What to Do in Montreal : December Festivals and Events 2023

MTL en Lumière sign MTL en Lumière sign. Photo Rachel Levine

It’s so dark. At 4 p.m. But not to worry, Montreal has enough festivals and events to light your way through the shortest day of the year and back on out again. The bitter cold is coming, so take advantage of winter’s more mild side and check these awesome events out.

Bach Festival

October 23 – December 3, 2023
Various venues

As the church composer and hired musician extraordinaire, enjoy works by Bach in a variety of venues performed by musicians who range from classical to avant-garde. Wiilliam Youn is the closing concert, but others playing include the Magnum Saxophone Quartet, a series directed by Reinhard Goebel, and a free Nuit des Choeurs. There’s also an Off-Bach Festival! More info HERE.

Esplanade Tranquille Skating Rink

November 15 – April 7, 2024
Espace Tranquille, Quartier des Spectacles

Free to access and with skates to rent, take a few laps around the city’s calmest public space in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles. Up to 400 skaters can skate at once around the Au bord du lac Tranquille by Mirari and Normal studio projected onto the ice. In addition, musical lunches and Saturday night disco make this a skate to remember. Details HERE.

The Great Montreal Christmas Market

November 25 – December 31, 2023
Quartier des Spectacles

Walk along St. Catherine Street in front of Place des Arts for booth after booth of unique boutique goods from 75 different artisans. Some are food, some are not. If you get lucky, you might catch a musical or theatre performance on the street too. The ambiance is lovely and festive. Info HERE.

Village de Noel / Atwater Christmas Market

November 30 – December 24, 2023
Atwater Market

Perennial favourite in the St. Henri hood, small cabins are set up to create a little outdoor village of 45 different artisans. There’s plenty to eat, a sugar shack and fries. There are also circus performances, sledding and movie nights, and kind of general joy. For info, click HERE.


November 30, 2023 – March 10, 2024
Quartier des Spectacles,
12:30 – 8:30 p.m. daily

In the days of darkness, it’s time to check out the light and video show near the city centre. Follow the path to check out different sound and light exhibits. A massive skating rink is featured at the Esplanade Tranquille. This year includes a 10 m high flower, Astera, and a tornado of light and sound with Cymopolée. Info HERE. 

Marché des Artisans Récupérateurs

December 1 – 3, 2023
Esplanade Tranquille
1442 Rue Clark

25 local eco-creators upcycle to create gifts you’ll feel good about giving. Jewelry, furniture, accessories, clothing, and all sorts of treasures can be found. Info HERE.

Brazilian Film Festival

December 1 – 7, 2023
Cinema Du Parc

A week of films from South America’s biggest melting pot. Info HERE.

Victorian Christmas at the Cartiers

Weekends, December 1 – 17, 2023
Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site (458 Rue Notre-Dame E)

Parks Canada transforms the George-Étienne Cartier residence with all the charm of the 19th century. Drink some wassail punch and revisit Christmas past. No ghosts. I hope. More info HERE.


December 2- 3, 2023
Église Saint Arsène
1025 Bélanger

Every year Montreal Rampage relishes in this celebration of the zine, small press, pinback button, poster, and other indie creations. It’s a total madhouse, but a good one. Artists draw, knitters knit, and everyone who loves the written word gathers. All you need to know HERE. 

Comiccon Holiday Edition

December 2 – 3, 2023
Palais de Congrès
247 Rue St-Antoine O, Montréal, QC H2Z, Canada

If you’ve been missing your dose of cosplay and comics, head down for two days of solid shopping at the Palais. It doesn’t matter if you prefer Marvel or DC, Star Wars or Star Trek, sci fi or dystopia. It’s just like the Comiccon marketplace, but entrance is free and it’s a great chance to pick up all the figurines your heart desires. Over 225 exhibitors and artists will be there. Info HERE.

Marche de Noel Végane

December 2 – 3, 2023
Maison du Developpement Durable
50 Rue St Catherine Ouest

Think plant based and sustainable. Yes, there’s food, but also gifts. Go green. Save the planet. Eat kale. No single use plastics here. Info HERE.

Amnesty International Marathon of Writing

Église St Zotique (3 dec 10:30 a.m.)
Lili Oli (3 dec 10 a.m.)
Centre des femmes de Verdun (6 dec 10 a.m.)
Centre culturel et communautaire de Cartierville (9 dec 11:30 a.m.)
Bibliothèque Jacqueline de Repentigny (10 dec 10 a.m.)
Cathédrale Christ Church (10 dec 10:30 a.m.)
YMCA du Parc (10 dec 11 a.m.)

Stand up for human rights, especially political prisoners and the wrongfully detained by writing letters to governments and political leaders as part of Amnesty International’s writing marathons. Use a prepared letter or write one from your own heart. Info and details HERE.

Bazar Japonais des Fêtes / Japanese Bazaar

December 2, 2023
Japanese Cultural Centre of Montreal

1700 Rue Akenaten

Japan goods at bargain prices! Books are just $1, but also checked out baked goods, kimonos, and pottery. If you know a Japanophile or just love all things Japan yourself, don’t miss this annual market. Info HERE.


December 2 – 3, 2023
3594 Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montréal, QC H2X 2K3, Canada

If Christmas is all about German Christmas Markets, this is where you can get all that good stollen, mulled wine, sausages, and gingerbread, not to mention an assortment of artisanal wares. Info HERE.

Noel dans Le Parc

December 3 – 31, 2023
Place Émile Gamelin

If you love free music, and we all love free music, check out the series of shows taking place at Place Émile Gamelin. Among those performing are Balaklava Blues (Dec 8), Auclair Ensemble (Dec 9), Eran Hersh (Dec 10), Patchouli Brothers (Dec 14) Maude Audet and Émile Bilodeau (Dec 15), Les Shirley and Mononc Serge (Dec 16),Savage and She (Dec 17), Laura Niquay (Dec 21), Qualité Motel (Dec 22), and Pierre Kwenders (Dec 29), and plenty more. Check out the offerings HERE.

Salon des Métiers d’art du Quebec (SMAQ)

December 7 – 17, 2023
Palais de Congrès
247 Rue St-Antoine O, Montréal, QC H2Z, Canada

Seems like it’s been a few years, but this high end market features beautifully crafted goods by 215 artisans of Quebec. POttery, knitting, jewelry, tableware, furniture, and more. Info HERE.

Handel’s Messiah with Orchestra Classqieu de Montreal

December 13-14, 2023
St Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal
3800 Queen Mary Rd

What was the equivalent of Wham’s Last Christmas in the year 1741? The epic Messiah by Handel is probably it. Conductor Lacombe leads a spectacular line up in this fabulous piece in the crypt of the oratory. Info HERE.

Cookie Swap Fundraiser

December 14, 2023
5333 Av. Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montréal, QC H4A 1L2

A local event that gives back, the annual cookie swap allows attendees to trade a batch of their own cookies, half to share with a communal platter and half to donate to local shelters. In addition, there’s a market, an auction, tree and cookie decorating, and since it’s NDG, some music too. Info HERE.

The Nutcracker Ballet

December 14 – 30, 2023

The holiday season would be incomplete for some without Clara’s misadventures and sugarplum fairies. This annual ballet highlight is a popular event that enchants year after year. For info, click HERE. 

Handel’s Messiah with the OM

December 19 – 20, 2023
Basilique Notre Dame de Montréal

What was the equivalent of Wham’s Last Christmas in the year 1741? The epic Messiah by Handel is probably it. Conductor Yannick Nézet Séguin leads a spectacular line up in this fabulous piece. Info HERE.

Cirque de Boudoir Carnavalesque Snow Ball

December 31, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Bain Mathieu
(2915 Ontario E)

Dance is back, in crowds, with music, with lights, with… a kinky dungeon, gogo dancers, and visuals to make sure any recreational substances you’ve taken to ring in the new year have their desired effect amplified or at least… entertained. Anyway, lots of New Years events are happening, but this one is usually kinda more… well… It requires fetish or themed costumes. That’s an event, isn’t it? Info HERE.

Upcoming and Announced


January 18 – February 10, 2024

Wow, now this is some lineup for the annual coldest dance party around. Pull out the big parka and work up your own heat in the crowd as you dance to DJs and electronic music. Info HERE.

Montreal Clown Festival

April 23 – 24, 2024

Who are you calling a clown? Get ready to laugh and laugh and laugh as performers of all sorts show you the variety that clowning can be. Workshops as well as performances. Send ’em in! Details  HERE. 

Monthly Festival Links













For Montreal Rampage’s daily events calendar, click HERE. If you have an event you would like to include, send an email to [email protected]

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts