Montreal is Canada’s second-largest city and offers something for every season and every type of traveler. 

I’ve already spent two seasons here and can tell you that the vibe of the city changes with each passing season. 

So far, between summer and fall in Montreal, I’m really loving the crisp days of fall with fewer tourists crowding the streets, but also longing for the warmer nights of summer. 

I also love that pretty much everyone here speaks French—it really gives me an opportunity to practice and learn more. Not to mention how delicious all the food is in this city.

In case you can’t tell, I’ll lay it out for you—I’ve truly fallen in love with Montreal since moving here.

It’s a city with friendly locals, beautiful architecture, and tons of events and festivals happening year-round. 

Since the best time to visit Montreal is very much a personal preference, I’ve laid out all you need to know about the yearly weather and local events and festivals in this stunning city so you can make the best choice for you.

Let’s get to it.  

Summer

Montreal Summer 2

From June to August, Montreal sees an influx of tourists, probably because of the inviting weather. The temperature averages between 68°F and 79°F and is perfect for strolling around Montreal’s charming streets. 

Book your accommodations ahead of time and be prepared to pay high prices since this is the most popular time to visit. 

Also, you’re more likely to experience crowded streets and long lines to see Montreal’s biggest sights, so book ahead whenever you can.

Montreal is a great place to explore during the summer. I recommend walking around the city or even biking around if you’re feeling adventurous!

Stop and linger in charming sidewalk cafes, and of course, indulge in as many pastries as possible. Montreal’s French heritage brings with it some of the best croissants I’ve found in North America.

Summer is also a prime time for checking out events around the city. These are some of the most popular ones:

June


Montreal International Jazz Festival


This is an event I’m dying to check out the next time we’re in town.

It’s one of the largest jazz festivals in the world!

Basically, it’s a giant street party with tons of free high-quality performances. Look out for this annual event around the end of June.



MURAL Festival


Celebrating the urban art movement, this 11-day festival is a must.

The annual festival typically takes place in June with streets shut down and lots of music and partying and massively talented artists.



Formula One Grand Prix of Canada


I honestly had no idea Canada had a Grand Prix race, let alone that it took place in Montreal.

This would be a cool car race to check out if you’re in town in June while it’s taking place.


July


Just For Laughs Festival


Typically running most of July, this a must if you’re into comedy.

Variety Magazine calls it the “Coachella of Comedy” for a good reason.

JFL isn’t your typical comedy festival, it includes stand-up, TV cast panels, free outdoor shows, buskers, and food trucks. 


August


Montreal Pride


For those of you not in the know, Pride is an annual LGBTQ festival taking place every August.

You may also hear it referred to as Fierté Montréal by the French-speaking locals.

It’s a giant party that celebrates inclusion and is an absolute must if you’re in town during it. 



Montreal International Tango Festival


Each August, Montreal celebrates Argentinian music and tango, with masters and amateurs from all over the world performing at this festival.

It might even inspire you to take up dancing after watching these pros effortlessly glide around the dance floor. 



Osheaga


This multi-day indie music festival happens every August at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène.

Past line-ups have included Florence + the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Blondie, The National, The Lumineers, and Childish Gambino. 


While you’re in town, the beautiful weather makes summer the perfect time to check out some of these permanent outdoor Montreal hotspots:

Montreal Botanical Garden: Is there anything better than wandering through a garden during the summer with the scents of flowers hanging in the air? This garden has over 185 acres of flora, fauna, and pavilions. 

La Ronde: Built for the 1967 World Fair this amusement park is a must for any adventure seekers. It’s the second-largest amusement park in Canada. 

Old Port of Montreal: This old port stretched about a mile and a half along the St. Lawrence River. You’ll stroll past lots of shops and food booths, plus you’ll have the chance to zipline and ride the Ferris wheel.


While you’re in town check out some of these popular Old Port activities!

Fall

Mount Royal Montreal Fall 2

From September to late October, Montreal shifts into cooler temperatures and thus takes on a less crowded vibe. It’s the best time to visit if you’re looking for a more affordable vacation, as the hotel prices drop significantly compared to the summer months. 

Just remember to pack layers as the temperature ranges anywhere from 70°F down to 34°F from September to early November.

I’d suggest you plan on visiting in early to mid-September while it’s still semi-warm out. It’s the perfect weather to grab a coffee and stroll the streets admiring the fall leaves, old architecture, and shops. 

If you’re looking for a prime spot to check out the fall foliage, check out Mount Royal

My boyfriend Dean and I recently spent an afternoon trekking up it and I cannot recommend it enough. The walk was beautiful with all the leaves starting to change, and the view at the top was romantic and picturesque. Just be sure to wear layers and comfortable shoes!

If you’re a big hockey fan, I hear the fall is typically when games startup. You should also look ahead to see if you’ll be around for any of these popular events:

September


The Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal


This one-day professional cycling race takes place every September.

Basically, it’s like a mini Tour de France. If you have any cycling fanatics in your family, this is a must—my dad’s already planning a trip next year!



POP Montreal International Music Festival


Each September, this non-profit musical event of emerging artists from around the world.

The event also offers talks, craft fairs, workshops, family events, and film screenings. 



Montreal Burlesque Festival


With a dress code of “dress to impress” this one is perfect if you’re looking for something more scandalous to attend.

It’s a festival each September about romance, seduction, humor, and glamor.

Book ahead of time and be sure to follow the dress code to get in.


October


The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma


Over the course of 11 days in October, this festival showcases a line-up of international and local films, documentaries, and short films. 



Black & Blue Festival


This massive dance festival takes place every October over Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

The festival raises money for HIV/AIDS and is the perfect event to let loose while on vacation.



Gardens of Light


If you’re looking for a romantic night out during the month of October, check this one out.

Montreal’s botanical gardens are lit with hundreds of colorful silk lanterns making for an enchanting night.



La Grande Dégustation de Montréal


Attention wine lovers!

This is the festival that you need to hit up if you’re in town around the end of October.

It’s the ultimate wine tasting event, with the opportunity to buy bottles that are typically only available by the case.



The Big Fashion Sale


This semi-annual fashion sale takes place in April and October each year and is a must if you’re in town.

The coolest part is that they only feature Canadian designers.


Winter

Montreal Winter Iceskating 2

Wintertime in Montreal isn’t ideal if you’re like me and hate the cold. If you enjoy freezing, then congratulations, you’ll love it in Montreal during the winter. 

The weather ranges from 34°F to 0°F between November and March, so pack lots of warm clothes and assume you won’t be walking far outside long before turning into a popsicle. 

If possible, try to plan your trip for November or December when all the holiday festivals are taking place. I’ve heard from the locals that during the holidays is one of the best times to visit Montreal because it turns into a winter wonderland. 

These are some of the most popular festivals and events during November and December:

November


MTLàTABLE


During the first week of November and the last week of January, Montreal hosts their restaurant week.

It’s a chance to try out some more expensive restaurants for less than they would normally cost.

Trust me, you’ll want to take advantage of MTLàTABLE if you’re in town.



Santa Claus Parade


The ultimate Christmas parade takes place on Sainte-Catherine Street West at the end of every November.

It’s the Santa Claus Parade is the perfect event for the entire family.

You’ll see over 20 floats with actors, singers, and dancers.


December


The Montreal International Documentary Festival


I love a good film festival, especially one featuring documentaries.

It gives you the chance to learn and see a film you may have never been exposed to otherwise.

The docos at this festival are chosen around social, political, and environmental themes. Typically the festival takes place in the first week of December. 



Marche de Noël aux flambeaux


At the beginning of every December, Montreal rings in the Christmas season in La Fontaine Park.

You’ll listen to Christmas carols, musical fireworks, and experience lots of community spirit. It’s a favorite among locals and shouldn’t be missed.



Merry Montréal


This is one of Montreal’s biggest Christmas festivals. They’ve got winter activities, fireworks, and live music.

It ends with a giant NYE party with outdoor performances and fireworks.


Don’t stress if you’re visiting later in the wintertime—there are plenty of events from January to March. Here are some more popular ones to put on your to-do list:

January


Igloofest


Drawing tens of thousands of people every year, this may be the coldest music festival ever.

Taking place at the end of January, it’s an event with tons of electronic music performed outdoors.

They have an ice bar that offers spiked coffee, mulled wine, and whiskey.

Plus, an epic light show, igloos, and a snowsuit competition. Plan for tickets to this event, it’ll be a blast!



Fête des Neiges de Montréal


If you’re visiting with children, check out this winter wonderland that runs from the end of January into February.

They’ve got tube slides, an almost mile-long ice skating trail, an ice ship playground, and even dog sledding!



MTLàTABLE


Montreal’s restaurant week is a must for all foodies reading this!

It typically takes place at the end of January and at the beginning of November.


February


Montreal en Lumière


I’m dying to check out this epic festival that takes place every February.

It’s got an epic light show, with free events, performances, DJs, and games.

Every local I’ve spoken with says it’s one of their favorite events of the winter season.



Nuit blanche à Montréal


With over 200 mostly free activities, this is a winter light festival that’s a must if you’re visiting in mid-February.

Montreal’s best museums, galleries, and venues open late with performances, DJs, exhibitions, dining, and dance parties.

Seriously, you don’t want to miss this festival.


March


St. Patrick’s Day Parade


Running since 1824, this parade is one of a kind with hundreds of floats, performers, and partiers.

National Geographic even named it in their list of the top ten St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the world.



The International Festival of Films on Art


Typically taking place around the end of March, this film festival offers a diverse selection of international films.

In 2019 they had over 200 original films in their line-up from over 40 countries. 


While visiting in winter, you should also check out these wonderful and warm indoor sights that Montreal offers:

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal: This beautiful Gothic church is a must-see while you’re in town. The interior of the basilica is dramatic and makes for the perfect Instagram shot. Celine Dion fans will recognize it as the epic church she got married in years ago. 

Biodome: For the ultimate stroll through nature, you must check out the Biodome. It’s got five ecosystems of the Americas all under one roof with over 250,000 animals!

The Montreal Museum of Fine Art: The art here is phenomenal— visiting this is a must for any art lovers. They have pieces from Warhol, Picasso, and Native Americans and locals.

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal: If you’re really into churches, it’s pretty much  required that you check out Canada’s largest one. It’s a National Historic Site with one of the largest church domes in the world. 

Biosphere: Not to be confused with the Biodome, the Biosphere is the only museum in North America entirely dedicated to the environment of North America.

Montreal Underground City: If you’re looking for a warm spot to hang out, this should be your go-to. It’s a giant underground pedestrian maze of shopping, food, and metro stations. I’ve easily spent hours wandering around this place. Trust me, you won’t get bored!

Spring

spring montreal biosphere 2 1

During the spring, hotels are still affordable as the influx of summer tourists has yet to arrive. Locals tell me they love this time of year as everything starts to thaw out and flowers spring up.

The weather becomes pleasant from late March to early June with highs of 79°F and lows into the high 40s. 

It’s the perfect time to spend your days strolling around the different neighborhoods of the city. Then spend the evenings as it cools off in indulging in a drink at a cozy pub or feasting at one of Montreal’s delicious restaurants. 

The city also has tons of festivals and events as the weather warms up. These are some ones you shouldn’t miss:

April


Blue Metropolis Montréal International Literary Festival


This is one of North America’s largest multilingual literary festivals.

If you’re in town while it’s running during April it’s a must for any book lover.



The Big Fashion Sale


Also referred to by locals as the “mecca of fashion”, this semi-annual fashion sale takes place in April and October each year.

The sale features 60-100 Canadian designers, so it’s the perfect way to find a unique souvenir.



Montreal Salon des Pierres


At the end of every April The Mineralogy Club of Montreal hosts a giant exhibition showcasing jewelry, minerals, precious and semi-precious stones, fossils, and sculptures from around the world.


May


Festival Vue sur la Relève


This annual festival showcases creations by young artists from Quebec.



Pouzza Fest


Every May Montreal hosts this epic punk rock festival with over 150 bands that perform.

Even if you’re not a punk rock fan, the food trucks alone are worth stopping by the free outdoor area.



Montreal Museums Day


One day a year, typically at the end of May, most museums in the city open their doors to the public for free.

It’s a great way to see everything on a budget, just expect lots of lines!


The Best Time to Visit Montreal is…

Honestly, any time of year you visit Montreal you’re bound to find something cool to do or see.

From Plateau Mont-Royal with its colorful Victorian townhouses to the Old Port where you’ll be transported to a small European city, Montreal has a magic about it that’s all its own.

My pick would be either the summer, fall, or spring, mainly because I can’t stand being too cold. 

That said, I do think Montreal would be great to visit during the holidays for those who can handle the brisk temperatures and want to escape to a winter wonderland for a quick vacation.

No matter what time of year you visit Montreal, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been before and have suggestions I’ve missed. I’m always looking for more things to add to my bucket list!


While you’re in town check out some of these popular tours of Montreal!

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