A visit to Montreal guarantees many things – world-famous bagels, exciting architecture, and in the summer months, a lineup of festivals that delights tourists and locals alike. From music and comedy shows to Formula One races, the festival season makes Montreal an attractive spot for summer getaways.
One of the city’s most popular events is the ten-day Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (June 28-July 7), centered in the Place Des Arts complex. With more than 2500 artists from around the world, the Jazz Fest brings the streets of downtown Montreal to life with plenty of free outdoor shows, which in previous years have featured such legendary artists as Stevie Wonder. This year, visitors can look out for headline artist Norah Jones, as well as Ben Harper, Seal and even Liza Minnelli.
Bringing a different league of star power to town is the Just for Laughs Festival (July 12-29), where both celebrity and up-and-coming comedians turn the city into a playground for practical jokes. Be on the lookout for outdoor events including acrobatic shows and a carnival inspired by Jean Paul Gaultier. As always, watch out for those infamous street gags that put unsuspecting passersby in the middle of the fun (and potentially on television).
For a change of pace, car enthusiasts can gear up for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix (June 8-10), where a 72-hour period ignites the passion of a sports-loving city. Spectators crowd the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve grandstand to catch a glimpse of the F1600 and the flashy Porsche or Ferrari Challenges.
Culture buffs won’t be disappointed by the city’s summer offerings, with popular events including the annual Free Museum Day (May 27), where more than 30 museums open their doors with free admission, expanded opening hours and a special activities program. Last year’s participants included the Science Centre and Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Biodome, where ecosystems like tropical rainforests and Sub-Antarctic islands – with their ever-so-popular penguins – come to life under one roof.
There’s no better season to visit Montreal than in the summer, and with a constant stream of events -- more than fifty from May to August -- any time is a good time to visit this energetic city. Take advantage of deals like an all-suite hotel for $79-$99 and stay right in the heart of the action.