What to Do in Montreal : October Festivals and Events 2023

People in the Mainline Theatre. People in the Mainline Theatre.

A lot of people get excited about groundhog day predicting if summer will come early, but maybe there should be a bat day that predicts if autumn will be long. While the nights are darker and cooler, if things stay dry and the days are warm, autumn is perfect for adventuring around Montreal. And let’s face it, Halloween here is not a kid’s holiday.

Piknic Électronik

May 21 – October 1, 2023
Plaine des Jeux

Everyone’s favourite outdoor dance party rages on every Sunday and a few other days here and there in conjunction with major summer events. Enjoy local and international DJs mixing beats on stage. Season tickets are available and student tickets are a merciful $100. Information HERE.

World Press Photo

August 30 – October 15, 2023
Marché Bonsecours
325 Rue de la Commune East

Challenge yourself with the gorgeous photojournalism on display at the World Press Photo exhibit. This prestigious exhibition features 150 prizewinning photographs that take the temperature of the world’s events, from politics to climate to people. There is always a secondary exhibition featuring local photographers. It never disappoints. More info HERE.

Gardens of Light

September 1 – October 31, 2023
Botanical Garden
4101 Sherbrooke E

The Botanic Gardens light up with hundreds of intricate lanterns shaped to look like animals, flowers, and objects. The lanterns come from Shanghai and take three months to mount in the Botanic Gardens. Every year there are about 200 new lanterns added to the group. This is one of the most beloved fall seasonal activities in Montreal and anyone can enjoy it. More info HERE.

Montreal International Black Film Festival

September 27 – Oct 1, 2023
Various venues

This festival celebrates black participation in the film industry as well as films that look at international black realities. Awards are given to documentaries, shorts, and feature films. Ground-breaking cinema, some of which will never have commercial release on the big screen, is shown. Films to watch out for are Lovely Jackson, the opener, and Tropique de la Violence, the closer. More info HERE.

POP Montreal

September 27 – Oct 1, 2023
Various Venues

The folks at POP Montreal deliver on the musical culture and culture more generally year round in the city, but their big moment is the diverse and challenging music festival, POP Montreal. The festival brings together both no-names and big-names for a mash-up of concerts, symposiums, art, film, and of course, parties. It’s the Eton Mess of music festivals — spontaneous or chaotic, depending on your sense of random. More info HERE.

Les Journées de la Culture

Sept. 29 – October 1, 2023

Province-wide Québec’s culture gets its spotlight with the Journées de la Culture. The people of Montreal will be out in full force showing their talents in public spaces. This is a voluntary activity and artists and performers register their activities. Expect everything from performance to workshop to conference. More info HERE.

Montreal Vegan Festival

September 30 – October 1, 2023
Palais des Congres (1001 Place Jean-Paul Riopelle)

Eat and taste your way through aisles of animal-free products. There is plenty of food, but also booths for activists and more. All totally free too. Click HERE for more info.

Oktoberfest at Marché Atwater

September 30 – October 1, 2023
Atwater Market

138 Avenue Atwater

The posh farmer’s market on the Lachine Canal hosts its annual Oktoberfest. Entry is free, as is the music, but to enjoy the food and drinks, you’ll have to purchase coupons. Over 15 microbreweries from Quebec will have beer to sample. Info HERE.

Tonga Lumina

ends October 14, 2023
1000 Chem. des Voyageurs

Mont-Tremblant, QC

Tremblant proves to be an all-season stop that includes programming through the fall. You don’t need skis to walk around this evening 1.5 km walk through a sonic light festival put together by the Moment Factory. For info click HERE.

Phénomena Festival

Phenomena Festival. photo Rachel Levine.
Phenomena Festival. photo Rachel Levine.

Oct 3 – 21, 2023
Various venues

Les Filles électriques is a creative company that runs the Phenomena festival, a playful, interdisciplinary festival with installations, performances, and all sorts of oddities. This year the festival kicks off with a parade and then includes performances in different locales. Among the not misses are  Cabaret féministe pas gentil du tout on October 16 and a Waacking performance by  Axelle Munezero. More info HERE.

Festival de Nouveau Cinema

October 4 – 15, 2023
Various locations

The festival de Nouveau Cinema showcases a variety of films from around the world. It’s sort of like TIFF, but much more low-key and you have a better chance of getting tickets to what you want to see. Find out what the future holds in terms of cinematic trends and talents. The films can be quirky, but also deeply moving. Competing films this year include The Face of the Jellyfish, How to Have Sex, and Between the Revolutions. More info on the festival and its lineup can be found HERE.


October 5 – 8, 2023
Studio TD

305 ST Catherine O

17 different musical acts representing blues, jazz, and worldbeat from the Montreal come together for shows. Information about the shows can be found HERE.

Kampai Festival

October 5, 2023
Marche Bonsecours
350 Rue Saint-Paul E

One day you realize there’s an association for everything. The Sake Association of Quebec hosts its third festival all about the beloved Japanese drink. Pour yourself a cup and raise it high. Kampai! Tickts HERE.

L’Off Jazz

October 5 – 14, 2023
Various locations

With summer gone who knows where and the Jazz fest with, time to bring out the Off Jazz. Among the 30+ shows to catch are Ernesto Cervini/Turboprop, Salomé Perli, and Francois Bourassa. For more info, click HERE

Afriki – Festival d’Humour Africain

October 6 – 7, 2023
Patro Villeray

7355 Ave Christophe-Colomb #1-R, Montreal, Quebec H2R 2S5

Comedians who either come from or have a connection to Africa bring their comedic best forward for two days of standup. Among those performing are Ambassadeur Agalawal, Redouane Benache, Steve Biko, Emna Achour, Erika Suarez, and Mibenson Sylvain. For info and tickets, click HERE.

First Fridays Food Trucks

October 6, 2023
Esplanade du Parc Olympique
4141 Av Pierre de Coubertin

The First Friday Food trucks are a Friday fave as they take over the Esplanade at Olympic Stadium. Aside from food trucks (duh) around a particular theme, there’s often music This last event of the season promises a “show de boucan”. Info HERE.

Guttazone Fest

October 6 -7, 2023

Krump, a style of street dance done to pop, hip hop, and rap, with exaggerated and energetic freestyle movements has its festival. THings to expect are a lot of tournaments and a few workshops. Details HERE.

Revolution Fest

October 6 – 8, 2023
Foufounes Electriques and Les Sans Taverne

Anticapitalism, antifascism, and pro feminism has a sound track and it sounds a lot like punk and rage. No surprise that the bands rolling in for this festival will be ripping the roof off at Foufounes. Information HERE.

Ramen Ramen Festival

October 9 – 22, 2023

Whether you slurp or daintily sip, ramen prepared in as many ways as you can imagine is the focus of this delicious festival. Each participating restaurant has one signature dish that enters the competition to see who will win the “coup de cœur” of the jury. Info HERE.


October 10 – 113, 2023
NAD School
1501 Rue de Bleury

This is the fifth edition of this festival dedicated to the digital world of Montreal. This year’s theme is Intelligence Collective and speakers are coming from all over the world. Look for Cathie Wood, Bronwyn Boyle, Philippe Longschamps, and Hugues Bersini. Information can be found HERE.

A Brilliant Night in Support of the Neuro

October 11, 2023
Montreal Forum

This annual fundraiser focuses on the work of the brain cancer research at The Neuro. This year, listen to a fireside chat between Gregory Charles and Gord Downie’s brother, a 3D immersive film on the highlights the work of Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Kevin Petrecca and his team, and food from Montreal’s top restaurants. Info HERE.

Montreal Burlesque Festival 2023

October 13 – 14, 2023
Club Soda

Scarlett James hosts the annual burlesque festival where taking it off is what it’s all about. Although, burlesque is so much about the journey AND the destination. Enjoy some of the best performers in the city and those from elsewhere. Info HERE.

Festival Draconis

October 13-15, 2023
CEGEP du Vieux Montreal

Draconis is the biggest role playing game in all of Quebec. Plus, it’s free and open to everybody. Over 100 games will be available for beginners and advanced players alike, including things like Dungeon and Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. Join in the massive Draconis event, hosted by CEGEP du Vieux Montreal. The opening day will be dedicated to all things horror. Information HERE.


October 18 – 31, 2023

The cinema festival that is all about zombies and horror, with plenty of oldies to revisit. There’s also a quiz night and a dance party that pairs 90s vs 00s of music. Keep an eye HERE to know more.

La Grande Dégustation de Montréal

October 19 – 21, 2023
Grand Quay

200 R. de la Commune O, Montréal, QC H2Y 4B2

Ticket entry gets you a tasting glass so you can head from kiosk to kiosk and see what alcoholic beverages are avails this holiday season and beyond. Information about this boozy event can be found HERE.

The Rocky Horror Show

October 19 – 31, 2023
The MainLine Theatre
3997 St Laurent Blvd

It wouldn’t be Halloween without the annual performance of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. If you want to shout at two very clueless virgins and help them discover just how sexy their night can get (and yours) with the help of Frank N Furter and Rocky, attend this campy cult classic. Details HERE.

Annual Gem and Mineral Show

October 20 – 22, 2023
Palais des Congres
1001 Place Jean-Paul Riopelle

If you’re seeking crystal revelations or if you just want a really sweet fossil to put on your desk, the annual gem and mineral show is the right place to go. Gem identification, tools, carvings, beads, and of course rocks are available for purchase. With over 100 dealers, you’ll have an easy time finding your ore. Info HERE.

Montreal Westie Fest

October 20 – 22, 2023
Delta Hotels
475 Av. du Président-Kennedy

West coast swing gets your heart to sing? Well, if you enjoy swing dance, you won’t want to miss this major event taking place in Montreal. It has lots of… uh… dancing. But even if you’re a newbie, you’ll be welcomed to give it a go. Information HERE.

Festival Interculturel du Conte / Montreal Storytelling Festival

October 20 – 29, 2023
Various venues

A seasonal highlight is when storytellers from around the world come to Quebec to delight audiences with stories. Most of the events are in French, but some are in English too. English storytellers include Barbara Daibo, Daniel Morden, Judith Cohen, and Judith Poirier. In French, catch 1001 Nights told by Jihad Darwiche or myths by Thomas Hellman. There are also workshops and associated special events. Tickets and info HERE.

Making Waves Montreal : Asian Pop Up Cinema

October 20 – 22, 2023
Cinémas Cineplex Forum et VIP (Auditorium #11)
2313 rue Sainte-Catherine ouest #101, Montréal, Québec H3H 1N2

Three nights with six feature films from Hong Kong that are not martial arts action flicks (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Instead, six rising directors present films about cultural relevant topics and sophisticated stories. On hand are actresses Jennifer Yu and Lam Chin-Ting, actor Wong You-Nam and director Kelvin Shum, all of whom are presenting their films to the public. Tickets are free, but RSVP is required to attend. Details on reserving tickets are HERE.

The Braderie de Québécoise

October 26 – 29, 2023
Marché Bonsecours
350 St. Paul E and 325 de la Commune E

A few days of high end fashion at super low prices, the annual Braderie is a much anticipated event. Advika CLothing, Ana Maria Dessin, Iris Setlakwe, and many other names have deep discounts on their fashion designs. Also, jewelry and accessories are there too. More info HERE.

Rendez-vous de la Drag / Drag Festival

October 28 – 29, 2023
Palais des congrès de Montréal
1001 Place Jean Paul Riopelle

New to Montreal, our very own DragCon. This festival celebrates drag culture in Quebec and in the fracophone world as well. Attend workshops and talks, watch performances, shop in the market. Each night ends with a gala. Some of the attendees will include Michel Dorion and Rita Baga. Information HERE.

Festival du Monde Arabe / Montreal Arab World Festival

October 28 – November 11, 2023
Various venues in the city

Celebrating Arab culture and art through performing arts and cinema, the Arab World Festival delights the city with dance, music, film, and more. This year’s event includes Myriam Beldi, Cheikha Rimitti, Mais Harb, and many more. The offerings are extensive and diverse. More info HERE.

Upcoming and Announced


November 1 – 12, 2023

Bringing French films to an English speaking audience is the goal of this film festival. Highlights include SOLO, a film about a love story between two drag queens. Info about the festival available HERE.


November 8 – 9, 2023
Bonaventure Hotel

900 Rue De La Gauchetière O

Players and creators celebrate all things video games. Considering how many studios are here in Montreal, this a see and be seen events. Also it’s a chance to check out the video games you’ve been waiting for ahead of everyone else. Info HERE.

RIDM / Montreal International Documentary Festival

November 15 – 26, 2023

How lucky we are to get to see the world’s greatest documentaries in the cinemas of the city. There’s something for everyone in the selection. Already announced is an appearance by Sky Hopinka. Info HERE.

Montreal Heels Festival

November 16 – 19, 2023
Sheraton Hotel

A festival dedicated to Heels, a new style of dance that combines jazz, burlesque, groove. Take classes or watch performers, and learn about this hot crave. 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