Written by Lexa Naguib on 07.01.14

Whether you want to stay active, get in the holiday spirit or be entertained with music and theater, Montreal’s winter festivals have got you covered. Don’t hide away at home; experience winter in the great outdoors. Believe it or not, snow can be kinda fun, so bring out your inner child, get off your couch, and check out our guide for the winter festivals held in the city.

Fête des Neiges (January 18 – February 9)

Taking place over four weekends between January and February, Fête des Neiges at Parc Jean-Drapeau is a fun-filled destination where you can partake in pretty much any winter activity you like; skating, tubing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross country skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding (with teletraction system) and even zip-lining are all possible! With plenty of activities offered to children, Fête des Neiges is a great way to keep the whole family active this winter. Further information is available at the Parc Jean-Drapeau website.

Montréal en Lumières (February 20 – March 2)

Back for a fifteenth edition this February, this ten-day festival encompasses several events including food and wine tastings at some of the best restaurants in the city and musical and theatrical performances held in the illuminated Quartier des Spectacles. Other events such as Classical, Dance and Jazz evenings take place in various parts of the city. Information concerning the full program is available on the Montréal en Lumières website. The festival doesn’t really stop here, the end is marked by what is perhaps the most magical night of the year: Nuit Blanche.

Nuit Blanche (March 1)

On this special evening, the Quartier des Spectacles, the Plateau Mont-Royal, the Old Port and the Parc Olympique light up for a night of winter wonder. Whether you’re enjoying a live concert, dancing, skating or watching the penguins at the Biodome, Nuit Blanche is a night you won’t forget. With over 150 activities to take part in all around the city, the STM makes it easy to get around; a free shuttle links the various sites of the festival. Visit their website to discover the full program.

Montreal en Fêtes/Merry Montreal (December – January)

During Merry Montreal‘s Vibrant Weekends, Old Montreal comes alive with free entertainment and activities for guests of all ages. Don’t be surprised if the festival’s comfort team offers you a hot chocolate or some mulled wine. Santa’s elves will be in attendance, inviting kids to call the North Pole on a special phone and tell Santa what they want for Christmas! Check out the Christmas Market, where stores and boutiques offer special promotions for the duration of the festival. Visit their website here.

Noël dans le Parc/Christmas in the Park (December)

Having celebrated its twentieth anniversary in December of 2013, Christmas in the Park is the recreation of a Christmas village in the Parc des Compagnons de Saint-Laurent (Plateau Mont-Royal). In this charming village, you will find bonfires to warm up around, live music concerts and many surprises! What is more, all the activities are absolutely free. You can even buy your Christmas tree at the festival; a portion of your payment will be donated to charity. To learn more, visit their website here.

Noël sur l’Avenue (December)

Partnering with Noël dans le Parc, Noël sur l’Avenue celebrates the joy of the Christmas season. Complete with a Christmas march, elves on tricycles with Santa-dedicated mailboxes, baking workshops and much much more, this is a festival the whole family can enjoy. In last year’s edition, artist Lalie Douglas created giant interactive gift boxes, within which guests could walk into and glance at winter themed art through optical instruments. Stay tuned to discover what the 2014 edition will have in store. For more information, go to on their website.

Igloofest (January – February)

Igloofest is back this winter for an eighth edition of the festival Montrealers have come to love. Electronic dance music DJs from here and abroad provide entertainment all night and the winter village is quite simply amazing. A large bonfire to warm up and roast marshmallows around, impressive igloos to explore and beautiful ice sculptures to admire call for a night of fun in the outdoors! Check out the Igloo Boutique, where you can purchase Igloofest themed winter gear. For more details, visit their site here.

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