Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world and one of the top international destinations in North America. This fantastic destination has dozens of must-see attractions for visitors and residents of all ages. From open markets, historical places, underground shopping, and sporting events to an unlimited number of dining options, there's always something to do in Montreal.
Like many cities with a long history, Montreal consists of a modern section with new, complex roadways and high-rise buildings that tower over the city's skyline. But, it's also home to an old-world area with a rich, 300-plus-year history. Vieux-Montreal offers visitors a taste of history with cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes that overlook the river, and horse-drawn carriage rides to tour the city.
When the sun goes down, there's still plenty to do. Old Montreal has dozens of dining establishments, nightclubs, bars, and shops.
Montreal's Satosphere Projection Room is a one-of-a-kind experience that gives visitors a 360-degree audio-visual experience. Shows vary from films, to dance parties, games, and special presentations. The attraction has regular events with various DJs, VJs, and virtual reality events. Don't forget to grab a bite to eat on the third floor. The Satosphere has an outdoor terrace and dining options that include a farm-to-table restaurant where guests can try the Foodlab's biodynamic wines.
Montreal's Chinatown isn't huge; it runs from Saint-Urbain Street to Saint-Laurent Boulevard. But, it makes up for size with quality. The entrance to Chinatown features four friendship arches with stone lions welcoming visitors. Here, guests can dine on traditional Chinese favorites, such as fresh-made noodles, dim sum, and dumplings. Before leaving, make sure to sample the famous dragon's beard candy. This ancient treat is a handspun cotton candy filled with crushed peanuts, chocolate pieces, sesame seeds, or coconut. Make sure to eat it right away; the delicious sweets are only fresh for a few minutes.
The best thing about visiting the botanical gardens in Montreal is that it's open year-round. Guests can enjoy the 190-acres on a hot summer day or when the temperature dips below zero. The garden is housed in 10 large greenhouses that each has a theme. Stroll through over 22,000 species including floral designs from the 14th to the 17th century Ming Dynasty. Some gardens are even complete with butterflies and other insects. When the weather's right, check out the outdoor areas as well that contain a large, colorful arrangement of roses bushes and other seasonal flora.
The Lachine Canal National Historic Site is a 13.5 km park in the city of Montreal that offers boating, kayaking, canoeing, and a place to peddle along the canal for those that prefer to stay on land. Activities aren't limited to the warmer weather months. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing and fat biking through the trails along the canal in the winter.
The Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal is one of the must-see destinations for anyone traveling to the Canadian city. The Gothic-Revival style house of worship was built in 1824 and is decorated with statues, chapels, and stained glass windows. The city's oldest Catholic church towers over the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal. It's open to visitors for tours daily.
Another outdoor point of interest is the beautiful Parc du Mont-Royal. It sits above the city on a 761-foot hill and is one of Montreal's largest parks. Open from sunrise to sunset daily, it includes rowboat rentals on Beaver Lake and of course, offers amazing views of the city from the top. The park also houses a few places eat and a gift shop. In the fall, patrons can experience an additional perk of the mountaintop park with an array of beautiful fall colors to gaze at while walking, hiking, or picnicking.
Montreal is more than parks, museums, eateries, and shopping. Sports fans should take a night to see a hockey game at Bell Centre. Previously known as Molson Centre, the entertainment complex is the home of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens and is also the largest arena to host an NHL team in North America. The NHL hockey season runs from October to April.
The fun doesn't end during the day as Montreal has an active nightlife. Before leaving, take in a Burlesque Show. These humorous variety shows can provide an entertaining night with outrageous skits, stripteases, and lots of glitter, feathers, and fishnet stockings. Some even offer classes for patrons to learn how to perform burlesque acts. For more than one show, visit during the 3-night Montreal Burlesque Festival held every October.
Every trip needs to include some shopping. In Montreal, there are more than a thousand stores located below the streets. Shoppers can stroll the areas beneath the city, escaping the cold, snowy weather that the long winters bring. These underground shopping malls accompany train stations, eateries, and motels that are all connected underground in the North American city. Along with shopping, there's a movie cinema, pop up into Canada's museum of modern art, or take a food tasting tour of the dining options below Montreal.