17 Best Things To Do In Montreal

Montreal is one of the most vibrant cities in Canada, full of exciting and unique experiences. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, there's no shortage of things to do in Montreal. From its charming French heritage to its bustling nightlife, here are the best things to do in Montreal. From exploring the cobblestone streets of historic Old Montreal to taking in the best views of the city from atop Mount Royal Park, there are countless activities to enjoy when you visit Montreal.

1. Notre-Dame Basilica

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal Pin

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is a stunning example of the French Gothic Revival style. Built between 1824 and 1829, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Canada, with its two towers standing ninety meters tall. Inside, the church’s breathtaking interior features beautifully ornate stained glass windows and intricate woodcarvings that depict religious figures.

One of the stained glass windows was built by Louis Comfort Tiffany and depicts scenes from Christ’s life on Earth; this window is particularly noteworthy as it is one of only three remaining works in North America made by Tiffany himself. The basilica also hosts several concerts throughout the year; these unique performances showcase its exceptional acoustics and attract both local and international audiences.

Contact:

Address: 110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1T1, Canada

Phone: +1 514-842-2925

2. Old Montreal

Old Montreal Pin

Old Montreal is an area of the city located east of Downtown Montreal. It is a historic quarter filled with cobblestone streets and centuries-old architecture dating back to the French colony that settled in 1642. The old port area of Old Montreal is especially beautiful - it has been recently renovated and contains some of the oldest structures in North America. Many visitors come here to experience its charming atmosphere and explore its rich cultural history.

The area around Place Jacques Cartier combines street art, boutiques, cafes, bistros, pubs, galleries and more into one vibrant destination. There are also plenty of historical monuments all around town as well as museums like the Pointe-à-Callière Museum which teaches all about the city’s past.

Recommended reading: Best Places To Eat In Montreal

3. Mount Royal Park

Mount Royal Park Pin

Mount Royal Park is a beautiful and iconic park located in the heart of Montreal. From its stunning lookout over the city, to its lush green spaces, it's no wonder that this park has been a favorite spot for locals to enjoy for decades. The park is an urban sanctuary surrounded by the buildings of downtown Montreal, offering a unique experience of being close to nature while still being part of the bustling city.

The history behind Mount Royal Park dates back to 1876 when it was commissioned as a gift from then mayor of Montreal Hormisdas Laporte, who wanted to dedicate this place as a public garden honoring Mount Royal for which Montreal was named after. Today, visitors can explore existing trails and paths or take advantage of various activities such as kayaking on Beaver Lake or biking through some of the parks many cycling routes.

Contact:

Address: 1260 Remembrance Rd, Montreal, Quebec H3H 1A2, Canada

Phone: +1 514-843-8240

4. Montreal Botanical Garden

Montreal Botanical Garden Pin

The Montreal Botanical Garden is one of the most impressive botanic gardens in the world. It features over 22,000 different species of plants and trees spread among 175 acres of land. Since it opened its gates in 1931, the garden has become a popular tourist attraction for both locals and tourists with so many things to see.

The garden provides an opportunity to discover the beauty of nature, with its diverse collection of flowers, trees, shrubs and other vegetation from around the globe. Visitors can choose from a variety of guided tours that focus on specific themes like nature photography or botany. The garden also houses 11 outdoor gardens featuring unique landscapes including a Japanese Garden and Chinese Garden as well as an Insectarium that showcases some 10,000 species from around the planet.

Contact:

Address: 4101 Sherbrooke St E, Montreal, Quebec H1X 2B2, Canada

Phone: +1 514-868-3000

Recommended reading: Best Night Clubs In Montreal

5. Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

Montreal museum of fine arts Pin

As one of the best attractions to see in Montreal, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal is an art museum in Canada that houses over 35,000 works of art. The Montreal museum of fine arts was founded in 1860 and is the oldest art institution in Canada.

It holds a number of collections across a variety of cultures and mediums including sculpture, painting, tapestry, photographs, decorative arts and more. Many of the pieces come from some of the most recognized artists in history such as Monet, Rubens and Picasso.

The museum also has a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. They host various events throughout the year such as lectures and workshops on different artistic techniques as well as guided tours for those looking to get an in-depth look at their collection. The Fine Arts museum has also held special exhibitions showcasing contemporary artwork from both Canadian and international artists.

Contact:

Address: 1380 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1J5, Canada

Phone: +1 514-285-2000

Recommended reading: Best Cafés In Montréal

Best Flights To Montreal

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Montreal. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Montreal.

6. Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

Saint Joseph's Oratory Pin

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal stands tall upon the slopes of Mont-Royal Mountain in Montreal, Quebec. It is a National Historic Site and one of the world’s largest sanctuaries dedicated to Saint Joseph, a man revered for his humble service to Christ and others.

The oratory was founded by Saint André Bessette in 1904 and continues to serve as a place of prayer and pilgrimage today. Visitors come from near and far to bask in its spiritual atmosphere, explore its grounds, tour its museum or attend mass at any one of its several chapels.

The dome-shaped basilica at St Joseph's Oratory has become an iconic symbol within Montreal’s landscape and can be seen from all directions. Its breathtaking architecture draws countless visitors each year who stand in awe beneath the entrance steps with their heads pointed upwards towards the sky.

Contact:

Address: 3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, Quebec H3V 1H6, Canada

Phone: +1 514-733-8211

Booking.com

7. Old Port of Montreal

Old Port of Montreal Pin

The Old Port of Montreal is a historic area located along the St. Lawrence River. It has served as an important port for centuries, playing a role in the development of what is now Canada's second-most populated city. The area was first used by French traders in 1611 and since then has been a major hub for trade and commerce. Today, the Old Port is home to some of Montreal's most popular Montreal attractions including La Ronde Six Flags amusement park, galleries, restaurants, cafes and event venues.

Visiting the Old Port can be a great way to experience both old world charm as well as contemporary entertainment options. Within this district you will find cobblestone streets lined with shops selling local crafts and souvenirs while also discovering some unique restaurants in Montreal offering traditional French Canadian cuisine and other treats from around the world.

8. Pointe-a-Calliere, Montreal Archaeology and History Complex

Montreal Archaeology and History Complex Pin

The Montreal Archaeology and History Complex is a fascinating museum that offers visitors the opportunity to explore Montreal’s history. This complex has been open since 1992 and features archaeological sites located in Old Montreal, on top of which it stands. It also contains three pavilions with exhibits dedicated to the history of Montreal from its discovery up to today.

For those interested in learning about the city’s past, Pointe-a-Calliere provides an interactive experience by combining displays, artifacts, multimedia presentations and much more that allow visitors to engage with the historic elements of the city culture.

The museum even hosts live performances as well as educational activities such as lectures, workshops and guided tours for children. Additionally, Pointe-a-Calliere allows guests a chance to take part in archaeological digs during special projects throughout the year.

Contact:

Address: 350 Place Royale, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 3Y5, Canada

Phone: +1 514-872-9150

Recommended reading: Best Day Spas In Montréal

9. Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde

Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde Pin

The Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde is a stunning work of architecture located in Montreal, Quebec. It was built in the late 1800s and has been an iconic landmark ever since. This grand cathedral stands tall with its Romanesque style and soaring spires.

The inside is just as impressive as the outside, featuring intricate stained glass windows, marble columns, plush carpets, and detailed mosaic artwork on the walls and ceilings. Its grandeur makes it one of the best places to visit in Canada during your trip to Montreal.

This cathedral is not only a beautiful place to visit in the city of Montreal, but also serves an important religious purpose for Catholics who come to pay homage to their faith. Masses are held there daily including Sunday services which attract large crowds and visitors from around the world.

Contact:

Address: 1085 Rue de la Cathédrale, Montréal, QC H3B 2V3, Canada

Phone: +1 514-866-1661

10. Atwater Market

Atwater Market in Montreal Pin

Atwater Market in Montreal is an iconic landmark for both locals and tourists. This lively public market has been open for decades, and it's well known for its fresh produce, delicious seafood, and selection of homemade products.

Located on the banks of the Lachine Canal in the St-Henri district of Montreal, Atwater Market offers an array of international flavors under one roof. From Italian to Greek to traditional Quebecois fare, there’s something that appeals to everyone’s taste buds.

In addition to its food offerings, the market also features a wide variety of artisanal goods like clothing, jewelry and home decor items. Artisans from all over the city come here to showcase their handcrafted works —making it a great place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs or gifts.

Contact:

Address: 138 Atwater Ave, Montreal, Quebec H4C 2H6, Canada

Phone: +1 514-937-7754

Best Flights To Montreal

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Montreal. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Montreal.

11. Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel Pin

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel in Montreal is an historic landmark with a long and rich history. It has been standing since 1771, though its first church was built in 1657 by a Sulpician missionary. The chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and serves as a reminder of the importance of faith and prayer.

This stunning building boasts beautiful Baroque architecture and design, with intricate carvings decorating the exterior walls. Inside, visitors can admire the stunning artwork that celebrates both religious and community values. One particular highlight is Brother Marie’s fresco mural, which depicts stories from the Bible in vibrant colors. This sacred space also features several shrines dedicated to different saints.

The Chapel has served multiple purposes throughout its lifetime; it began as an act of devotion but evolved into an important cultural center for various communities over time.

Contact:

Address: 400 Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H4, Canada

Phone: +1 514-282-8670

12. Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden in Montreal Pin

The Japanese Garden in Montreal is a beautiful and serene place to visit. It was established in 1988 by the Montreal Botanical Garden and offers visitors a stunningly vibrant display of nature's beauty. The garden features ponds, bridges, paths, stone lanterns, sculptures and an impressive collection of plants native to Japan.

It has been designed with traditional Japanese elements, such as the symbolism of stones representing mountains or waterfalls, along with its rock gardens. This allows visitors to enjoy all the natural beauty while also learning more about Japanese culture and traditions.

Contact:

Address: 4101 Sherbrooke St E, Montreal, Quebec H1X 2B1, Canada

Phone: +1 514-872-0607

Booking.com

13. Museum of Jewish Montreal

Museum of Jewish MontrealPin

The Museum of Jewish Montreal is an incredible place to discover during your visit to Montreal, and explore the unique culture and history of the city's vibrant Jewish community. Situated in Mile End, one of Montreal's most historic neighborhoods in central Montreal, its mission is to promote understanding, dialogue and acceptance through interactive exhibitions about Jewish life in Canada. Through this museum, visitors can learn about the incredibly rich history that goes back centuries ago when Jews first arrived in what was then known as Ville-Marie.

The museum offers a range of interesting exhibits that cover topics such as immigration, religion, Yiddish language and literature, food culture and much more. The permanent collection features artifacts from both recent decades as well as hundreds of years ago; it also includes photographs from key moments in Montreal's Jewish history.

Contact:

Address: 5220 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, Quebec H2T 1S1, Canada

Phone: +1 514-840-9300

14. Place d'Armes

Place d'Armes Pin

Place d'Armes is a beautiful public square located in the heart of the city. It has been an important historical site since 1643 and was once used as a military parade ground. Today, visitors to Place d'Armes can appreciate its green landscaping and beautiful fountain, both of which are situated directly in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Of course, no trip to Place d'Armes is complete without visiting this remarkable church. The basilica features stunning 19th century architecture and artwork from renowned artists such as Jean-Baptiste Canto and Victor Bourgeau.

Aside from the historic aspects of Place d'Armes, it's also full of activity during warmer months. On nice days you can find people walking around or just lounging on benches enjoying some fresh air away from Montreal's hustle and bustle.

15. St. Patrick's Basilica

St. Patrick’s Basilica montreal Pin

St. Patrick’s Basilica has been an important part of the local Catholic community since its construction began in 1847. The basilica was built over a fourteen year period and finally completed in 1859. Its classical style architecture makes it stand out amongst other buildings in Montreal. Standing at 139 feet tall and having two towers reaching 123 feet each, it can be seen from far off distances, giving it a grand majesty presence throughout the cityscape.

The interior of St. Patrick’s Basilica is just as majestic as its exterior with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the bible that span almost eight hundred square feet and grand murals adorning both sides of the aisle down to the altar area giving viewers a glimpse into biblical stories from long ago.

Contact:

Address: 460 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1A7, Canada

Phone: +1 514-866-7379

16. La Fontaine Park

La Fontaine Park in Montreal Pin

La Fontaine Park in Montreal is a great place to visit and one of the best things to see if you like to enjoy the outdoors. Located in the south-central part of Montreal, this large urban park has much to offer visitors. La Fontaine Park is home to two different lakes, a pool and pond that are connected by three waterfalls.

The natural environment includes lush green lawns, tall trees and colorful flowers, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or peaceful stroll. Additionally, the park offers numerous recreational activities such as tennis, swimming and winter activities such as ice skating in the Canadian winter months.

For those interested in further exploring the park's cultural side, there are many monuments dotted around the area including one dedicated to famous French poet Jean de la Fontaine for whom the park is named after. There is also an art gallery located within Lanctot House which hosts regular exhibitions from both local and international artists throughout the year.

Contact:

Address: 3819 Av. Calixa-Lavallée, Montréal, QC H2L 3A7, Canada

17. Plateau Mont-Royal

Plateau Mont-Royal Pin

Plateau Mont-Royal is one of the most vibrant and unique neighborhoods in Montreal. Located on the north side of the city, it's a great place to explore the culture, cuisine and art that the city has to offer.

It is known for its steep hills which make walking around quite a workout. Filled with bustling cafes, innovative restaurants, lively nightlife spots and trendy boutiques, there's always something new to discover.

The Plateau also boasts stunning parks such as Parc La Fontaine. This park contains a lake where people often go for leisurely walks or boat rides in warmer weather. It also has many green spaces where visitors can picnic or just take some time to enjoy nature away from the busy city streets. The scenery here changes with each passing season; winter brings snow-covered landscapes while summer offers lush greenery and brightly colored foliage.

Best Flights To Montreal

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Montreal. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Montreal.

FAQ

Q: What things are Montreal famous for?

A: One of its most well-known features is its rich history and architecture. The city boasts a stunning blend of old-world charm and modern skyscrapers, with landmarks like the Notre-Dame Basilica and the historic Old Port showcasing Montreal's architectural beauty.

In addition to its historical significance, Montreal is renowned for its festivals and events. The city embraces an array of cultural celebrations throughout the year, attracting locals and tourists. Perhaps the most famous event is the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which draws in top musicians from around the globe to perform on various stages throughout the city. Other notable festivals include Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, Igloofest (an electronic music festival), and Nuit Blanche (a night filled with art installations and performances).

Q: Is Montreal costly?

A: Firstly, accommodation plays a significant role in the overall expense. Montreal offers a range of options from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. It's important to consider different neighborhoods as prices can vary greatly between them. Additionally, visiting during peak tourist season may increase accommodation costs significantly.

Secondly, dining out in Montreal can range from affordable meals at local cafes and food trucks to high-end restaurants offering gourmet experiences. Exploring local markets and trying street food can be an excellent way to savor authentic flavors without breaking the bank.

Transportation expenses should also be taken into account when considering a visit to Montreal. Public transportation such as buses and subways are reasonably priced and provide easy access around the city.

Q: Is Montreal tourist friendly?

A: The answer is a resounding yes. Montrealers take great pride in their city and are generally open-minded and welcoming towards visitors. From offering directions to recommending the best local eateries, locals often go out of their way to ensure that tourists have a positive experience.

One reason why locals in Montreal are tourist-friendly is because they understand the importance of tourism to their city's economy. Tourism plays a crucial role in supporting local businesses, creating jobs, and contributing to the overall growth of the city. Locals recognize this and strive to create an inclusive environment where tourists feel valued and appreciated. Whether it's engaging in friendly conversations with visitors or participating in community events aimed at showcasing Montreal's rich history and culture, locals actively contribute to making tourists feel welcome.

Q: Is Montreal a foodie city?

A: Montreal is undeniably a foodie city. One of the reasons why Montreal is considered a foodie paradise is its diverse range of restaurants. Whether you're craving authentic Italian pasta or mouthwatering Indian curries, there's no shortage of options in this bustling metropolis.

Furthermore, Montreal is renowned for its food festivals and events that celebrate the local culinary scene. The annual "Montréal en Lumière" festival showcases the talents of renowned chefs from around the world through unique dining experiences and interactive workshops. Additionally, the "Just For Laughs Festival" features gourmet street food stalls where visitors can indulge in delicious treats while enjoying comedy shows.

Q: Is Montreal a big party city?

A: Montreal is widely renowned for its vibrant nightlife and has gained a reputation as a big party city. With its numerous bars, clubs, and festivals, the city offers an array of entertainment options that cater to all tastes. From the bustling streets of downtown to the eclectic neighborhoods like Plateau-Mont-Royal and Mile End, Montreal is packed with venues where people can enjoy a night out on the town.

Additionally, the city hosts several internationally renowned festivals throughout the year, such as Just For Laughs and the Osheaga Music Festival, which draw large crowds seeking entertainment and fun.

Q: How far is Montreal airport from the city center?

A: Montreal airport, also known as Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, is located approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the city center. The distance between the airport and downtown Montreal can be covered in around 20-30 minutes by car, depending on traffic conditions.

Q: Is it safe to walk downtown Montreal at night?

A: Despite being known as one of the safest cities in North America, precautions should still be taken to ensure a safe journey. One of the key factors to consider is the area or neighborhood you plan on exploring. Some areas are more well-lit and populated than others, providing a greater sense of security. Popular areas like Rue Sainte-Catherine or Old Montreal tend to have more people around even late at night, making them safer options for walking.

Q: Can you visit Montreal without a car?

A: Montreal is a destination that can easily be explored without the need for a car. The city boasts an efficient and well-connected public transportation system, making it convenient for visitors to navigate between different neighborhoods and attractions. The subway system, known as the Metro, covers extensive routes throughout the city, providing quick and reliable transportation options.

Apart from the Metro, Montreal also offers an extensive network of buses that run throughout the city. These buses provide an excellent way to reach destinations not covered by the subway lines. With over 200 bus routes in operation, exploring different neighborhoods becomes accessible even without having your own vehicle.

Recommended Hotels In Montreal

William Gray hotel room Pin

William Gray

Guests can enjoy the on-site bar and private parking is available on site.
All rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV. You will find a coffee machine in the room. Every room has a private bathroom with bathrobes and slippers. There is free shuttle service, a 24-hour front desk, a cash machine and gift shop at the property.

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Pin

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth

Connected to Montreal's underground city, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth offers access to more than 20 miles of underground pedestrian walkways, shopping centers, entertainment venues and attractions. A wellness center with an indoor pool is featured at the hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel Montreal Pin

Four Seasons Hotel Montreal

Featuring a bar, Four Seasons is located in the center of Montreal, a 3-minute walk from Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. With free WiFi, this 5-star hotel offers room service and a 24-hour front desk. The hotel has family rooms.Popular points of interest near the hotel include Bell Centre, Ogilvy and Eaton Center Montreal.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO MONTREAL

Book Your Hotel In Montreal

You can book your hotel in Montreal with Booking.com as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hotel, they also return the cheapest rates for accommodations like guesthouses and apartments.

Book Your Flight To Montreal

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Montreal. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you get the best rates.

Need a Rental Car In Montreal?

Here is a budget-friendly car rental resource. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest car rentals in Montreal here.

Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Montreal?

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable option to get to and from the airport in Montreal, here you will find all the answers to book your next airport transfer in Montreal.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Montreal without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Montreal:

Be sure to visit our Montreal Travel Guide for even more travel tips.

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