Montreal Travel Guide
Whether you’re planning a high-culture getaway or a weekend shopping spree, a gourmet sampling of the city’s most noteworthy restaurants or a tour of the city’s vibrant nightlife, you’ll be blown away by the range of things to do in Montreal. Stroll through the landscaped greenery of Mount Royal to take in gorgeous views of the city from on high, or take a funicular ride up to the Montreal Tower Observatory, housed at the 1976 Olympic Stadium, for a sweeping panorama of the city. For an unforgettable day of sightseeing, travel the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal and dip into the shops and boutiques that line the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River, take in the architectural majesty of the Notre-Dame Basilica, and cap off your day with a visit to one of the area’s many fine dining establishments. To experience the city’s vibrant nightlife, head over to the Plateau district, a favorite of Montreal’s hip set.
Art lovers looking for things to do in Montreal shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, which houses a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, prints, drawings and photographs from European and North American masters; modern art aficionados should visit the Musée d’Art Contemporain for an unforgettable collection of contemporary masterpieces. Music lovers will want to visit in the summertime to take advantage of the city’s many music festivals, including the International Jazz Festival, while cinema buffs won’t want to miss out on the Fantasia and FIFA film festivals; the city is also home to 250 theater and dance companies that perform year-round.
Designed by New York architect James O’Donnell, the Gothic Revival-style Notre-Dame Basilica faces Place d'Armes in Old Montreal. Although completed in 1829, the church later added its two towers a decade later—the western tower holds one giant bell and the eastern a 10-bell carillon.
Known as the Plateau, this hip, vibrant, edgy community is Montreal’s answer to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and Lower East Side.
The Vietnam-born Andy Thê-Anh may be Quebec’s best women’s fashion designer—he’s certainly the city’s most polished.
From the same owners as Whiskey Café, Dominion Square Tavern serves a French-Canadian menu and house-made items by chef Érik Dupuis. The original chandelier and terrazzo floors have seen the space used as everything from a 1927 hotel restaurant to one of the city’s first gay bars.
Spread across 180 acres just a couple of miles east of downtown, the
nearly 80-year-old botanical garden is brilliantly landscaped and full
of surprises. Sure, there are the showstopping Rose Gardens, along with
After exploring Old Montreal, save time for a walk through Frederick Law Olmsted’s wooded and sprawling, 470-odd-acre Mont-Royal Park, which spans the northern edge of downtown and forms the western border of the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood.
Though Montreal after dark used to mean La Calèche du Sexe and other such red-light joints downtown, the city’s nightlife is now centered around bars instead of poles.
Explore and sample imported French goods and fresh Canadian products at these four public markets;
Between Jacques-Cartier and Clock Tower quays in the Old Port, the Patinoire du Bassin Bonsecours is a scenic outdoor skating rink along the St. Lawrence River. Each evening, from December to mid-March, a DJ plays music in styles ranging from classical to 1980’s hits.
Olympic Pedigree: Home to rowing events in the 1976 Games, and one of the largest artificial outdoor rowing facilities in North America.
This ethnic enclave filled with Hasidic, Portuguese, Italian, and Greek communities has been immortalized in the novels of Mordecai Richler, who grew up here and returned often in his books.
Step inside this tiny chocolatier and the powerful aromas of caramel, spice, milk, and yes, chocolate are as comforting as stepping back into your mother’s kitchen—though we doubt she was turning out such haute treats.
Fans of vintage clothing shouldn’t miss this 15-year-old shop for its well-curated selection of designer hats, scarves, and party dresses from the 40’s to the 70’s.
Designed by Marius Dufresne and completed in 1914, the five-story Maisonneuve Market is located in its namesake district. Although historically a daily market, from the 1960s to 1995 there was a police office and cultural center in the Beaux-Arts building.