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Marché de Nöel / Christmas Market
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The best things to do in Montreal for December 2022

The official holiday guide to the best things to do in Montreal during December 2022.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
&
Isa Tousignant
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UPDATE: winter, 2022: From magical Christmas villages to a heated ride on the city's ferris wheel, 'tis the season for fun festive things to do. With the city sparkling with Christmas lights and holiday shopping well under way, it's time to take stock. Christmas markets are giving us opportunities to shop local and support more businesses; plus there's always getting outside and enjoying snow as it falls, or a Santa Claus parade. If you want to get out of town, nab a chalet or cabin near Montreal now while supplies last.

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Stop by the Market for holiday magic, events and special seasonal dishes!

Time Out Market Montréal, Canada’s first editorially curated food and cultural market, will be hosting its upcoming Holiday market: Marché de Noël Signé Local, in collaboration with the Quebec-based brand Signé Local.

From December 3 to 11, the Market will turn into a winter wonderland and welcome over 140 local vendors. In partnership with the Make-A-Wish/Rêves d’enfants foundation, the Marché de Noël Signé Local will offer guests the chance to discover artisanal products and gift ideas for loved ones—all 100% from local vendors, giving them a platform and access to a wide audience during the busy holiday season. 

The Market will also be unveiling the brand-new holiday menu on December 5, which will feature limited-edition seasonal offerings from each restaurant to satisfy all your holiday cravings! 

The best things to do in Montreal during December 2022

Holiday events like these have been popping up like poinsettias in the entrance of a grocery store. Get all the handcrafted holiday gifts you can dream of at Time Out Montreal’ own Marché de noël Signé Local, or at the Great Montreal Christmas Market, Salon des métiers d’art, Marché artisanal de noël, Marché des artisans récupérateurs or Puces Pop, to name a few. There are also tasty annual events at Montreal’s public markets. And if you missed out on one of them, trust that there's another one waiting for you right around the corner.

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The city of Montreal's is big on helping Montrealers enjoy the city once the temperature drops via some excellent outdoor (and refrigerated!) rinks. Try one of our favourites, like the rink below the viaduct of Notre-Dame, the Toussaint-Louverture Park, the skating rink at Parc des Vétérans and Walter-Stewart Park, and Beaver Lake's refrigerated beautiful rink, and the Cabot Square rink in the middle of downtown.

Farmers markets are a prime place to pick up a tree this year, with tree growers setting up shop both there and a few neighbourhood spots to pick up piney goods at seasonal pop-ups. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, Bôsapin offers tree deliveries without the hassle of parking and lugging a tree, leaving you with more time to decorate and spend time with your friends or family.

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Whether or not you're planning on seeing some friends and family during the holidays—pending Mr. Legault's possible cancellation of doing the usual season's greetings—it's never a bad idea to set aside some time to really rest, relax, and refresh with chalet Airbnbs near Montreal. We did our homework and foun a whopping 25 different spots to choose from, all of which have some kind of perfect wintry fixture like a hot tub, fireplace, acres of land to explore, or all of the above.

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Holiday parties are great to attend, but plain exhausting to host. Skip the hard work while supporting your favourite local restaurants by simply relocating your holiday celebrations, or staying in the cozy comfort of your home and getting your to-do catered. A little advance notice is all restaurants like Le Serpent, Sumac, McKiernan, Arthur’s Nosh Bar and Ferreira need to cater to your every need. You can also choose the partial route, and get components like a whole smoked turkey from Schwartz’s.

E-commerce is easy, but in-person shopping helps Montreal businesses thrive—plus you get to see, touch and feel the goods before buying. Montreal is full of shops that are standalone and curate great collections of gifts. Christmas markets like Time OUt Market’s own Signé Local have the artisanal jewellery, cosmetics, graphic art and collectibles covered, while shops like VdeV, Hogg Hardware and Casa Luca are great for small décor pieces. Think bigger with furniture upgrades at these shops, and for fashion by local designers, there’s art-streetwear brand Pony, shoes by Maguire, business casual by Frank and Oak and so much more. Most shops are open until 9 pm all week through December.

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The Grands Ballets de Montréal has been putting on Nutcracker performances since 1964. This Grand Ballet’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic was choreographed by Quebec dancer-choreographer Fernand Nault, and is a high-colour, extravagant display of colours featuring nearly 100 dancers. The score will be performed as always by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens Orchestra, conducted by Allan Lewis and Oleksiy Baklan. Shimmering sets and costumes, comical turns and exquisite pas de deux are all in store.

If you're looking for a bit of Christmas fun and want a reason to pile in the car to look at a different horizon, try this one for size: Le Village Québécois d'Antan in Drummondville turns into an atmospheric Christmas fest, as does Village Desjardins. There, you'll find an outdoor village decorated in over 25,000 sparkling lights, and if it's chilly there will be outdoor fireplaces to warm up with alongside snacks from a resident donut shop and general store selling products and hot drinks (plus some famous potato candies).

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We enjoyed it during Halloween, so Christmas promises to be no different—except for the style of decorations, of course. Enjoy a three-kilometre driving route through millions of lights all filled with festive spirit, or do it by foot to really take in your surroundings. Whichever option you pick, this is a great way to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and check out the sights. 

The city spares no expense to deck its halls this season, so get out there and enjoy decorations both time-honored and fresh. See dazzling lights on Peel Street, or check out Luminothérapie in Place des Festivals, where Montrealers can enjoy some light-themed art installations, and all of the decorations that Verdun has put up along Wellington to get into the spirit. All that, and more.

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Take a heated ride up the Grande Roue de Montréal
Photograph: Eva Blue

13. Take a heated ride up the Grande Roue de MontrĂ©al

Open all day throughout the year, the Grande Roue located on the edge of the St. Lawrence River in the Old Port has heated cabins that fit up to 8 people. Reserve ahead and make it a part of your crew’s holiday celebrations, or just take the family—the kids will love the 360-degree view. Book gondola #42 for a full luxe experience, including a glass floor and four large seats upholstered in Italian leather (ooh la la).

Soak up some seasonal music
Photograph: Orchestre symphonique de Montréal / @OSMconcerts

14. Soak up some seasonal music

Sure, there are Holiday tunes playing throughout Montreal’s main shopping streets, but they don’t quite get to the heart of seasonal vibes the way an actual live concert does. Soak up Holiday Melodies at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal, a night of Holiday Enchantment at Centennial Park in Beaconsfield, In the Christmas Mood by Glenn Miller downtown… and many more. Or take in a cabaret: Saint-Houblon in Côte-des-Neiges is putting on a show called My Holiday Wish.

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Get moved by the spirit of Aura
Photograph: Susan Moss

15. Get moved by the spirit of Aura

Locals might tend to skip a visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal’s most visited tourist stop—but Aura is a reason for everyone to rediscover this landmark. The light show by Montreal’s famous experiential designers Moment Factory is a trip for the senses that’s uplifting, impressive, even moving.

Root for the Habs
Photograph: Susan Moss Photography - Tourisme Montréal

16. Root for the Habs

Who says winter, says hockey! Celebrate the season whether your fave team is in the playoffs or not with a live game at Bell Centre, a truly communal moment for Montrealers. We’re known for having the loudest crowds in entertainment, so prepare your ears. And practice the wave.

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