Canada might be famous for amazing scenery and natural wonders such as Niagara Falls and the Rocky Mountains but did you know that Canadian cities are cool? From jazz clubs and cocktail bars to pub crawls and night spots, here are 10 party cities in Canada that will keep you up all night.
Canadians know how to party like there’s no tomorrow so go visit and experience Canada’s party culture.
- 10 Party Cities in Canada
- 1- Montreal
- 2- Vancouver
- 3- Toronto
- 4- Calgary
- 5- Quebec City
- 6- Halifax
- 7- Victoria
- 8- Winnipeg
- 9- Ottawa
- 10- Edmonton
10 Party Cities in Canada
An elegant city of creativity and style, Montréal showcases design, art and architecture with Quebecois flair and so it should.
After Paris, Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world.
Montréal was the first urban centre to sign the National Geographic Society’s Geotourism Charter and it’s also a city for foodies, with over 6,000 restaurants dishing up Quebecois and international cuisine.
Best time of year to party in Montreal
Summer is an amazing season to visit and if you’re looking for a party around every corner, be there during the Montreal Jazz Festival (June/July) which is the world’s largest jazz festival and fun time to be in the city.
Where to party in Montreal
Try your luck at Montreal Casino (1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal). Canada’s largest casino has 3200 slot machines and 150 gaming tables and is a happening place round the clock 24×7.
Live music bars
Montreal is a hotspot for indie bands and there are plenty of live music bars to tune into the local music scene. Check out these live music party spots:
- Casa del Popolo (4873 Boulevard St-Laurent, Montreal) – A family-run vegetarian hot-spot that is a bit of everything: a café, music venue, resto-bar and art gallery.
- Café Campus/Petit Campus (57 Prince-Arthur East, Montreal) – A bar, concert venue, dance club and workers co-op all in one.
- Bar Le Ritz PDB (179 Jean Talon West, Montreal)
- Bar Le Lab (279 Ste-Catherine Est, Montreal) is an atmospheric speakeasy with a cool bar menu of creative cocktails and bistro food.
Montreal’s Jazz Bars
Montreal’s jazz bars hop all-year round so if you can’t make it to the jazz festival party with the locals in these jazz bars:
- Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill – Sip Canadian whisky in this top Montreal jazz club and tap your feet to a live jam session.
- House of Jazz (2060 Aylmer Street, Downtown Montreal)
- Quai des Brumes (4481 St-Denis Street, Montreal)
The morning after
- Grab coffee and croissants in Old Montréal then chill out in Mount Royal Park.
- Detox with nature in Space for Life and explore the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.
- Passeport MTL provides access to key Montréal attractions and the city’s public transit system (the 24-hour card sells for $64 and the 72-hour card for $109).
Vancouver has a spectacular harbour, a famous bridge and the scenic backdrop of Grouse Mountain is an enchanting winter wonderland when the mountains are snow-capped.
Vancouver also has a wonderful diversity of ethnic cuisine, plenty of attractions for city slickers and it is British Columbia’s gateway to the Canadian Rocky Mountains and some of the best ski resorts in Canada.
Best time of year to party in Vancouver
Nightlife in Vancouver really gets going in summer and fall. Vancouver has a huge list of festivals, with something on every month. Vancouver’s festivals are fun and some of them are free.
Where to party in Vancouver
The once-seedy neighbourhood of Gastown (don’t be surprised to smell whiffs of marijuana as you wander the streets!), named after British seaman ‘Gassy’ Jack Deighton, is a delightful maze of boutiques, bars and cafes.
- Irish Heather – pub atmosphere and a good spot to meet locals
- The Diamond – for sleek cocktails and a fun night out
- The Lamplighter (92 Water Street, Vancouver) – fun on Friday nights and a classic spot for a drink any other night too.
- The Blarney Stone (216 Carrall St, Vancouver) – Vancouver’s longest running Irish pub is a guaranteed good time after 11 pm.
Check out these cool places to spots:
- Opus Bar (350 Davie St, Vancouver) – glitzy hotspot where you might rub shoulders with celebrities.
- Roxy (932 Granville St, Vancouver) – Club with live bands, themed events and DJ.
The morning after
- Take the Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain for a panoramic view of Vancouver or if you’re feeling energetic, the 850m track is a challenging hike.
- Stanley Park is a picturesque place to hang out and meet the locals (last time I was there I made friends with a racoon).
The thriving metropolis of Toronto is Canada’s largest and buzziest city.
Toronto is the kind of city you’ll never run out of things to do, from going to the theatre to having fun at a festival to wandering around markets.
Among the city’s impressive cultural attractions is the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, which is one of the world’s last operating double-decker theatre.
Best time of year to party in Toronto
A good time to go to Toronto is during the Beaches International Jazz Festival (July) for 16 days of music and fun.
Where to party in Toronto
Grab an uber and head to King West or Queen West. Here are some cool night spots:
- Lost and Found (577 King Street West, Toronto) – party in a 100-year-old building.
- Wildflower (550 Wellington Street, West, Toronto)
- Uniun Nightclub (473 Adelaide Street, West, Toronto)
- Apt 200 (1034 Queen Street, West, Toronto) – a unique club with a house party vibe.
- Maison Mercer Nightclub – For views downtown Toronto from the rooftop terrace.
The morning after
- Take a trip to Niagara Falls (the distance between Toronto and Niagara Falls is about the same as travelling between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast).
- Check out the view of Toronto from the SkyTerrace observation area of CN Tower, which holds the Guinness World Record for the “World’s highest external walk on a building”.
- Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario and Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Home to Canada’s Giant Pandas, Toronto Zoo’s Augmented Reality Experience is a cool technology that will allow you to stand alongside a giraffe in Africa, petting a polar bear in the Arctic.
For visitors who have travelled from afar to see the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is a stopover at either end of a thrilling journey through the jaw-dropping scenery of Jasper National Park, Lake Louise and Banff National Park.
If you think of Vancouver as the front door to the Rocky Mountains then Calgary is the back door.
But don’t be mistaken, Calgary is actually a happening city in its own right and there are plenty of fun things to do in Calgary day and night.
Best time of year to party in Calgary
The Calgary Stampede (in July each year) is an event worth planning your trip around for a mega-dose of cowboy culture with events like cowboys roping cattle and bucking broncos.
Kit yourself up with a handmade cowboy Stetson hat, a pair of genuine cowboy boots and hit the bars for a fun time.
Where to party in Calgary
At any time of the year, if you love two-stepping to the country twang, here are a few nightspots to put on your list:
- Cowboys (421 12 Ave SE, Calgary)
- Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dance Hall (9615 Macleod Trail S T2J 0P6 Calgary)
For cool places to dance:
- Habitat Living Sound (1217 1 St SW, Calgary) – DJ dance floor with house music and disco.
- The Hifi Club (219 10 Ave SW, Calgary) – live music venue, dance club and art gallery in Calgary’s Beltline district
The morning after
- If you can’t get to Calgary in July, Heritage Park Historical Village is a worthwhile attraction for a hands-on step back into history, beer-making, wool-spinning, cooking classes and exhibitions that reveal Canada’s wild past.
- For music fans, the National Music Centre – Studio Bell is a $168 million attraction that has exhibits of over 2000 rare instruments, including the Rolling Stones’ legendary studio on wheels and the piano Elton John composed Tiny Dancer on.
5- Quebec City
Quebec City’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage wonder with enchanting cobblestone streets packed with restaurants, galleries and cafes.
The atmosphere and horse-drawn carriages are sure to remind you of Europe.
Quebec City has oodles of charm and there’s an air of mystery lurking in the storybook streets of the Old Town.
Best time to party in Quebec City
Quebec Winter Carnival (January/February) is a wonderland of winter activities, from dog sledding to snow sculpture displays to ice fishing and ice canoe races.
A good reason to put this carnival on your itinerary is it allows you to try all the different winter activities in one place and there’s a wonderfully festive atmosphere, with parades and other frivolous fun activities.
Where to party in Quebec City
Quebec City’s Grande Allée is the best place to go for nightlife as there are plenty of bars, dance clubs, cigar clubs and nightspots with live music.
- Dagobert Nightclub (600, Grande-Allée E., Québec, QC) – three floors, live bands, DJs and VIP tables for a grand night out.
- Les 3 Brasseurs (650, Grand Allee Est, Quebec, QC) – drink Quebec beer at this microbrewery chain that started over 100 years ago in France.
- La Piazz (641½ Grande-Allée Est, Québec, QC) – listen to live music while enjoying a drink or two.
- Taverne (585, Grande Allée Est, Quebec, QC) – listen to 90’s grunge music in an eclectic spot decorated with old arcade machines, exposed brick walls and high beamed ceilings.
- Maurice Nightclub (575 Grande Allée E, Québec, QC) – dress to impress at the Friday night dance parties in this converted three-storey mansion.
The most atmospheric spots to party in Quebec City, the cobblestone streets of Basse Ville and Haute Ville come alive after dark, with street performers, buzzy restaurants and bars.
The morning after
- Walk, cross-country ski or run it off at the Plains of Abraham, which is the largest green space in the heart of Québec City. While you’re getting fit for your next round of partying in Quebec City, think of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham that took place in 1759 between the French and the British.
- Take the funiculaire to Basse Ville and visit the Museum of Civilization.
- Walk the walls of Old Quebec, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Visit the Aquarium du Quebec
A vibrant coastal city on the Atlantic, Halifax is rich in Celtic traditions and has a distinctive Scottish flair.
Halifax also has a notable nautical pedigree – it was the birthplace of Samuel Cunard (founder of Cunard Shipping Line) and was the closest city to the spot where the Titanic sank.
Halifax is also the gateway to Nova Scotia’s delights; highlights include three UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Arcadian homeland of Grand Pré, Old Town of Lunenburg and Joggins Fossil Cliffs).
Best time of year to party in Halifax
Summer in Halifax is the time to meet new friends and to get into the party swing at a festival.
Where to party in Halifax
Argyle Street is a good place to start and it’s easy enough to have a great time at a nightclub, pub or bar.
- The Dome Nightclub (1732 Argyle Street, Halifax) – party all night long in this massive nightspot with multiple dance rooms, live music and digital stage.
- The Toothy Mouse (1661 Argyle Street, Halifax) – a rocking good Country Music party
- Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub (1645 Argyle St, Halifax)- there’s no need to go to Ireland for the Craic, here’s an Irish pub designed and built in Dublin with a roster of Irish fun
- The Seahorse (2037 Gottingen Street, Halifax) – keep an eye out for retro dance night parties where a good time is guaranteed.
The morning after
- The Halifax waterfront boardwalk is packed with excellent museums, such as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (for seafaring history and displays about the Titanic) and the Canadian Museum of immigration at Pier 21.
- Explore the Halifax Citadel
- Go whale watching or sailing (if you’re not feeling too seedy)
Heritage architecture, beautiful gardens and oodles of old-world charm are the hallmarks of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
Canada’s most patrician city is a top spot to feel grand with a cocktail, craft beer or a spot of afternoon tea.
Best time of year to party in Victoria
Victoria Beer Week (March) is a great time to party in British Columbia’s capital as the nine-day festival is a showcase of BC’s unique craft breweries.
Where to party in Victoria
Victoria is the most English city in Canada so a good place to start is in an English pub and there are plenty of excellent pubs to choose from! Here are a few:
- Batholomew’s Pub (777 Douglas St, Victoria) – Bart’s is a lively classic English pub with a decent menu of local craft beer but their signature cocktail is the Double Seafood Caesar.
- Yates Street Taphouse (759 Yates St, Victoria)- 40 beers on tap, music bingo, DJ and live music on Friday nights.
- Garrick’s Head Pub (1140 Government Street, Victoria)- one of the oldest English pubs in Canada dates back to 1867 offers traditional English fare, Canadian craft beer and happy times in Bastion Square.
The morning after
- Enjoy High Tea at the Fairmont Empress (a tradition since 1908)
- Wander around Butchart Gardens for stunning floral displays. The 22ha garden is a paradise at Christmas time when the gardens are a page out of a fairytale with twinkling lights.
- Foodies will love the Victoria Public Market, which is housed in the historic Hudson Bay Company building and is a treasure trove of food stalls where you can taste a cornucopia of local produce in one spot.
- Take a tour of Victoria’s breweries and cideries
Manitoba’s capital is the gateway to Canada’s polar bears in Churchill.
If your dream is to see the polar bears up close you can do so from the safety of a Tundra Buggy or stay in a remote wilderness lodge for a more adventurous experience.
In recent times, Winnipeg has grown into a city worth exploring in its own right with world-class city diversions.
Best time of year to party in Winnipeg
Jive to the beat at Winnipeg’s Festival du Voyageur (February), which is the largest winter festival in Western Canada. It might be freezing but you’ll definitely have a great time at this massive winter celebration held in several venues around the city.
Where to party in Winnipeg
Winnipeg has an exciting live music scene, with lots of local bands. Head to the historic Exchange District to hang out with artists, musicians and the city’s creative types. Here are some favourite party spots:
- King’s Head (12 Kings Street, Winnipeg) – one of the oldest pubs in the Exchange District
- Times Change (d) High & Lonesome Club (234 Main Street, Winnipeg) – a cool roots and blues venue with a busy event calendar in an 1882 building once owned by a man who died on the Titanic.
- Le Garage (166 Provencher Blvd, Winnipeg) – a great spot to party with the city’s Franco Manitoban community with something on every night.
The morning after
- Visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, for thought-provoking exhibits and eye-catching architecture.
- The Assiniboine Park Zoo has a fantastic polar bear exhibit where you can see the bears floating above your head through a transparent floor at The Journey to Churchill.
- Go shopping at The Forks then find a spot under a tree and watch the world go by
- Take a walking tour of Winnipeg’s French Quarter, admire St Boniface Cathedral, eat croissants and drink coffee in a French cafe.
Ottawa may be a small city but there are plenty of things to do in Ottawa.
In fact, Ottawa delivers all the attractions you’d expect of Canada’s capital and more.
From Parliament Hill and the famous “Mounties” (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to excellent museums and galleries, fabulous festivals and shopping.
Best time of year to party in Ottawa
Canada Day (1 July) in the nation’s capital is the biggest part of the year, with lots of live entertainment, activities and fireworks. It’s on a Monday this year, so make it a long weekend to remember.
Where to party in Ottawa
- Babylon (317 Bank St, Ottawa) – for rock, soul and Friday night dance parties.
- PPL Nightclub (130 George Street, Ottawa) – check it out for Afro beats and posh parties
- Caliente Latin Club (527 Sussex Dr, Ottawa) – Saturday Soirees for Spanish, salsa and samba.
- Bar Laurel (1087 Wellington Street W Ottawa)
The morning after
- Head to Parliament Hill for a 360-degree view of Ottawa and its twin city, Gatineau (which is on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River) and a boat cruise down the Rideau Canal.
- Take a boat trip on the Rideau Canal
- Rent a bike and cycle around Ottawa (the city is compact enough to make this a fun thing to do)
- Go shopping in the Byward Market and eat a Beavertail (an indulgent Canadian pastry that is so good you won’t stop at one!). The company started in Ottawa and has grown with franchises throughout Canada, USA and abroad.
Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, is a hub for trade, culture and entertainment.
Locals describe Edmonton as authentic, rugged and original.
For sure, of the major cities in Canada, Edmonton is pretty down to earth.
Best time to party in Edmonton
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival (August) is the largest and oldest fringe festival on the continent. The mega festival has over 170 shows from around the world and more than 1500 performers. Artists are chosen through a lottery process and receive 100% of the ticket price.
Where to party in Edmonton
- Y Afterhours (10028 102 St, Edmonton) – cool electronic music dance club
- Prive Ultralounge (10304 111 Street NW, Edmonton)- high-energy Las Vegas-style party venue with laser lights and cool events.
The morning after
- Hang out in West Edmonton Mall, which is the size of a small city with 800 shops, 100 dining venues, two hotels and nine major attractions, including Galaxyland (the world’s largest indoor amusement park).
- Go shopping in old Strathcona
- Wind down at the Devonian Botanic Gardens