Last Updated on September 25, 2023
Montreal, the vibrant and culturally rich metropolis in Canada’s Quebec province, is a city that captivates visitors with its unique blend of European charm and North American flair. From its historic architecture and diverse neighborhoods to its delectable cuisine and lively festivals, Montreal offers a myriad of experiences that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, art enthusiast, or simply looking for a memorable vacation, Montreal has something to offer. Here are the 10 best things to do in Montreal.
1. Explore Old Montreal
A visit to Montreal wouldn’t be complete without wandering through Old Montreal, a beautifully preserved historic district that transports you back in time. Cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and charming boutiques line the area. Don’t miss the stunning Notre-Dame Basilica, a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture.
2. Mount Royal
Montreal takes its name from Mount Royal, a picturesque hill in the heart of the city. Hike to the summit for panoramic views of Montreal’s skyline or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll in Mount Royal Park. The park is especially vibrant in the summer, with picnicking, outdoor concerts, and Tam-Tams, a weekly drumming festival.
3. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Art enthusiasts will relish a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. This world-class institution houses an extensive collection of art, from classical to contemporary. It also hosts fascinating exhibitions featuring renowned artists from around the globe.
4. Jean-Talon Market
To truly appreciate Montreal’s culinary scene, head to Jean-Talon Market. This open-air market is a food lover’s paradise, offering fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, delectable pastries, and a diverse array of international cuisines. It’s an ideal spot to experience the city’s food culture.
5. Biodôme de Montreal
Step into the Biodôme, an extraordinary facility that replicates four distinct ecosystems found in the Americas. You can observe animals and plants from the tropical rainforest, Laurentian maple forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Sub-Antarctic Islands. It’s an educational and immersive experience for all ages.
6. Montreal Botanical Garden
A haven of natural beauty, the Montreal Botanical Garden is a serene escape from the bustling city. With themed gardens, including the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden, it’s a perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic surrounded by lush greenery.
7. The Plateau-Mont-Royal
This trendy neighborhood is known for its colorful houses, hip boutiques, and vibrant arts scene. Take a walk along Rue Saint-Denis or Avenue Mont-Royal, where you’ll find an abundance of shops, cafes, and street art. The Plateau-Mont-Royal also boasts some of the city’s best bagels and poutine.
8. Montreal’s Underground City
When the winter chill sets in, you can still explore Montreal’s downtown thanks to the Underground City, a vast network of tunnels connecting shopping centers, office buildings, hotels, and more. It’s a unique way to stay warm and shop, dine, or even catch a movie in comfort.
9. Montreal’s Festivals
Montreal is famous for its festivals, which take place throughout the year. The Montreal International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, and Montreal World Film Festival are just a few of the cultural celebrations that draw artists and visitors from around the world. No matter when you visit, there’s likely to be a festival happening.
10. St. Joseph’s Oratory
This impressive basilica, perched on Mount Royal, is one of the world’s largest churches and a significant pilgrimage site. Visitors can explore its stunning interior, serene gardens, and even take a funicular ride for a panoramic view of the city.
In addition to these must-see attractions, Montreal is also known for its vibrant nightlife. The city comes alive after dark, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues. From the historic charm of Old Montreal to the trendy bars of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, there’s something for everyone looking to enjoy the city’s nightlife scene.
Moreover, Montreal’s diverse culinary landscape is a highlight of any visit. Beyond the traditional French cuisine, you can savor dishes from around the world, including iconic Montreal specialties like smoked meat sandwiches and poutine. The city’s food festivals, such as the MTLàTABLE restaurant week, are perfect opportunities to sample the best of Montreal’s culinary offerings.
Finally, Montreal is a city that truly embraces the changing seasons. In the winter, you can enjoy activities like ice skating in the Old Port, cross-country skiing in city parks, and attending the famous Fête des Neiges (Snow Festival). In the summer, the city’s parks and outdoor spaces come alive with picnics, festivals, and open-air concerts.
In conclusion, Montreal is a dynamic and captivating city that beckons travelers with its blend of history, culture, and contemporary charm. Whether you’re exploring the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, indulging in delicious food at local markets, or immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant festivals, Montreal promises a memorable and enriching experience. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the 10 best things to do in Montreal, Canada, and create lasting memories in this vibrant Canadian city.