Things to do in Montreal
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.
For a deeper look at Canadian art, don’t miss the Beaux-Arts museum in the heart of downtown’s Golden Square Mile.
The oldest public market in Montreal, the Lachine Market dates to the 1840’s. The farmers’ market became a permanent market in 1909, and the bulk of items on sale are still basics like local cheeses, fresh breads, and garden vegetables.
Site of the 1976 Summer Olympics, this complex of hulking concrete buildings—and former home of the Montreal Expos (now used for concerts and events)—is located a few miles east of downtown and also includes the city’s lovely botanic garden.
Once you have the gourmet accoutrements from the Les Touilleurs kitchenware store, cab it up to Little Italy and this enormous food market, which is the city’s culinary epicenter. Here, you can stop by the William J.
This eclectic little boutique/art gallery showcases paintings by owner Lysanne Pepin, quirky jewelry, and a handful of well-priced bohemian women’s clothing lines, including its own Espace Couture label.
Set on an otherwise unappealing stretch of Rue Sainte-Catherine, the industrial-looking Belgo Building is an inauspicious hub for the city’s contemporary art scene. Inside, the building is brimming with small galleries, some of which also serve as artists’ workshops.
Les Tam Tams is a free music festival held on rainless Sundays from May through September; it attracts drummers, dancers, vendors, and curious visitors.
At the city’s north end, Outremont is home to the city’s tony Francophones, and its main drag, Avenue Laurier Ouest, is one of Montreal’s main shopping and dining destinations.
Every year, during the first week of July, Montreal puts on this music celebration. Some acts have included Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon, and Mali's Amadou et Mariam, many of which play for free on outdoor states downtown.
The shop features a well-curated assortment of clothing and artifacts
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.
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
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.
Entering the stylish Whisky Lounge is a little like stepping (one imagines) into a Havana lounge, circa 1952. It’s not just the real Cuban cigars—you’re in Canada, after all—being sold and smoked in the clubby back-room salon.