Christmas in Montreal is a magical time of year, with festive lights and decorations in the streets and a variety of holiday activities to enjoy. Montreal is officially the most festive city in Canada, with three Christmas markets taking place around the city.
Montreal Christmas Market starts on 18th November with the opening of The Great Christmas Market, known as the Le Grand Marché de Noël in French.
With its vibrant culture, lively atmosphere, and diverse population, Montreal is a great destination for anyone looking for a unique and memorable experience.
From its European-style architecture to its delicious cuisine, Montreal offers something for everyone, and winter is one of the most beautiful times to visit.
Montreal Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Montreal is one of Canada’s largest holiday events and is held annually in the heart of Montreal.
The market is open from late November to late December and features over 150 exhibitors, many of whom are local artisans, makers and creators local to Quebec.
Visitors can enjoy live entertainment, unique holiday foods and drinks, as well as a wide variety of activities and attractions.
The markets offer a variety of holiday-themed activities for children, including the movie sled, Kingdom of the Elves and the Golden Cookie trail.
Montreal Christmas Village is a smaller Christmas market focused on ethical and lower-impact products and gifts.
Dates and Locations
Montreal Christmas Market dates:
The Great Christmas Market: Likely dates: 18th November to 31st December 2023.
18th November to 18th December open Thursday to Sunday. 3pm to 9pm.
Opens at 10am on the weekends.
19th December to 31st December open daily. 1pm to 9pm.
Closes at 7pm on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Location: Quartier des Spectacles on Sainte-Catherine Street between Balmoral and Clark.
Montreal Christmas Village: Friday to Sunday from around 23rd November to 17th December 2023.
Friday 5pm to 10pm.
Saturday 11am to 7pm.
Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Location: Place du Marché Atwater, at the corner of Saint-Ambroise Street and Atwater Avenue.
Jean-Talon Christmas Market: Friday to Sunday from around 25th November to 17th December 2023.
10am to 6pm.
Opens at 12pm on Fridays.
Location: Outside of Jean-Talon Market.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Vegetarian: Yes. Many options.
Vegan: Yes. Soups, stews and a few other options.
Gluten-free: Yes, some options.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion. Bicyle parking is available.
Recommended tour: Discover the character of Old Montreal with a detailed walking tour with a local guide.
Specialties: Tartiflette, raclette, fondue, poutine, chocolate and vin chaud.
Where to stay: Hotel Monville is an eco-friendly hotel located near the main Christmas market.
Hotels near Montreal Christmas Market
Several interesting neighbourhoods in Montreal are ideal places to stay for visitors to the city.
Old Montreal is a historic district full of cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture and charming cafes. Whereas Downtown is the city centre where you’ll find many sights and attractions.
Quartier des Spectacles is the lively arts and culture district and is the perfect place to explore Montreal’s vibrant music and theatre scene. This is the main Christmas market location.
I recommend staying at Hotel Monville due to its location near the Quartier des Spectacles, proximity to the Christmas market and its use of sustainable renewable energy.
Location of Montreal Christmas Market
Christmas in Montreal
If this is your first time in Montreal, here are a few ideas to get you started with sightseeing and activities.
- Museums – The city’s museums beckon you to step inside from the cold and discover a world of history, art, and culture. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a renowned institution where you can admire a diverse collection of art, from historical masterpieces to contemporary works. The McCord Museum, another highlight, tells the story of Montreal’s past and present.
- Art galleries – Art enthusiasts will feel right at home in Montreal’s array of art galleries. The Darling Foundry, for instance, is a unique space dedicated to contemporary art, hosting exhibitions from local and international artists. Moreover, several smaller galleries are scattered throughout the city, each providing a unique perspective on the art world.
- Movies – There’s something special about escaping the winter chill and settling down to watch a film. Montreal houses numerous cinemas where you can enjoy the latest blockbusters, independent films or foreign language cinema. The Cinémathèque Québécoise, in particular, is an excellent spot for film buffs to explore Quebec’s cinematic heritage.
- Theatre – Theatre is another cornerstone of Montreal’s cultural scene. Venues like Place des Arts and Centaur Theatre regularly stage a variety of performances, from classic plays to avant-garde productions. It’s a perfect opportunity to witness the city’s thriving performing arts scene in action.
- Food experiences – No visit to Montreal would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights. With an array of excellent restaurants serving a mix of traditional and contemporary cuisine, Montreal provides plenty of options for eating out. Sample French-Canadian dishes like poutine and tourtière, or venture into an assortment of international cuisines available throughout the city.
- Ice skating – Tie up your ice skates and glide into the Montreal festive season. The Old Port’s skating rink, a famous spot in the heart of the city, invites you to enjoy the crisp winter air while partaking in this traditional winter sport. Illuminated by the city lights, the rink provides a truly delightful spectacle.
- Snowshoeing – Uncover the city’s beauty by strapping on some snowshoes. Montreal’s numerous parks, trails, and green spaces provide the perfect backdrop for your wintry exploration. Here, in the middle of a bustling city, you can savour the tranquillity of nature’s winter charm.
- Skiing and snowboarding – Montreal’s proximity to ski hills and resorts such as Mont Saint-Sauveur and Mont Tremblant allows you to engage in skiing and snowboarding. You can spend your day sliding down the snow-clad slopes, feeling the rush of cold air against your face.
- Tobogganing – Experience the joy of tobogganing on one of Montreal’s hills. This classic winter activity takes you back to simpler times, and the childlike excitement of racing downhill on a sled is something that you shouldn’t miss.
- Sleigh rides – Want a more relaxed activity? Opt for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. It provides you with a unique view of the city and a calming journey through Montreal’s winter scenes. Hear the soft crunch of snow beneath the sleigh and experience the city at a slower pace.
- Hockey – It wouldn’t be a Montreal winter without catching a Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre. The energy and excitement in the stadium are palpable as you join the locals in their passion for hockey.
- Shopping – Old Montreal invites you to explore its cobblestone streets, teeming with boutique shops. You can find unique gifts and souvenirs while admiring this district’s historic buildings and ambience here.
- Festivals – Lastly, the city pulses with bright lights, music, and culture, courtesy of numerous winter festivals. Be it the warmth of the festive lights or the rhythms of live music, these festivals bring the city to life, even in the cold depths of winter.
Food at the Christmas Market
At the Montreal Christmas stalls, these market foods are well worth discovering. From local specialties to international snacks, the market stalls are filled with irresistible treats that are sure to get your mouth watering.
- Poutine: As you wander around the market, the aroma of poutine, a Quebecois specialty, will surely grab your attention. Crispy fries smothered in rich gravy and squeaky cheese curds — a comforting dish perfect for a chilly winter day.
- Tourtière: Another snack to look out for is the tourtière, a French-Canadian meat pie. Baked to perfection, its savoury filling is encased in a golden, flaky crust. It’s a warm, hearty option you’ll undoubtedly appreciate.
- Maple taffy: Your sweet tooth isn’t forgotten in this winter paradise. Maple taffy, made by boiling maple sap and pouring it over fresh snow, is a sticky delight that’s as Canadian as it gets.
- Smoked meat sandwich: You’ll likely encounter the unmistakable smell of Montreal’s famed smoked meat. Served on rye bread with mustard, this sandwich is a savoury indulgence.
- Beavertails: Despite the name, these delicious pastries are a sweet snack. They’re fried dough treats often topped with a variety of sweet toppings such as Nutella, cinnamon sugar or lemon juice.
On the international front, Montreal’s Great Christmas Market brings a selection of global treats to your fingertips:
- Gingerbread cookies: Find beautifully decorated gingerbread cookies that are almost too charming to eat. This traditional German Christmas treat is often shaped like hearts, stars, or the classic gingerbread man.
- Mulled wine: Opt for a cup of mulled wine to keep you warm as you stroll through the market. This spiced, heated wine is a classic European Christmas market staple.
- Stollen: Another German specialty, Stollen is a rich, fruity bread laced with nuts, spices and a marzipan centre, dusted with icing sugar.
- Churros: Enjoy some Spanish influence with churros, a deep-fried dough pastry typically dusted with sugar. Dip them into thick hot chocolate for a heartwarming treat.
- Roasted chestnuts: Inhale the sweet, nutty scent of roasted chestnuts, a popular snack in many European Christmas markets. They’re a delicious hand warmer and snack rolled into one.
This melting pot of flavours from Quebec and the wider world truly makes the Montreal Christmas markets a culinary adventure, especially at the main Christmas market, Le Grand Marché de Noël.
Enjoy more Christmas markets in Canada with my guide to the best Christmas markets in Canada.
Visit Montreal is a great resource for things to do in the city this winter. Including more about the different markets and the Christmas Village.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. I’ve listed some small actions we can take to help lower our impact at this event.
- Shop mindfully. Only purchase what you really need.
- Walk, cycle, and use public transport to get around.
- Stay in a sustainable hotel powered by renewable energy.
- Avoid using plastic or buying items made or packaged with plastic.
- Try to eat locally sourced organic food where possible.
- Limit your consumption of meat and dairy.
- Explore more than just the main tourist areas.
- Support the arts and attend local events.
- If possible, avoid flying to your destination.
Montreal Christmas Market starts on 18th November and ends on 31st December 2023.
The main Montreal Christmas market is located between Balmoral and Clark at Quartier des Spectacles on Sainte-Catherine Street. The two other Christmas markets are located at Place du Marché Atwater, at the corner of Saint-Ambroise Street and Atwater Avenue and outside of Jean-Talon Market.
If you would like to leave a review of Montreal Xmas Market, feel free to comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Montreal, Canada. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.
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