Montreal Festivals: May 2017 Events Hit List

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    Montreal's Best Festivals and Events Happening This May 2017

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include the following attractions, concerts, events, and free things to do.
    ••• Above: some of the more eccentric homes lining the streets of Montreal's Plateau neighborhood. These particularly colorful houses surround Carré St. Louis, a relatively popular public square in warmer months. Yves Marcoux / Getty Images

    The city is bustling year round but things really start to pick up in Montreal come May, mostly due to spring's long-awaited arrival which opens the floodgates to a slew of outdoor events and activities. Keep scrolling to discover Montreal's top festivals in May 2017.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Free Stuff

    Free things to do in Montreal this May 2017 include playing on musical swings.
    ••• You're NEVER too old to hop on a swing. See?. Photo by Flickr user art_inthecity (CC BY 2.0)

    The perfect month -one of my favorite months- to enjoy the best of the city, even on a tight budget. Behold 39 free things to do May 2017 in Montreal.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: The Concerts

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include these must-see concerts.
    ••• Above: Oliver Sim of The xx performs in support of the band's 'I See You' release at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on April 16, 2017 in San Francisco, California. The London indie pop trio performs an outdoor concert at Parc Jean-Drapeau on May 24, 2017. Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

    Montreal's top concert picks for May 2017 include pop's biggest names, choice electronic music, a healthy dose of indie and more.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Grilled Cheese Festival

    Montreal festival in May 2017 include the Grilled Cheese Festival.
    ••• Above: Montreal tapas pub La Bêtise added a jalapeno kick to their Grilled Cheese Festival offering last year. Photo courtesy of Grilled Cheese Festival

    About 100 restaurants across the province of Quebec are offering their own version of the quintessential grilled cheese sandwich May 1 through May 7, 2017. A ​Grilled Cheese Festival presentation.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Slow Food

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include celebrating the return of jean-Talon Market's outdoor section.
    ••• Guylain Doyle / Getty Images

    It's finally spring in Montreal! And you know what that means. Fresh produce. The Jean-Talon Market's outdoor section and its unbeatable selection reopens this time of year, making the implementation of  my slow food strategy much easier than just a few weeks ago.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Gay Village

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include the Gay Village opening its streets to feet.
    ••• George Rose / Getty Images

    The Montreal Gay Village frees itself of cars as soon as April 29, 2017, an annual tradition since its debut in the spring of 2008. And by May 4, 2017, the Village's multiple terraces are open for business.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Virée des Ateliers

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include art expo and sale Virée des Ateliers.
    ••• Above: silver jewelry signed Lidia R., a Montreal metalsmith featured at Virée des Ateliers. Photo courtesy of Virée des Ateliers

    Score a one-of-a-kind piece at La Virée des Ateliers from May 4 to May 7, 2017 while discovering the creations -art, jewelry, sculpture, fashion- of over 90 local designers opening their studio doors to the public.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Nocturne

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Nocturne at the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum.
    ••• Above: still from Hajra Waheed's Video Installation Project 1-10: Fayaz as it appears at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal until May 7, 2017. Still courtesy of Hajra Waheed

    High culture at an affordable price, catch the latest edition of Nocturne at the Musée d'art contemporain this May 5, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

    See Also: Free Things to Do in Montreal This May
    From Best Dive Bar to Top Dance Club: Montreal's Best Music Venues

    I've previously described the event as an elegant and democratic alternative to the often snooty and elitist vibe that's long been associated with high art. Friday Nocturne stimulates ideas and creativity through its on-site art workshops. It brings in a nightlife element -a bar service and DJ sessions- without the sketch and sleaze. And it creates a safe, welcoming space to appreciate high art, with educators on hand to answer questions regarding exhibited works.

    If you miss this one you'll have to wait for the next edition in September.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Book a Spa Treatment

    Top spas in Montreal include Le Bath Room.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Le Bath Room

    Get ready for summer with select beauty treatments or pamper yourself with a massage or Nordic style water circuit at these top Montreal spas.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Croissant Festival

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include the Fete du Croissant.
    ••• Jordi Ruiz / Getty Images

    Only one day a year can you score high-end croissants in Montreal made with real butter for $1 each. It's called La Fête du Croissant and in 2017, it's on Saturday, May 6.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Museum Exhibits

    Montrea festivals in May 2017 include these museum exhibits.
    ••• Above: famous boxer Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) in bed in his hotel room on February 15, 1967. Harry Benson / Daily Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts continues its exhibit of Marc Chagall's works, a French-Russian early modernist who dabbled in and borrowed from Cubism, Surrealism, Fauvism, and Suprematism while staying firmly entrenched in his passion for figurative art. Chagall: Colour and Music runs until June 11, 2017.

    See Also: Montreal's Top 15 Museums

    The McCord Museum debuts Illusions: The Art of Magic on May 26, 2017, featuring posters promoting magic shows "mostly dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries."

    Pointe-à-Callière continues its Amazonia - The Shaman and The Mind of the Forest exhibition until October 22, 2017, an "immersive and multi-sensory experience that will showcase the shamanism and mythology of traditional Amazonian societies."

    The Montreal Science Centre's CSI: The Experience is on until September 4, 2017, proposing visitors "compare tire tracks and shell casings, perform blood spatter and DNA analysis, and learn about forensic...MORE anthropology and toxicology in this highly interactive investigation." Based on the hit American TV series.

    Catch the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal's Nocturne event while you can this May 5, 2017. The next one months away, in September.

    Galerie Got in Old Montreal proposes a free Harry Benson exhibit of the photographer's better-known celebrity shots, notably of the Beatles, the Queen, and Muhammad Ali until May 28, 2017.

    PHI Centre hosts British artist Ed Atkins first exhibit in Canada until September 3, 2017, one featuring five of his motion capture video works exploring the deepest recessed of self-pity. The Centre also proposes the viewing of seven virtual reality films produced by Felix & Paul Studios until May 29, 2017. All of the above is free admission.

    And don't miss Montreal Museums Day on May 29, 2017 when most of the city's museums open their doors to the public free of charge.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Sketchfest

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Montreal Sketchfest.
    ••• Above: Montreal comedy troupe GROSS!, one of Montreal Sketchfest's sixtysome troupes and performers. Photo courtesy of GROSS!

    A week of sketch comedy by 60 of North America's more promising troupes, catch the Montreal Sketchfest May 4 through May 13, 2017.

    See Also: Montreal Comedy Fest Just for Laughs' 2016 Lineup

    Admission varies by event and/or package deal (like double bills). Most shows are held at Théâtre Ste. Catherine.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Accès Asie

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Accès Asie.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Festival Accès Asie

    Accès Asie runs from May 2 to May 28, 2017, celebrating Asian cultures the world over, from India to Mongolia, with live music, dance, workshops and more.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Tea Time?

    Montreal tea houses include Le Parloir
    ••• Inside Le Parloir, one of Montreal's best afternoon tea locales. Photo courtesy of Le Parloir

    No tea festival to declare. Just thought it might be fun to book a tea time date at one of these top Montreal tea houses

    See Also: Montreal's Best Brunch

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Food Truck Fridays

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include the food truck gathering at First Fridays.
    ••• Above: sauerkraut signed Das Food Truck, Montreal's German culinary representative on wheels. Photo by Flickr user Exile on Ontario St(CC BY-SA 2.0)

    First Fridays, a monthly food truck gathering on the first Friday of every month at the Olympic Park May through October, is baaaack. Catch the first edition of 2017 this May 5 from 4 11 p.m.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2016: Design Show

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include the Montreal Design Show.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Agence PID

    May 4 through May 6, 2017, the Design Show (SIDIM) opens its doors to the public: "SIDIM is a contemporary showcase for the latest ideas and innovations from the design, architectural, and building communities, from here and around the world." Admission $20, $15 seniors/students, free for ages 5 and under. At Place Bonaventure.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Mother's Day

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include Mother's Day.
    ••• Win Initiative / Getty Images

    Not sure what to do for Mother's Day in Montreal this May 7, 2017? Treat Mom to a special day she won't soon forget.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Vue sur la Relève

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Vue sur la Relève.
    ••• Above: pianist and vocalist Sarah Rossy of Montreal folk pop group SHYRE. Part of Vue sur la Relève's 2017 programming, the band plays at Monument-National on May 20, 2017, the final day of the music fest. Photo courtesy of SHYRE

    Dreaming of a successful career in the arts? Every year, Montreal festival Vue sur la Relève proposes free workshops and 5-à-7 meetings designed to help folks ages 18 to 35 find a footing in music, dance, and assorted performance art milieus.

    Vur sur la Relève is also a music festival filled with talented locals finds performing gigs at affordable admission rates, sometimes free.

    In 2017, Vue sur la Relève runs May 9 to May 20, 2017. Consult Vue sur la Relève's website to find out when this year's concerts, performances, workshops and talks are scheduled. Note that talks are generally conducted in French.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Cocktail Week

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include cocktail week Invasion Cocktail.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Invasion Cocktail

    From May 10 to May 16, 2017, Invasion Cocktail proposes 250 cocktails concocted at 35 different bars. Download the event passport app to get deals on participating cocktails throughout the seven-day event.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Terrace Season

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include the return on terrace season.
    ••• Above: coffee cup spotted on an Old Montreal terrace. Marc Vidal / Getty Images

    If your favorite Montreal terraces weren't open in April, you can rest assured that they are now. 

    See Also: Montreal Weather in May

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Epic Seedling Sale

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include the Epic Seedling Sale.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Concordia Greenhouses

    From May 19 to May 20, 2017 it's Concordia Greenhouses' Epic Seedling Sale. Roughly 10,000 plants are for sale including ''hundreds of varieties of seedlings, some organic seeds, mushroom kits, house plants and more.'' Organizers advise you to bring boxes to carry your seedlings home and to anticipate lineups.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Chromatic

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include Chromatic.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Chromatic

    From May 24 to June 1, 2017, it's Chromatic, a festival mixing high tech with artistry. Free exhibits featuring digital installations, photography, virtual reality and painting as well as art workshops just for kids are part of the program, as is an industry conference and of course, parties open to all almost every night.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Salsa Convention

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include the Montreal Salsa Convention.
    ••• Russell Monk / Getty Images

    Workshops, pro dance showcases, free dance classes and amateur/pro competitions, the ​Montreal Salsa Convention sizzles at Complexe Desjardins this Victoria Day/Journée des Patriotes weekend from May 18 to May 22, 2017.

    Heading to the Salsa Convention? Book a Table Here

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Pouzza Fest

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include Pouzza Fest.
    ••• Above from left to right: Pete Koller and Lou Koller of Sick Of It All performing at Brudenell Social Club on January 31, 2015 in Leeds, United Kingdom. Sick Of It All is one of Pouzza Fest's top headliners. Andrew Benge / Getty Images

    Over 150 punk, ska, dub and reggae acts converge in Montreal May 19 through May 21, 2017 as part of Pouzza Fest, the city's top punk music fest.  

    P.S., don't miss Pouzza's freebies.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: O-Hanami

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include O-Hanami.
    ••• Above: Inside the Montreal Botanical Garden's Japanese Pavilion. Photo by Flickr user Joanne Levesque (CC BY-SA 3.0)

    Picnic under the Japanese Garden's crabapple trees at the Montreal Botanical Garden on May 21, 2017. Details here

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Piknic Electronik

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include Piknic Electronik.
    ••• Photo by Flickr user Le 3° Oeil (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Running May 22 through October 2, 2016 is Piknic Electronik, a weekly spring and summer electronic music tradition held at Parc Jean-Drapeau almost every Sunday.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Victoria Day/Journées des Patriotes

    From what's open to what's closed to what's happening in Montreal on Monday, May 23, 2016, I've got your Victoria Day / Journée des Patriotes long weekend covered!

    See Also: Free Things to Do in Montreal This May

    And before any of you try to chastise me for referring to the statutory holiday as Journée des Patriotes, here's a history lesson on the subject.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Festival TransAmériques

    Festival TransAmériques 2017 features both dance and theatrical presentations.
    ••• Above: Eszter Salamon's MONUMENT 0: Haunted by the War, a dance presentation featuring forgotten war dances from four continents, presented at Festival TransAmériques' 2017 edition. Photo courtesy of Eszter Salamon

    Running May 25 through June 8, 2017 is Festival TransAmériques, an annual performing arts festival featuring theatre and contemporary dance programming.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Comics

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include Festival de BD de Montréal.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Festival de BD de Montréal

    Festival BD de Montréal gives attendees a chance to meet French comic book artists and participate in on-theme activities at Parc La Fontaine. In 2017, the Festival BD runs May 26 through May 28, 2017. As always, admission is free.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Marché de Nuit

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Marché de Nuit.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Marché de Nuit

    Mile-Ex's first night market of the season runs May 27, 2016. Check out the wares of Marché de Nuit's 30 on-site artisans, wolf down food truck fare, take in the evening's DJ sessions and more.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Museums Day

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 include a Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
    ••• Above: a museum employee looks at a pair of marble statues of stags on March 26, 2013 at the Life And Death In Pompeii And Herculaneum exhibition at The British Museum in London, England. Incidentally, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is featuring a Pompeii exhibit during Montreal Museums Day. Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

    Explore Montreal's museum network free of charge over the course of a day courtesy of Montreal Museums Day on May 28, 2017. A free shuttle bus service is available during the city-wide event.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Go Bike

    Montreal festuvals in May 2017 include the Go Bike Montreal Festival.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Go Bike Montreal Festival

    Sign up along with thousands of other cyclists for a day or night bike ride courtesy of the Go Bike Montreal Festival running May 28 to June 4, 2017. Routes range from 20 to 150 kilometres and feature major Montreal streets and thoroughfares specially closed off to cars just for the festival. Admission varies by event.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Cultivons le Plateau

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Mile End en Fleurs and Cultivons le Plateau.
    ••• Photo courtesy of RuePublique

    Free flowers and free compost, Plateau residents are invited to stock up on gardening supplies May 27, 2017 on Duluth, between Coloniale and de Bullion. Proof of residence required. Details.

    Similar story further north on St. Viateur, also on May 27. Free flowers, free horticultural advice and more. This particular event holds interest for folks who aren't Plateau residents given that ''interactive workshops, artistic installations, music and other fun projects led by neighbourhood community groups'' are part of the experience.  Details.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: OFFTA

    Montreal festivals this May 2016 include catching OFFTA's free contemporary art performances.
    ••• Photo courtesy of OFFTA

    Performance art festival OFFTA: Festival d'arts vivants is Festival TransAmériques' edgier, underground sister. "A multidisciplinary program centered on contemporary creation and the encounter of various art forms,” catch OFFTA May 30 through June 8, 2017 including its free performances scheduled every evening of the festival at Jardins Gamelin as of 6 p.m.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Volta

    Montreal festivals in May 2017 include Cirque du Soleil's Volta.
    ••• Video still courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

    Until July 23, 2017, Montreal hosts the worldwide premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Volta, the megatroupe's 41st original production since 1984. Theme? Following your own path. Admission $50 to $295 plus taxes and/or service/shipping/box office charge. Buy tickets.

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    Montreal Festivals May 2017: Sidewalk Sales

    Montreal festivals in May 2016 sometimes include sidewalk sales.
    ••• Photo by Flickr user Matias Garabedian (CC BY-SA 2.0)

    Locals love their sidewalk sales. Sometimes the season starts as early as May. Sometimes it doesn't. It depends on the year.

    See Also: Montreal's 22 Best Sidewalk Sales