27 things to do in Montreal this weekend: December 24 to December 25

Dec 24 2016, 4:13 am

The weekend is more than just Christmas.

Though you might think that Christmas Day means the city is on total lockdown, that isn’t actually the case.

On Saturday, you can do everything from exploring a museum to last-minute shopping, while on Sunday there are a variety of events for all types of Montrealers to enjoy, such as the city’s pop-up Christmas bar, playing in the snow, or seeing a lights show.

Check out 27 things to do in Montreal this weekend, and happy holidays to everyone!

Saturday, December 24

Le Grand Marche de Noel

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

Santas Are Taking Over the Stewart Museum

The Stewart Museum’s magical Christmas exhibit is now open. The exhibition showcases 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

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. The festival officially closes on Saturday so be there or be square.
When: December 1-24
Where: Old Port of Montreal

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

Aurores Montreal

Called Aurores Montreal, the outdoor illuminations are part of the city’s 375th birthday celebrations. Between December 11th and January 1st, 2017, Mount Royal will be lit up each night with a unique light display created by artist Marc Seguin. Seguin has teamed up with multimedia company, 4U2C, “to offer a unique experience to Montrealers and Montreal lovers.” The projections cover more than 15,000 square meters and range in design from colourful frescoes to the poetry and lyrics of Marie Uguay and Leonard Cohen. Marvel at the majestic lights on this special holiday weekend.
When: December 11-January 1, 2017
Where: Mount Royal

Snowshoeing on Mount Royal

Go on a snowshoeing adventure in the heart of the city on Mount Royal. Where winter fun prevails, Mount Royal is home to ice skating, cross country skiing, sledding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing in the wintertime. There are over 3km of trails and snowshoes can be rented from the Beaver Lake Pavilion. The cost of rentals is $9 for 1 hour or $15 for 3 hours, however if you have your own, this activity is completely free.
When: December 3-March 12, 2017
Where: Beaver Lake, Mount Royal

Santa Visits

Santa has touched down at Galeries d’Anjou. Meet the big guy and have your photo taken just in time for Christmas Day. Visits are free, though photos will cost money however all proceeds go towards The Children’s Wish Foundation.
When: November 19-December 24
Where: ​Galeries d’Anjou, 7999 les Galeries d’Anjou Blvd.

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 allows Montrealers to be transported back in time and learn about the customs and traditions of Christmas in the Victorian era. There is 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

Santa’s Kingdom

Santa is back at Complexe Desjardins this Christmas! Head on over this downtown mall and marvel at Santa, his elves, and of course the grand carousel going round and round. While meeting Santa or going on a carousel ride will set you back $2, being in the vicinity and watching the fun is enough to spread Christmas cheer.
When: November 19-December 24
Where: Complexe Desjardins

Village Mammouth

This winter festival right in the heart of the Olympic Village is one of the biggest Christmas attractions in the city. Featuring ice skating, snow tubing, an outdoor bar, and plenty of restaurants, there is tons of fun to be had at this snow-filled paradise.
When: December 9-March 12, 2017
Where: Olympic Village

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. The show will continue all day Saturday, though is closed on Christmas Day.
When: November 19-December 31 at 4:30pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm
Where: Complexe Desjardins

The Thousand and One Faces of Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace

To celebrate the city’s upcoming birthday, the Maison de la Culture de NDG, Maison de la Culture de CDN, and the Nouveau Centre Culturel de NDG are hosting a unique art exhibition titled “the Thousand and One Faces.” The project will be divided into three areas: mediation and exchange, collective photographic creation, and exhibition. Taking place in the three cultural centres, as well as selected public space, don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of these two Montreal boroughs.
When: December 1, 2016-December 2017
Where: Maison de la Culture de NDG, Maison de la Culture de CDN, and the Nouveau Centre Culturel de NDG

Fragments of Humanity, Archaeology in Quebec

The first major exhibition dedicated entirely to Quebec archaeology, Fragments of Humanity features over 350 artifacts and tracks 50 years of archaeological discovery in the province. Combining items from museums all over Quebec, the exhibition highlights the history of the region through each individual artifact. We promise you’ll never look at Montreal the same way again. You only have a few weeks left to see it, and with the museum being closed on Sunday you better get there on the 24th!
When: Until January 8, 2017
Where: Pointe-a-Calliere

Visit with Santa

Meet Santa and have your picture taken with him at Carrefour Laval every day between 9am and 4:30pm. All proceeds go towards The Children’s Wish Foundation. December 24th is the last day to meet Santa before his schedule books up on Christmas Eve.
When: November 19-December 24
Where:​ Carrefour Laval, 2025 boul le Carrefour, Laval

Sunday December, 25

Festival Noel Dans Le Parc

Three Montreal parks have been turned into a holiday paradise this December thanks to Festival Noel 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. Spend some time at this popular holiday festival on the biggest day of the year.
When: December 1-25
Where: Place Emilie Gamelin, Parc Lahaie, Parc Parc Des Compagnons De Saint-Laurent


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 hypnotizing loops 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

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. Bring a hot date or your closest friends and enjoy a magical night of skating under the stars to holiday tunes.
When: December 10, 2016-March 2017
Where: Old Port


Spend your winter in one of the most classic ways: tobogganing down one of the city’s many hills. Whether you’re more of a plastic disk, magic carpet, or wooden sled kind of person, there are plenty of places to enjoy an afternoon whizzing down Montreal’s natural slopes. Mount Royal, Parc Lafontaine, and Westmount are great places to go tobogganing this winter. Note: if you have your own sled, this activity is free, and if not Dollarama typically sells magic carpets for as little as $2.
When: Anytime
Where: Various locations

Drink s’mores hot chocolate

Impress your date with this tasty (not to mention Instagram-worthy) hot chocolate. Available at Chocolat Favoris Montreal, the delectable s’mores hot chocolate is made of creamy cocoa, graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, and melted chocolate. Concocted using their own homemade chocolate fondues, of which there are several flavours, both of you will instantly fall in love with the s’mores hot chocolate.
When: Anytime
Where: Click here for locations

Head to the movies

A Christmas day classic. Even if the shopping malls and SAQs are closed, there is still plenty of wholesome fun to be had in Montreal. Head to one of the city’s many movie theatres, relax with some popcorn, and watch a Golden Globe nod.
When: Anytime
Where: Any movie theatre

Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Hosting their annual Christmas celebrations, head over to Saint Joseph’s Oratory, a Roman Catholic Basilica that was completed in 1967. While it might not be Canada’s oldest church, it is Canada’s largest and most impressive church. Set on Westmount Summit, the views from the top are breathtaking and celebrations will be happening all day long.
When: Open everyday from 7:45 am to 9 pm
Where: 3800, chemin Queen Mary

Marvel at Canada’s tallest Christmas tree

Canada’s tallest (and perhaps also skinniest) Christmas tree was unveiled in Place des Arts only a few weeks ago. Covered in sparkly lights, the tree can be seen for miles in any direction and is surely a welcome addition to the city’s gorgeous holiday decor. See it for yourself and don’t forget to take an Instagram pic!
When: Anytime
Where: Place des Arts

Volunteer for the holidays

Do a little good this Christmas by volunteering to spend your time at one of the city’s many holiday charities. Whether you’re running a toy drive, sorting donations, or serving food at a soup kitchen, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved right here in Montreal. On Rock Community Services, West Island Mission, St. Willibrord Parish, and Old Brewery Mission are all looking for holiday volunteers. Lend a hand!
When: Anytime
Where: Various locations

Eat Nutella Pizza at Bottega Pizzeria

There are plenty of reasons to visit Little Italy’s Bottega Pizzeria, however, we must admit that the main one is for the Nutella Pizza. Sure, they offer mouthwatering Napoli-style pizzas, but they also offer a Nutella pizza that literally combines two of the best things on the planet. Seriously, how could someone resist that? The Nutella Pizza is just $12 and is recommended for two people (though we promise we won’t judge if you fly solo).
When: Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 5pm-10pm, Thursday and Friday 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-11pm, Saturday 5-11pm
Where: 65 Rue Saint-Zotique E

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. The bar will be set up in the Latin Quarter starting December 1st and is open on Christmas Day. Grab a drink and toast to the holidays!
When: December 1-31 (they’re even open Christmas Day!), 3pm-3am
Where: 323 Ontario Est

Go to a bring your own wine restaurant

Bring your own wine restaurants are an integral part of Montreal’s food culture. The perfect money-saving option for students and residents alike, BYOB spots are a great way to feel fancy without actually paying restaurant prices. From Indian food to sushi joints, there is a vast range of restaurants in Montreal that allow you to bring your own and are open on Christmas Day.
When: Anytime
Where: Various locations

Explore Chinatown

If there’s one thing you can count on to be open, it’s Chinatown. Open 365 days a year, if you’re jonesing to get out of the house this Christmas Day, head to one of Montreal’s best neighbourhoods. Grab some dumplings or perhaps stroll through the myriad of stores selling everything you can imagine. Either way, it’s a fun activity for the whole family.
When: Anytime
Where: Chinatown


DH Montreal StaffDH Montreal Staff

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