It is multidisciplinary, featuring over 400 works ranging from sculptures and paintings to photographs and films. In addition, puppets, costumes, stained glass windows, maquettes, and gouaches are on display.
When: January 28-June 11, 2017
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

SIDIM Salon du Design

Calling all HGTV lovers! If you sit around daydreaming about your dream house, or you are seriously addicted to Property Brothers and Love It Or List, then this Montreal event is for you. Titled SIDIM Salon du Design, this three-day interior design festival takes place annually at Place Bonaventure. This year marks the 30th edition of the fair and welcomes over 300 exhibitors showcasing everything from lighting and accessories, to kitchen fixtures, flooring, furniture, and doors.
When: May 4-6, 2017
Where: Place Bonaventure

Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA

Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil, returns to its hometown this spring to perform its newest show, VOLTA. Volta is the travelling company’s latest show which tells a story centered on the freedom to choose and create your own path. Inspired by action sports, the show will feature a series of acrobatic stunts, an emotional score, a “visually striking” set, and a spiritual theme. Prepare for one of the most raw and emotional stories ever told by Cirque du Soleil.
When: April 20-July 2
Where: Under the Big Top, Old Port of Montreal

Aislin: 50 Years of Cartoons

A brand new exhibit on famed Canadian editorial cartoonist, Aislin, just opened at the McCord Museum. The exhibit showcases 50 years worth of work from Aislin, whose real name is Terry Mosher. Mosher wrote for the Gazette for many years, and is considered one of the most influential political cartoonists in all of Canada. In fact, Maclean’s has even referred to Aislin as “probably the best satirist in Canada.” Not only does Aislin’s work make you think, but it reflects “Canadian society in its beautiful and less glorious moments.”
When: Until August 13, 2017
Where: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W

Festival TransAmeriques

Festival TransAmeriques returns to Montreal for its 11th edition next month for two weeks of contemporary dance and theatre events. This offbeat festival presents exciting new forms of art, and showcases major artists as well and up and comers in the world of contemporary art. Described as “a place to meet, a major get-together,” the Festival TransAmeriques is more than just performances, but also includes workshops, parties, cocktail hours, debates, and roundtable discussions.
When: May 25 – June 8, 2017
Where: Various locations across the city, click here for more info

Fashioning Expo 67

The McCord Museum has announced a temporary exhibition on fashion from the Expo 67 era. The exhibit, titled Fashioning Expo 67, explores the “effervescence of Montreal’s fashion moment.” Over 60 outfits will make up the exhibition, ranging from hostess uniforms to paper dresses, all of which have been created by Quebec designers. Further, Fashioning Expo 67 will feature accessories like hats, gloves, umbrellas, purses, and jewellry, as well as drawings, photographs, documents, and film footage of the fashion at Expo 67.
When: March 17 – October 1
Where: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W


Defy gravity and scale a building like Spiderman courtesy of Old Port’s ultra fun adventure, Decalade. The Decalade challenge is happening at the Conveyer Key Tower in Old Port right now! Participants can choose from a variety of challenges, from the 1-hour “dizzying trip”, to the 3-hour “controlled vertical descent facing the ground like Mission Impossible.” This activity is sure to get your blood pumping as you put yourself in the shoes of all the action hero greats. Sessions are by appointment only and range from $89.99 to $149.00. You can also pay $39.99 for a panoramic selfie as you descend from the roof.
When: By appointment only
Where: Conveyer Key Tower

Pouzza Fest

Montreal’s resident punk rock festival, Pouzza Fest, returns to our fair city this May. Taking over St-Urbain Street, as well as seven of the city’s best music venues including Katacombes, Theatre Sainte Catherine, Midway, and Foufounes Electronique, the festivities will begin May 19th and last until May 21st. 2017 headliners come from all over North America and Europe and include Lagwagon, Pup, The Flatliners, Rvivr, Iron Chic, Joey Cape, Sims, and the Real Mckenzies. For the full lineup, click here.
When: May 19-21, 2017
Where: 2100 St-Urbain Street (headquarters)

Piknic Electronik

Montreal’s favourite Sunday EDM festival, Piknic Electronik, is back for summer 2017! Kicking off May 21st in Parc Jean Drapeau, this outdoor electronic music festival is a true sign that summer has returned to the city. 2017 marks the 15th edition of Piknic Electronik, so you can bet the lineup is going to be a particularly good one.
When: Every Sunday from May 21 until September 24, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

La Ronde

Mark your calendars! Montreal’s resident amusement park, La Ronde, is officially scheduled to open on May 20th. Less than two months away, we suggest you start preparing for the upcoming season. What’s the best way to prepare, you may ask? We recommend taking advantage of the park’s incredible season pass deal! Once you’ve purchased your passes, it’s time to curate your plan of attack. For a little inspiration, check out 11 rides at La Ronde you have to try. Alternatively, you can read all about La Ronde’s insane new ride, Titan, here.
When: Opens May 20
Where: La Ronde, 22 Chemin Macdonald

Village des Ecluses

A unique traveller’s village will soon be popping up along the Lachine Canal. Titled Village Des Ecluses, the newly built area will offer “urban camping and boating” accommodation for tourists. Village Des Ecluses will be situated on the Lachine Canal Historic Site and will boast close proximity to downtown Montreal. Made of three types of accommodation, “A Night on a Boat,” “The Lock Keeper’s Cottage,” and “Park Canada’s oTENTik,” guests are able to experience Montreal like they never have before.
When: Beginning May 16, 2017
Where: Lachine Canal

Jet Skiing in Old Port

Sure to give you a major rush of adrenaline, Old Port becomes home to Adventures Wet Set MTL’s fleet of jetskis every summer. Opening on May 15, 2017, tourists and locals alike will once again have the opportunity to experience the city through the eyes of the Saint Lawrence River. Adventures Wet Set MTL offers guided tours of the city, as well as individual rentals. Rates start at $45 and go up to $375.
When: May 15-October 15, 10 am-8 pm
Where: Quay Jacques-Cartier

The Montreal Medieval Fair

The Montreal Medieval Fair returns to Olympic Park’s Centre Pierre Charbonneau next month for three days of historical fun. Beginning on May 5th and ending May 7th, the fair takes place both inside the centre and outdoors, and includes everything from live music and festive dancing, to fire spitters and acrobats. Hundreds of exhibitors and activities make up the three-day event. Main events include LARP tournaments, a masquerade ball, a treasure hunt, and unique booths like “How to choose your dragon eggs.” Whether you’re a history buff or you just love Game of Thrones, The Montreal Medieval Fair is for you!
When: May 5-7, 2017
Where: Centre Pierre Charbonneau, 3000 Viau St

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper hits Montreal’s Bell Centre on May 25 as part of his upcoming spring tour. Chance became a household name after his recent performance and awards at the Grammy, which included Best Rap Album for his independently released mixtape Coloring Book. The American rapper was last in Canada in the fall, when he played Toronto and Vancouver on his “Magnificent Coloring World Tour”. His return to the north on the spring tour has Chance only stopping in Toronto and Montreal this time around.
When: Thursday, May 25
Where: Bell Centre


Returning for its 8th edition is Chromatic 2017, Montreal’s resident digital arts and culture festival. Taking place between May 24th and June 1st, Chromatic is a celebration of art that brings together hundreds of professional and amateur artists from all over the city. The week-long festival includes workshops, conferences, parties, exhibitions, and more, all of which promise to “nourish your cultural appetite.”
When: May 24-June 1, 2017
Where: Arsenal Contemporary Art (2020 William St), Studio L’Eloi (6250 Rue Hutchison)

Grilled Cheese Festival

The Grilled Cheese Festival kicks off May 1st and lasts for one whole week. Last year, nearly 100 restaurants participated and created specialty grilled cheese dishes available for one week only. Such dishes included a Banh Mi grilled cheese, an apple caramel grilled cheese, a steak tartare grilled cheese, and more. In addition, participating restaurants in last year’s event included Le Gras Dur, Saint Laurent Cafe, La Coupole, and La Betise. The official list of 2017 restaurant has yet to be released so remember to check the Facebook event for updates. Don’t miss out on this ultimate comfort food festival!
When: May 1-7
Where: Participating restaurants TBA

CSI: The Experience

The Montreal Science Centre recently became home to an all new exhibition titled CSI: The Experience. The interactive, crime scene-themed exhibit opens April 6th and is based on the famous television show of the same name. Museum-goers will get to draw their own conclusions about the evidence presented and try to decipher which clues need further analysis. From there, participants will have the opportunity to compare tire tracks and shell casings and to carry out real-life forensics tests, such as blood spatter and DNA analysis.
When: Opens April 6
Where: Montreal Science Centre

Montreal Sketchfest

Prepare to LOL! Montreal Sketchfest returns this May, bringing Montrealers a slew of gut-wrenching comedy shows. Kicking off May 4th and lasting until May 13th, Montreal Sketchfest features some of the best comedy troupes in Canada and the United States. The 2017 programmes includes the likes of Backstreet’s Back, Box of Bees, Cousins, Employees of the Year, Kristen Rasmussen: Full Time Idiot, Michael Becker Live, Pickle Party, Tom & Erica, Too Blondes, and Vest of Friends. There will be over 20 shows performed throughout the 10-day festival at Theatre Sainte Catherine.
When: May 4-13, 2017
Where: Theatre Sainte-Catherine, 264 St Catherine St E

Invasion Cocktail

Margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, and more. Invasion Cocktail, Montreal’s own cocktail festival, has been confirmed for 2017. Set to begin on May 10th and wrap up on May 16th, Montrealers will have one whole week to participate in this thirst-quenching festival. This year, 36 bars and restaurants are participating, not to mention the 200 cocktails available. And new this year, the signature Invasion Cocktail Passport (that gets you cocktails for just $7) is completely free of charge. The partners for Invasion Cocktail 2017 have yet to be announced, however in the past participating bars and restaurants have included Bar le Jockey, Le Royal, L’Gros Luxe, L’Assommoire, and Bar Le Lab.
When: May 10-16, 2017
Where: TBA