Best Things to Do in Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Quebec

Downtown Montreal, Canada
Downtown Montreal, Canada

When it comes to the intersection of history, liveability, culture, nature, and nightlife…Montreal is hard to beat. 

Founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie, the little French fur trading outpost would eventually turn into the second-largest city in Canada, boasting 1.8 million people in the city alone. It’s been favorably compared to places like Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia.

French is still the official language of the province of Quebec, but virtually all locals will gladly converse with you in English.

Read on for the Best Things to Do in Montreal, Canada!

1. Old Montreal

Old Montreal
Old Montreal

The tourist hotspot of Montreal, Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal, in French) is where the French fur traders first founded the future city of Ville-Marie in 1642. 

It’s in Old Montreal that you’ll find cobblestone streets, storefronts dating from the 1700s, and more sidewalk cafes, restaurants, and shops than you can shake a stick at. It’s really like a slice of Europe on North American soil. 

Old Montreal, Canada
Old Montreal, Canada

2. Parc du Mont-Royal

Montreal skyline seen from the Belvidere on top of Mount Royal
Montreal skyline seen from the Belvidere on top of Mount Royal

If you’ve seen an epic photo of the Montreal skyline, there’s a 99.999% chance it was taken from the top of Mount Royal. The Belvidere offers what has to be the single best place to see the skyline in the entire city.

But that’s not all. There are miles of hiking trails that criss-cross the 764-foot hill. The winding drive up to the summit is also dotted with overlooks that offer views of different parts of the city. 

1260 Remembrance Rd, Montreal, QC H3H 1A2

3. Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Montreal
Notre-Dame Cathedral, Montreal

Found in Place D’Armes in Old Montreal, the Notre-Dame Basilica is a focal point of the city. Montreal itself is often called the “City of a Thousand Spires” and it’s not hard to see why. 

But as impressive as the exterior is, it’s the interior that really takes your breath away.

110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 1T1

4. Plateau

Plateau neighborhood, Montreal
Plateau neighborhood, Montreal

Plateau is a neighborhood, known as one of its trendiest. You’ll witness excellent streetlife and nightlife, and incredible food options such as Crescent Burger Bar and Notre Bouef de Grace. 

5. St. Joseph’s Oratory

St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal
St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal

Situated in the enclave of Westmount, St. Joseph’s Oratory is an impressive landmark and completely free to visit!

3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, QC H3V 1H6

6. Parc Jean-Drapeau

The Biosphere at Parc Jean-Drapeau lit up at night, Montreal
The Biosphere at Parc Jean-Drapeau lit up at night, Montreal

One of the coolest parks in Montreal is located on an island in the Champlain river. The park itself is expansive, but also boasts the Biosphere, which itself contains a museum about the environment.

1 Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Montreal, QC H3C 1A9

7. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Photo courtesy of UniqueThingsToDo.com
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Photo courtesy of UniqueThingsToDo.com

While it can be confusing to navigate for first-time visitors, the Montreal Museum of Modern Art is an awesome place to visit. 

1416-40 Homewood Ave, Montreal, QC M4Y 2K2

Admission: $20 CAD ($18.50 USD)

Conclusion

This list just scratches the surface of what there is to do in this francophone metropolis. Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below!

As always, a Like and a Share is appreciated!

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5 Responses

  1. fpdorchak says:

    A friend of mine who lives in Canada had told me that English was the official language, but checking out this site shows both French and English are the official languages: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/corporate/about-us/official-languages.html.

    That said, yes, the Québécois in Quebec have their way with French Canadian. At least when I lived against their border in upstate NY back in the 70s, they were pretty…gnarly…about their language. This site seems to give further insight into their language: https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/a-brief-history-of-canadian-french-quebecois. In any event I find it très intéressant that you use “gladly” in your statement about the local Québécois willing to converse with you in English! Things have apparently really changed for the better!

    Great post, Alek!

    • Jruggf says:

      I’ve lived in this province almost 50 years and I can count the number of times I’ve been given grief about English on one hand. Generally, it’s appreciated if you just TRY to say something in French first. A lot of anglophones talk too fast for a second language speaker and it leads to frustration.

  2. Pedro Jorge says:

    If you don’t use the Metro you will be back on your way to Ontario with all construction detours and all the other nonsense 🙄. Don’t waste your time…Montréal as become the dirtiest city in North America !!! I am from Montréal…Lived in Toronto 5 years Vancouver 3.
    Garbage on the sidewalk while you also trying to get somewhere = the Garbage mindset people here too….15 years ago was a different story!!

    • Ehhhhhhhh if you think Montreal is the dirtiest city in North America, then perhaps you should go see some other places haha. At any rate, I don’t think that alone is reason enough to not visit! Montreal has so much more to offer than that. Thank you for reading though!

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