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.
Rue Saint-Denis, up in the Plateau, is the prettiest shopping street in the city, with pint-size boutiques tucked into gabled houses. At this basement-level (yet somehow light-filled) store, brothers André and Lambert Gratton curate a smart selection of mid-century housewares and furniture.
In Montreal, where interior shops tend to cater to either traditionalists or cutting-edge Modernists, Celadon Collection bridges the gap between stodgy and avant-garde perfectly.
Yvonne and Douglas Mandel, pioneers of the new Vieux, showcase their sharply tailored menswear here.
The historic heart of the city, Old Montreal is a portside hamlet of narrow cobblestoned streets and handsome stone buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, along with a handful from the 17th.
In the western suburb of Point St. Charles, this 1668 farmstead—with a handsome stone house, outbuildings, and surrounding gardens—has been transformed into a living history museum. It was originally presided over by Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame.
Set in the often-narrow streets of Old Montreal, said to be some of Canada’s most haunted, these English- and French-language walking tours highlight spirits from the city’s past. Taking place in the east and west sides of the city, tours run during the summer and around Halloween.
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.
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.
Montreal has great bike trails throughout the city and along the water. The best of them is the one that follows the Lachine Canal for about nine miles, from the old city to the western suburbs.
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.
Eclectic Mile End space that's one part antiques shop and one part gallery.
This traditionally working-class western suburb has several surviving historic sights, including the lovely Maison Saint-Gabriel.