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Marché Atwater Christmas Village / Village de Noël de Montréal
Photograph: Vincent Nedelec / @vincentnedelec

The 20 best things to do in Montreal this weekend: November 26 to 28, 2021

The best things to do this weekend in Montreal include a Shanghai 1920s cabaret, museums, film fests, a huge art show, and more.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki

Welcome to the best things to do this weekend in Montreal, a weekly roundup of attractions, pop-ups, events, and curiosities that get you out of the house to discover (hidden) gems in your city. Now that fall in Montreal is almost over and holiday preparations have begun with Christmas markets opening everywhere you look, it's time to shift gears a little. We're also looking at sleek cocktail bars and snacks with the best new restaurants in Montreal while we rediscover all of the things that made this city great but we couldn't enjoy before, like stand-up comedy and live music. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Montreal

The best of the city under one roof

  • Time Out Market

Over at Time Out Market Montréal, you can expect DJ sets every week that feed on the caliente vibes of afrobeat and Caribbean Carnivale-influenced styles, some hot jazz to accompany some swanky dining options, and more.

We've also got pop-ups like our own retro arcade and new vendors incoming like all-day brunch from Le Passé Composé!

Whether you want to just stop in for a bite or stick around for the show, the Market's got more than enough to go around.

Here are the best things to do in Montreal this weekend

  • Things to do

Now that the nomination period for Time Out Montreal's Love Local Awards have ended, the anticipation is only increasing: Out of the 200+ nominated places that came up across eight different categories, who's going to be taking home the title of Montreal's most-loved names for 2021?

Lots of Montrealers and admirers of the city have spoken about what they thought deserves some recognition, so it's time for them to decide which of them deserves it the most; the pandemic has made for 20 months and counting of struggles and hardships, so it's time we give them a boost with the recognition we think they deserve.

Le Monastère, the downtown Montreal circus cabaret taking place inside the St. Jax church, is back for another series of shows! In a brand new edition of cabarets, shows are running from November 25 to 27 in addition to another show on December 4 in the centenary vault. It's a new selection of artists with trapeze, aerial dances, clowns, and more alongside a DJ and table service for drinks.

There's also a dinner show taking place on December 2 and 3, a four course experience to enjoy while a show takes place.


After going on hiatus in 2020 with the forced closure of bars in Montreal (and opting to sell cocktail kits instead), the city's favourite holiday pop-up bar Miracle is back with all the festive décor and Christmas-y cocktails you can handle.

Running daily from November 15 to December 26 at the Old Montreal bar Parliament Pub & Parlour from 2pm to 2am in Old Montreal, Miracle has received a lot of traction since its first few holiday sessions in the city in 2018 and 2019. No surprise there: The pop-up event features a bar's halls completely decked with festive décor, bartenders dressed up for the occasion in suits and ugly sweaters, and the themed cocktail and shot menu keeps things jolly with a bunch of seasonal and punny drinks.

Running from Friday to Sunday at the Grand Quai in Montreal’s Old Port, the Papier art fair this year features 35 galleries and  works by 400 artists, and attracts the likes of collectors both chic and casual. Deemed a "convergence point for a who’s who of Montreal’s art world" by Montreal Gazette's T'Cha Dunlevy, the event whas been made to be the perfect place to discover (or rediscover), admire and acquire contemporary Canadian art.


The Grand Marché de Noël returns to downtown Montreal

Running from November 20 to January 2 outside of Place des Arts, the Grand Marché de Noël is built with all kinds of decorations, including the trimmings of a lookalike Alsatian village and a large illuminated tree. The public can check out any one of the 30 chalets of local or regional artisans selling their goods, enjoy the musical and theatrical program designed for the space or drink up some mulled wine.

At the Palais des congrès from November 25 to 28, the Salon du livre de Montréal is returning for a grand in-person session. It's a new location for the event; after last year's virtual edition, publishers, authors and readers are relishing the chance to meet and experience one another together again. It's a great occasion to meet authors, discover new titles, and awards being given out; definitely for anyone who's looking for books to give during the holidays.


POP Montreal is throwing a party this weekend at an amazing industrial factory space-turned-arts-venue in Garment District called Port Royal. The organizers have invited all of their favourite artists, DJs and performers to enjoy with cheap tickets. Go dance in a fun (and safe) environment with artists like Lydia Képinski, Fernie, CO/NTRY, CFCF feat. Emma Beko, Bambii, Odile Myrtil, TS Ellise, Andy Williams, and a DJ set from Plumbing while checking out art installations, sculptures, murals and projections by Junko Playtime, Teenadultt, June Barry, Dan Buller, Zoë Gelfant, Louis Letters, and Stare.

Atwater Market's Christmas market is back, and while the snow hasn't completely fallen, it doesn't hurt to pay a visit and start getting into the spirit. Running from November 25 to December 19, the market is putting "ethical and eco-responsible products" first from a number of local and regional artisans, plus free activities for families. This year, there's a sleigh cinema for both children and adults to check out, and the tree farm that's set up shop fills the air with the scent of pine.


At the beginning of 2021, Montreal's Palais des congrès added three immersive rooms to its permanent facilities for OASIS Immersion. The first convention centre in the world to do so, OASIS forms Canada's largest indoor immersive experience across more than 2,000 square meters (or 21,500 square feet), and it now has a new 75-minute show: RECHARGER / Unwind. 105 laser projectors and 119 surround sound speakers work to make 360° projections on walls and floors of 10 works by digital artists from Quebec and abroad.

Over the Saint-Lawrence south of Montreal at Quartier DIX30 in Brossard, a new supper club and cabaret spot named La Nuit Shanghai has opened. Themed after the Chinese city in the 1920s, it's a 6,000 square foot space that gives the shopping district a major injection of nightlife with its burlesque dancers, flapper girl entertainers, and live musical acts while diners dive into plates of dim sum.


Running from November 27 to December 23, Montreal's Marché de Noël de Jean-Talon at Marché Jean-Talon is bringing back its festive fun for another season. Equipped with a few chalets, an old red truck and an atmosphere that won over the public during our first pandemic Christmas, the market has doubled in size  this year to offer artisanal goods of foie gras, maple syrup liqueurs, candy and other local products alongside candles, soaps and oils, jewelry and dried flowers to pick for easy gift giving.

On the menu: Churros, tartiflettes, pancakes or waffles, but also mulled wine and hot chocolate will be offered. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a family photo area near Santa's sleigh; don't miss a visit from Santa on December 23 at 2pm, either.

The Phi Centre's latest in-house exhibition at their headquarters in Old Montreal is We Live in an Ocean of Air, "an immersive multi-sensory installation that will reveal the invisible connections between you and the forest". How do they do it? Through VR, you see your breath animated and become one with the channels of carbon dioxide inflow and oxygen outflow in Sequoia National Park, the home of the Giant Sequoia trees. Lasting 20 minutes and accommodating two groups of 6 people simultaneously, visitors will use a unique combination of technologies: from untethered virtual reality, heart rate monitors, and breath sensors to body tracking.


The new Hampton Inn at the southern gate of Montreal's Chinatown now sports a new attractive option for dining out: Tiramisu, an Italo-Japanese restaurant from the Montreal-based hospitality group Lucky Belly Group. Inside is a 3,000 square foot space with a 1960s Italy design of marble, chrome, terrazzo, and velvet by MRDK (Menard Dworkind Architecture & Design).

Tiramisu's first focus is a menu that specializes in Italian cuisine—pizza, pasta, and antipasti—twisted and tweaked with Japanese influences by Chanthy Yen. The chef's name should ring bells for anyone who enjoyed his Cambodian street food project Touk that ran through the last two summers at Old Montreal's Parliament Pub & Parlour.

Make it a night to meet friends, share laughs and watch great LGBTQ+ films: After the unexpected closure of the festival's beloved Impérial, image+nation has found a way to experience and share stories together: Gathering IRL at PHI Centre to share a drink and some exceptional queer cinema. Saturday, November 27, is the last night of these sessions with two wonderful, heart-warming films to close the in-venue sessions: Ma Belle, My Beauty from New Orleans filmmaker Marion Hill and Beyto from Swiss filmmaker Gitta Gsell.



Catch some stand-up comedy

*check ahead if the show is in English or in French*

The city's standup scene is getting back on its feet alongisde the rest of the performing arts scene, so consider showing some support and laughing over a drink while you're at it. Check out shows at the Comedy Nest, the Brass Door Pub, Abreuvoir Bar et Terrasse, and ComedyVille.

Running from November 5 to December 26, Montreal's international festival organizers for projection mapping will be putting on workshops for children from 5 to 14 years old. Led by artist Melissa Mathieson, kids will create works on the Tagtool iPad application, or on paper, and will see their creations come to life as they're broadcasted onto the exterior walls of the Grande Bibliothèque as night falls.

We're kind of wishing WE were that young now.


Running from October 18 to December 16, the open house of NEVER APART—a non-profit organization determined to bring about social change and spiritual awareness through art, culture and music events—is set to happen once again this weekend. Their 12,000 square feet of gallery, music production and creative space will mostly be open and allow Montrealers and visitors alike explore their exhibitions now on display

It looks like Montrealers' vote for their city's best neighbourhood last year, Verdun, has been beaten out by an all-new contender: Villeray, which has secured itself the #18 slot in this year's round-up of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world.

The result comes from the annual Time Out Index survey which polled a total of 27,000 city-dwellers from around the world about—among many things—what their favourite neighbourhood in their city was. Those results were brought to Time Out local city editors and contributors who then vetted that public vote against all-important criteria that ranged from sustainability to how strong the community vibes are in that area.

Never been? You should go.

Don't believe us? You should go.


It's a big month over at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: There's The World of Yousuf Karsh: A Private Essence running from September 22, 2021 to January 30, 2022, featuring 111 Karsh photographs donated to the museum: They include his famous images of political figures like Fidel Castro, Winston
Churchill, John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. There's also portraits of theatre and film stars as well as musicians, artists and writers like Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso in addition to scientists Albert Einstein, Jacques Cousteau and Carl Jung.

Then there's the exhibiton “How long does it take for one voice to reach another?” which explores the human voice not only as a sonic phenomenon, but also as a culturally constructed metaphor: A space in which words and ideas, communities and the relationships binding them together are made manifest and challenged through embodied practices. Spanning different periods and cultures, the works featured in it are mainly drawn from the MMFA’s permanent collection and several major loans from Canadian institutions and private lenders.

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