We’ve compiled our top 15 holiday activities in Montreal… for locals and visitors alike!
The summer months might be behind us, but with the cool weather comes holiday cheer! Montreal is full of festivities year round, and Christmas season is no exception. From markets to hot chocolates, and Christmas parks to fireworks, we’ve picked 15 things you won’t want to miss this year.
15. Go get merry at Merry Montreal!
From December 20th to December 31st, Old Montreal is home to a wide selection of impressive holiday activities. The Jacques-Cartier Square becomes Nordic Square where you’ll find fun musical performances, outdoor bars offering artisanal beers, hot chocolate and other warm drinks, holiday mascots, photo-booths, and much more! If you’ve got a penchant for festive activities, Merry Montreal truly has your back. Stop by Thursday and Friday 4pm-9pm, or Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 9pm, and spread the holiday cheer!
14. See The Nutcracker at Place Des Arts
Nothing can get you into the Christmas spirit more than The Nutcracker’s famous tunes by Tchaikovsky. See the spectacular ballet at Place des Arts while a live orchestra serenades you with the iconic notes of the dreamy and wintery melodies. The show runs starting December 13th until the 30th. Act quickly, though, because the good tickets go fast! For more information or to buy tickets, visit their website here.
13.Take the Old Montreal Food Tour!
There’s no better way to spend a morning than walking around Montreal’s historic old city while taking in its history and its culinary favourites. The Old Montreal Food Tour invites you to taste Montreal’s culinary heritage, meet friendly new people and dive into the old city’s fascinating stories while exploring the famous institutions and cobblestone streets! Better yet, give the gift of a Local Montreal Food Tour for a fun present anyone would enjoy! The Old Montreal Food Tour runs regularly throughout December and between Christmas and New Year’s. For more information, and to discover other local tours, click here!
12. Celebrate with Christmas in the Park
Germany is full of Christmas markets and Montreal seems to be following suit! From December 1st to 25th, Christmas in the Park will be happening on the corner of Cartier and Mont-Royal. What does one do at Christmas in the Park? Bring a friend, buy a Christmas tree, sing some songs, and drink mulled wine! With over a hundred free shows and events, three Montreal parks are coming alive this holiday season like never seen them before.
11. Strap on your skates and hit the ice
With all that eating and getting cozy you find yourself doing this time of year, winter sports are a great way to get active and have some fun while you’re at it. Skating rinks in Montreak are surprisingly easy to find: Atrium Le 1000 is just in a mall downtown, and warm enough to skate without a jacket! If you want more space to learn new tricks or to simply glide around in the fresh air, the pond at Parc La Fontaine is the place to go. Both locations offer skate, locker and helmet rentals, so all you have to bring are some warm clothes and a good attitude!
10. Take a Break from the holiday cheer at your local cinema
Let’s face it: Christmas shopping is exhaaaausting. Between endless trips to the mall, mountains of gift wrap and family dinners, sometimes the holidays can quickly turn from jolly to a real nuisance. Take comfort in the fact that The Grinch knows exactly how you feel and beat the holiday blues. This new movie is out just in time for those seeking a little retreat from all the holiday shopping and socializing. Thank you, universe!
9. Have a drink at an Xmas-themed bar!
Oh the weather outside is frightful, but an outdoor bar can be delightful! Not to worry– these Christmas-themed bars aren’t as cold as you’d expect. This holiday season, Christmas Pop-Up Bar Miracle is back and better than ever, taking over The Coldroom to serve you decadent cocktail creations. Enjoy Christmas-inspired drinks served in whimsical Christmas mugs in this heated, decked out, little winter wonderland.
The Montreal Craft Beer Tour is the perfect holiday afternoon activity! Whether it’s as a gift to a loved one, a way to show an out-of-towner Montreal’s best brewpubs, or even a way to spend some quality time with the beer lovers you love so dearly, it’s Latin Quarter brewpub itinerary will let you savour beer, observe the cheer, and learn more about Montreal. Gift certificates are now available, so you can surprise the beer-lover in your family with a special treat. For more information and to buy tickets, click here!
7. Check out Montreal’s Nutcracker Market
From November 29 to December 9, Le Palais des Congrès will be hosting Montreal’s non-profit market, The Nutcracker Market! Local vendors pair up with excellent gift ideas, merchants and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens will donate 10% of proceeds to The Nutcracker Fund for Children. A good cause, a cheery atmosphere, and awesome gift ideas… what more could you ask for?
6. Spend A Victorian Christmas at the Cartier’s
The Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site is open to the public where visitors can explore the old victorian house and have some hot drinks by the fireplace! See the beautiful traditional decor and learn about the history of the house. There’s even holiday card making to participate in during your visit!
5. Admire Montreal’s ugly Christmas tree!
The story goes that in 2016, Montreal was bragging about having the tallest tree in North America, proudly on display and adorned with Canadian Tire ornaments… until it was deemed the world’s ugliest Christmas tree. Ever since, Montreal’s been in on the joke. Check out our beloved new “ugly Christmas tree” in the Plateau on Prince Arthur just off Saint Laurent. The tree is part of Le Village du Vilain Sapin where you can pick out your own Christmas tree and shop for artisanal snacks and goods in the heart of Montreal’s vibrant Plateau neighbourhood.
4. Get in touch with the true meaning of Christmas
While for many of us Christmas has become simply a time for celebrating our loved ones, it also has deeper religious roots, of course. If you want to celebrate Christmas in a more traditional way Montreal is the perfect place to do it. The city is home to some of North America’s most beautiful churches, many of which you can visit for Christmas Mass. Or, check out the Nativity scene at Saint Joseph’s Oratory.
3. Hit the Town on New Years Eve
Ah, New Years Eve. The drunkest night of the year! Montreal’s party scene never sleeps, so you can be sure a NYE in town will be one to remember. If you want to go all out, check out Club Zone’s long list of events. If you’re not into clubbing, head to Place Jacques Cartier for some wholesome outdoor fun and free concerts hosted by Merry Montreal!
2. Enjoy a Mind Blowing Hot Chocolate
What better time than the holidays to grab a loved one and enjoy winter’s most comforting beverage? Montreal spoils us with scrumptious hot chocolate options, so you may want to try this one out a few times. Our top picks are:
1. Start your singing career with some Christmas carolling
This favourite holiday pastime can be quite hilarious. Gather some good-humoured friends like yourself, rehearse a song, and pick a random house where people are home. Ring that doorbell, and get singing! Your Montreal neighbours will love favourite Christmas songs, and if not…. they’ll ask you to leave. It’s a little prank, but the results can be very entertaining.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!
Cover photo by Pamela Lajeunesse / Nightlife.ca