42 things to do in Montreal this winter

Nov 30 2016, 4:45 am

Winter has arrived! Rather than dreading it, why not celebrate it? After all, Montreal never sleep, and includes during the cold, depths of winter.

December, January, February, and March offer a myriad of events, from outdoor sports to indoor concerts.

Check out 42 things to do in Montreal this winter.

Snow Tubing on Mount Royal

Slide down the snow atop Mount Royal on the designated snow tubing trails near Beaver Lake. Rent an inflatable inner tube or bring your own, and enjoy an afternoon of gliding down the mountain at high speeds. Rentals are $9 for adults and $5 for kids.
When: December 17-March 6, 2017
Where: Beaver Lake, Mount Royal

Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine

Titled, “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” the exhibit explores the fantastical series through the lens of Renaissance period, claiming that much of the series’ magic was rooted in Renaissance traditions. Touching on scientific concepts like alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy, this unique exhibit is sure to provide insight and background information J.K. Rowling’s beloved wizarding world. The exhibition is free to attend.
When: November 21 – January 7, 2017
Where: Westmount Public Library, 4574 Rue Sherbrooke O

Mamma Mia

The smash hit broadway musical, Mamma Mia, is returning to Montreal in February 2017. In town for a limited engagement of five performances, don’t miss your chance to see this famous play live. The eighth longest running show in Broadway history, Mamma Mia has been running for 17 years and has travelled to over 80 countries. It is returning to Canada this winter, and will be stopping in Montreal on February 17, 18, and 19, 2017. Based on the songs of ABBA, you’ll be humming along to hit singles like “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money,” and “Mamma Mia” all night long.
When: February 17-19
Where: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier

Enjoy free admission to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

A photo posted by Lorenzo Mattioli (@lor_ma) on

Visit our city’s best museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, for free this holiday season! Thanks to our friends at the MMFA, Montrealers can stroll amongst the museum’s impressive collections free of charge between December 26, 2016 and January 2, 2017. That’s one full week of free entry! Take advantage while you can.
When: December 26-January 2
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Maroon 5’s Maroon V Tour

Due to Maroon 5 front runner Adam Levine’s wife announcing her pregnancy, the band had to cancel several of their 2016 tour dates for their Maroon V tour. However, it just gives us one more thing to look forward to in 2017. The band, who was scheduled to perform at the Bell Centre on September 23, have postponed their Montreal tour date to February 24, 2017.
When: February 24, 2017
Where: Bell Centre, 1909 avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal

Skating in Old Port

Boasting perhaps the most picturesque rink in all of Montreal, the Bonsecours Basin outdoor skating rink will be up and running this December. Though the exact date is TBA, you can expect it to open in early December and to remain open all winter long. Bring a hot date or your closest friends and enjoy a magical night of skating under the stars to holiday tunes.
When: Early December 2016-March 2017
Where: Old Port

Le Grand Marche de Noel

The second edition of Le Grand Marche de Noel is coming to Montreal this December. Taking over Place des Arts for the entire month, this German-style Christmas market will feature food trucks, a Santa’s Cabin, Elves Workshop, and Santa’s Sleigh. There will also be carol singers, karaoke, storytime, and an all-night party on New Year’s Eve. Finally, the market part will feature a range of locally produced gifts available for purchase including arts, crafts, jewelry, artisanal cheese, alcohol, clothing, chocolates, baked goods, and toys.
When: December 12, 2016 until January 2, 2017, for more scheduling info click here
Where: Place des Arts

Digital Fashion Week

Launching in March 2017 and in celebration of the 375th anniversary of Montreal the city, Digital Fashion Week Montreal’s first edition will kick off in 2017 and take over where the late Montreal Fashion Week left off. With official beauty partners Maybelline New York, Redken 5th Avenue New York, and Essie, the concept of DFW is all about the future of fashion and re-writing the fashion week business model.
When: March 27
Where: TBA

Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ latest exhibit, Focus: Perfection

Titled “Focus: Perfection,” this temporary exhibit focuses on Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the most influential photographers of the 21st century. The exhibit hails all the way from Los Angeles and was curated by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. “Focus: Perfection” will track Mapplethorpe’s work from the beginning of his career in the 1960s to his tragic death in 1989. See this exhibition for free on the last Sunday in December!
When: Tuesday 10 am-5 pm, Wednesday 10 am-9 pm, Thursday to Sunday 10 am-5 pm
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest

Hypothermic Half Marathon

Experience the joys of winter running at Montreal’s Hypothermic Half Marathon. The 12th edition of this annual run offers three different race options: a 21.2km route, a 10.55km route, and a 2-person relay run. Whether you choose to run solo or as part of a team, this fun outdoor activity is not to be missed.
When: February 12, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

Santas Are Taking Over the Stewart Museum

A photo posted by Лилия (@_maliatko_) on

The Stewart Museum’s magical Christmas exhibit opens on November 16th. The exhibition will showcase 30 Santa figurines and a Szalasi doll castle that comes to life when music plays. Admission to the museum and the special holiday exhibit are free.
When: November 16, 2016-January 8, 2017
Where: 20 Chemin du Tour de l’isle

Take some Instagram pics of Montreal

Montreal is pretty damn Instagram-worthy. Whether you’re at a hipster coffee shop or shopping on Sainte Catherine, it’s hard to resist pulling out your smartphone, snapping a pic, and publishing it on the famed picture-sharing app. From a Habs game at the Bell Centre to the Notre Dame Basilica or Palais du Congres, there are plenty of places to nab that picture-perfect Insta photo.
When: Anytime
Where: For a list of the 15 most Instagrammed spots in Montreal, click here

Merry Montreal

Head to Old Port this holiday season and enjoy a slew of free activities, ranging from a New Year’s Eve party to outdoor yoga. Stroll through the market, set up in Place Jacques Cartier, and you’ll find gourmet food, warm drinks, artisanal crafts, and local art. If you’re a movie buff, be sure to attend the Outdoor Holiday Cinema in which festive family films will be screened.
When: December 1-24
Where: Old Port of Montreal

Snowshoeing at the Morgan Arboretum

Take your date on an enchanting snowshoeing tour through the trees of the Morgan Arboretum. The 5km trail starts from behind the Arboretum’s Pine Cottage and takes you all around the centre’s grounds. Prepare for a day of snow-filled fun. Snowshoe rentals cost $7. Alternatively, if you’d love to snowshoe closer to the downtown core, snowshoeing is possible on Mount Royal and snowshoes can be rented from the Beaver Lake Pavilion.
When: December 2016-March 2017
Where: Morgan Arboretum, 150 Ch des Pins, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue

Stare at La Maison Ogilvy’s Christmas window display

Montreal’s very own Macy’s, La Maison Ogilvy always has an incredible CHristmas window display. Opened on November 11th, be sure to stop by the historic department store on Sainte Catherine the next time you’re walking downtown. This year’s display features bunnies and other adorable furry friends.
When: Anytime
Where: 1307 Sainte-Catherine Street West

Check out Barbie Expo

In case you hadn’t heard, Montreal is currently home to the Barbie Expo, the largest permanent collection of Barbie dolls in the world. Montrealers have the chance to see and Instagram over 1,000 one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls. The Barbie dolls on display are not your average Barbie dolls, however. Rather, Barbie Expo is an exhibition of haute couture with Barbie as the model. As the website states, “This is Barbie seen at her fashionable best, a stunningly beautiful collection chicly modeled by the 11½-inch fashion icon.”
When: Open Monday to Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays from noon to 5 pm.
Where: 1455 Rue Peel


Think of Luminotherapie as the 21 Balancoires of the winter months. Set up in Place des Festivals every year, Luminotherapie is an interactive art installation with featuring bright and twinkly holiday lights. Comprised of thirty seesaws that light up and play music, the event invites Montrealers to take part in their very own winter playground.
When: December 8, 2016 – January 29, 2017
Where: Place des Festivals

Kinky Boots

The highly acclaimed Broadway musical is making its way to Montreal in January 2017. From January 3rd until January 8th, Kinky Boots will be taking over Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts for 8 consecutive shows. Kinky Boots made its Broadway debut in 2013, only to receive 13 Tony award nominations and 6 Tony wins in the 2013 awards season.
When: January 3-8, 2017
Where: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts

Fontaine Boreale, 2016 Edition

Back for its second year, the Fontaine Boreale show will take place at Complexe Desjardins. This immersive and multi-sensorial experience combines water and light to bring you regularly scheduled shows that are sure to mesmerize.
When: November 19-December 31 at 4:30pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm
Where: Complexe Desjardins

Skating at Beaver Lake

Ice skating on top of Mount Royal is simply magical. Each year, Beaver Lake freezes over and Montrealers are invited to skate on this iconic pond. If you have your own skates, this activity is totally free. If not, you can rent skates from the chalet for $9
When: December 3-March 12, 2017
Where: Beaver Lake, Mount Royal

Notman: A Visionary Photographer Exhibition at the McCord Museum

The McCord Museum just opened a new exhibition this month. Titled, “Notman, A Visionary Photographer, the photo exhibit offers “ a new perspective on the career of William Notman (1826–1891), who became the first Canadian photographer with an international reputation during the nineteenth-century.” Though the vintage photographs are the biggest draw to this exhibit, they are complemented by interactive multimedia installations and contextual information about life in the nineteenth century. Admission to the McCord Museum is free every Wednesday after 5pm!
When: November 4, 2016-March 26, 2017
Where: 690 Rue Sherbrooke O

Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour

International pop star Ariana Grande is back on the road for her biggest tour yet and stops at the Bell Centre on March 6. The Dangerous Woman Tour kicks off in February and includes 36 dates throughout North America.
When: Monday, March 6, 2017, 7:30pm
Where: Bell Centre, 1909 avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal

A Victorian Christmas

Step into a Charles Dickens novel thanks to the Sir George Etienne Cartier National Historic Site’s annual “A Victorian Christmas.” This unique holiday exhibition will allow Montrealers to be transported back in time and learn about the customs and traditions of Christmas in the Victorian era. There will be a beautifully laid table, historically accurate Christmas tree, and even Santa Claus.
When: November 19-December 30
Where: Sir George Etienne Cartier National Historic Site, 458 Rue Notre-Dame E

Montreal En Lumiere

One of the largest winter festivals in the world, 2017 marks the 18th edition of Montreal En Lumiere. The festival showcases everything that a Montreal wintertime has to offer, from the performing arts to gastronomy to outdoor activities.
When: February 23-March 12, 2017
Where: Various Locations

Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche will once again be kicking off the Montreal En Lumiere Festival. Over the course of one night on March 4th, Nuit Blanche invites Montrealers to participate in 200+ activities, including art exhibitions, music, dancing, stories, and installations.
When: March 4, 2017
Where: Various locations


A photo posted by Igloofest (@igloofest_mtl) on

Montreal’s coolest (get it?) winter music festival is back. Happening four weekends in a row in the dead of winter, Igloofest will be taking over Old Port with their incredible lineup of electronic musicians. The 2017 lineup includes Kim Ann Foxman, Grand Theft, Tiga, and Vakuum to name a few.
When: Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between January 12 and February 4, 2017
Where: Old Port

Festival Noel Dans Le Parc

Three Montreal parks will be turned into a holiday paradise this December thanks to Festival Noels Dans Le Parc. Taking place from December 1st until Christmas Day, each of the three participating parks will be filled with holiday activities like marshmallow roasting, bonfires, gift stands, Christmas tree stands, and of course, Santa-sightings.
When: December 1-25
Where: Place Emilie Gamelin, Parc Lahaie, Parc Parc Des Compagnons De Saint-Laurent

Fete des Neiges Snow Festival

Prepare to have some fun in the snow at Parc Jean Drapeau’s free snow festival! Taking place on weekends only, the Fete des Neiges Snow Festival will feature ziplining, snow tubing, dog sledding, live music, ice skating, and much more!
When: January 15-February 5, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

La Poutine Week

Though the dates have yet to be announced for 2017, La Poutine Week historically takes place in early September. Last year’s week long poutine festival featured some absolutely over-the-top creations from some of Montreal’s best restaurants including ART:brgr, Bar Brutus, Dirty Dogs, and Faberge. We’re sure that La Poutine Week 2017 will be just as cheese-curd filled as 2016.
When: TBA, check the website for updates
Where: Various locations, TBA

The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience

You can now enter the world of Westeros sooner than you thought. An immersive music and visual experience that will bring the Seven Kingdoms using state-of-the-art technology, will take you on a musical journey from King’s Landing to Winterfell, along the northern stretches of the Kingsroad to The Wall and across the Narrow Sea to Braavos, Meereen and beyond. The genius talent of Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi, along with a full orchestra and choir, will take over the Bell Centre next March recreating the various realms through music while showcasing footage from the show and through new imagery created exclusively for the tour.
When: March 3, 2017
Where: Bell Centre, 1909 avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal

Attend an intimate concert with Sting

Sting, The Police lead vocalist turned solo artist, is going on tour in 2017. His 57th and 9th Tour, named after his twelfth studio album of the same name, will take the “Roxanne” singer across North America and Europe starting in February. As announced earlier this week, the British rocker will be playing shows in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. This tour sees Sting heading to smaller venues around the world, meaning that unlike his prior history playing shows at the Bell Centre, his 2017 stop in Montreal will be at Metropolis on March 6.
When: March 6, 2017
Where: Metropolis, 59 Rue Sainte-Catherine E

Get a s’mores hot chocolate

As if plain hot chocolate weren’t good enough, the geniuses at Chocolat Favoris Montreal have come out with a s’mores hot chocolate. That’s right, delicious and creamy hot cocoa, featuring graham crackers and topped with toasted marshmallows and a melted chocolate drizzle. Campfires are clearly not just for summer. Concocted using their own homemade chocolate fondues, of which there are several flavours, you will instantly fall in love with the s’mores hot chocolate.
When: Anytime
Where: Chocolat Favoris Montreal (multiple locations)

Le Salon des metiers d’art de Montreal

The biggest holiday craft fair in the city, Le Salon des metiers d’art de Montreal takes place annually at Place Bonaventure. Everything on display has been handcrafted by Quebec artisans, and even if you can’t shop, it’s a great place to do some browsing.
When: December 8-18
Where: Place Bonaventure

Polar Hero

Polar Hero, Canada’s largest winter obstacle race, is coming to Montreal this winter. The 5km race will take you through 25 obstacles, including hurdles, ropes, a climbing wall, monkey bars, and a magic carpet ride. And of course, all of these obstacles are to be completed in a giant field of fresh snow. The race is taking place across Quebec, and will be stopping in at Montreal’s Jean Drapeau Park on February 18, 2017. Suitable for families and all fitness levels, this is a surefire way to kick your winter into high gear.
When: February 18, 2017 at 9 am
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

Classique Montrealaise

Ever wanted to participate in a massive game of pond hockey? Well now you can. Thanks to the Classique Montrealaise, Montrealers are invited to attend a huge outdoor hockey tournament in honour of the city’s 375th anniversary. 2017 marks the very first year of this unique event. Taking place at Parc Jean Drapeau on January 28th and 29th, hundreds of hockey lovers will head to Olympic Basin for the hockey tournament of the season. Whether you’re a seasoned hockey veteran or a newbie, there will be a level for everyone! Divided into four categories: die-hard, recreational, ladies, and 50 and over, Montrealers far and wide are invited to participate in this two-day hockey extravaganza.
When: January 28-29, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau, Olympic Basin

Visit Montreal’s pop-up Christmas Bar, Miracle Montreal

2016 marks the arrival of Montreal’s first ever Christmas-themed bar. The pop-up bar, titled Miracle Montreal, is in town for just one month. Spreading joy through Christmas-flavoured cocktails and music, you won’t be able to resist stopping here for a drink in December. Miracle Montreal will have everything from jingle bell nog and Santa-quila to a Christmapolitan and a Snowball Old Fashioned. In addition to festive cocktails, they will have fun giveaways throughout the month courtesy of their on-site advent calendar. The bar will be set up in the Latin Quarter starting December 1st. Grab a drink and toast to the holidays!
When: December 1-31 (they’re even open Christmas Day!), 3pm-3am
Where: 323 Ontario Est

Montreal Ice Canoe Challenge

Stay active this winter with a little help from the 5th annual Montreal Ice Canoe Challenge. Hosted in Old Port, this unique winter event will see forty ice canoeing teams making their way down the frozen Saint Lawrence River. This is an extreme action sport that is not only fun to participate in, but also to watch. The race will make a loop between the Clock Tower, Alexandra Basin, the Cite du Havre park, and Ile Sainte Helene. Happening on February 11 and 12, 2017, you’ll want to dress warmly.
When: February 11-12, 2016
Where: Old Port of Montreal

Skating on Beaver Lake

Ice skating on top of Mount Royal is simply magical. Each year, Beaver Lake freezes over and Montrealers are invited to skate on this iconic pond. If you have your own skates, this activity is totally free. If not, you can rent skates from the chalet for $9.
When: December 3-March 12, 2017
Where: Beaver Lake, Mount Royal

Attend the adult Christmas show, Urban Tales X: An Undead Christmas

Each year, the Centaur Theatre puts on a special Christmas-themed show just for adults, and this year is no exception. Titled, “Urban Tales X – An Undead Xmas,” the 2016 show promises to be just as bizarre and entertaining as ever. Divided into six parts, each performance will tell a satirical story about what the holidays are like from an adult’s perspective. It sounds hilariously relatable.
When: December 8-17
Where: Centaur Theatre, 453 Rue Saint-François-Xavier

Take part in Montreal’s 375th anniversary Les Hivernales

Montreal’s 375th anniversary is no doubt going to be the blowout of the decade. We’ve already reported on the lighting up of Place Jacques Cartier and the pedestrian-friendly changes coming to Sainte Catherine Street, however, now MTL 375 has released the official schedule of events starting in December 2016 and going until December 2017. After looking at the lineup, we can tell you that the winter months have an incredible program in store for Montrealers. From a giant game of pond hockey courtesy of Classique Montrealaise and an urban winter obstacle course in Barbegazi to magical winter moonlit bike ride and curling like you’ve never seen it before, MTL 375 is guaranteed to keep you active from January until March.
When: January-March 2017
Where: various locations

Noel sur l’Avenue

Make your way down Mont-Royal Ave for this traditional torchlit walk. Following a Christmas sleigh, this event attracts nearly 10,000 people each year. Better yet, it culminates in Christmas in the Park, which features an enchanting holiday village filled with activities and treats for the whole family.
When: December 1-24
Where: Avenue du Mont-Royal Est

Bastille’s Wild Wild World Tour

Brit band Bastille is back on the road and returning to Montreal’s Bell Centre on their “Wild Wild World Tour” on March 26, 2017. The tour takes the Grammy nominated band across arenas and theatres all over the US and Canada, with stops in Toronto and Vancouver. The new concert announcement comes on the heels of Bastille’s “The Born To Be Wild World North American Mini Tour” tour, a short run of intimate venues that sold out in minutes.
When: Friday, March 26, 2017, 7:30pm
Where: Bell Centre, 1909 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal