Montreal Arts & Culture
Collected by Isa Tousignant, AFAR Local Expert
With two world-class university art programs, Montreal attracts more than its fair share of budding creative types, who usually stay after their studies. It explains the city’s ebullient visual arts scene, its world-renowned dance troupes (think of Grand Ballets Canadiens, La La La Human Steps and Marie Chouinard) and the strength of its English theatre offerings, despite the fact that it's a mostly French city. From museums to performance spaces, Montreal is full of spots to soak up culture.
185 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H2X 3X5, Canada
The Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, commonly known as MAC, is one of the city's leading cultural institutions. The museum aims to be both a showcase for Montréal artists and a place where international figures are...
1380 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux Arts) is scattered across four different buildings, or pavilions. The Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion seen here is the institution's main building, with its international art collection. The other...
451 Rue Saint Jean, Montréal, QC H2Y 2R5, Canada
Contemporary art can sometimes be pretentious or obscure, but DHC/ART adds an edgy sense of wit, with exhibitions ranging from the visual puns of Ceal Floyer to the exuberant portraits of John Currin.451 rue St.-Jean, (514) 849-3742.
2020 Rue William, Montréal, QC H3J 1R8, Canada
This giant retrofitted industrial space in Little Burgundy is one of the city’s most grandiose art spaces, and not only for its sheer volume: the cavernous main space is used to host cultural and commercial events such as fashion shows and the...
407 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montréal, QC H2Y 2M3, Canada
Located right across the street from Olive et Gourmando, Centre PHI is a great place to wander before or after gorging on sandwiches and pastries. The PHI Centre is a versatile space that adapts to accommodate various events: launches,...
3997 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y4, Canada
Right in the thick of the fun of the Main, aka Boulevard Saint-Laurent, MainLine Theatre is an experimental English-language theatre and performance space that’s entrenched in the local creative community. It’s also where the Montreal Fringe...
5170 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3W 1M7, Canada
This high-polish theatre in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood specializes in high-quality productions of multicultural plays (it has a subdivision that presents plays in Yiddish). Most of its plays are in English, however; productions such...
453 Rue Saint-François-Xavier, Montréal, QC H2Y 2T1, Canada
Located in the former stock exchange in Old Montreal, the neoclassical Centaur Theatre is a preeminent English-language venue that focuses on work by Montreal creators. After dinner at Gibby’s or Garde-Manger, head to Centaur for a play, comedy...
1435 Rue de Bleury #102, Montréal, QC H3A 2H7, Canada
The area around Rue Saint-Denis in the eastern Plateau neighbourhood has a very cultural feel, uniting a half-dozen French-language theatres, performances spaces, bookstores and European-style cafés. Agora de la danse, on Cherrier, is just a...
175 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H2X 1Y9, Canada
The 1960s and 70s are often referred to as the "Quiet Revolution" in Quebec, as reformist governments led by the Liberal party brought about huge changes in the province's society. The period was also characterized by economic growth and grand...
372 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H3B 1A2, Canada
This rickety old five-storey loft building downtown became an enclave for art galleries a couple of decades ago because the rents were affordable and the location was central. Management has since embraced its status as Montreal’s small-gallery...
350 Place Royale, Montréal, QC H2Y 3Y5, Canada
There is perhaps some irony that one of the most distinctive contemporary buildings in the historic heart of Montréal is a showcase for some of the city's oldest artifacts. The modern structure that houses this archaeology and history...
2 Rue de la Commune O, Montréal, QC H2Y 4B2, Canada
An amazing destination for families with kids of all ages right on the Old Port, the Montreal Science Centre is a super interactive, super fun, huge centre where learning feels like sheer entertainment. There’s an Imax theatre where kids can learn...
407 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montréal, QC H2Y 2M3, Canada
If you’re looking for a nightlife experience in Griffintown that’s an alternative to fine dining and drinking, Phi Centre has weekly film screenings, regular art exhibitions and an impressive roster of international live music acts to light up the...
745 Rue Ottawa, Montréal, QC H3C 1R8, Canada
Among the city’s coolest art spaces, Fonderie Darling is a giant – and I mean GIANT – industrial space-turned-contemporary art gallery. It’s a shining example of the type of architecture that existed in the area before the rapid gentrification....
5478 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1S1, Canada
This junk shop-cum-art gallery is a space in constant evolution, the only exception being the kindhearted owners, Billy Mavreas and Emily O’Brien, who are always at the helm. Every resident of Mile End stops by here at some point in their week,...
1201 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2S6, Canada
The name makes it sound like the driest place in Christendom, but the SAT, as it’s known by locals, is at the forefront of coolth. This giant building on Boulevard Saint-Laurent near Rue Sainte-Catherine is dedicated to electronic culture and...
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