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Things to do in Montreal

Things to do in  Montreal

Welcome to Montreal

The capital of French-speaking Canada boasts an enviable combination of history, cuisine, and nonstop cultural happenings. Walking and biking tours are among the best ways to explore the city’s neighborhoods—from Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) to Chinatown—and hit must-see landmarks such as Notre-Dame Basilica, Mount Royal, and St. Joseph’s Oratory. Ascend Montreal Tower Observatory for panoramic city views, or book a food tour to immerse yourself in the internationally influenced culinary scene. Montreal is also ideally located for day trips to Montmorency Falls, Quebec City, and Quebec’s wineries, as well as Rivière-du-Loup whale-watching excursions.

Top 15 attractions in Montreal

Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal)

Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) charms visitors with its picturesque squares, grand architecture, and winding cobblestone streets. Whether in the Old Port or walking down the main street Rue Saint-Paul, it’s easy to feel transported back in time—in fact, some architectural remains date back to New France. The historic site is considered to be the best preserved Old Town in North America.More

Mount Royal

Mount Royal (Mont Royal), a 764-foot (233-meter) “mountain” in the midst of urban Montreal, is much-loved by locals and visitors alike, with Montrealers frequenting the leafy slopes as if the area were their own backyard. Cyclists, joggers, sunbathers, picnickers, and strollers abound in the summer, while snowshoers, tobogganers, ice skaters, and cross-country skiers dominate in winter. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted—the creative force behind New York City’s Central Park—the 470-acre (190-hectare) Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal) encompasses forest trails, monuments, and grassy meadows. On a clear day, the views from the Mount Royal summit lookout can’t be beat.More

Montreal Olympic Park (Parc Olympique de Montréal)

Built for the 1976 Olympic Games, the Montreal Olympic Park (Parc Olympique de Montréal) now houses several attractions that form Montreal’s Space for Life museum district. There’s the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, the 56,000-seater Olympic Stadium, the Biodome, an indoor zoo with around 4,500 animals, as well as the Botanical Gardens and Insectarium in neighboring Maisonneuve Park.More

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal)

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) is the city's oldest Catholic church and the venue of Quebec hero Celine Dion’s wedding. The Gothic Revival-style church is one of Canada’s most lavish cathedrals, with stained-glass windows, intricate wood carvings, frescoes, sculptures, and a 7,000-pipe organ all vying for attention beneath a blue ceiling studded with gold stars.More

Old Port of Montreal (Vieux Port de Montréal)

Once a busy shipping hub, the Old Port of Montreal (Vieux Port de Montréal) is now an entertainment center stretching along the St. Lawrence River. In addition to the promenade, the port is also home to the Montreal Science Centre, La Grande Roue de Montréal, an observation wheel, a boat spa, and seasonal outdoor attractions including an urban beach and an ice rink.More

St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal (L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal)

St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal (L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal) located in Montreal’s Westmount neighborhood, is Canada’s largest church and a registered National Historic Site. Started as a small chapel in 1904, the Roman Catholic basilica has grown to contain a cryptic church, a museum, gardens, a 56-bell carillon, and one of the largest church domes in the world.More

Montreal Chinatown

Montreal Chinatown was established in the late 19th century with the arrival of Chinese immigrants from western Canada who came to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Though just a couple of blocks long, the district offers a wide selection of Asian eateries and shops selling traditional handicrafts and souvenirs.More

Montreal Place d'Armes

Montreal's Place d’Armes, meaning parade square, is a major public venue in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal). The picturesque plaza is bordered by some of Montreal’s most notable architectural landmarks, including the 17th-century Saint-Sulpice Seminary, the Gothic Revival-style Notre-Dame Basilica, and the art deco Aldred Building.More

Mile End

Situated at the northernmost point of Montreal’s Plateau, Mile End is known for its array of independent shops, cafés, and underground music venues. The vibrant neighborhood, a cultural hub since the 1980s, is teeming with highly-rated restaurants and historical landmarks, from classic bagelries to scenes from the novels of Mordecai Richler.More

Montreal Underground City

Montreal’s Underground City (or RÉSO) is a vast indoor complex that extends across a large portion of Downtown Montreal. Subterranean tunnels connect malls, hotels, cinemas, theaters, offices, museums, banks, universities, and metro stations, serving as a warm refuge during the city’s brutal winters.More

Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon)

First opened in 1933, Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon) is a local institution. Montrealers come to shop farm-fresh ingredients, from Quebec-reared pork and seafood from the country’s east cost to colorful vegetables, everything from purple carrots to orange cauliflower and strangely shaped gourds—all of which are artfully stacked in sellers’ stalls.More

Plateau-Mont-Royal (the Plateau)

Artsy and laid-back, Plateau-Mont-Royal, aka the Plateau, captures the spirit of Montreal perhaps more than any other neighborhood. Spiraling iron staircases crawl up Victorian-era residences on tree-lined streets, while magnificent street murals add color to commercial thoroughfares. Restaurants, cafés, bars, and boutiques abound.More

Jacques-Cartier Square (Place Jacques-Cartier)

Named after a 16th-century French explorer, Jacques-Cartier Square (Place Jacques-Cartier) is one of the main squares in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal). It was laid out in the early 19th century, and is lined with cafe terraces where visitors can watch as street performers and caricature artists vie for the attentions of passing tourists.More

Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours)

Built in the 1840s, this neoclassical silver-domed building has served as a farmers market, theater, and for a brief stint as Montreal's city hall. It was threatened with demolition before being converted into the current market complex, which contains cafes, restaurants, galleries, and shops selling Quebec-made crafts and design items.More

Montreal Science Centre (Centre des Sciences de Montréal)

Situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the Montreal Science Centre (Centre des Sciences de Montréal) is a museum committed to educating the public about science and technology through hands-on learning. Its IMAX theater, daily programs, and interactive exhibits help make the Science Centre a popular attraction for both visiting and local families.More

Trip ideas

A Spooky City Guide to Montreal

A Spooky City Guide to Montreal

Quebec City Day Trips From Montreal

Quebec City Day Trips From Montreal

Haunted Montreal

Haunted Montreal

Top activities in Montreal

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All about Montreal

When to visit

Montreal does winter in style. From December through March, a heated Underground City pops up, and there's an exciting program of festive holiday events such as Merry Montreal, Igloofest, and the Fête des Neiges. After the thaw, the city comes out to play with a gamut of festivals including Osheaga, MUTEK, Montreal Pride, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

People Also Ask

What is Montreal famous for?

Montreal is the largest city in Quebec, and is famous for its French heritage (visible in the historic Vieux-Montreal, or Old Montreal) and bilingual sensibility. The city is renowned for its lively nightlife, acclaimed museums, and destination-worthy dining scene, and for having hosted the Expo 67 and 1976 Summer Olympics.

What is there to do in Montreal for 1 week?

One week is enough time to see top attractions like Mount Royal Park, Notre Dame Basilica, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, as well as wander neighborhoods like Old Montreal and Mile End (known for its bagel shops), dine in eclectic restaurants—and even plan a day trip to Ottawa.

What attractions are there in Montreal?

Montreal is home to dozens of top attractions, from the highlights of its Old Montreal neighborhood (including Notre-Dame Basilica), to Mount Royal Park (plus the St. Joseph's Oratory), the Olympic Park, and Montreal Botanical Garden. Other highlights include the Biodome, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Underground City.

What is the best month to visit Montreal?

While Montreal is a city that can handle the cold, its deep winter freeze can be a shock to the system for visitors. Instead, visit Montreal in June to enjoy beautiful weather (sans humidity) and a full calendar of festivals, from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the Grand Prix Weekend.

Do they speak English in Montreal?

Yes, Montreal is a bilingual city, and English and French are both widely spoken. However, local etiquette dictates that French first is a preference, and not all locals are as comfortable speaking English. Even if you don't speak French, it's polite to add a few greetings and phrases into your rotation.

What do locals do in Montreal?

To see Montreal like a local, escape from the Old Port (Vieux Port) and head to the Plateau, where you can nosh on international fare and relax in hip wine and beer bars. Be sure to explore Jean-Talon Market, stroll the Lachine Canal, and go to a cabaret show.


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