19 festive and fun things to do in Montreal this December

Dec 2 2021, 9:35 pm

Ah, December. It truly is magical in Montreal.

Whether you want to prepare for the holidays, bid farewell to 2021 in style, eat good food, enjoy some music, or anything in between, there are sled-loads of great things to do in Montreal this month.

Here are a bunch of things that should keep you busy during the most wonderful time of the year.

Jardins d’Hiver

 

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The Quartier des Spectacle’s beautiful winter garden has returned to Montreal for the rest of the month.

Along with its festive atmosphere and giant Christmas tree, the Jardins d’Hiver sells local products from maple syrup to toys, decor, clothes, sweets, food, trees, and drinks (great for gifts).

When: Every day in December
Time: 11 am – 8 pm
Where: Quartier des spectacles
Price: Free

Free Museum of Fine Arts

 

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The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is getting into the spirit of giving by allowing the general public free access to its permanent collections and three discovery exhibitions.

The deal is part of the museum’s Gift of the Holidays promotion, available from December 1 to 24.

Check out which exhibitions are free to check out here.

When: From now until December 24
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 1380 Sherbrooke Ouest
Price: Free

Miracle Montreal

 

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Miracle Montreal has returned to the city, bringing the holiday spirit to a local bar for the third consecutive year (safe for last year).

The month-long pop-up bar christening a local spot with ugly Christmas sweaters, gorgeous decorations, quirky parties, and, of course, seasonal cocktails and grub.

This year, Miracle Montreal has taken over Parliament in the Old Port, bringing a sleigh-full of festive feels to the stone-walled pub.

Christmas-themed cocktails include the Christmapolitan, Christmas Carol Barrel, Snowball Old-Fashioned, Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!, Jingle Balls Nog, Nice Shot, and Naughty Shot.

When: From now until December 26
Time: 2 pm – close
Where: Parliament, 361 Place d’Youville
Price: Free admission

Illumi

 

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Laval just got a whole lot brighter.

Illumi, the outdoor light show, has officially deemed it the start of the holiday season and has 25-million LED Christmas lights to prove it.

When: From now until January 3 (closed December 7.14, & 15)
Time: 5 – 9 pm
Address: 2805 blvd Du Souvenir, Laval
Price: $15.75 – $21.74, free for kids under 4 (available online)

Atwater Market’s Village de Noël

 

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Atwater Market’s Christmas Village is an absolute holiday staple in Montreal. It takes place every day until December 19 and is the ideal spot to go for gifts, food, Christmas trees, and photo opps.

When: From now until Decmber 19
Time: 8 am – 8 pm
Where: Atwater Market
Price: Free

Christmas Alley – Maison Pepin

 

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Maison Pepin has channelled its inner Harry Potter by turning its charming alleyway into a breathtaking rustic Christmas market.

This year, the shop has hired a professional photographer to take absolutely breathtaking shots of you, your friends, family, colleagues, or a mix of everything.

For more details, check out our article.

When: Every day in December
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: 378 rue St-Paul Ouest
Price: $150

Old Port Skating Rink

If you’re looking to lace up and hit the ice in a magical setting with the city of Montreal as your backdrop, you’re in luck.

Arguably the best place for outdoor skating on the island is reopening to the public after taking a year off due to the pandemic. The Old Port Skating Rink will open on December 11, offering smooth sheets of ice every day until March 6.

The refrigerated rink features a cozy village in front of the ice and is a puck’s throw away from Bistro de la Roue for a little post-game refresher.

When: December 11 – March 6, 2022
Time: Monday – Wednesday, 9 am – 9 pm; Thursday – Sunday, 9 am – 10 pm
Where: Bonsecour Basin
Price: $24 (pre-sale), available online

Marché de Noël de Jean-Talon

Breads, jams, candy, meat, cheese, wine, and everything in between. The Jean-Talon Market might be THE place to grab all of your holiday needs this year.

The daily festivities kicked off at the end of November and will hang around until December 23.

When: From now until December 23
Time: 8 am – 8 pm
Where: Jean-Talon Market
Price: Free

New Year’s Eve Party

Bid au revoir to 2021 and welcome in 2022 at a free New Year’s Eve bash in Old Montreal.

Featuring live music, dancing, and fireworks, you won’t want to miss this one.

When: Friday, December 31
Time: 8 pm
Where: Quai Jacques Cartier, Old Montreal
Price: Free

Fontaine boréale

Considering Christmas is usually associated with snow and ice, it might be time for a little element change.

A giant Christmas fountain, known as “Fontaine boréale,” is returning to the Complexe Desjardins for the holiday season and it splashes off on December 4.

The immersive and multi-sensory experience features the Complexe Desjardin’s Grande-Place water fountain, completely decked out in the Christmas spirit.

When: December 4 – 31
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Where: Complexe Desjardins
Price: Free

Imagine Monet

 

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Montreal is about to be coated with an exhibition of the works of Charles Monet, the French painter and founder of impressionism, who is among the most famous figures in the history of the art world.

Imagine Monet will immerse visitors at the Arsenal Contemporary Art for the world premiere, starting on December 15 until February, 2022.

Akin to the Imagine Van Gogh exhibition before the pandemic, the Monet exhibit will display more than 200 works from the artist through a projector, giant murals, and an immersive soundtrack.

When: December 15 – February 28
Time: 10 am to 7:30 pm
Where: Arsenal art contemporaine — 2020 rue William
Price: $26 – $39, available online

Ice Bar – Riverside

You might be accustomed to ordering drinks on ice, and this month, you will literally be ordering booze on ice.

As of December 10, sponsored by Cointreau and Grey Goose, Riverside St-Henri will be hosting a pop-up ice bar.

Riverside’s pop-up winter event, appropriately titled Hiverside, will feature an ice bar inside a massive 40-foot by 20-foot inflatable igloo.

When: Friday, December 10
Time: 3 pm – 2 am
Where: 5020 Saint Ambroise
Price: Free admission, reservation required online

Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre

The Canadiens have been rough to watch this season but watching them live at the Bell Centre is still a spectacle.

They host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a Stanley Cup rematch this month, as well as the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, and Boston Bruins.

When: December 7, 9, 16, and 18
Time: 7 pm
Where: 1909-avenue-des-canadiens-de-Montreal
Price: Varies, available online

The Nutcracker: Clara’s Journey

 

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Check out the ballet during the enchanting fairy tale for the whole family, set to the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos at the timeless Wilfrid Pelletier Theatre.

When: December 9 – 28
Time: 2 pm & 7:30 pm
Where: Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Place des Arts
Price: $79 – $149, available online

Craft Beer Tour

Take a guided three-hour walking tour and try some of Montreal’s best craft beers.

The tour stops at three different Montreal breweries and guests can sample six artisanal beers, paired with food.

Get a walking view of the city AND have a couple of pops.

When: December 4, 11, 18, 28, 29 30, 31
Time: 2 pm
Where: Starts at Le St-Bock at 1749 St. Denis Street
Price: Starting at $72, available online

Charlie Brown’s Christmas – Taurey Butler’s Trio

Vince Guaraldi’s classic album “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is covered by the jazz band, the Taurey Butler Trio at the Théâtre Beaubois halfway through the month.

When: Saturday, December 11
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Théâtre Beaubois, 4901 Rue du Collège-Beaubois
Price: Starting at $30, available online

Christmas Mass – Notre Dame Baslica

 

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Celebrate Christmas Day Mass at the most historic church in Montreal.

The Mass works on a first-come, first-served basis and features a 25-person choir.

The church holds space for 250 people.

When: Saturday, December 25
Time: 9 & 11 am, 5 pm
Where: Notre Dame Basilica
Price: Free

Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters

It’s a whale of a time at the Quartier des spectacles throughout December.

A magnificent 55-foot-long illuminated whale structure has breached at Place des Festivals as part of the borough’s 12th edition of Luminothérapie.

The installation is part of artist Mathias Gmachl’s “Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters” project. According to the Quartier des spectacles, the free exhibit is an interacting “sound-and-light work that invites to look and listen closely.”

The installation – a massive, colourful representation of a whale – symbolizes the planet’s flora and fauna. “It asks us to consider the impact of our everyday activities on nature and the environment, making us more aware of their fragility,” says the Quartier. The installation is a meditation on our harmful invasions of Earth’s ecosystems.

When: From now until February 6, 2022
Time: 24/7
Where: Place des Festivals
Price: Free

L’enfance du Christ

 

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Audiences of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) will be treated to connect with French conductor Hervé Niquet for L’enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) in a triumph number at the historic Maison symphonique de Montreal at the end of the month.

When: Wednesday, December 22
Time:
7:30 pm
Where: Maison symphonique de Montreal
Price: Starts at $39, available online

Ty JadahTy Jadah

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