29 things to do in Montreal this weekend: May 26 to May 28

May 26 2017, 3:37 pm

This weekend is jam-packed with exciting events! In addition to concerts by Grammy Award-winning artists, Festival TransAmeriques, Festival Classica, Chromatic, and more, this Sunday is none other than Montreal Museums Day and Free Bixi Sunday!

Take advantage of all this wonderful city has to offer and check out 29 things to do in Montreal this weekend: May 26 – May 28.

Friday, May 26

Free admission to the Montreal Botanical Garden

Celebrate our city’s anniversary in one of Montreal’s most beautiful attractions! The Montreal Botanical Garden has announced that all entrance fees will be waived on Friday, May 26, 2017 in honour of the city’s 375th anniversary. As the cost of entrance for one adult is typically $15.75, this is a pretty fantastic deal. In addition to the Japanese garden and tropical greenhouse, the Montreal Botanical Garden is hosting an extra special event during the weekend of May 26th. Titled The Great Gardening Weekend, this fun and informative three-day event showcases unusual plants of all kinds and provides tips to Montrealers on how to grow your own food.
When: May 26, 2017
Where: Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke E

Festival TransAmeriques

Festival TransAmeriques returns to Montreal this weekend 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. After all, the goal of the festival is to “encourage exchanges between the artists and the audience.” This year’s multilingual event reflects the city of Montreal, and has 27 performances on the schedule.
When: May 25 – June 8, 2017
Where: Various locations across the city, click here for more info

Festival Classica

Montreal’s resident classical music festival is back! Festival Classica is an annual event that takes place in the heart of Saint-Lambert and features an impressive programme of indoor and outdoor concerts. The 2017 theme is De Bach aux Beatles, so you can expect a wide range of music at this year’s edition. All outdoor concerts are free, while indoor concerts require tickets, but they are all affordable. Festival Classica kicks off tonight and ends June 4th, with exciting performances and activities happened every night of the festival.
When: May 26 – June 4, 2017
Where: Rue Elm & Avenue Lorne, Saint-Lambert   

The 1975

Last fall, British glam rockers The 1975 announced their North American tour in support of their latest album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It. And they finally arrive tonight in Parc Jean Drapeau!
When: May 26 at 7 pm
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau, 1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Free Trees At The Montreal Botanical Garden

Get in the spring spirit with a little gardening! As part of Tree and Forest Month, the Montreal Botanical Garden, or more specifically, the Frederic Back Tree House, is giving out free saplings this weekend. Science experts will be on hand to teach visitors about the importance of trees and the care they require. Plus, Montrealers can visit the Arboretum and see all the beautiful plants that blossom in spring. All saplings are trees that are native to Quebec, and there will be on-site demonstrations on different tree sizes and how to plant trees.
When: May 26 – 28, 2017
Where: Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke E

Montreal Avudo

A dazzling water show paying tribute to the Saint Lawrence River has taken over Old Port. Titled Montreal Avudo, this spectacular water show projects life size images inspired by the city’s history onto the water. The event’s official site promises that “Young and old will be dazzled, moved and transported by the magic of images and scenes projected on rippling water walls and other spectacular installations.” Scenes include archived images, city documents, 3D animations, and relevant illustrations. How does water enter the equation, you may ask? Water jets from 30 fountains create huge 30 x 11.5 meter tall screens of water. The show also includes an 11-storey tall shipping container tower (the largest in the world).
When: Thursday to Saturday until September 2, 2017, 9:30pm and 10:30pm each night
Where: The west sector of the Old Port of Montréal, near the King Edward Pier and the Montréal Science Centre

21 Swings

Montreal’s beloved 21 Swings (or 21 Balancoires) has returned to Promenade des Artistes! Open until May 28, is there any better sign that spring has arrived? The interactive, music art installation has us all feeling like children again as we swing back and forth while a beautiful melody plays. Created by Daily tous les jours, in collaboration with animal behaviourist Luc-Alain Giraldeau and composer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, this fun and colourful urban playground is open 24 hours a day between April 10th and May 28th.
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Promenade des Artistes

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

Explore a new bike path

Bixi Bikes are now back on the roads which means it’s time to start exploring our city’s beautiful bike paths. With bike paths all around the city, cycling in Montreal has never been easier. And if you know where to go, you’ll find that Montreal boasts some pretty magical bike paths – so magical in fact, they may give you a whole new perspective on your favourite city. So hop on your bike, borrow one from a friend, or take advantage of the city’s Bixi bikes and get pedalling! For a little inspiration, check out the most beautiful bike paths in Montreal.
When: Anytime
Where: Various locations

Montreal Digital Spring

Quartier des Spectacles is hosting a unique digital art festival all season long. Throughout the months of March, April, May, and June, Quartier des Spectacles will see all sorts of events pertaining to the digital arts. These include a media lab, live musical performances, and sculptures. Be sure to check out what’s going on in Quartier des Spectacles every weekend in the spring.
When: March 21-June 21
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Saturday, May 27


Tartarefest has returned for another year of culinary delight. Ending this Sunday, be sure to enjoy this foodie festival while you still can! Each tartare entree comes with a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a glass of beer. And did we mention every dish is only $10? That’s right! So head on down to your fave participating restaurant and take full advantage!
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: For a full list of participants, click here

The Montreal Comic Arts Festival

The Montreal Comic Arts Festival, which in this case is one of the first park festivals of the season, is happening in Parc Lafontaine this weekend. This year marks the 6th edition of the Montreal Comic Arts Festival, which begins today and ends on Sunday, May 28th. During this time, more than 40 exhibitors will take over Espace La Fontaine. The event will feature original works from 130 authors from all over the world. Best of all, this event is 100% free so be sure to stop by Parc Lafontaine between May 26th and 28th.
When: May 26-28
Where: Espace La Fontaine


Returning for its 8th edition is Chromatic 2017, Montreal’s resident digital arts and culture festival. Chromatic kicked off this past Wednesday and ends June 1st and 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)

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

Mount Royal Discovery Walks

May is Mount Royal Month which means Les Amis de la Montagne are hosting several exciting mountain activities all 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 highlight breathtaking views, as well as Montreal’s anniversary legacy projects. They also promise 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

La Ronde

La Ronde is open for the summer! Head to Ile Sainte-Helene ASAP for a day of jam-packed fun. 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: Until the end of October
Where: La Ronde, 22 Chemin Macdonald


In addition to the beloved 21 Swings, Montreal has a second interactive installation taking up residency near Place des Arts this month. It is none other than Maestro, an installation that allows Montrealers to become the conductor of a water fountain. Sound a little bit confusing? Here’s how it works. There is a podium set up in front of a water fountain in Quartier des Spectacles. There is also a motion-sensored baton. When someone stands on the podium, picks up the baton, and waves it around, the water fountain will mimic their movements. More specifically, the official website says, “the spouts will activate in sync with your motions and the music.” In essence, this art installation makes you feel like the conductor of a grand water symphony orchestra. Open until May 28th, you have one week left to check out this unique art installation in Quartier des Spectacles.
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Quartier des Spectacles

Virtual Reality Garden: Felix and Paul Studios

Step back into the Phi Centre’s virtual reality garden, this time showcasing the works of Felix and Paul Studios. This “eclectic and powerful” collection boasts 7 of the studio’s best virtual reality creations, including many curated in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. Prepare to be amazed by everything from fire and acrobats to President Obama and amphibious characters.
When: March 22-May 29, 2017
Where: Phi Centre

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. According to the exhibition’s description, CSI: The Experience is a “learning adventure into the world of criminalistics,” that encourages participants to crack the case. 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. Not only will you learn about forensic anthropology and toxicology, but you’ll get to feel like a real detective solving the case. Don’t miss out on the chance to conduct your own criminal investigation!|
When: Until September 4
Where: Montreal Science Centre

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. According to the official site, “Music was a constant source of inspiration” for the Russian-French artist. “A favourite subject for his creations, it served as an internal rhythm and driving force for his compositions, and a key to the intensity and range of colour in his work.”
When: January 28-June 11, 2017
Where: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Sunday, May 28

Free Bixi Sundays

Take advantage of Montreal’s resident bike-sharing system: Bixi bikes! There are lots of exciting things going on with Bixi this year. We’re talking about a season pass sale, newly designed bikes in honour of the city’s 375th anniversary, and free Bixi Sundays. Free Bixi Sundays are nothing new but we’re pumped to see that they’re officially returning in 2017. Free Bixi Sundays Offered by Manulife kick off this Sunday, May 28th. On designated days throughout the summer, all one-way trips under 30 minutes will be free of charge for the entire day (from midnight until 11:59pm).
When: May 28
Where: All across the city

Montreal Museums Day

Montreal has some incredible museums. The only problem is, admission can be a little pricey. Luckily, each year there is an incredible deal when all of the city’s museums are free to visit. It is known as Montreal Museums Day. Scheduled for this Sunday, May 28, 2017, Montreal Museums Day is hosted by the Montreal Museums Society and sees over 30 of the city’s museums opening their doors and waiving all admission fees for one day only. That means you can plan a day of museum-hopping and stop at everything from the esteemed Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art to the educational Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.
When: May 28, 9 am-6 pm
Where: Various locations

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. Get your tickets and prepare for an ultra fun Sunday in Parc Jean Drapeau.
When: May 28, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

Norah Jones

Everyone’s favourite jazz artist, Norah Jones is back with her smooth voice and Grammy Award-winning songs. She plays a highly anticipated concert in Montreal this Sunday.
When: May 28 at 8pm
Where: Place des Arts, 175 Rue Sainte-Catherine

Piknic Electronik

Montreal’s favourite Sunday EDM festival, Piknic Electronik, is back for summer 2017! This outdoor electronic music festival is a true sign that summer has returned to the city. 2017 marks the 15th edition of Piknic Electronik, and let us tell you, the lineup is seriously fantastic this year!
When: Every Sunday until September 24, 2017
Where: Parc Jean Drapeau

Fashioning Expo 67

The McCord Museum has opened 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 make up the exhibition, ranging from hostess uniforms to paper dresses, all of which have been created by Quebec designers. Further, Fashioning Expo 67 features 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, 2017
Where: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W

Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA

Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil, has returned 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: Until July 23, 2017
Where: Under the Big Top, Old Port of Montreal

Festival Acces Asie

Montreal’s resident Asian culture festival, Festival Acces Asie, returns with a seriously awesome program for 2017. Showcasing the best in Asian culture, cinema, music, art, and dance from the south of India to eastern China, the 2017 event includes everything from workshops and conferences, to meditation activities. The festival kicked off May 2nd, meaning there is only one week left to enjoy! Activities throughout the month include a Middle Eastern dance competition, a “sizzling spices, sacred stories” culinary lesson, and two dazzling shows in Jardins Gamelin. The best part about Festival Acces Asie? Most of the events are completely free of charge, meaning you can celebrate your own culture or learn about a new one at absolutely no cost!
When: Until May 28, 2017
Where: Various locations

Tam Tams

Grab your sangria kits and drum sets! Tam Tams has returend and we couldn’t be more excited. After all, is there any better sign that summer has arrived? Taking place every Sunday during the summer months, Tam Tams is one of the city’s best and most popular unofficial events. Tam Tams is a magical outdoor festival where Montrealers far and wide gather in Parc Mont Royal for an afternoon of food, fun, and music. Though the drum circle is located at the Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument, vendors and entertainment spread throughout the park, all the way from Avenue Mont-Royal to Duluth. Remember to bring food and wine, and take advantage of Montreal’s picnic law!
When: Every Sunday until September 24, 2017
Where: Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument

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