March break in the Quartier des Spectacles

February 28, 2024

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Families take note: with its numerous free activities both indoor and out, the Quartier des Spectacles is a fantastic place to make the most of March Break. Here are 10 super family outings.

By Sébastien Tétrault


The MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE festival, marking its 25th anniversary this year, runs from February 29 to March 10. From 2 to 5 p.m. on March 8 to 10, it will include a special set of March Break activities presented by Télé-Québec. The outdoor site will feature non-stop action with the CeraVe Skating Loop in Place des Festivals, the Loto-Québec Ferris wheel and the all-new Tim Hortons speed rink. And there will be plenty of family-friendly activities, including the Brille ! show, a performance by six skaters from the Red Lips District company, on March 1 at 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. and March 9 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.


Les Glissades Gamelin is the new sliding facility in Place Émilie-Gamelin, where anyone who loves winter sports can get out and enjoy them right in the heart of downtown. There are two slopes, open weekends and all week during March Break: from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 4, to Wednesday, March 6; and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 8, and Friday, March 9, plus special entertainment on Saturdays. There are free activities for the very young, including l’Après-midi du conte, presented three times a day (11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.) with a number of different artists, including Mireya Bayancela, Aurore Liang, Julien Bauby and Camille Deslauriers Ménard. Finally, the snack bar has plenty of choices including hot chocolate, so you can take a delicious break between rounds of winter sandbags.


The second edition of APIK, a sports event held on Saint-Denis St. in the Quartier Latin, will feature around 100 local and international athletes. From March 1 to 3, don’t miss your chance to watch exciting skiing and snowboarding competitions right on Saint-Denis. This free event is guaranteed to have a supercharged atmosphere!


Why not explore outer space by paying a visit to the downtown core? The 14th edition of Luminothérapie presents six luminous works inspired by the power of the cosmos. The walk is especially mesmerizing after dark, whether under snowy or starry skies.


Here’s some good news amid the late-winter mild spell we’re having: the refrigerated Esplanade Tranquille skating rink is open for skaters in all weather. And the professional skaters of Montreal’s Patin Libre are there to introduce skaters of all ages and skill levels to ice dancing. Their games and workshops make it a real family party – they’ll be there on March 2, or March 4 through 9!  

On Sunday mornings, the playful Ice Garden is open for kids who want to learn to skate. Instructors from Patinage Montréal are on hand to help kids age 10 and under to get up and skating.

If you want to take a break from skating or warm your toes, Café Tranquille is the ideal spot. Sip a high-quality coffee or hot chocolate while noshing on a locally made snack.

Lastly, once you’ve had your fill of outdoor fun, you can keep playing inside thanks to Esplanade Tranquille’s game library, the ludothèque, which provides free access to a ton of entertaining games. Pick one from the list, or take a chance on a random basket stocked with a variety of picks.


From March 3 to 10, Complexe Desjardins invites kids to discover the magical world of circus with a packed schedule of activities, circus workshops (juggling, trapeze, magic and tightrope) and performances. The activities, presented by Le Château de cirque and the Carpe Diem circus company, are free but don’t forget your debit card – your kids might want to take a ride on the little train!

MEM - Centre des mémoires montréalaises

From March 5 to 10, the MEM - Centre des mémoires montréalaises offers a playful way to learn more about Montreal with the activity 1-2-3 Go! Discover Montréal. When you buy a ticket for the MEM, you'll receive a sticker allowing you to take part in the Lego and drawing activities in Atelier 2. And a visit to the Public Spaces gives you free access to the Montreal Model Rally and Animation.


March 6 to 9, Place des Arts invites families to make, move and play. On the program: storytime for kids ages 3 to 8 with Prince Canari, as well as circus workshops, cooking activities, origami and much more!   


The exhibition Human Silhouettes, presented March 9, is a great opportunity for the whole family to admire a mural of silhouettes by Senegalese-Canadian artist Anna Binta Diallo. As an extension of the work, the public is invited to a workshop where they will create colourful characters who take shape through fragments of images from the past and present. 


On Saturday, March 2, from 1 to 5 p.m., kids 13 and under can spend some time at the BAnQ to get into a vacation frame of mind. Old-school games and activities await in the library’s youth centre, Espace Jeunes – tons of fun guaranteed!