25 things to do in Montreal this weekend: December 20 to 22

Dec 19 2019, 5:00 am

With the holidays quickly approaching (did you get your shopping done yet?), Montreal is bustling with holiday-themed activities all weekend, December 20 to 22.

Enjoy the second-to-last weekend in December!

Friday, December 20

Cirque du Soleil – AXEL

Cirque Montreal

Cirque du Soleil/YouTube

Cirque du Soleil will hitting the “la glace” all weekend at the Bell Centre as the company’s new show, AXEL, carves its way to Montreal.

Fusing¬†skating, acrobatics, live music, dancing, and stunning graphics, Cirque du Soleil is bringing their “ice spectacle” to the company’s founding city for ten days, starting tonight.

When: December 19 Р29
Time: 1 pm and 5 pm on Sunday, 3:30 pm and 7:30 on select dates throughout the week
Where: Bell Centre, 1909-avenue-des-Canadiens-de-Montreal
Price: $55.50 – $167.75, available online

Comedy at the Art Loft

Comedy at the Art Loft/Facebook

Comedy at the Art Loft continues to be one of the city’s hottest comedy shows and this weekend’s edition, the 155th, features Chris Sandiford, a gem in Montreal’s comic scene.

Art Loft is the city’s only weekly bilingual show and is run out of a private loft on rue Saint-Laurent and is usually packed with people. It feels like a college party, except a comedian is slinging jokes into a microphone.

The venue features a DJ and snacks. BYOB and it’s 420 friendly (very 420 friendly).

When: Friday, December 20
Time: Doors open at 9 pm, show starts at 10:30 pm
Where: 4152 Boulevard Saint Laurent
Price: $10 at the door (cash only)

Mamma Mia

Evenko

One of Broadway’s most successful musicals, Mamma Mia, is returning to Montreal this weekend.

Mamma Mia has been playing for 17 years and has travelled across 80 different countries.

Based on the songs of ABBA, you‚Äôll be humming along to hit singles like ‚ÄúDancing Queen,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúMoney, Money, Money,‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúMamma Mia‚ÄĚ all weekend long.

When: December 20 Р23
Time: 7:30 pm on Friday, 2 pm on Saturday РMonday
Where: Theatre St-Denis
Price:$72.40 Р$141.75, available online

Turbo Haus Freelancer X-Mas

Turbo Haus/Facebook

Turbo¬†Ha√ľs is rewarding freelancers who may have gotten duped this year.

Bring an unpaid invoice or a terrible email from a client and get a free drink. A pretty good deal. Plus, at the end of the night, prizes will be rewarded to the person with the worst client of the year.

“It’ll be great and terrible and everything all at once,” reads the bar’s Facebook page.

When: Friday, December 20
Time: 7 pm Р10 pm
Where:¬†Turbo Ha√ľs, 2040 rue Saint-Denis
Price: Free entrance

Merry Montreal

Old Montreal

@montrealenfetes/Instagram

Merry Montreal returns this weekend, hosting a slew of free events to kick your Christmas spirit into high gear.

Along with the¬†Old Port‚Äôs¬†historical cachet, restaurants, boutiques and renowned hotels, Merry Montreal features the Nordic Place, Music on the Docks, and a massive New Year‚Äôs Eve bash (one of the only free New Year’s Eve events in the city).

The Nordic Square features DJs, live theatre, a band, interactive installations, and a winter beer garden. Local artists will be performing on stage to keep you entertained while a giant fire keeps you warm (the alcohol will help too).

When: From now until December 31
Time: Various times
Where: Montreal’s Old Port
Price: Free

Natrel Skating Rink

skating rink

Old Port Skating rink

The Natrel Skating Rink in Old Montreal is now open to the public, offering some real nice ice. If you’re brave enough to tackle the cold, strap on some skates and get moving.

Known for its outstanding quality of ice, excellent facilities, and breathtaking views of the city and the Saint Lawrence River, this is the place to go skating in Montreal.

When: Friday, December 20
Time:¬†10 am ‚Äď 10 pm
Where: Natrel Skating Rink, Bonsecours Basin
Price:¬†$5.22 for kids six ‚Äď 12; $7.83 general admission, free for kids under six

Luminothérapie

Place des Festivals

Quartier des Spectacles

Place des Festivals is lit.

The Quartier des Spectacles’ public square is hosting the 10th edition of Luminothérapie through Pop!, a celebration of five fantastical creatures that aim to light up the city during the dark days of winter.

Because if anything can lighten up our bleak winter, it’s Luminothérapie, Quebec’s largest temporary public art installation.

When: From now until January 26
Time: 12 to 11 pm
Where: Place des Festivals
Price: Free

Saturday, December 21

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – Miracle at the Museum

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Shutterstock

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

The deal is part of the museum’s¬†Miracle at the Museum promotion and it¬†kicks off this weekend until January 5, 2020.

Check out the website for a full list of exhibitions.

When: December 21 РJanuary 5
Time: 10 am Р5 pm
Where: 1380 Sherbrooke Ouest
Price: Free

Pente à Neige

ski hill Montreal

@andrewbohz/Instagram

No offense, Mont Tremblant, but we might hit the slopes a bit closer to home this winter as La Pente à Neige has constructed a man-made ski hill at Parc Ignace-Bourget.

The third edition of the urban hill opens this weekend and it’s big enough for up to 250 people along with a mini slope that can accommodate up to 50 mini-skiers.

The hill welcomes skiers, snowboarders, tubers, and sledders of any age and features a cozy heated yurt, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and music. Guests can bring their own equipment or it can be rented on site.

The slope is 300 metres long and has professionals on site to teach people proper skiing/snowboarding/falling down techniques.

When: December 21 t0 March 29 (closed on December 24, 25 and January 1)
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where:¬†Parc Ignace-Bourget — 6101 Avenue de Montmagny
Price: Various pricing, details available online

Village de No√ęl de Montr√©al

@themonthofjune92/Instagram

As if the Atwater Market isn’t magical enough, it’s been transformed into a ‘Christmas Village’ for its fourth edition of Village de No√ęl.

The village, which can be found on the outskirts of the Atwater Market, includes 40 local craftsmen and restauranteurs, concerts, choirs and shows, a sugar shack, an outdoor fire pit, creative activities, a Christmas tree sale, and face painting.

As a bonus, the big man himself, Santa Claus, will be taking time out of his very busy holiday schedule to be on site.

It’s the village’s last weekend until 2020, so you better get Christmasing!

When: December 21 and 22
Time: 11:30 am to 9 pm
Where: Place du Marche, corner of St-Ambroise and Atwater
Price: Free

Natrel Skating Rink Fireworks

Old Port of Montreal

Aside from offering 2,500 square metres of refrigerated ice, the Natrel Skating Rink will be hosting firework displays this weekend.

Soak up a little mix of fire and ice this weekend.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: 8 pm
Where: Old Port, Rue de la Commune Ouest
Price:¬†$5.22 ‚Äď $7.83, available on site and¬†online

No√ęl dans le Parc

Christmas festival

@majordomemusique/Instagram

Celebrating its 26th edition,¬†No√ęl dans le Parc¬†is a month-long outdoor Christmas festival spread out among three popular parks in Montreal, and it’s ready for its fourth weekend.

The festival offers free music shows and events, holiday-themed drinks and bites, outdoor fire pits, and Christmas trees for purchase.

Because if there’s ever a place to nab a tree, it’s in a park devoted to Christmas.

Once again this year, the festival will host francophone music by renowned local artists, all of whom will perform on a gorgeous cabin stage, built specifically for the No√ęl dans le Parc.

When: December 21 and 22
Time: Varies per park
Where:¬†Place √Čmilie-Gamelin, parc Lahaie, and parc des Compagnons
Price: Free admission

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker/Goh Ballet

For the 55th year, the full-length rendition of Les Grands Ballet’s magical¬†The Nutcracker¬†returns to Montreal.

Choreographed by the late Quebecer Fernand Nault and based on German author ETA Hoffman’s original tale, the theatre play embodies the spirit of Christmas with its graceful entertainment, magical scenery and stunning costumes, to¬†Tchaikovsky‚Äôs irresistible musical score.

The story tells the tale of Clara, who receives a beautiful nutcracker for Christmas. The young girl is then swept into a fairytale world in which the nutcracker becomes a prince, while mice and rats battle an army of toy soldiers.

When: From now until December 30
Time: 2 pm and 7:30 pm
Where: Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts
Price: $99 Р$144, available, online

Imagine Van Gogh

Van Gogh

@fernwehbebe/Instagram

Montreal has been coated with an exhibition of the works of Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous figures in the history of the art world.

The exhibition, Imagine Van Gogh, which opened last week, takes guests through the world of colours and emotions of Van Gogh’s works through gigantic murals and an immersive soundtrack.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Arsenal Contemporary Art Contemporain
Price: $26 – $36, available online

Dodgebow

combatdarchers/Instagram

DodgeBow is exactly what it sounds like: dodgeball fused with bow and arrows.

The exhilarating team-based archery combat sport is capped with cushion-ends so they don’t hurt when they hit you and you can channel your inner Legolas when flinging them.

Face-off with your friends in the DodgeBow arena and put your marksmanship skills to the test. That’ll show the rain who’s boss.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: 2 pm – 8 pm
Where: 202-4767 Dagenais Street
Price: $24.95, available online

Fontaine boréale

Christmas fountain

@amazing.views/Instagram

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

For the fourth consecutive year, the Christmas fountain known as “Fontaine bor√©ale” has returned to the complexe Desjardins for the holiday season.

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

Every hour, the fountain lights and shoots up to the shopping mall’s ceiling, accompanied by music, lights, and special effects.

When: Saturday, December 21
Time: Every hour from 4 to 10 pm
Where: Complexe Desjardins, 150 rue Ste. Catherine Ouest
Price: Free

Village du P√®re No√ęl

Santa

alina.reynbakh.photo/ Instagram

The Christmas season just isn’t the same without a visit to see Santa. Besides, why take a chance of bumping into the big fella on Christmas Day without getting in some face-time beforehand?

An entire village dedicated to Saint Nick, located about an hour away from the island of Montreal, opens this weekend.

Village du P√®re No√ęl is the perfect place for a holiday family getaway. Plus, it’s North of Montreal so you’ll actually be closer to the North Pole.

Located in Val-David, the village’s summer activities are transformed into a magical Christmas experience. Activities include ice skating, tubing, sledding, a petting zoo, and a mini train. And of course, Santa and his elves are on site.

When: December 21 to January 5 (closed on the 25th)
Time: 10 am Р5 pm
Where: 987 Route Morin, Val-David
Price: Adults (individuals two years old and older): $18; grandparents: $16

Sunday, December 22

Le March√© de No√ęl chez Maison Pepin

Christmas alleyway

@lysannepepin/Instagram

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

The market itself features a variety of locally-made products for sale and DIY workshops from gift packaging to wreath making.

Without taking away from the local artisans, the alleyway is one of the most picturesque Christmas-time spots in the city. The narrow walls, dim lighting, light snow, and wreaths are begging to be shared all over Instagram.

This is the market’s last weekend until next year.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: 378 Rue St-Paul Ouest
Price: Free

Victorian Christmas at the Cartier’s

Parks Canada

Discover how fashion styles dating back to 1867 are still in vogue 150 years later. The exhibition showcases elegant Victorian decor and styles, hot drinks by the fireplace, a Christmas card workshop, and champagne.

When: From now until December 29
Time:¬†10 am ‚Äď 5 pm on weekdays, 9:30 am ‚Äď 12 pm on weekends
Where:¬†Sir George-√Čtienne Cartier National Historic Site
Price: $7.80

Snow Tubing on Mont Royal

tubing

Shutterstock

Take advantage of the pride of Montreal by snow tubing down it.

Discover the exhilaration of snow tubing down reserved lanes next to the toboggan hill overlooking Beaver Lake.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time: 10 am Р4 pm (until 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays)
Where: Mont Royal Park
Price: $6 for 4 – 11 year olds, $10 for 12 years old and up

Illumi Cavalia

@jean_lowsey/Instagram

The dark days of winter need to be brightened up a touch and that’s where Cavalia’s Illumi comes in.

Check out a world of magical, captivating, and gorgeous lights in an extraordinary outdoor show created from thousands of light sculptures, characters, and designs.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time: 4 to 10 pm
Where:¬†Illumi Cavalia — 2805 Boulevard du Souvenir, Laval
Price: $14.50 – $18.50, available online

Miracle Montreal – Christmas Pop-Up Bar

Miracle on de la Commune/Facebook

Miracle Pop-Up has taken over The Coldroom and transformed it into a beautifully festive Christmas bar.

If you aren’t in the holiday spirit yet, this might help you get there.

Miracle pops up in over 80 cities around the globe, partnering with local bars to inspire the Christmas cheer through festive decorations, quirky parties, ugly X-Mas sweaters, and of course, seasonal cocktails and grub.

For the second year in a row, Miracle will join forces with The Coldroom to bring on the festive feels, every day until December 26.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time: 5 pm to 3 am
Where:¬†The Coldroom — 131 de la Commune
Price: Free admission

Enchanted Worlds – McCord Museum

Ogilvy's Christmas window display

McCord Museum

Ogilvy’s old Christmas window display,¬†a holiday fixture at the corner of Ste. Catherine and rue de la Montagne since 1947, can now be found on Sherbrooke Street.

Last year, the annual scenes of stuffed animals interacting in mechanical settings, was donated to the McCord Museum and it is now on display until January 5, 2020.

Ogilvy’s old display has been split into two exhibits, “The Mill in the Forest” and the “Enchanted Village.”

The Mill in the Forest can be seen outside, 24 hours a day, at the corner of Sherbrooke and rue Victoria and the Enchanted Village is in a room on the McCord’s second floor.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time: 10 am to 6 pm (Enchanted Forest), 24 hours a day, outside (The Mill in the Forest)
Where: McCord Museum
Price: $14 Р$19 (Enchanted Forest), free admission (The Mill in the Forest)

La Grande Roue de Montréal

@asrai972/Instagram

Hit up Canada’s largest observational wheel and take in some absolutely breathtaking views of the city in all its festive glory.

Not to mention, some primetime photo ops that’ll make your Instagram crowd jealous.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time: 10 am to 11 pm
Where: 362 rue de Commune Est
Price:¬†$14.79 ‚Äď $25

Notre-Dame Basilica

Mozart concert

A G Baxter (Shutterstock)

Celebrate Sunday mass at Montreal’s most viewed structure at 11 am and hear a 25-person choir accompanied by the organ. Or, take a walking tour of the basilica which is an absolutely gorgeous spectacle. It is filled with hundreds of wooden carvings, several religious statues, and gigantic stained glass windows.

When: Sunday, December 22
Time:¬†12:30 pm ‚Äď 4 pm on Sundays (mass starts at 11 am)
Where: 110 Rue Notre Dame Ouest
Price: Free