Montreal deserves its reputation as a place to let your hair down after dark with lots of good nightlife and entertainment. It’s Canada’s most happening city and it’s packed summer festival calendar almost always ensures that something major is going on. The city typically turns out in force to celebrate – be it the World’s Largest Comedy Festival or a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Be sure to check what’s on while you’re in town.
Montreal boasts several definite nightlife strips: Rue Saint-Denis is the most central and raucous francophone hub. Crescent Street downtown is the anglophone equivalent. Bars and clubs in the Gay Village have a more obvious attraction, as do strip clubs dotted hereabouts. Outside the center, nightlife is concentrated along Avenue Mont-Royal in The Plateau and along The Main and its side streets (try Duluth).
For high-culture, go-to venues include stages and concert halls of the Place-des-Arts. For choral performances and organ recitals head to the lovely interiors of the Notre-Dame Basilica. The basilica also regularly hosts sound-and-light shows, which take advantage of the unusual atmosphere. No matter the night, there’s a sound-and-light show of a gentler sort on the gracefully-lit surrounding streets of Old Montreal, lovely for an evening stroll.
At the other end of the liveliness spectrum, Cirque du Soleil, the world-famous acrobatic circus, was born in Quebec and headquartered in Montreal. If you’ve not seen a performance, this is the time to give it a go. Shows pop up in various venues around town, but the main venue is a vast circus tent near Little Italy.