What to Do This Spring
Spring in Montreal starts in mid-March, and as the weather finally begins to warm up, the city comes alive with annual events and seasonal activities.
The first half of the month is typically dedicated to winter, so head out to Montreal's best outdoor skating rinks and winter sports trails before they shut down until the next cold season. The only exception to that rule is downhill skiing—with any luck, Quebec ski season rages on until early May.
As for the second half of March, anything can happen. A sudden warm spell could open up some of Montreal's best dining terraces or even entice people out for a relaxing day in the park. However, cold spells can send residents and tourists alike indoors no matter what's happening—with one exception: Montreal's St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saint Catherine Street.
No matter what time of the month you visit, there are also a number of free things to do in Montreal, so you're certain to find an exciting activity while visiting.
You can catch a number of concerts in Montreal at one of the city's many music venues like the Montreal Belle Center, the Metropolis, L'Astral, Club Soda, or Bar le Ritz PDB. Concerts coming in March 2019 include Pink, Michael Buble, Kurt Vile & The Violators, NAO, Veronic DiCaire, Walk Off The Earth, and Toni Braxton.
Spring Break Events for Families
March is spring break season, so many families seize the vacation time away from school to enjoy a trip to Montreal. Fortunately, the city offers plenty of family-friendly events, attractions, and activities for kids sure to please an all-ages crew, like the annual Saturday Morning Children’s Series at Centaur Theatre. Museums and Learning Centers like the Montreal Science Center and the Montreal Insectarium often host seasonal spring events during the month.
Montreal National Home Show
Held at Place Bonaventure in March, the Montreal National Home Show offers visitors a chance to discover the latest trends in home decorating. With a chance to talk with experts in the field like designers Samantha Déchêne and Jacinthe Leroux and witness state-of-the-art interiors, this annual event is a great way to network in the field or just admire superb design for a relatively low ticket price of $16.00.
Held at Salon 1861, La Cuvée invites guests to step back into the 1950s swing era to enjoy a sampling of over 200 different microbrewed beers and privately-distilled whiskeys. Additionally, there are samplings of local cuisines and live rockabilly music during the event, which takes place in late February and early March. The dancing, drinking, and tasting fun requires a $15.00 fee for admission and for you to purchase tokens to try the different tastings around the venue.
Mondial des Cidres
Le Mondial des Cidres features 20 cider producers sharing a variety of samples, from bubbly to ice cider. Each night features a different theme, with the first night hosting the cider and mixology competition, the second evening hosting the wine tastings and music from DJ Debbie Tebbs, and the last day has five featured chefs providing small bites inspired by a brunch theme.
Nuit Blanche and Montreal en Lumiere Festival
Nuit Blanche is a highlight of the Annual Montreal en Lumiere Festival. The evening offers a nighttime arts festival where over 200 artists gather to showcase their crafts. Nuit Blanche draws the biggest crowd for a single-day event in Montreal each year, with over 300,000 people in attendance.
Combining culinary events cooked up by guest chefs from around the world, performance art, live music, and days of freebies on end, Montréal en Lumière runs from late February through early March.
Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois
The 37th annual Les Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québécois, a celebration of films made in Quebec, usually takes place from late February through early March. Working knowledge of French is essential for screenings as they are usually not subtitled or in English. Admission varies by event and screening, but you can catch nearly 300 films during this multi-week event.
Salon de la Course à pied de Montréal
Assorted runners, joggers, and marathoners converge at Palais des congrès for the Salon de la course à pied de Montréal, with events in March. Everything from gear to diet to things to know about jogging while traveling is covered, and you'll get the chance to meet locals who are just as enthusiastic about cardio exercise and running as you.
Montreal's underground city is a subterranean pedestrian network that runs 20.5 miles below the center of the city. Add to that maze over a hundred or so art exhibits, and you've got yourself the makings of Art Souterrain, one of the best events of the year. The underground festival is teeming with performance artists, and runs through March.
Throughout most of March is the annual Art Matters festival put on by the students of Concordia University featuring vernissages, talks, workshops, and nightlife events. The March event runs across multiple days to provide spaces for students of all skill levels to converse about why art truly matters and share in the knowledge of the craft.
Montreal International Children's Film Festival
Not one to let the Disneys and Pixars of the world get all the glory, the Montreal International Children's Film Festival, with a film lineup featuring a who's who on the international scene, most notably in animation. Films are predominantly screened in French, but there are a few English movies in the showcase, too.
International Festival of Films on Art
Examining art from every field and format, the International Festival of Films on Art showcases films on subjects as creatively varied as photography, architecture, food, and theatre. Meet and greet with producers, directors, writers, and actors from around the world at this niche film festival.
Expo Manger Santé
This healthy eating show held at Palais des congrès offers enough free food samples, from chocolate to cheese to blueberry juice, that the admission price feels worth it in the end. Many of the products featured in the expo are sold at a discount on site. In 2019, Expo Manger Santé ran in mid-March and cost just $15 for regular admission, $12 for students and seniors, and free for kids under 16 years old. Also consider dropping by Montreal's Chinatown just outside the Palais des congrès for brunch, lunch, or baked buns for a tasty local treat.
Maple Syrup Fest
Promenade Wellington hosts a three-day maple syrup fest known as Cabane Panache et bois rond where all the food sold on-site features maple products in some form. Traditional Quebec folk music, square dancing, lumberjack style games like log-throwing and two-person saws, local crafts for sale, and other attractions are on the annual agenda. You can also make your own maple taffy, but learn the proper technique to ensure you won't mess up the hot taffy when mixing it on the snow.
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Although the city isn't known to have a huge Irish population, Montreal's legendary St. Patrick's Day Parade rolls through town, and almost everyone comes out in green attire to celebrate the day's festivities. The St. Patrick's Day leaves from the corner of du Fort Street at noon, eventually heading east as far as Phillips Square along Saint Catherine Street in downtown Montreal.
Butterflies Go Free
The Montreal Botanical Garden invites guests to witness a stunning display of colors as thousands of butterflies are set free inside the climate-controlled greenhouses every spring. This event, called Butterflies Go Free, allows people to interact with these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats. The gardens emphasize education on environmental conservation efforts in tandem with an exploration of the flora of the greenhouses.