Things to Do in Montreal: The 33 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
You’re planning to visit Montreal during your next trip and you’re looking for the best things to do?
You’re at the right place!
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 33 best things to do in Montreal, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.
In addition to my list of things to do and activities, I will also give you optimized itineraries to visit Montreal in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days (or even 1 week!) as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.
So, what are the best things to do in Montreal? Where to stay?
- Things to Do in Montreal: The 33 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
- Visit Montreal: All must-see attractions (Winter + Summer)
- 1. The Plateau-Mont-Royal
- 2. Old Montreal
- 3. Old Port of Montreal: Best things to see and do
- 4. Saint Catherine Street
- 5. Montreal Olympic Stadium
- 6. Montreal Botanical Garden
- 7. The Montreal Biodome
- 8. The must-visit museums in Montreal
- 9. The churches of Montreal
- 10. Visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory
- 11. Montreal’s markets
- 12. The Village, Montreal’s gay district
- 13. Best things to do in Montreal at night
- Winter delights in Montreal
- Visiting Montreal in the summer
- Festivals in Montreal
- Best things to do around Montreal
- 33. Best things to do in Montreal My top places to eat
- Where to stay in Montreal
- My impressions of Montreal
- You’re traveling in Canada? These articles will help you!
- Visit Montreal: All must-see attractions (Winter + Summer)
Visit Montreal: All must-see attractions (Winter + Summer)
1. The Plateau-Mont-Royal
The Plateau-Mont-Royal is the quintessential “hip” neighborhood, making it the perfect starting point for this rundown of the must-see places in Montreal!
This area is well-renowned and particularly loved by French people, be they tourists or expats choosing it as their initial landing spot. So don’t expect to hear much of the Quebecois accent here!
The typical houses with exterior staircases and colorful facades add heaps of charm to the Plateau, and it’s a real delight to wander around in any season.
The neighborhood is buzzing with shops, restaurants, bars, and thrift stores spread over 4 main arteries. Perfect setup for a leisurely stroll around Montreal:
- St Laurent Boulevard, where a host of cultural communities have set up their shops
- St Denis Street, renowned for its avenue filled with terrace cafes
- Prince Arthur Street, bursting with restaurants
- Mont Royal Avenue, home to trendy bars and fashion boutiques.
2. Old Montreal
Nestled between the Saint Lawrence River and downtown skyscrapers, the Old Montreal district is the historical go-to spot in Montreal.
To explore it, stop at the “Place d’Armes” or “Champ-de-Mars” metro station.
Points of interest during this must-do visit in Montreal include:
- The old Sulpician seminary: Montreal’s oldest existing building
- Notre-Dame Basilica: I’ll talk more about this further down
- The Quebec Bank Building: built in 1888, it’s Montreal’s first “skyscraper” although just 8 stories high
- Saint Jacques Street: Montreal’s “Wall Street”
- Place d’Youville: a green oasis offering tranquil vibes
- The three courthouses
- The City Hall, best admired in the evening for its façade light display
- Jacques Cartier Square, perfect for a leisurely drink on a terrace
- Bonsecours Market, boasting luxury boutiques and temporary exhibitions.
3. Old Port of Montreal: Best things to see and do
The Old Port is part of the historic district of Old Montreal. It’s another perfect spot for a walk.
It’s not really a functioning port anymore since all the port activity has been relocated. Rather, it offers a wonderful walk along the Saint Lawrence River, especially near the clock tower with a view of the Jacques Cartier bridge.
A whole slew of activities await you here, whether it’s summer (think cycling, rollerblading, leapfrog, horse-drawn carriage rides) or winter (get ready for ice skating, ice fishing).
But there are 3 activities I absolutely recommend (click on the orange links to book):
- A cruise on the Saint Lawrence River to admire Montreal from a fresh perspective. Book here!
- This cruise is also available in the evening (click here!) and comes with a fantastic five-course dinner. Perfect for a romantic outing in Montreal!
- A spin on the Great Wheel, which is the biggest Ferris wheel in Canada. You’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of the city! Book your ticket for the Great Wheel at the Old Port of Montreal by clicking right here!
- A ride on the urban zipline, the longest in Canada. Book here!
As you wander around, I’d also suggest dropping by the Montreal Science Centre, tucked away at the far end of the port.
It offers a wide range of fun, interactive exhibitions that change quite often. It’s an excellent activity if you’re wondering what to do in Montreal with kids. The centre also features an IMAX cinema for 3D documentaries.
Find all the information about the exhibitions, prices, and IMAX cinema schedule on the Montreal Science Centre website.
4. Saint Catherine Street
If you’re wondering where to go shopping in Montreal, look no further than Saint Catherine Street, an eminent boulevard recognized for its vibrant shopping scene.
Stretching for a whopping 11km, of which 3km are purely dedicated to retail therapy, it’s home to over 1,000 shops, bars, restaurants and major shopping centres such as Eaton Centre and Montreal Trust.
All the usual suspects are there, from H&M and Forever 21, to Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters.
To get there, simply hop on the metro to Mc Gill station, which sits conveniently in the Eaton Centre.
5. Montreal Olympic Stadium
Built for the 1976 Olympic Games, the stadium has become one of the city’s internationally recognised symbols thanks to its distinctive architecture and iconic tower.
This is a fascinating place to visit in Montreal on a guided tour, discovering its history through an exhibition retracing its construction and featuring many sports memorabilia.
Next, take the glass funicular to climb to the top of the stadium’s tower, which happens to be the world’s highest inclined tower (165 meters high with a 45-degree inclination). At the top, you’ll be greeted by an amazing panoramic view of the Montreal region.
If you happen to be around after the sun sets, don’t forget that the Montreal Olympic Stadium is quite a sight to see when it’s all lit up.
6. Montreal Botanical Garden
This is one of the most important botanical gardens in the world, with its 75 hectares hosting more than 20,000 plant species, 10 exhibition greenhouses and over twenty themed gardens.
I was totally captivated by the Chinese pavilions. They’re absolutely amazing, adorned with gorgeous pagodas amidst water features and a multitude of lively koi fish.
Also worth checking out are the Japanese garden, the aquatic garden, and the rose garden. The greenhouses offer a journey into the plant life from both arid landscapes and the lush tropical rainforest.
The botanical garden also houses an insectarium with over 250,000 specimens of live or preserved insects. You can also find yourself amidst hundreds of butterflies fluttering freely in a greenhouse specifically dedicated for them.
Each year, the Montreal Botanical Garden transforms into a garden of light with its lantern festival. Special light structures, created just for the occasion, are cleverly incorporated into the garden décor, enhancing its charm. It’s simply stunning.
If you’re planning a winter trip to Montreal, the botanical garden is also a great visit and it’s free!
A lot of folks make the most of it by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing along the flat trails. The garden’s trail networks communicate with Maisonneuve Park and offer nearly 10 kilometers of track. You’ll need to bring your own equipment as the garden doesn’t offer rentals.
For more information about the garden and the prices, check out the botanical garden’s website.
7. The Montreal Biodome
Another must-visit spot in Montreal (especially if you have kids!): the Biodome
It provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the ecosystems of the American continent through its exceptionally crafted layout. Through a clever system that mirrors the seasons, the natural conditions such as temperature and humidity are meticulously recreated.
You can observe the fauna and flora of 5 different ecosystems:
- The tropical rainforest: lush vegetation with temperatures around 28 degrees, where you can see piranhas, caimans, parrots and capybaras.
- The Laurentian maple forest: a typically Quebecois forest with maple and birch trees, and a chance for observing lynxes, otters, and beavers.
- The Gulf of Saint Lawrence: represented by a basin containing no less than 2.5 million liters of sea water with cod, bass, salmon and on the beach numerous ducks and seagulls.
- The Arctic and Antarctic: where you’ll be able to admire an entire colony of penguins.
To plan your visit, you can get all the necessary details on the Montreal Biodome’s official website.
8. The must-visit museums in Montreal
In Montreal, culture and art hold a significant place.
In addition to the Pointe à Callière Museum, the Biodome, and the Science Center I mentioned earlier, there are over 50 different museums in Montreal.
Here’s my pick of the top museums to see during your visit to Montreal:
- Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, located 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
- Contemporary Art Museum (MAC), 185 Saint Catherine West Street
- McCord Museum: Items related to Canadian history, and particularly to indigenous culture. 690 Sherbrooke Street West
- Saint-Gabriel House: This charming traditional dwelling holds more than 300 years of history within its walls. Animations in traditional costumes and various activities are available on site, including a New France-style meal at the Refectory! Very lively, it’s the best history museum in Montreal in my opinion. 2146, place Dublin – Pointe-Saint-Charles
- Montreal Firefighters’ Museum (MBAM): Open only on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm, located 5100 Boulevard Saint-Laurent.
- Redpath Museum: The program includes paleontology, zoology, mineralogy, and a carnivorous dinosaur skeleton in this free museum (donations appreciated). 59 Sherbrooke West Street
9. The churches of Montreal
Let’s continue this Montreal guide with the must-see churches.
The most renowned is without a doubt the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, nestled in Old Montreal, which I’ve given a nod to earlier. The interior of this 60m high neo-Gothic building is sublime!
To the best of my understanding, it’s the solitary place of worship in Montreal that asks for an admission fee. The proceeds go towards the upkeep and refurbishment of this significant religious monument in Quebec.
A 20-minute guided tour is included in the entrance fee, but you can also visit freely.
Here are a few other places of worship that I found profoundly striking during my Montreal adventure, thanks to their extraordinary architecture!
- Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral
- Christ Church Cathedral
- Montreal Saint-Édouard Church
- St. James United Church
- St. George’s Anglican Church.
10. Visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory
On the list of things to do in Montreal, Saint Joseph’s Oratory, located in the Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood is a must for its exceptional architecture, but also to get a sense of the importance of religious life in early 20th century Quebec.
This imposing building built on the slopes of Mount Royal is nearly 100 meters high and is topped by a mammoth dome 39 meters in diameter. It’s even more impressive on the inside!
Aside from the Oratory, you can also pop into Brother André’s quaint little chapel, and wander around the gardens with its Way of the Cross where you’ll spot a whole host of intriguing sculptures.
11. Montreal’s markets
Feeling a bit full from all the poutine, burgers, and brunches? How about taking a trip to one of Montreal’s three major markets to scoop up some fresh and delightful local produce, or simply soak in the lively atmosphere of the colorful stalls:
- Atwater Market – perfectly located by the Lachine Canal, it’s renowned for its butcheries and cheesemongers. For those who’ve got a fondness for fromage, you can grab 3 cheeses for a mere 10 bucks here – an absolute steal in Canada, I promise you!
- Jean Talon Market – nestled in Little Italy, you’ll find fresh fruits and veggies, and a plethora of goods from around the globe, from Polish pastries to French crepes.
- Maisonneuve Market – complete with fishmongers, greengrocers, bakers, and florists stalls.
12. The Village, Montreal’s gay district
Another iconic spot to check out in Montreal is Le Village, Montreal’s gay district.
A sterling example of the tolerance and diversity that are the hallmarks of Quebec. Recognized around the world as a hot spot for LGBTQ+ tourism, this energetic neighborhood is a delight to stroll through with its cafes, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and a delightful streetscape!
In the summer, Saint Catherine Street in Le Village transforms into a vibrant pedestrian zone, so that’s the prime time to revel in it.
Here are a few hot spots in Le Village:
- The Cabaret Mado with its wacky drag queen shows
- Le Sky, one of Montreal’s top nightclubs.
- Le Mousso, one of the city’s best restaurants.
13. Best things to do in Montreal at night
What could be more delightful than enjoying an evening cocktail with friends? Well, in Montreal, that’s a piece of cake as you’ll find an abundance of bars and breweries practically everywhere!
You’ll also find plenty of joints where you can have a drink while playing board games. Be it classics like Monopoly or Jungle Speed, or some downright obscure games you’ve never heard of!
If you’re not in the mood for laughs but rather a bit of a scare, I also recommend a nighttime tour themed “The Ghosts of Old Montreal”. Accompanied by a guide, you’ll trace the spirits that haunt the historic center!
You can book your spot by clicking the button below:
And for a spicier version of a night out in Montreal, you should know that strip clubs are quite common in the city.
For the ladies*, I suggest Club 281. Also known as a “male dancers bar” it offers Chippendales-style strip teases on stage, as well as “private shows” where you can pay for a dance with someone.
*Men are welcome to attend the shows if accompanied by a woman.
Winter delights in Montreal
Below, I present to you my selection of the best places to go in Montreal during winter.
14. Visiting Mount Royal Park in Winter
Mount Royal Park is Montreal’s largest park, and in winter, its paths, hills, and pond transform for you to enjoy a variety of winter activities!
You can partake in:
- Sledding: Ideal for some family or friends’ fun, it’s the perfect place to enjoy this activity for free.
- Snow scootering: Like sledding, but standing up, for a change of pace!
- Ice skating: In winter, the beaver lake turns into a free public ice rink for everyone to enjoy. Take advantage!
- Cross-country skiing: The trails on Mount Royal provide an opportunity to indulge in this sport amidst beautiful natural surroundings, just a stone’s throw from the city.
- Snowshoeing: A great alternative to cross-country skiing!
If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry. You can rent everything (except sleds) at the beaver lake pavilion, which also serves as a cozy little restaurant to warm up after a fun glide session.
You can also opt for a guided snowshoe hike organized by the park. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour stroll through Mount Royal and introduce you to the local wildlife along the way.
The tour is highly engaging and even perfect for families with children (ages 8 and up).
And if you’re looking for a unique activity to do in Montreal, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also go night snowshoeing with a guide from the Amis de la montagne (Friends of the Mountain Association).
15. Where to ice skate in Montreal?
Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity in Quebec.
In Montreal, it’s hard not to get in on this action as each neighbourhood has its own charming little outdoor rink, free of charge. Kiddos can dip their toes into skating with minimal danger, and the grown-ups can engage in the sport that gets Montreal’s heart racing: hockey.
But the most picturesque place to lace up your skates is at Montreal’s Old Port. While there is a fee to skate on this large rink, the sight of the Old Port and Saint Lawrence River is simply stunning. It’s the trendiest place to skate in the city.
In addition to the Beaver Lake at Mount Royal Park that we previously mentioned, another bustling winter spot for ice skating in Montreal is Lafontaine Park.
Here, you’ll even see numerous parents skating while pushing their strollers on the ice! Access to the ice is free. If you don’t have your own skates, you can rent a pair for $10.
16. The Montreal snow festival – Fêtes Des Neiges
The “Fêtes des Neiges”, Montreal snow festival, is a must-attend family event held each winter. It takes place over four weekends between January and February at Jean-Drapeau Park. Entrance is free but some activities have additional costs.
All your favorite winter activities from Quebec are showcased here: ice sculpture workshops, tube sliding (on inflatables), skating, dog sledding, ziplining, musical performances.
You can also indulge in traditional Quebecois treats like maple taffy, beaver tails, and obviously, poutine.
17. More winter activities in Montreal
1) Ice Fishing
You can try ice fishing right in the city, specifically at the Old Port of Montreal. It’s certainly a less immersive experience than deep in the heart of Quebec, but it’s a great way to enjoy this activity if you’re short on time for a weekend getaway!
You’ll also be able to ski near Montreal.
Alpine skiing is a must-do winter activity in Quebec, and while it’s not the Alps, here are some friendly ski resorts:
- Mont Saint Bruno: Just 30 minutes from downtown, it doesn’t get much closer to Montreal! A favorite among city-dwellers, this small resort has 15 slopes.
- Mont-Rigaud: Also just 30 minutes from Montreal, this tiny 9-slope resort is known as the perfect place for beginners.
- Bromont: To the southeast of Montreal, about an hour’s drive away, is the Bromont ski resort, with a domain boasting 141 slopes.
- Mont Saint-Sauveur: An hour from Montreal, with its 40 slopes, it’s “Viking” roller coaster, numerous restaurants, concerts, and events, it’s a delightful place for a weekend! Mont Saint-Sauveur also has an excellent snowpark for freestyle lovers!
- Mont-Tremblant: The farthest ski resort from Montreal in this list, requiring a 1.5-hour drive. However, with its 96 slopes, charming “village” and après-ski activities, it’s one of Quebec’s most popular resorts.
3) Spas and hot baths
This activity, enjoyable all year round, is especially magical in winter! In Montreal, several spas offer outdoor hot baths throughout the year. Here are some of the most well-known:
- Strom Nordic Spa on Nuns’ Island (Île-des-Sœurs)
- Spa Bota Bota, in Old Montreal
- Scandinave Spa, also located in Old Montreal.
Visiting Montreal in the summer
Summer in Montreal, contrary to what you might think, it’s really hot! So don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and a hat for your excursions.
18. Visiting Mount Royal Park in summer
Mount Royal Park, a highly renowned tourist spot in Montreal, has several shaded trails for cool walks and numerous vantage points with great city views.
Be sure to stop by the Mount Royal lookout for a panorama of the entire downtown area.
The park is also an ideal spot for jogging or cycling.
In summer, it’s the perfect place to have a picnic by the Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors), an artificial lake surrounded by a kids’ playground and various amenities, including a bar-restaurant with a terrace.
You can spot numerous curious and friendly squirrels there. A must-see during your stay in Montreal!
19. The Lachine Canal
If you’re wondering what else to visit in Montreal, I suggest heading over to the Lachine Canal, located in the southwest of the city. Its 14.5-kilometer route starts from the old port and ends at Lake Saint-Louis.
In summer, it’s a dream spot for safely cycling along its tree-lined, well-maintained banks. The path is flat and away from traffic, perfect for a family outing in Montreal.
You can rent bicycles near Atwater Market at a small outdoor shack along the canal: Ma Bicyclette.
You can check out the Lachine Canal not just from the banks but also by hopping on different types of watercraft.
A rental service offers pedal boats, canoes, and small electric boats for hire.
The calm waters won’t cause any problems, and you’ll have fun crossing the numerous small locks.
20. Jet Boat/Spin Boat on the Saint Lawrence River
Contrasting with a peaceful walk along the Lachine Canal, you can choose a more exhilarating activity in Montreal: Jet Boating or Saute-Mouton as the locals call it.
You’ll tackle the Lachine Rapids, on the fleuve Saint-Laurent (Saint Lawrence River), aboard a rather special boat: guaranteed thrills! You’ll come out refreshed, or rather soaked.
Perfect for hot days – just bring a change of clothes!
Another idea for a boat trip in Montreal: Spin Boat. This fast boat takes sharp turns and spins around, hence the name.
In groups of about ten people, you’ll board the boat in Old Montreal’s port. The adrenaline rush is definitely guaranteed with an experience that can be compared to water rodeo!
However, it doesn’t venture into the Lachine Rapids, so don’t confuse it with “Saute-Mouton”!
21. A day out at Jean-Drapeau Park
If you’re looking for some awesome spots to check out in Montreal, let’s head over to Parc Jean-Drapeau. It’s located on two islands just south of Montreal and has a ton of cool outdoor activities to enjoy.
Here’s the plan: 25 km of hiking trails, bike paths, kayak rentals, paddleboarding, rock climbing, wildlife and flora observation, supervised beach, food services, and picnic areas.
You’ll easily spend a whole day here. But, take a tip from me, stay till the sun dips down. That’s when you’ll get the most stunning panorama of downtown, with the city lights reflecting in the river, perfect for snapping some gorgeous photos!
These two islands, Saint Helen and Notre-Dame, which now form Jean Drapeau Park, were actually home to the 1967 World’s Fair.
Most of the pavilions were demolished after the expo, but today, the French pavilion, now the Montreal Casino, and the American pavilion, known as the Biosphere (that I mentionned earlier), remain.
Another relic from the World Expo is the Habitat 67 residential complex, located in Cité du Havre, not far from the park.
Jean Drapeau Park is also renowned for its vibrant music festivals, which I’ll discuss in more detail below. And don’t forget the Canadian F1 Grand Prix, happening every year!
22. La Ronde, Montreal’s amusement park
Besides Jean Drapeau Park, on Saint Helen Island you’ll also find “La Ronde” the amusement park, open every summer.
This park boasts 42 attractions including some quite impressive ones, like the “Ultimate Flight”.
To plan your day at La Ronde, you can check out the official website here.
23. Stroll in other Montreal Parks
In addition to Mount Royal and Jean Drapeau Park, Montreal boasts many other delightful parks perfect for a break from the city’s bustling pace
1) Angrignon Park
Following Mount Royal, this park is the second-largest forested area in Montreal.
You can stroll along three ponds, a 1km lake, and shaded trails spanning nearly 10km. There’s also a specially designed 2km track for biking and rollerblading, which transforms into a cross-country ski track in winter.
Ideal for a family picnic by the water, barbecues are even available for use. A playground with swings is also on site.
2) Lafontaine Park
It’s one of the largest parks in Montreal city.
What sets it apart are the multiple outdoor sports fields open for free use: tennis, petanque, baseball, volleyball, and children’s playgrounds.
The park also hosts cultural events at the outdoor theater, a delightful spot for evening performances.
24. Mont Saint-Sauveur water park
Nothing beats a day at a water park to chill out and have a blast.
In Quebec, I recommend the one at Mount Saint-Sauveur, about an hour’s drive from Montreal. It’s an ideal day trip when on a Canadian circuit tour!
This park is huge with its 12 water slides, toboggans, rafting and tubing descents, water games, wave pool, and other outdoor pools.
Festivals in Montreal
Throughout the year, Montreal hosts some brilliant festivals. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss!
Every year, Montreal hosts a massive music festival: Osheaga.
It’s held every summer at Jean Drapeau Park and lasts for three days. During this time, you’ll be treated to some great music. Top bands have performed here: Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more.
No doubt, if you want to see all those awesome stars, you’ll have to dish out at least $320 for the three-day festival. But hey, that doesn’t seem to stop the whopping 40,000 people who show up every single day.
This is the winter electronic music festival you don’t want to miss in Montreal.
Igloofest has been rocking Montreal’s Old Port for about a decade now.
Several DJs from around the world heat up the dance floor over four weekends.
27. The Light Festival – Montréal en Lumière
Another unmissable festival in Quebec during winter if you’ve decided to visit Montreal: the light festival attracting nearly 900,000 people each year.
The Montreal en Lumière program combines light installations, performing arts with theater, circus, singing, and gastronomy.
You can enjoy many free activities (ferris wheel, zipline, giant curling), wander among the light art installations, enjoy various street performances, and sample Quebec culinary specialties at the street stalls.
The festival also includes “La Nuit Blanche”, Montreal’s White Night where you can visit certain museums and churches, participate in dance, singing, or artistic creation workshops, all for free. In total, there are more than 200 activities to enjoy.
28. Just for Laughs Festival
The “Festival Juste pour rire” or Just for Laughs Festival is a comedy festival held annually in Montreal.
It’s the largest festival of its kind in the world and a true tradition in Quebec. On the agenda: a large number of comedians presenting their shows, both indoors and in the street.
The program is highly diverse and of excellent quality.
Best things to do around Montreal
For those craving the great outdoors, there’s a bunch of things to discover around Montreal. Here’s a little selection of places to visit!
29. Autumn at Mont-Tremblant
When talking about Quebec, you can’t skip mentioning the special season that characterizes it: autumn and its fiery colors.
If you want to admire this unique landscape firsthand, around Montreal, I recommend heading to Mont-Tremblant, just an hour’s drive away.
In winter, it’s a ski resort but in the fall, the forests take on warm colors, and it’s a profusion of red, orange, and yellow trees as far as the eye can see.
It’s the ideal time for long hikes. You can either hike up the mountain or catch a lift (only on weekends) to reach the top and take in the stunning view of the valley below with its picturesque lake reflecting the vibrant colors.
30. Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park
The Cap-Saint-Jacques is the largest park in the Montreal area, sprawling across a whopping 300 hectares. Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll be able to take tranquil strolls through this maple tree-dominated spot, nestled between a lake and a river, offering countless stunning views.
In the summer, you’ll have access to a massive natural sandy beach complete with picnic areas, and even pedalos and kayaks for rent. You can even fire up your own barbecue.
Come autumn, Cap-Saint-Jacques, with its west-facing beach, is the best place to watch the sunset over Montreal island. The light is just amazing!
Winter sees the park transform into a haven for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with all the necessary equipment available for rent on-site. You have around 32 kilometers of trails at your disposal. The on-site ecological farm turns into a sugar shack with a typical maple syrup-based menu.
But no matter the season, be sure to watch the sunset over the lake, it’s simply breathtaking and you won’t regret it. The lighting is perfect for some truly incredible photos.
- Open all year round, parking fees apply.
- To get there by public transport, take bus 64 from the Côte-Vertu metro station to the Cartierville terminus, then take bus 68 to the park entrance.
31. Parc Omega in Montebello
This wildlife park is situated between Montreal and Ottawa, about 110 kilometers from Montreal.
The park can only be explored by car as the animals live freely in their natural habitat.
Along a 10-kilometer trail, you’ll traverse meadows, forests, and lakeshores, giving you the opportunity to spot Quebec’s native wildlife, including moose, elk, black bears, and wolves. You’ll also have plenty of chances to stop and take photos.
You can easily spend half a day here, or even stay overnight! The park offers several unique accommodation options: teepees, prospector tents, wooden cabins, and stilt houses.
It’s one of the best activities to do near Montreal with kids.
Parc Omega is open all year round, hours and prices vary depending on the season, you can find all the information here: Parc Omega.
32. More activities around Montreal
Still in the Montreal area, you can also try out some super cool activities (click on the orange links to book):
- Dog sledding in Saint-Hippolyte near Montreal
- Dog sled ride through maple groves, near Montreal
- Snowmobile outing near Montreal, in Saint-Hippolyte – Duration: from 1h to 8h
- Snowmobile excursion in the Laurentians, departure from Sainte-Agathe-Des-Monts – Duration: from 2h to a full day
- A guided quad ride near Montreal
- Whitewater rafting down the Red River (Rivière Rouge) in Mont-Tremblant
- A canoe descent on the Assomption River, (Rivière l’Assomption for the locals) in Mont-Tremblant nature park
- Via ferrata between Montreal and Mont-Tremblant, at Mont Catherine
- Zip-lining, also at Mont Catherine
- Ice climbing adventure in Montreal
33. Best things to do in Montreal My top places to eat
Rockaberry for a sumptuous cheesecake
For me, this is, hands down, the best cheesecake I’ve ever had!
In Montreal, if you spot a Rockaberry, there’s no way you can walk past their window full of cheesecakes and pies, each looking more delicious than the last.
The hardest part is then choosing between the Rockabrownies, Banalicious, Mochamisu, or any of the fruit crumbles (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, etc.).
Taste La Banquise’s poutine
During your stay in Montreal, you can’t miss trying this iconic Quebec dish! Loved by some, hated by others, it’s up to you to form your own opinion about poutine.
The traditional poutine is quite simple, and consists of 3 ingredients:
- “Curd cheese”
You can find poutine in all sorts of varieties, from the basic poutine made with frozen fries from a fast food spot to the fancy homemade version with hand-cut fries cooked in duck fat. There’s something for every poutine lover out there!
Poutine is everywhere in Quebec: you can eat it at any hour in restaurants open 24/7. It’s actually the go-to choice for Montrealers after a night out!
Some restaurants even offer no less than a hundred different recipes, but beware, not all are created equal. The two most famous restaurants in Montreal for their poutine are:
- La Banquise, open 24/7.
- Poutineville: a name that speaks for itself!
Weekend brunch in Montreal
Montreal is like a haven for brunch enthusiasts! But what does the Quebec version of this meal, which falls between breakfast and lunch, entail?
The classic brunch you’ll savor in Montreal includes:
- Eggs, cooked in every possible way
- Baked beans or “Fèves au lard” as the locals call it
- Maple syrup, to drizzle all over!
- A coffee or tea and orange juice.
In addition to that, each restaurant has its own specialty and also offers a variety of options such as fresh fruit salad, smoothies, pancakes, crepes, sausages, bagels, and much more.
Another spot where you can dive into culinary adventures is Montreal’s Chinatown, brimming with cute little restaurants offering typical dishes from Chinese cuisine.
Here, you’ll get to try the famous bubble tea, a beverage made with tea, fruit, and tapioca pearls that line the bottom of the glass, sucked up with a fat straw.
Also a must-try: the numerous biscuits or cakes all soft and squishy from the Chinatown’s Chinese bakeries.
In Montreal’s Chinatown, you’ll also find a large Asian grocery store. If you’re staying in Montreal, this is the best place to shop for Asian products!
The best restaurant in Montreal
I just had to mention it, as it’s kind of my canteen in Montreal: “L’Arrivage” restaurant at the Pointe-a-Callière Museum. A foodie myself, I was a bit hesitant to dine at “the museum’s restaurant” the first time, but I came out totally amazed. Honestly.
Located on the museum’s second floor, the restaurant offers a fantastic view of Montreal’s Old Port.
They serve a different gourmet menu every week, and the dishes are truly delicious. I recommend you to try the “Table d’hôtes” menu with a starter, a main course, and dessert for less than $25. At this price, you’ll enjoy a sophisticated meal in an exceptional setting with unrivaled service.
It clearly is the best value for money in Montreal, and by a long shot! It’s a hidden gem, even among Montrealers.
However, note that the restaurant only opens for lunch!
TimeOut Market Montreal
The TimeOut Market is located on Saint Catherine Ouest street, in the Eaton Centre and brings together more than a dozen of restaurants and bars all in one place.
The atmosphere is really cool, with a chic and modern vibe and carefully crafted decor. You can feast on dishes from all over the world: Indian, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, Caribbean, Spanish… The dishes are truly of excellent quality and exceptionnaly well-cooked.
Everyone can pick their favorite dishes and gather at the shared tables in the center. That way, no one has to argue about which restaurant to choose!
Open every day from 11:30 am to 9/10 pm.
Microbreweries in Montreal
Craft beer lovers will be thrilled to learn that Montreal has numerous microbreweries, each with its own specialties! Here are a few addresses:
- Brasserie Harricana, 95 Jean-Talon West Street
- Pub Brouhahah, 295, Avenue Papineau, Ahuntsic
- La Succursale, 3188 Masson Street
- HELM microbrasserie, 273 Bernard O Street
- Dieu du Ciel! 29 Avenue Laurier Ouest
Where to stay in Montreal
- M Montreal: A youth hostel just a 5-minute walk away from Berri Uquam metro station on Sainte Catherine street. You can grab a bed in a modern, cozy dorm for just 25€ a night, breakfast included. You can also book a double room if you prefer. Strong points: Super friendly staff, modern facilities, basement bar with occasional live performances. A fantastic choice for budget-friendly accommodations in Montreal!
- Best Western Plus Hotel Montreal: Located in the bustling Quartier des Spectacles. You can book a warm, spacious double room starting from €150 per night. Strong points: Perfect location for exploring Montreal, clean and comfy beds.
- Le Dauphin Montréal Centre-Ville:: Just 200 meters away from the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and a 5-minute walk from the Old Port. Double rooms starting from €170, breakfast included. Strong points: Great location, spacious rooms, and large beds.
- Le Petit Hotel Montreal:: Located in the historical center of Montreal. Rooms with character (think stone walls and exposed brick) starting from €250, breakfast included. Strong points: Excellent service, a delicious breakfast, and the charming ambiance of the hotel.
- Le St-Martin Hotel Centre-ville – Hotel Particulier:: Just 50 meters away from Saint Catherine West Street. Stylish, cozy double rooms starting from €290. Strong points: An enchanting pool with waterfalls and jets, delightful staff, prime location, and comfort. My recommendation for a high-end stay in Montreal!
- Hôtel Birks Montréal: Located in the city center, this 5-star hotel offers beautifully decorated rooms starting from €500, with breakfast at an additional €19. Strong points: Prime location, beautiful architecture, friendly staff, and a luxurious spa. The best hotel in Montreal for a luxury stay!
My impressions of Montreal
What I absolutely adored about Montreal, and the reason I ended up staying for two extra years (originally planning just one), is the incredible vibrancy of each neighborhood. It’s like living in a close-knit village rather than a sprawling metropolis.
Tons of local shops, welcoming folks, top-notch quality of life, and varied activities across different seasons make Montreal one of the most enjoyable cities to live in worldwide!
Tips for those living in Montreal
In addition to travelers, many French folks choose to make Montreal their new home. Having lived there for three years, here are some nuggets of wisdom from an ex-Montrealer. If you have more, I’d be thrilled to add them to the list!
Grocery shopping in Montreal
If you’re longing for “European-style” dining, food can quickly burn a hole in your pocket at standard supermarkets like Provigo and IGA (think peppers at $9 a kilo or chicken fillets at $25 or more!).
So, I’d recommend heading to a little grocery store called Esposito. There are four in Montreal; pick the one that’s closest to you. Chances are you’ll halve your grocery budget.
Where to find affordable cheese in Montreal?
As a European person, if there’s one thing you might miss in Montreal, it’s the cheese. Of course, you can find it, but it often comes with a hefty price tag (Hello, Roquefort Papillon at $100 a kilo!).
But don’t worry! There’s a place where you can get cheeses (and lots of other stuff) without breaking the bank. Head to Aubut, a wholesale store open to the public!
They offer tons of products, including a delicious brie, sometimes even on sale at $10 a kilo.
Address: Aubut, 3975 Saint-Ambroise Street.
Renting or buying cheap winter sports gear
If you’re living in Montreal, it’s highly likely you’ll want to try ice skating, snowshoeing, or even skiing. But if you’re only there for a year, you don’t want to spend a fortune! It’s best to rent for the season or buy second-hand gear. And where can you do that?
The answer: at La Poubelle du Ski! Don’t let the less-than-charming name fool you (poubelle means trash can in French), it’s a hidden gem well-known to Montrealers. A small shop where you can rent or buy great gear at a fair price. For example, I got a pair of brand new hockey skates (not a scratch) for half the retail price.
Address: La Poubelle du Ski – 8278, St-Laurent Boulevard
So, what are your plans for exploring Montreal? Tell me about your favorite places in the comments!
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
You’re traveling in Canada? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Canada: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Canada are listed there.
- 20 Best Things to do in Canada
- 20 Best Things to do in Quebec – All best places to visit in the French-speaking province!
- Itinerary: One week in Canada: The perfect itinerary to visit Canada in 6, 7 or 8 days!
- Itinerary: 10 days in Canada: All my best tips for organizing your 10-day trip to Canada
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Canada: How to visit Western Canada in 15 days.
- Itinerary: 3 weeks in Canada: My epic itinerary to visit Western and Eastern Canada in 21 days
- Itinerary: 1 month in Canada: How to visit Eastern Canada in a month!
- Itinerary: One week in Quebec: How to visit Quebec in 6, 7 or 8 days, with all my best tips!
- Itinerary: 10 days in Quebec: An amazing 10-day itinerary in Quebec
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Quebec: All my best tips to visit Quebec in 14, 15 or 16 days
- Itinerary: 3 weeks in Quebec: the perfect 3-week road trip in Quebec!
- Road trip in Canada: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month
- Road trip in Quebec: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15 and 21 days
- Calgary: Top 11 things to do during your visit
- Montreal: 33 best things to see and do
- Ottawa: 15 epic places to visit
- Quebec City: Top 17 things to do and see
- Toronto: The 17 things to do during your stay
- Vancouver: Top 25 places to visit and activities
- Toronto in 3 days – The perfect itinerary to visit the city in 72 hours!