This weekend in Montreal there are a few awesome festivals to choose from, enabling you to get your daily recommended amount of giggles, acrobats and African beats. But, while you’re here, you’ll probably need to eat at some point. And you might be in the mood to check out some art. And there’s a chance you’ll want to buy a new T-shirt. Wow, you’re going to be busy! We’ve got ten diverse recommendations for you to have a jam-packed, incredible weekend in Montreal.
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The Montreal Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world. Musical giants such as Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown have all captivated crowds since the festival’s debut edition in 1980. Today, more than 2 million people attend the Montreal Jazz Festival yearly. But the Jazz Fest is not just about music – it’s about life’s pleasures. And truth is, there’s nothing like a bit of jazz to awake my yearning for a glass – or two – of lilac wine. As famous saxophonist Steve Lacy once said: “Jazz is like wine. When it is new, it is only for the experts, but when it gets older, everybody wants it”. Well, the popular Montreal Jazz Festival is now 31 years-old and well above Quebec’s drinking age. Here are some cool places near the festivites to get your sip on!
With it’s unique position as the gateway between North America and Europe, Montréal is très unique in its dimensions of art, language, culture, politics and gastronomy. The city resonates a passion and sophistication that is unparalleled anywhere on the continent. This becomes evident in the diversified programming of festivals that the city continues to offer year after year. Travelers choose Montréal for a myriad of reasons such as affordability, diverse cultural options and patented joie de vivre. And because there are so many flavors of experience to choose from, we’ve conveniently matched 11 personality types with a Montréal festival that might just tickle your fancy.
There are some events in Montreal, like for example the F-1, that locals often avoid. But when it comes to this week-end’s “Main Madness”, when all of St-Laurent is closed off to traffic, even the most cynical of Montrealers can usually find something to do… In my opinion this is because Main Madness, also known as the Street Sale, can be an entirely different experience depending on where you are on St-Laurent. If you want champagne and snootily gorgeous waitresses, head to the area just above Sherbrooke for the terrasses that extend out from spots like Buona Notte and the nearby oyster bars set up on the street. If you want DJs and a slight wilder scene, head to the area outside bars like Korova and spots like Laika .
La St-Jean Baptiste or Fête Nationale is Quebec’s National Holiday. Every year, on June 24, Montrealers and Quebecers from all over the province come together to celebrate French Canadian culture. The tradition landed in Canada with the first French colonists and the first celebrations occured on the banks of the Saint Lawrance River in 1636, revered with a bonfire and five cannon shots. Today, Montrealers from all origins and backgrounds get together on June 23 and 24 to celebrate “La St-Jean”, as we simply call it. Here are some of the festivities happening in Montreal this year!
It’s our job to find great things for you to do in Montreal. And we’re not going to lie to you, finding great things to do in Montreal is like hoping to find chocolate in a chocolate factory. This weekend is packed again with fun things to do and see in the city. Get out there and enjoy our 10 recommendations! —————————————————————————————————————— [festival] FIRST PEOPLES FESTIVAL – A celebration of indigenous culture, community, cinema and other artistic forms, this festival is a ‘Must See’ for anyone interested in a unique, authentic and historic experience. First Peoples’ art showcased in the major arena it warrants. [music festival] FRANCOFOLIES – Reflecting the thriving French-speaking music world, this 20-year-old festival is for anyone with a penchant for international song. Many free outdoor shows. Profitez! (TIP: The golden voice of Arica, Salif Keita, plays on Friday night!)
Now that the madness of the Montreal Grand Prix is behind us, let us reminisce on the weekend. Thousands of visitors had the time of their life in the city. Martha Stewart tweeted that Montreal was a “large and clean city with a magnificent river running through it: the St-Lawrence”. She also tweeted that the food was really good, although I’m pretty sure she said that before getting a taste of her first poutine. Sir Richard Branson was spotted at Restaurant Primadonna and Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke, who is filming the movie Immortals in Montreal, was seen hanging out on the outdoor terrasse of Time Supper Club. Several parties were the talk of the town, but the reception held at Hotel Le St-James was probably the winner of them all.
Festival TransAmériques features the Greatest Cities In The World. Most Canadians might not admit to it, but we’re fascinated by America. Sure, I’m basing this on informal, anecdotal evidence, and my own often-fraught love of the U.S. of A., but why wouldn’t it be true? America captivates our imaginations – maybe because we don’t quite “get” it. James Long, co-director of Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement, shares this fascination. So much so that the theatre company created a multi-media show, The Greatest Cities in the World, based on Americans talking about their homeland: specifically, stories of towns in Tennessee named after the cities of London, Paris, Rome Moscow and Athens.
Montreal is often host to some pretty glamourous parties. For your enjoyement ( and ours), we attended one such extravaganza : Eyes Wide Opened. Twilight’s Rachelle Lefevre and Dracula descended on Montreal…even though, the Masked Soirée at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts was held in a torrential downpour.
Get ready for some memorable partying! Montreal Grand Prix Weekend is around the corner and with it, illustrious nightlife! I’ve already given you a Grand Prix Crash Course 101 and I’ve offered you a variety of Montreal hotels to choose from. Now here’s your guide to some of the best F1 parties happening in Montreal this weekend!