May in Montreal: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Place Jacques-Cartier in Montreal

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Montreal starts warming up in May and so its a good time for outdoor events and festivals. In May, the average temperature is 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) and it can be a bit rainy.

Outdoor festivals such as the annual Festival at Jean Drapeau Park encourages families to get active and plan recreation-filled summer vacations. And when it does rain, the museums will welcome you.

Springtime means the full throng of summer visitors has not yet arrived. And, although the ski season is probably finished, ski resorts, like Mont-Tremblant, offer great off-peak deals when there is still snow.

Montreal Weather in May

Montreal has a short, mild spring, similar to Toronto's.

  • Average maximum temp: 19 degrees C/66 degrees F
  • Average minimum temp: 7 degrees C/45 degrees F
  • Lowest on record: -4 degrees C/25 degrees F, Highest on record: 34 degrees C/93 degrees F

Visitors can expect rain about 11 days out of 31 in May. As May progresses, the amount of rainfall in the city gradually increases and by the end of the month, the average rainfall reaches around 3 inches.

Daylight as the month progresses, rapidly increases from 14 hours, 19 minutes to approximately 15 hours, 25 minutes towards the end of the month.

What to Pack

In such a variable season, layers are always recommended. It is helpful to have a day pack or tote with rain gear when out and about in Montreal for the day. Consider packing:

  • Warm, water-resistant outerwear
  • Umbrella
  • Comfortable closed-toe shoes and water-resistant footwear, especially if you're going to be outside of the city.
  • Sunhat, sunscreen
  • A range of clothing, including t-shirts, sweaters, light pants, heavy slacks suitable for layering. Daytimes can be warm, but evenings can still be chilly.

May Events in Montreal

Victoria Day is a national holiday in Canada that falls on the Monday before May 25th. Government services, schools, and banks will be closed. Victoria Day weekend is a big travel holiday in Canada (commonly referred to as "May Two-Four Weekend"). Expect crowded highways on the Friday and Monday of this weekend and long lines at border crossings.

Montreal events and things to do in May include:

  • The last Sunday in May is Montreal Museums Day where participating museums offer free admission and shuttle rides between venues.
  • The Outdoor Festival of Montreal at Jean Drapeau Park encourages families to get active and plan action-filled summer vacations.
  • Dragon Boat races at Jean Drapeau Park are thrilling to watch. Nearly a hundred dragon boat teams will compete on a range of distances during the H2O Open competition held at the Parc Jean-Drapeau's Olympic Basin.
  • Montreal Bike Fest at the end of May offers a series of fun events to encourage people to get pedaling.
  • Le Mondial de la Bière invites beer lovers to taste a variety of brews at Windsor Station and Courtyard in downtown Montréal.
  • Montreal's Medieval Faire is three days of period-costumed fun and events for the whole family taking place at the Centre Pierre Charbonneau. Each year, thousands of people visit the fair where more than 75 exhibitors and artisans offer jewelry, decorative accessories, leather goods and much more.
  • Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival is a lively literary festival featuring events such as writing workshops, irreverent authors, and storytellers.
  • Piknic Électronik takes place beginning mid-May through September on Sundays in Parc Jean-Drapeau. Enjoy the electronic music scene outdoors.
  • Tour la Nuit is a festive Friday night gathering of cyclists who form a colorful, lighted parade through the heart of the city.
  • La Pasta Week is an opportunity to enjoy the best pasta restaurants in the greater Montreal area and Quebec City. There are celebrity chefs and pasta competitions.
  • Aires Libres is an opportunity to attend the festivals, activities, and art installations on Sainte-Catherine Street East. Enjoy the festive atmosphere at this art-filled pedestrian-only zone.
  • Festival TransAmériques is an international event celebrating contemporary dance and theatre and features works by choreographers, writers, and directors.

And when you are in Montreal, explore the historic, yet still vibrant downtown core. The area is packed with must-see museums, shopping destinations, and a full range of fun things to do. There are restaurants to try and places to settle in for a beer or cup of tea or coffee.

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