2012 Nuit Blanche Festival, Montreal

This Saturday, February 25, marks the thirteenth-annual celebration of Nuit Blanche, the contemporary arts festival that runs from 6PM to 6AM, with 170 art activities and installations showcasing Montreal’s storytellers, visual artists, comedians and exhibitionists. Corresponding with the finale of Festival Montreal en Lumière, this evening is always one of the winter season’s busiest. Go in informed.

Map the Evening
Similar to scheduling a day at an amusement park, you want to check out which attractions you’re interested in and build an itinerary around them. One obvious factor is proximity, but waiting times can also be an issue, more so when planning meet-ups or catching performances. Nuit Blanche has interactive maps that chart all participating galleries. If you’re on the go, a mobile app will allow you to make split-second decisions, re-arrange routes and view exhibitions based on your GPS location.

Play Favourites
The Belgo Building, the largest visual arts center in Montreal, is the place to be for one-stop “shoppers.” Fifteen galleries have officially opened their doors for the all-night festivities, with a number of unofficial spaces also participating.

Seeking something more hands on and less pretentious? Check out POMPOMWARS, a three-team game of dodgeball taking place in one of the city’s busiest intersections.

Get Around
Though spring has unofficially sprung, Bixi Bikes still remain in hiding. Weather-permitting, you might walk or cycle around town on your own accord — but as the festival spans three quartiers and one pôle (Quartier des Spectacles et Centre-Ville, Quartier Vieux-Montréal, Quartier Plateau-Mont- Royal and Mile-End, Pôle Parc olympique), you should consider alternatives. Thankfully, the STM has embraced the night, and is keeping its doors open for commuters. If you’re sticking to the downtown core, remember that Montreal has a large underground pathway to beat the rain.

No matter when you start or stop your evening, it’s likely you’ll need a bite, or pint, throughout the night. While drinking in public remains illegal, and ever ungentlemanly, Bistro le Balmoral (305 Ste-Catherine St. West) is a recommended thirst-quenching destination. To trump an empty stomach, grab a quick bit at Brasserie T!; it’s conveniently located in the Quartier des Spectacles, which is arguably the HQ of Nuit Blanche.

Image courtesy of j.o.h.n. walker

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