It's such a cliché at this point, but, damn—summer in Montreal is unlike anywhere else on this planet. And sure, we might be a bit biased, but we're guessing you agree otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.
With over 120 annual festivals, many of which are world class, choosing which to make time for can be confusing and even a bit overwhelming. Montreal offers festivals in fashion, music, theatre, dance, film, and various forms of art and performance—so if you're looking for a some guidance, you're in the right place.
Voilà: a curated list of Montreal's top summer festivals of 2023.
Mtl en Arts (June 28 to July 2)
Transforming Ste-Catherine in the Village into an impressive open-air art gallery, this festival lends a platform to hundreds of artists to exhibit their unique talents and traits. As a bonus, most of the work is for sale.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 29 to July 8)
Immerse yourself in the world of jazz as the city's premiere festival offers indoor, outdoor, free, and paid performances by both local and international artists. This year's line-up is expected to feature more of its namesake genre, too.
L'International des Feux Loto-Québec (June 29 to August 10)
Despite ongoing forest fires raging in the northern parts of the province, the annual fireworks competition is set to take place as usual, with six participating countries and 10 shows overall. This year, catch the shows on Thursday nights – with one performance scheduled on a Sunday.
POCHA MTL (July 6-9)
A celebration of South Korea and its famous street food will go down in the Bassin Peel area over the course of four days. It costs $3 to enter the site, but it's a small price to pay for all the cultural programming on offer.
MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE (July 6-16)
Easily one of the wildest, wackiest, and most daring summer festivals, this 10-day extravaganza brings the circus right out onto the streets. With stages set up in parks and on pedestrianized street, this is one you don't want to miss. (Also, pssstt.. one of the GIANTS is making another appearance at the Esplanade PVM.)
Festival International Nuits d’Afrique (July 11-23)
Discover the sounds of African and world music in the 37th celebration of the diverse cultural heritage of Africa and its diaspora. Performances will take place both indoors and on outdoor stages, featuring artists from 30 countries.
Festival de rue Petite-Bourgogne (July 13-16)
Experience the distinct character of the Little Burgundy neighbourhood during the second edition of this street fair. Expect to see over 30 booths, with street food, cultural programming, live music, and more.
Zoofest & OFF JFL (July 13-29)
This bilingual (or rather, multilingual) festival embraces the eclectic and cutting-edge world of entertainment. With over 125 shows, this is a chance to see a different side of comedy—and possibly discover an artist or two before they catch their big break.
Comiccon (July 14-16)
Get dressed in your best attire for this 3-day festival that gives fans the opportunity to meet and interact with some of their favourite characters–and their creators.
Just For Laughs (July 14-29)
At once both hilarious yet (often) painfully cringe-inducing, the world's largest comedy festival brings together some of the best talent for a series of stand-up acts, galas, and other shows that will have you rolling in the aisles. (Indoor shows span the entire duration of the festival, with outdoor shows happening from July 20-29 only.)
Fantasia International Film Festival (July 20 to August 9, 2023)
In this celebration of genre cinema, exciting premieres and Q&A sessions with filmmakers are attended by enthusiastic movie-goers and industry representatives alike, creating a movie event like none other.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy those ~vibes~