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21 Best Things to Do in Montreal, Quebec

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 unlimited dining options, there's always something to do in Montreal.


01 Stroll through Old 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 overlooking the river, and horse-drawn carriage rides to tour the city. Experience the charm of Vieux-Montreal by booking a by booking a guided tour that highlights its historic landmarks and hidden gems.

When the sun goes down, there's still plenty to do. Old Montreal has dozens of dining establishments, nightclubs, bars, and shops.


02 Experience the Satosphere Projection Room

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, including a farm-to-table restaurant where guests can try Foodlab's biodynamic wines.


03 Dine in Montreal's Chinatown

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. For a deeper dive into the area, consider taking a Chinatown and Red Light District walking tour that showcases the vibrant history and hidden gems.


04 Explore the Montreal Botanical Gardens

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 have 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.


05 Paddle, walk, or paddle Montreal's Canals

The Lachine Canal National Historic Site stretches over 13.5 km in Montreal, offering a variety of activities for both water and land enthusiasts. You can boat, kayak, or canoe along the scenic canal, or enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride on the adjacent paths. For those interested in uncovering more of Montreal's historical gems, the Beyond the Basilica Walking Tour provides an engaging journey through the city's captivating past. And don't think the fun stops when winter arrives—visitors can also snowshoe and fat bike along the canal's trails during the colder months.


06 Take in the beauty of the Notre-Dame Basilica

Interior of the Notre Dame Basilica of Vieux Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Image provided by Felipe Mulè / Getty Images

No visit to Montreal is complete without a stop at the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal, a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture built in 1824. Adorned with intricate statues, beautiful chapels, and vibrant stained glass windows, this historic church stands proudly over the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal. To truly appreciate its history and beauty, join a fantastic walking tour, which offers an in-depth exploration of this iconic landmark and other hidden gems in the area. The basilica welcomes visitors daily for tours, making it an essential part of any Montreal itinerary.


07 Take a stroll in the Parc du Mont-Royal

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 offers amazing views of the city from the top. The park also houses a few places to 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.


08 Take in a hockey game at the Bell Centre

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 the largest arena to host an NHL team in North America. Don't miss the chance to experience the thrill of live hockey—purchase your tickets to see the Montreal Canadiens in action. The NHL season runs from October to April, providing plenty of opportunities to catch a game. The NHL hockey season runs from October to April.


09 Take in a burlesque show

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.


10 Go shopping in underground malls

Every trip to Montreal should include some shopping, and there's no better place to do it than below the city's streets. More than a thousand stores are located in the extensive underground pedestrian network known as the RÉSO. This network stretches for over 20 miles, allowing shoppers to escape the cold, snowy weather of Montreal's long winters. These underground shopping malls connect train stations, eateries, motels, and even a movie cinema. For an in-depth exploration, consider taking an underground tour with MTL Detours. This informative walking tour makes navigating the maze of tunnels and passageways simple while uncovering the history and highlights of Montreal's Underground City. Along with shopping, you can visit Canada's Museum of Modern Art or embark on a food-tasting tour of the dining options below Montreal.


11 Discover the wonders of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

If you love the arts, Montreal is an excellent place to visit. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has more gallery space than anywhere else in Canada, with thousands of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks to admire. The museum emphasizes international art, with early, modern, and contemporary pieces from all over the world. With its stunning collection and intriguing exhibits, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is an attraction well worth your time.


12 Experience the Montreal Biodome and its diverse ecosystems

The Montreal Biodome offers a rare opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts. While there, you can walk through replicas of four ecosystems, learning much about the environment and the life that inhabits it. Walking through the hallways winding through this domed structure, you will feel like you're on a personal tour through nature, taking in an up close and personal view of a vast array of animals, including penguins, reptiles, and apes.


13 Wander through the colorful Jean-Talon Market

The Jean-Talon Market was constructed in 1933 and has witnessed generations of vendors exchanging goods with a vibrant community. Situated in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal, the market is a great place to buy goods from local fishmongers, butchers, and fruit and vegetable growers. To get the most out of your visit, consider taking a small-group walking tour of the market. Follow your local guide through the maze of stalls, discover local delicacies you might not find on your own, and explore the fascinating neighborhood of Little Italy. You're sure to find the freshest produce and the most savory dishes at the Jean-Talon Market, all while absorbing the rich culture of Montreal and supporting local businesses. Plus, you'll receive personal attention and insider tips on restaurants, wine, and beer from your knowledgeable guide.


14 Enjoy a panoramic view from the Montreal Observation Wheel

The Montreal Observation Wheel, or La La Grande roue de Montréal as it is known locally, is a stunning attraction providing you with a breathtaking panoramic view of the gorgeous Montreal cityscape. If you want to see this fine city from a broad view, there is no better place to do so in all its grandeur. You can also enjoy a first-rate meal while taking in views of the city.


15 Immerse yourself in history at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum

If archaeology and history are among your passions, you must check out the Pointe-à-Callière Museum. With an emphasis on the First Nations tribes of the surrounding region, the museum offers a great opportunity to educate yourself about Montreal's multifaceted cultural origins. They have an incredible collection of artifacts, with exhibits focusing both on the tribes that first settled in the region as well as the French and British influences and how all of this combined to define the culture of this city and its surrounding region.


16 Explore the vibrant Mile End neighborhood

Shopping is one of the underrated joys of traveling, and the Mile End neighborhood is a top-notch location for an afternoon shopping excursion. Stroll the colorful Rue Bernard, taking in its gorgeous buildings while you stop off at independently owned record shops, bookstores, and more. For a truly immersive experience, consider joining a boutique walking tour, where you can savor a variety of the area's culinary delights, from gravlax sandwiches to the iconic Montreal bagels. If you get hungry or thirsty, grab a bite or a cup of coffee at the innumerable restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood, offering a wide range of cuisine, from premium bagels to savory Italian dishes.


17 Delight in the architectural marvels of Habitat 67

Imagine a massive structure with apartments stacked on top of each other in a lopsided but elegant pattern that works its way toward the sky, then stretches out along the city streets. Montreal's Habitat 67 is something like that, but the description doesn't do justice to this beautiful architectural curiosity. Neither do photographs, so you'll want to make sure to stop by for an in-person view while you're visiting Montreal.


18 Attend a performance at the Place des Arts cultural complex

If you're a lover of music or the theater, you will find a show at the Place des Arts cultural complex the experience of a lifetime. The largest of its kind in Canada, the complex features a diverse schedule of programming, including opera, rock concerts, and stage plays. You won't want to miss a performance there if you're visiting Montreal.


19 Relax in the serene oasis of Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory is a must-visit attraction for anyone vacationing in Montreal. Absorb the sight of its striking domed exterior, or marvel at the ornate decorations and statues inside. If you love to take in the architectural landmarks of the places you travel to, you won't want to miss out on a chance to see this magnificent structure.


20 Uncover the secrets of the Montreal Science Centre

The Montreal Science Centre occupies a prominent spot amongst Montreal's impressive roster of museums. Interactivity is an essential part of the museum's experience, providing hands-on educational opportunities to those who seek a thrilling and engaging way to learn about science. Its exhibits are often unique, covering a wide range of anything science-related, from those focusing on the dinosaurs to a recent exhibit teaching the science behind hockey.


21 Dive into historical fun at Voiles en Voiles

Voiles-en-Voiles-Adventure-Park Voiles en Voiles Adventure Park

Voiles en Voiles in the Old Port is a place to find historical intrigue and adventure. Ideal for families and thrill-seekers alike, this park offers a variety of aerial obstacle courses and climbing activities, all set within an imaginative 18th-century naval theme. Younger adventurers can enjoy safe, fun-filled games, including themed inflatable play areas and an engaging archery experience. It’s a perfect stop for an active, fun-filled day in Montreal. Engage in a battle of wits and physical agility as you navigate through pirate ship structures, providing a dynamic blend of history and excitement.

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