Around 11.1 million tourists visit Montreal every year, and the number keeps growing each year. Spread across over 400 km2, there are lots of things to do in Montreal. It comes as no surprise why many tourists have Montreal on their travel list with all that the region has to offer.
This article will be a complete and the only guide you will need to plan before visiting Montreal. From beaches to hiking trails and mountains, you will find an exciting combination of things to do in Montreal.
Get your notepad and pens ready, and you are going to make some notes of the activities that we will discuss here. Make sure not to miss a single one. You never know what you may be missing on.
Local Things To Do In Montreal
There are countless things to do in Montreal as the city is home to some famous Canadian landmarks. However, let’s start with the ones that will help you understand their history better. Here are the top things a local would recommend you to do.
Walking Tour Of The Old Montreal
Established in the 17th century by the first migrants in the city, you’ll mostly find cobblestoned streets. Situated near the Saint Lawrence River, you will find some of the best restaurants in Montreal in just the old city area. This is one of the best things to do in Montreal, every local and even tourists who have been to Montreal will surely recommend you this.
You will find food in every street of Montreal, but the old Montreal has several museums, historical structures, and countless attractions. You’ll have a great day in old Montreal. However, do rest before visiting as there will be a lot of walking.
Enjoy The Exciting Cirque du Soleil
This is a Montreal-based circus that is widely known in the world. Countless tourists visit Montreal to experience their circus. It all started in the ’70s by a group of street performers and has turned into a national treasure.
The best thing is that it is a traveling circus so that you may have experienced them somewhere else. But watching their show in the streets of Montreal, where it all started, is just a different kind of experience and fun.
Taste The Coffee At Café Olimpico
If you are looking for a cup of freshly roasted coffee, this is the spot you don’t have to miss at any cost. But, starting in 1970, you may not find such a great European-style café across Montreal.
They serve you countless selections of coffees, pastries, and much more. You will get a taste of Italy during your trip to Montreal. The locals are very attached to this café, and it is a spot that everyone loves visiting for breakfast. Therefore, you must sip their coffee at least once during your trip.
Devour Poutine At La Banquise
You may have heard about Poutine; you need to know about this if you haven’t. It is one of the things Canada is famous for.
Poutine is a widely known Canadian fast food dish mostly eaten as an appetizer. It is a dish made up of French fries as a base and then filling the dish with cheese and local gravy.
The cheese curds and the gravy with French fries make a great combination. To have the best Poutine in Montreal, La Banquise is the only name the locals will recommend to you. You will find a variety of poutine selections on their menu to choose from.
However, make sure not to visit late at night as you will find a long queue of club-goers waiting for their table.
Shop At The Jean-Talon Market
In a world full of supermarkets, this open-air market will remind you of the old times of how our forefathers used to shop. A historical essence given to grocery shopping, it is one of the largest public markets across North America. Just a visit to this market will tell you that it is the one of the perfect things to do in Montreal.
The market started in 1933, and you can find a variety of local groceries, meat, and bakers. However, if you are looking to taste their natural, local fruits and vegetables, the Jean-Talon Market is the place you want to visit.
There is one thing that you don’t have to miss at the Jean-Talon Market. The fresh produce of the charcuterie and the local cheese will surely give you a taste of Montreal’s local taste.
Some of the best food tours in Montreal take you around this iconic market to really understand the community, and of course, sample some delish treats!
Free Things To Do In Montreal
There are many things you have to pay for while you visit Montreal. However, it would be best to have some free source fun to relax your wallet for a break. Therefore, keep reading to have some fun in Montreal.
Head For A Picnic In The Park
What could be a better way to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather of Montreal? All you need is to prepare a picnic and head to the nearest park. You would find countless options of parks to choose from. However, it is upon you to choose the one convenient for you.
It is a great thing to do to spend some peaceful quality time with your partner or family. But, even if you are alone, having a nap in the open air and communicating with the locals in the park is an option always open for you. Relaxing in the park is one of the fun and mind refreshing things to do in Montreal.
Explore City Hall
If you are visiting Montreal from October to June, you will find the gates of the City Hall open for you for free. You can have a guided tour or walk around the building and enjoy the art and history it represents.
The City Hall is an 1870s building and has been a lot since then. It survived a massive fire in 1922 and now hosts a big part of Montreal history. So if somehow you miss the entrance timings, having a glimpse of the City Hall during the night with the lights on is a view worth it.
Visit The St. Joseph’s Oratory
Carrying the title of being the largest church in Canada, the design and structure of St. Josephs’s Oratory would mesmerize you. The beautiful green dome of the Oratory will also catch your eye from a distance. Around 300 steps from the city leading up to the Oratory, you can find many people going up the way.
If you are looking to get a good view of the city, the two outdoor levels at a height are the perfect spot. After you are done with everything, a walk in the lush green beautiful garden of the Oratory is a must to cool you down. We know it is too much beauty for a day, but it is the best refreshing visit you will have in Montreal.
This is one of the famous monuments and landmarks in Montreal.
Check Out The Most Famous And Attractive Houses
If you are nearby the Square of St. Louis, you will find some of the city’s most beautiful, colorful, and unique houses. You may have seen some houses on Instagram as their design, and the structure is popular worldwide.
You will find houses painted in various colors and leave you in awe. The Victorian-designed houses are what makes them different from others. You will know what we are talking about once you visit the neighborhood. It is one of the best free things you can do in Montreal.
Visit The National Library
If your books and the literature fascinates you, head towards the La Grande Biblioteque. Being part of Quebec’s national library, it hosts over a million books. However, visitors aren’t allowed to check the books out as they are valuable and maybe the only ones.
But you can learn what books they have and the information and knowledge it carries. The bright white, classic interior of this building is worth capturing. However, there are some books which you can read to learn more facts about Canada.
You may not be allowed to check out the history books but keep in mind to maintain silence and don’t cause disturbance for others.
Popular Things To Do In Montreal
Keep reading for some of the most popular things to do in Montreal to keep you busy. You would find the most visitors worldwide and countless fun activities to do at these places and make your trip memorable.
Explore The Quartier Des Spectacles
Known as the arts and entertainment downtown of Montreal, it is the perfect place to visit if you are an art lover. Hosting from sculpture galleries too so much more is an unexplainable experience here.
The performing arts center known as the Place des Arts hosts various shows to keep you entertained. Opera, ballet, and orchestra are just a few of them that you will experience. There is a reason why it is called the downtown for arts and entertainment.
You can visit and enjoy so many places in this area that we think a day wouldn’t be enough to go over everything in detail.
Escape To The Underground City
Have you had enough of the brutal weather of Montreal? Well, there is a way you can escape it for a day and spend the day in the Underground city. Yes, the underground city is situated under the streets of Montreal and stretches around 20 miles.
A unique designed area with scenery constantly changing may confuse you. However, it is an experience that you can’t find anywhere else. Everything is present in the underground city, from banks, bus terminals, cafés, and restaurants. This is the reason why it is called a city and a visit should top the things to do in Montreal list of yours.
Check Out The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a place you have to visit to get some thrill from the high-speed action. It is a renowned international circuit that hosts various championships and international events. Every year thousands of spectators are found seated in the stands and enjoying the event.
You may be in luck if there is an event going on. The challenging and wild track of this circuit would give you Goosebumps. Several people have won the race of their life at this circuit, while many have crashed and lost.
Experience The Activities At The Olympic Stadium
Specially designed and built for the 1976 Olympics, the stadium has now turned into a home for some of the big events in Montreal. Hosting from soccer matches to wrestling and other championships, this stadium has been a home for many other recreational activities.
There is always something exciting, and you can easily get a ticket to enter the stadium.
Sightseeing At The Montreal Botanical Garden
Hosting a collection of gardens and greenhouses, the Montreal Botanical Garden is spread across 190 acres. It is one of the best sightseeing locations in the city. Having such biodiversity, the city’s Botanical Garden is now titled a national historic site.
A stroll and the view is just one of the relaxing things to do in Montreal to make your trip memorable.
Cultural Things To Do In Montreal
Having such a diverse culture and an interesting history, Montreal is one of the best places known for its culture. This list will be long as you will find countless cultural things to do in Montreal. So please keep reading to know what Montreal offers to represent its culture and history.
Enjoy The MURAL Festival
One of the biggest events hosted to display public art and several other art displays by the talented artists of Canada. In addition, live painting sessions, street performances, and whatnot can you find in the streets of Montreal during this festival.
However, you can still see murals hanging in the streets after the festival. This is left for visitors who couldn’t make it to the festival.
Learn And Gain Information From The Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts
Founded in 1860, the Montreal Museum of Arts, commonly known as the MMFA, is one of the most visited museums. Visitors and artists worldwide gather here at MMFA to view and learn about the pieces on display.
The MMFA is home to around 43,000 pieces of the world’s finest and outstanding collection of antiques. Every season there are some massive exhibitions held. If you are planning to visit the MMFA, visit the Napolean collection.
If you want to learn about their culture and history do add MMFA in your things to do in Montreal list.
Visit The Pointe-à-Callière Museum Of Archaeology And History
Known as the largest archeology museum in Canada, the Pointe-à-Callière is situated in the Old Montreal area. Founded in 1642, the museum hosts a lot of drama that will amaze you. The best thing about this museum is that you can find excavated video installations here.
Representing history in the best way possible!
Stroll Around The Saint Laurent Boulevard
A stroll around this street will surely amaze you what the talent of the local artist is represented on these streets. The Saint Boulevard holds high value for every citizen of Montreal. Known as the city hub since the 1600s, Saint Boulevard also works as the border for dividing the English and French speakers.
Tour The Redpath Museum
It is a kind museum and holds a collection that you may not see anywhere else. Home to the skeletons of some of the extinct animals and representing their life cycle is what will fascinate you during your tour of the Redpath Museum.
The display of the real-life Egyptian mummies may scare you, but don’t worry; this is no Night at The Museum where everything will come to life.
Walk Around The Mile End
Mile End is not a museum or a historical site; it is a trendy neighborhood. When you enter this area, you will feel that the culture of the locals has entirely changed to hip. It is one of the best places to visit and get to know the locals and understand their fashion trends.
In addition, you will find a countless number of cafés, restaurants, and bars to visit and have fun. If you want to find the local hidden gems, you can join the Mile End Food Tour to enjoy the best of the district.
Outdoor Things To Do In Montreal
If you like to bag pack and explore nature, Montreal is the perfect place for you. There are countless outdoor things to do in Montreal. You can explore various sites and make your trip memorable.
Explore Mount Royal
Mount Royal is the best sightseeing mountain range in Montreal. The mountain range may be smaller than others you may have been to, but it is a perfect place for a hike and refreshing yourself in nature.
Spread out on 692 acres, you can imagine the activities you can do and enjoy during your hike. Of course, picnics, camping, and skiing are the most popular things people do at Mount Royal.
Enjoy The Wildlife At The Montreal Biodome
Montreal Biodome is one of the best zoos and aquariums you can find in the city. The Biodome hosts four different ecosystems in North America. It is a perfect place to take your kids along.
The structure was initially designed and built for the 1976 Olympics that Montreal hosted. The Biodome hosted the cycling and juggling events of the Olympics. However, now the Biodome is home to thousands of animals, and you can find over 200 species.
Other than that, the greenhouses feature over 500 different plants for you to explore and learn about them. This place is a must during your trip.
Enjoy A Walk In Parc Jean-Drapeau
Montreal’s biggest garden and amusement park are what Parc Jean-Drapeau is all about. Spread across 662 acres, it offers recreational activities, countless attractions, and a racetrack. In addition, they have a major festival site available.
All the 662 acres are spread across two islands, and you won’t believe how beautiful it is. The park has also hosted many visitors during the city’s Canadian Grand Prix. Before going here, make sure to rest properly and warm your legs as there is a lot of walking.
However, the fun you will have would be worth the pain your legs will feel.
Have A Spin Of The La Grande Roue de Montreal
The name may confuse you into a fancy restaurant, but it is a 60 meter observation wheel. It is lit all night and gives you a perfect view of Old Montreal. If you are scared of heights, this is the best way to fight your fear.
The observation wheel was set up to celebrate the 375th year of the Old Montreal city area. The design of the wheel is inspired by the ones you can see in Chicago and Hong Kong. If you are visiting Montreal with your partner, a ride on this observation wheel would be romantic.
Get Mesmerized By The Architecture Of Habitat 67
It may be only a housing complex, but these houses’ unique architecture and design would leave you confused. Stacked in cubes, the buildings would put you into deep thoughts about how they did it. However, it is one of the most famous attractions in Montreal.
Relax On Bota Bota
Initially, a ferryboat was added, a spa to offer a refreshing and relaxing ride to the visitors. The ride of Bota Bota would give you a perfect view of Old Port and Habitat 67. What would be a better way to end your day with a relaxing boat ride equipped with a spa?
Paddle Through The Lachine Canal
The Lachine Canal is the best spot for watersports activities, titled a national historic site. The 14.5 km long canal is situated on the southwestern side of Montreal.
Each section of the canal offers different activities to enjoy with your family or friends and is one of the most exciting things to do in Montreal.
Groove In The Village au Pied-du-Courant
This is no tribal village; it is a space dedicated to the public and reinvented as a living lab. On the Saint Lawrence Riverbank, you can find various bars and musicians to enjoy the day and relax. This is the perfect place for family or friendly events.
Get Lost In The Cap Saint Jacques Nature Park
Here everything may seem magical to you. The lush green landscape surrounded by water from three sides and the sandy beaches gives you a perfect vibe. It is the largest park you can find in Montreal.
Discovering The Best Things To Do In Montreal
That was the complete guide for the things you can do in Montreal. These things include a unique and different place you can visit and make your trip memorable. Make sure to make a schedule of your trip and add the things we discussed here.
Montreal is a city in Canada that has a lot to offer. Once you enter you will find yourself part of many activities. Therefore, to enjoy Montreal to the maximum make sure to book your trip for around ten days. This would be enough to enjoy most of the things to do in Montreal.