Many people see Nuit Blanche as more of a giant outdoor party than a series of art instillations – there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it does mean that some people come away from the festival feeling discouraged and like they didn’t actually see very much art. If you want to make the most of your festival experience this year, we’ve got you covered with our handy Nuit Blanche survival guide.
1. Plan ahead.
If you go to Nuit Blanche without doing your homework, you’re not going to see very much art. This is just the truth — you’ll end up following the mobs through the streets and, every once in a while, see a large crowd of people standing around something you can only assume is an art installation. Think of it as the zombie apocalypse of art festivals — if you want to survive (and see some actual art), you have to plan ahead.
2. Don’t go trashed.
Don’t misunderstand us – we’re not telling you not to drink. They key here is not to get smashed. Sure, it’s fun to drunkenly wander the streets of Toronto, but let’s be real: you can do that any weekend. If you actually intend on seeing any art at Nuit Blanche, do yourself a favour and maintain a state of at least semi-consciousness. You’ll actually be able to engage with what you’re seeing,and you won’t be that person who ends up passed out somewhere on University Avenue.
3. Two’s company, three’s a crowd.
You undoubtedly have at least a dozen friends who want to go to Nuit Blanche en masse — great, but only pick one. At most, your Nuit Blanche entourage should be two or three like-minded people who want to see similar things. Otherwise, you’ll spend your whole night intermittently towing members of your party through the masses, or searching in vain for lost members.
4. Avoid Yonge and Dundas Square.
You must never go there, Simba.
5. Go early.
Everyone tends to treat Nuit Blanche like the sort of party you need to show up to fashionably late — this is a fatal misunderstanding. If you go early, you get to see all the things you wanted to see but with half as many people. You can still make a night of it, but if there are some things you want to see in high traffic areas (read: anything in the downtown core) it’s in your best interest to go as early as possible.
6. Make like an onion: layer.
Be a good Canadian and bundle up. Understand it will likely be cold out, but just in case it’s not, wear lighter clothes underneath.
7. Bring snacks.
Lines are crazy — like, really, really crazy. If you feel like braving the world of a 24-hour Timmies during Nuit Blanche, more power to you, but we recommend some trail mix or twirlers to keep you sustained as the night progresses.
8. Don’t make it a first date.
A third date, or a fourth date, sure. But if it goes badly, that can be so, so awkward. The only bonus is that you could maybe lose them in the crowd, if necessary.
9. Be transit smart.
Biking during Nuit Blanche is a tricky situation. It’s impossible to navigate, and there are limited places to lock up. Discount Metropasses are available wherever they are sold, which almost takes the sting out of having to commute back home amongst the drunken masses.
10. Don’t say that you’re going to “meet up with someone later”
You’re not going to meet up with someone later.