Built in the 1960s by Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau, Place des Arts is Canada’s largest cultural complex. In addition to housing the Contemporary Art Museum and outdoor art installations, the performing arts center boasts six concert halls where guests attend a range of cultural and musical performances, including ballet, opera, and theater.
Walking tours of Old Montreal often include Place des Arts, one of the area’s most popular attractions. Some visitors opt for private day tours of the city, tacking a walk through the Entertainment District (Quartier des Spectacles) and Place des Arts onto the day’s customized itinerary. A private guide provides context and details about the center’s history and architecture that visitors often miss when exploring alone. For a wholly immersive experience, attend a performance—but reserve tickets in advance, as they often sell out quickly.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Place des Arts is a must-see for music lovers.
- Subscribe to the Place des Arts newsletter for exclusive access to ticket presales.
- Download the Place des Arts mobile app for a full performance calendar and interactive map.
- A curated selection of food and drink options are available, including a takeout café and wine bar.
- Place des Arts is accessible to wheelchairs; ramps are located at the center’s two main entrances. You can request accessible seats when purchasing tickets.
How to Get There
Centrally located in the Entertainment District, Place des Arts is easily accessible via Montreal’s comprehensive public transit system. The nearest metro station is the green line’s Place des Arts, which exits into the arts center through an underground tunnel. Buses 15, 55, 80, 125, 129, and 435 Express also stop here. Alternatively, bike racks are located outside the Maison Symphonique entrance.
When to Get There
Place des Arts is open to the public from 12pm to 6pm every day but Sunday. As a cultural hub for both locals and visitors, the center is most crowded on Friday and Saturday evenings. Place des Arts is at its busiest during the summer: Each July it hosts the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs comedy festival—both the largest of their kind in the world.
The Underground City
Montreal winters are notoriously frigid. To keep residents and visitors out of the cold, the city’s 20 miles (33 kilometers) of underground tunnels connect metro stations, buildings, shopping malls, performance spaces, and universities. Place des Arts is part of this underground city, affording visitors with easy access to the metro, Complexe Desjardins shopping center, Université de Québec à Montréal, and the Contemporary Art Museum.