Most Montreal natives will attest to the fact that the city comes alive in the summertime. Despite what feels like a never-ending winter, once June hits and the sun finally comes out, Montreal becomes an entirely different place to live. One of my favourite aspects of summer in Montreal is the festivals it hosts. From taking in live art at Mural Festival to seeing some of the biggest musical acts in the world at Osheaga, check out my list of the best Montreal Festivals in the summer.
Montreal is known for decades as the site of the annual Just for Laughs Festival. One of the biggest comedy festivals in North America, Just for Laughs sees a slew of hilarious celebrities arriving in the city for stand-up shows and exclusive interviews. Celeb headliners for the 2019 event include Trevor Noah, Rachel Bloom, Hasan Minhaj, and Jonathan Van Ness. There are also free comedy shows, food trucks, and fun activities set up in Place des Arts for the occasion. This year’s festival is taking place between July 10 and July 28, right on the heels of the Montreal International Jazz Festival (more on that below).
The biggest music festival in Montreal, think of Osheaga as Canada’s Coachella. Taking place annually in Parc Jean Drapeau on Saint Helen’s Island, Osheaga is a three-day music festival that attracts locals and tourists alike. Past headliners have included Lorde, Florence & the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford & Sons, and many more. The 2019 festival is back with a killer lineup that includes Childish Gambino, Flume, City and Colour, Janelle Monae, and Hozier. Be sure to grab your ticket (and start planning your outfits) well in advance for this August festival, taking place between August 2 and 4, 2019.
Calling all budding artists! Mural Festival has to be the coolest art festival hosted by Montreal each year. This international event sees street artists from all over the world coming to Montreal to paint our city walls with even more vibrant, meaningful pieces. An official Mural Fest map is released every year, so festival-goers can be sure to stop by all works of art, some from past years and some in progress (that’s right – you can see the artists at work!). More than gorgeous street art, Mural Festival is essentially one giant block party on Saint Laurent, with live music, a sidewalk sale, and street food rolled into one.
Fun fact: Did you know that the Montreal International Jazz Festivals holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest jazz festival in the world? It’s true! This internationally-renowned festival is a must on your summer bucket list. For ten days each summer, the sweet sounds of jazz take over downtown Montreal. The central hub is in Quartier des Spectacles with free outdoor concerts, block parties, and food trucks happening throughout the festival. This year, Montreal International Jazz Festival runs from June 27 until July 6, with musical acts including Jean-Michel Blais, Blue Rodeo, and Yungblud.