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Your guide to a wicked Halloween 2016

For those of us possessed by fear during the Halloween season – a profound fear of missing out, that is – Montréal has a witches’ brew of solutions for your All Hallows aspirations. Whether it’s fun stuff for the little monsters in your life, hair-raising thrills and chills, rollicking onstage entertainment or raucous Halloween parties, the following options will provide the healing potion for your FOMO. Not-so-frightful family fun It’s kooky for kiddos at the Botanical Gardens (part of Montreal’s Space for Life, which also includes the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium), which invites you and yours to be the honoured guests of the good witch Esmerelda for the 31st celebration of The Great Pumpkin Ball. And you can truly have a ball in the company of the urban farming Esmeralda, Pépo the Pumpkin and some 800 wildly and wackily decorated squashes and pumpkins. The Ball rolls every day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., until October 31. While there, be sure to mosey on over to the aptly titled, outdoor Little Monsters Courtyard where the wee ones can conquer The Tricky River, The Shaky Bridge, a straw maze, tunnels and monkey bars (for kids 10 and under). Over at the Insectarium,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 30 to October 6

It’s finally fall in Montréal, and we’re celebrating the change of seasons with outdoor activities (from garden walks to Oktoberfest), a city-wide weekend cultural event, new art, film, theatre and dance, and live music for classical afficianados to late-night dancers. Action and adventure Explore exotic greenery lit by the soft glow of 1000 lanterns at the Botanical Garden’s Gardens of Light exhibition – the Chinese Garden features the Forbidden City while the Japanese Garden provides a contemplative setting. Or discover urban public art in a walk among the skyscrapers. The graceful power of figure skating hits the ice as top athletes compete at the 2016 Skate Canada Autumn Classic International, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. The on-ice action continues at the Bell Centre as the Montréal Canadians take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 6. Show your true colours in 5K The Color Run Night at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Oct. 1. Tour the universe in animated film We Are Stars on the 360° dome at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at Montréal Space for Life.  And seek out new tastes by sampling craft beer from Québec microbreweries at Oktoberfest at Atwater Market, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. It’s also Litty Italy Pizza Week Oct. 3-9! Art and culture Free… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 23 to 29

As the fall season begins in Montréal, the warm weather holds as art and entertainment abounds: walk through lantern-lit gardens and markets, see the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, watch world-class dance, rock out at POP Montréal, and even run a marathon. Warm days, bright nights Nature meets the soft glow of lantern light at the Botanical Garden’s Gardens of Light exhibition – start your walk at sunset for the full effect. Excellent food, drink and entertainment (especially on Friday nights) await at open-air markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. Croisières AML cruises offer laid-back brunch and gourmet dinners on the Saint-Lawrence River. See the city in a different way during the Montréal Rock’n’Roll Oasis Marathon on Sept. 25 as over 20,000 runners wind their way from Île Notre Dame through Old Montréal and into the Plateau, finishing at Parc La Fontaine. And the Canadiens start the NHL pre-season with games at the Bell Centre, Sept. 26, 27 and 29. For more, see our guide to Free things to do this fall in Montréal. POP sounds and city beats Music and arts festival POP Montréal celebrates 15 years of fun with shows, talks, art exhibitions, Puces POP craft fair, films, kids events… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: September 16 to 22

Mid-September eases between summer and fall in Montréal – the sun keeps shining on open-air markets and outdoor performances while a major Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition and Opéra de Montréal’s AIDA wow and POP Montréal keeps Montréal nightlife wild. Outdoor time Beautiful day and night, the Botanical Garden hosts its annual Gardens of Light lantern exhibition – walk through the Chinese and Japanese gardens after sunset in a soft glow. Montréal’s favourite terrasses stay open for meals, drinks and revelry – don’t miss the FoodLab terrasse at the SAT, where the Omnivore World Tour offers one-of-a-kind feasts, workshops and more, Sept. 16-19. You’ll also find excellent food, drink and entertainment at markets Jardins Gamelin and Village au Pied-du-Courant downtown, Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port and Les Jardineries at Olympic Park. Take a cruise along the Saint-Lawrence River with Croisières AML for a laid-back brunch or gourmet dinner. For more activities, see our guide to Free things to do this fall in Montréal.  City-wide POP entertainment The 15th edition of POP Montréal starts its engines on Wednesday night with dozens of music shows along with talks, art exhibitions, the professional-level Puces POP craft fair, film screenings, kids events and more until Sept. 25 – get the low-down in our Survival Guide to POP Montréal and… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: April 1 to 7

April arrives in Montréal as sugar shack season begins to wind down – get your fill of maple syrup and more food before it’s over – and award-winning restaurants revamp menus while the spring cultural calendar heats up with multimedia art, dance, theatre, orchestra concerts and all kinds of live music. April flowers Step into Montréal’s Botanical Garden to see the very beginnings of spring in bud and sample maple taffy on snow during sugaring off time (only until April 3!), while indoors butterflies go free and caterpillars cocoon, and the Botanical Garden restaurant’s special Sugar Shack menu keeps everyone well fed to April 24. If you’re extending your Spring Break in Montréal, consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style and Montréal nightlife guide for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has some ideas for entertaining and even subtly educational things to do with kids. Throughout the season, find free things to do in Montréal – for families, for friends, for fun (speaking of fun, these great gifs illustrate the 10 Signs that spring has totally arrived in Montréal.) Do you love spas, fancy… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 18 to 24

As the snow melts away in Montréal, urban sugar shacks serve up delicious meals, spring break activities continue, film festivals and art events grant new perspectives, dance and theatre move us, and live music sets the weekly soundtrack. Spring starts Welcome spring with thousands of Montrealers at the city’s boisterous 193rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking place downtown along Ste-Catherine Street starting at noon on March 20, and keep on celebrating the luck of the Irish at the city’s best Irish pubs. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Flames on March 20 and the Ducks on March 22 at the Bell Centre. Whether you’re on Spring Break or not, check out our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for places to eat, drink, dance and chill out. If you’re here with family, our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide has kids covered. And if the warmer weather has you itching to paint the town red – whether that means sampling local microbrews or going late-night dancing – Montréal’s nightlife has it all. Seasonal food If you’re in Montréal in March, you must experience the Québecois tradition of the sugar… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal March 11 to 17

As much as Montréal loves its winter festivals and snow sports, the city welcomes spring with open arms – we’re feeling a hint of it this week as restaurants roll out new dishes, film festivals and art events open our eyes on the world, our sports teams fight to the finish, and dance, theatre and live music keep us inspired. Spring sights and sports With winter festivals over and the city starting to thaw out, thoughts of spring are in the air – see our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for high-energy nightlife and restaurant ideas or find all kinds of things to do with kids of all ages in our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide. Downtown’s underground city welcomes art lovers to do some shopping and see excellent contemporary art in expansive exhibition Art Souterrain. Celebrate the luck of the Irish on on March 17 at the city’s best Irish pubs, see the Olympic Stadium tower lit up in green, and stick around for Montréal’s legendary St-Patrick’s Day Parade on March 20. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Wild on March 11 and the Panthers on… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 19 to 25

Montréal’s downtown sparkles with free entertainment this week at the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, while indoors you can go butterfly spotting, play games at the games festival, watch hockey, and see stars of dance, theatre, film, art and live music shine. Snowy celebrations Montréal’s biggest family-friendly festival of the season is in full swing: MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s free outdoor site fills downtown’s Place des Festivals with music, multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while the festival’s indoor performances highlight musical performances and theatre – let our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE lead the way. Go for a scenic skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Talk a walk through nature right in the city in Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau parks. And make it all easier with these Montreal-specific apps. Indoor activities Spring is truly in the air at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event at the Space For Life (also home to the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium) – this year butterflies share the spotlight with furry caterpillars. Game lovers of all ages can play board games,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 12 to 18

Montréal pairs Valentine’s sparkle with glittering winter entertainment this week – the city’s top restaurants and hotels ready for romance, and the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival kicks off, along with inspiring international ballet, contemporary dance, art, theatre, film and live music. City lights Winter, spring, summer or fall, we’re counting the ways Montréal warms our hearts – and this week’s kickoff of massive winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has us all fired up. Opening Thursday, February 18, the family-friendly festival’s free outdoor site entertains with multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while indoors see dozens of musicians and performers, including Swiss Maestro Charles Dutoit and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra at Place des Arts February 18 and 20. Day or night, skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Also near the Olympic Park, the wonders of the natural world await at the Space For Life, home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden and Planetarium – the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free exhibit opens February 18, this year butterflies share the spotlight… / Read More →

Romance for all in Montréal

Beautiful views, European charm, award-winning dining, entertainment that never sleeps… Montréal has got all the markers of a winning romantic weekend for any type of couple. This Valentine’s Day, whether you like things sporty, luxurious or classic (because long-stem roses never go out of style), here are five getaway ideas from us to you – with love. A classic kind of love Wining and dining is a sure way to pretty much anyone’s heart. With hotel specials like the Valentine’s Day package at the beautiful Le Germain in Old Montréal, you’re already half way there. After picking up some chocolates at Maison Christian Faure and some flowers at the stand in Square Victoria, grab a horse-drawn carriage tour of Old Montréal across the street from Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion got married (it’ll set the mood). Next, book a tête-à-tête to sample the special V Day offerings at 400 Coups (a five-course meal featuring crab ravioli and foie gras mousse), Le Quindici (short ribs braised in wine, anyone?) or the warm, European flavoured Branzino. If you can’t choose, how about one on Friday, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday? Then stroll up from Old Montréal to downtown for… / Read More →