Cosmopolitan Montreal is a must-visit when you’re in Canada. It’s a cultural wonderland with an eclectic mix of old-world charm and contemporary entertainment. When visiting Montreal check out these 9 amazing things to do.
Have you a Canadian Bucket List? Apart from Montreal what other areas of Canada are you considering? Canada is an exciting destination for all travellers! You will definitely be spoilt for choice on where to visit and what to do.
(editor update 2021)
Thanks to our guest writer Wendy Dessler who has ignited our passion to visit Montreal and Canada as soon as we can. Canada has been high on our travel list and we can’t wait to visit.
This article features nine of the most amazing things to add to your to-do list while you’re visiting. There’s a lot to explore on foot, or if you prefer to drive yourself, it’s recommended to get more info on car rentals near you.
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Extra reading – the latest Montreal travel guides:
Things To Do in Montreal Canada
Mount Royal Park Montreal
Hike or bike your way up Mount Royal for some splendid views of the city. It’s located in Mount Royal Park, and this hill is the centrepiece.
It’s a fantastic way to orientate yourself as you can see every angle of Montreal from above. A remarkable excursion into the outdoors without travelling far, and popular all year round. In winter, you can enjoy skating, skiing, or slide downhill in a toboggan.
Mount Royal Park is a bird-watchers paradise, and you can be sure to catch a glimpse of an array of magnificent wildlife while at it. If you prefer spending time indoors, be sure to catch the Maison Smith House’s permanent exhibition to expand your knowledge of the local fauna and flora.Book a half-day city tour that includes Mount Royal Park here
Montreal Botanical Garden
This Canadian National Historic Site’s sheer size and beauty will undoubtedly impress you. It features a massive greenhouse ‘complex’ with interesting plants from across the globe. If you’re an avid DIY gardener, this should be the first stop on your itinerary while in Montreal.
There are ten various greenhouses and 30 themed gardens to enjoy. You can take in the beauty of themes such as the colourful Japanese garden where you can stroll around to admire the bonsai trees or feed the koi fish. Staying in tune with the Zen atmosphere, you can spend some time unwinding in the ‘Courtyard of the Senses.’
You can take a magical trip to the ‘Arid Regions Greenhouse’ and imagine yourself in the middle of the desert landscape. It’s a great outing for kids too and highly educational, with a dedicated section allocated to protecting indigenous species.
Go ‘Underground’ in Montreal
When you’re done exploring nature and up for some shopping, you have to visit the underground network of malls and shops downtown. There’s plenty to see, and you’re spoilt for choice with several food courts and restaurants.
It’s easily accessible with several passageways and connects to seven metro stations. If you’re able to manage all 30 kilometres of it, you’ve done well, but give yourself enough time to explore.
Feast Like a Local in Montreal
One of the local foods to try is poutine, a French-Canadian dish of french fries served with a meaty-cheese ‘gravy.’ You’ll find it at many restaurants or cafes and fast food outlets.
Other favourites include oven-fresh bagels and various smoked meats, which you’ll find in delis or the trendy spots in Mile End.
There’s also plenty on offer if you prefer to shop for fresh ingredients like fruit, veggies, cheese, or spices at the open Jean-Talon farmers market in the Little Italy district.Learn all about the making on Maple Syrup from extraction to bottling on this 5 hour private tour from Montreal
Explore Local Wineries and Vineyards in Montreal
While you’re in Montreal, you’d be missing out if you didn’t enjoy exploring the 21 vineyards in the Brome-Missisquoi region. It’s a wine route stretching 140 km from Farnham to Sutton. Besides the top-notch wines, you can also enjoy tasting some of the superb ciders produced.
If you don’t feel up to taking a trip out of the city, don’t worry that you’ll miss out. There are excellent wine tasting rooms with live entertainment and workshops to enjoy in the heart of Montreal.
Explore Old Montreal
Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets are the preferred spot for exploring and learning about the city’s 400-year old history. It’s best to walk through the narrow alleyways and look around to feast your eyes on the old buildings.
You can lap up all the cultural highlights day or night when you visit one of the galleries, Montreal museums, or one of the top Montreal restaurants along the promenade. Spoil yourself and get a glimpse into the past from above on La Grande Roue, the commemorative observation wheel erected to mark the city’s 375th anniversary.Enjoy a small intimate walking tour through Old Montreal - click here for more information and booking
Master the Art of Baking Traditional Montreal Bagels
The Montreal Bagel is a proud culinary delight and one of their top food exports. There’s no better way to learn than from a master in the art of hand-crafting this delightful delicacy. You can join a small, hands-on group as you’re taught how to work the dough into a world-renowned and chewy bagel.
You’ll learn all about the variety of flours used in the process and how to perfect your kneading of the dough. These classes take place in a privately owned and charming apartment in Mile End, and you can easily make your way to it with a tour guide.
Discover Montreal’s Rich Street Art
Everybody loves art, and it’s a glimpse into society’s soul when visiting art galleries while travelling. Montreal has a rich and diverse culture with talented artists that adorn the sidewalks of St. Laurent Boulevard with their skill.
You can arrange to visit the street art in a guided two-hour tour or make your way there on your own accord. You can spend more than two hours taking in the beauty of the largest mural festival in Canada that includes everything from graffiti to sculptures.
The larger than life Leonard Cohen mural on Crescent street is a sight to behold! There are more than 100 works to savour and explore in this well known and multi-road open-air gallery.Book a 2.5 hour Street Art Tour here
Zipline Action in the Heart of the City of Montreal
If you need to get your blood pumping and your heart racing, be sure to discover the Old Port of Montreal from 85 feet in the air. The higher you climb, the more you can see is proven as fact while you sail through the air tied only to a zipline.
It’s the ultimate urban action-adventure and the perfect way to end a busy day. This zipline is the pioneer of its kind in all of Canada. You’ll be partaking in a historic piece of the action while you’re at it. You have to climb to the top of the 85-foot clock-tower before making your descent over the old port.
The organizers say it’s tradition to yell as much as you can, so you don’t have to be shy to let loose some screams on the 1,200 feet down. The zipline has a double cord, which means you can enjoy this thrill with a friend or family member by your side.
The zipline excursion takes 30 minutes in total but promises you some iconic views of Montreal. You’ll walk away with digital photographs of yourself on the way down, but most importantly, you’d have imprinted gorgeous views to memory.Book your Zipline adventure here
Montreal is aptly referred to as the ‘Paris of Canada’ with plenty of old and modern spots to explore and enjoy. An eclectic mix of contemporary eateries and stylish boutiques sets the trend to compete with any other world city.
Yet the old world charm, rich history with beautiful outdoor settings, and landmarks slow down the pace, waiting to be discovered.Check out the best of Montreal's Restaurants here
FAQs on Visiting Montreal
When is the best time to visit Montreal?
The best months to visit Montreal are between March and May (Spring time) and September to November (Autumn time). Montreal’s winters can be very cold and snowy between the months of December and February.
Is Montreal safe at night?
Like all cities around the world, there are areas that are considered to be unsafe. In general, Montreal is a safe city, but you should always be aware of your surroundings in a new destination. Some of the unsafe areas to wander around at night are:
- Notre Dame Quest
- Montreal Nord
- The Red Light district (from St. Laurent Boulevard to the corner of St-Catherine Street)
What is the official language of Montreal?
French is the official language.
What is the currency of Montreal Canada?
The Canadian Dollar (CAD) is the currency of Canada.
When is the Montreal Jazz Festival?
The Montreal Jazz Festival is normally held in November.
Wondering where to stay in Montreal?
Downtown Montreal has a range of hotels to suit all type of traveller and budgets. Downtown Montreal is close to all attractions, restaurants, cafes and bars. An alternative to the traveller is to stay in Old Montreal.
Activities in Montreal
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