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Blog10 Things to do in Montreal this Summer

10 Things to do in Montreal this Summer

Written by Holly on July 28, 2021

In-person socializing is back, and with it all of the quintessential Montreal summertime experiences that were either laden with restrictions or cancelled entirely last year. 

Montrealers made the most of summer 2020 with park picnics, terrasse dining and garden saunters, but we’re pretty confident in saying that summer 2021 is shaping up to be approximately 1000x better (and busier). 

Not sure how to spend the last month and a half of the season? We’ve got ideas aplenty, from quiet outdoor escapes to lively city adventures!

Join the (socially distanced) crowds as Montreal welcomes the return of summer festival season.

Just for Laughs may be wrapping up soon, but you can still enjoy the Fantasia International Film Festival (August 5 to 25), Montréal Pride (August 9 to 15), MURAL Festival (August 12 to 22) and many more

Take a stroll through the 75 hectares of the Botanical Garden and admire its 22,000 plant species.

The Botanical Garden’s 20 gorgeous themed gardens (the Japanese and Chinese gardens are MUST sees) are part of Montreal’s Espace pour la vie (“Space for Life”), which also includes the Biodôme, a former velodrome that now houses replicas of four ecosystems of the Americas. 

Things to do in MontrealThings to do in MontrealWhile you’re in the neighbourhood, head on over to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium (also housed within the Espace pour la vie grounds), to view one or more of the six films on offer (in English and French) or various space-themed exhibits.

Check out the Planetarium’s website for showtimes, exhibition details and tickets

Dance the night away at Jardin Gamelin, which is transformed into a park-wide salsa party every Saturday night.

Soirée Salsafolie has been a Montreal summertime tradition for over two decades, the last seven of which have been based in Jardin Gamelin. Each Saturday evening, the Quartier des Spectacles park hosts Latin dance instructors and dance-loving participants of all skill levels. The event is currently capped at 100 people to ensure social distancing measures can be followed, so don’t hesitate to book your spot ASAP! 

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Get your thrills at La Ronde, Quebec’s largest amusement park.

Run by Six Flags, the 59 hectare park features 40 attractions (including eight roller coasters) and you don’t even need a car to get there. La Ronde is located on St. Helen’s Island (also the home of Parc Jean Drapeau), which is serviced by the STM’s yellow line. 

Take it easy at one of the region’s sandy beaches.

Stay close to home and enjoy the tiny but attractive Verdun Beach or Jean-Doré Beach, or pile a group of friends into the car and make your way to Cap-Saint-Jacques (located in the West Island, roughly a 40-minute drive from downtown Montreal) or Oka Beach (located a little over an hour west of the city). Places are restricted, but both Jean-Doré and Oka allow visitors to book their spots ahead of time. 

Dine on one of Montreal’s many, many great terrasses.

Montrealers have always loved a good terrasse, and that love has only grown since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly every restaurant these days has figured out some sort of outdoor dining solution.

Not quite ready for restaurant dining yet?

Things to do in Montreal

Grab a blanket, place an order at your favourite local eatery and enjoy a peaceful picnic in Parc La Fontaine, Parc du Mont Royal, Parc Jarry or another of the equally beautiful parks that dot the city.

Some restaurants are even offering takeout boxes specifically designed for picnicking

While you’re out and about, take the time to explore the city's new pedestrian-only streets.

The City of Montreal pedestrianized 13 streets, which span much of the city, this summer. Here’s to hoping this tradition continues long into the future!  

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As much as we wish that every summer day could be 25° and sunny (minus the occasional epic thunderstorm), we’re realists, and we know that you need a backup plan for the odd grey, rainy day.

And on days when outside fun just isn’t in the cards? Check out one of the city’s stunning, world-class museums instead.

Admire the pieces at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art or the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, get acquainted with city's history at the McCord Museum, have fun with the whole family at the Montreal Science Centre, or educate yourself about the past at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology and History or the Montreal Holocaust Museum.

Looking for even more ways to spend your summer afternoons? Check out our guide to the best cycling routes in Montreal or our recommendations for places to bring first-time visitors to the city.

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