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Fun Things to do in Montreal


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city guide

Montreal is a true gem. Largest city in Canada. It is an island with a large dormant volcano that can be climbed to reveal amazing views of the city. Unlike any city in the World, Montreal has a special charm. Restaurants are amazing, people are friendly and you can get by on the cheap if you do some research and ask the locals.


Best time to go

Montreal is an awesome place to visit between May and October. Not saying that you won't have a good time in the winter, it's just cold. The city comes alive with festivals and events in the summer that really showcase all Montreal has to offer


Fun city facts and activities

    The Tam-Tams is a weekly drum circle that happens at the base of the Mont Royal Park. This park is a great visit any day of the week, but expect to see crowds on nice summer weekends.

    Explore one of the cities many beautiful parks. Check out our article about our top 10 parks in Montreal

    visit Quartier des Spectacles, which translates to event/show neighborhood for one of the numerous street festivals.

    Montr̩al has 10 streets that are completely closed to car traffic and are thus only for pedestrians and slow moving 2 wheeled vehicles. The streets are closed from June- September and are the following streets:

    Mont Royal ave from St. Laurent to Fullum

    Wellington st from 6th av to Regina st

    St. Catherine st E from St Hubert to Papineau

    Ontario st E from Pie-IX to Darling st.

    Duluth ave from St. Laurent to St. Hubert

    St. Denis from Sherbrooke to St. Catherine st

    St. Catherine w from St.laurent to Clarke

    place du marche nord

    Bernard Ave from Wiseman ave to Bloomfield

    Castelnau E from St. Denis to Gaspe
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    "Spend time in the 6 major neighborhoods:

    1. Notre-Dame-de-Grace(NDG) & Westmount

    Main streets with shops and restaurants are Sherbrooke, Cote St. Luc and Monkland in NDG and Sherbrooke st, Victoria and Greene ave in Westmount.

    Mostly local restaurants and shops, with occasional chain restaurants.

    2. Downtown/Ville-Marie

    Main streets: Sherbrooke st, de Maisonneuve and St. Catherine st and all the cross streets in between.

    You will find the highest concentration of retails stores in this area.

    Walking down St. Catherines street is recommended.

    The underground city is located in this area, connecting over 33 km of shops, metro stations and restaurants.

    Dining options in the downtown area can be a little more limited so do your research!

    3. Plateau Mont Royal & Mile End

    Main streets: Blvd St. Laurent, St.Denis, Mont Royal, Fairmount, Bernard, St. Viateur, Parc ave.

    One of the most walkable neighborhoods, expect many smaller local stores/butchers/salons/restos, if you are looking for some interesting food/visuals/drinks/clothing, this is where you will want to spend some time exploring.

    4. Little Italy & Parc Extension

    Main streets: Blvd St. Laurent, St. Zotique, Dante, st. Hubert, Jean Talon, St.Roch.

    Home to the famous Jean Talon Market, this neighborhood should be a must see just for the market alone in the summer months. Look beyond the market for some of the best food, drink and service Montr̩al has to offer.

    5. Old Montr̩al

    Main streets: de la commune, Notre-Dame E, Place Jacques Cartier.

    Cobblestone roads and beautiful old buildings dominate this neighborhood. There are many small shops and restaurants but be forewarned that this is a very touristy area. There are many great, local restaurants, you just need to do a little research

    6. Verdun & Lachine.

    Main streets: Wellington, Lachine canal.

    The newest Montr̩al neighborhood to experience a boom of new tenants/owners and to be #blessed with a rue piettoniere, which is a pedestrian only street for the summer time. You will find small local shops as well as some chain restaurants and stores along this street.

Food Specialties

    Montreal is a multi cultural city and you can find food from most types of cuisine.

    Smoked meat and Poutine - yes, by all means try Smoke Meat and Poutine, or try them together in a "Smoked meat poutine". Best after a night of drinks


Montreal Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Visit the Insectarium de Montr̩al: Located inside the Montreal Botanical Garden, the Insectarium is home to more than 250,000 specimens from all over the world. The Insectarium hosts a variety of interactive activities, educational programs, and events throughout the year.

2. Take a Beer Tour of Montreal: Montreal is home to some of the best microbreweries in the world. Go on a guided tour to visit the citys leading breweries and sample some of the best local beers.

3. Take a Ghost Tour: Montreal is full of haunted places. Take a guided tour of some of the citys most haunted locations and hear spooky tales about the citys haunted past.

4. Visit the Biodome: The Biodome is an indoor nature centre featuring four distinct ecosystems. Visit the tropical rainforest, the Laurentian forest, the St. Lawrence marine ecosystem and the Arctic.


Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Basilique Notre-Dame De Montreal Notre Dame Street
Experience a blast for the past by going to the Notre-Dame Basilica found in the citys historic district, Old Montreal.

2. Voiles en Voiles Clock Tower Pier
Voiles en Voiles is an adventure park found in Old Port. Its activities are stationed in what looks like life-size pirate ships.

3. Montreal Archaeology and History Complex Place Royale
Pointe-a-Calliere, or the Montreal Archaeology and History Complex, first opened in 1992 and was built on the site where Montreal was founded.
Its one of the fantastic places to take kids in Montreal for its outstanding exhibits and incredible multimedia shows.

4. Montreal Festivals
One of the best things to do in Montreal with kids is to attend a festival. The city is known for its entertaining events that can bring the widest smiles to anyones face.
The best part? Youd be able to join different kinds of festivals as they happen all-year-round!

5. Montreal Biodome Pierre-De Coubertin Avenue
Looking for what to do in Montreal with kids this weekend? Explore different ecosystems in a single afternoon by visiting the Montreal Biodome.

6. Montreal Science Centre Commune Ouest Street
When youre around the area of Old Port, a great place to go to with tons of kids activities is the Montreal Science Centre. This museum focuses on science and technology.

7. Bixi Bikes Up Mont-Royal Multiple Stations
When youre exploring Montreal with teenagers, a fun and active way to do so is to rent a Bixi bike.
With the many stations around the city, going out and about will be easy-breezy.

8. Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium Pierre-De Coubertin Avenue
The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is in the Espace pour la Vie and is only a few minutes walk away from the Montreal Biodome.

9. La Ronde Amusement Park Chemin Macdonald
For an exciting, all-day excursion, going to La Ronde is a fantastic choice for families with older children.

10. Cite Memoire Self-Guided Tour
Cite Memoire is an innovative and avant-garde art installation thats displayed all over Old Montreal. You can download the app to start your self-guided tour.

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City data and FAQ 

Is Montreal worth visiting?
I would say most definitely! Be prepared to try some french speaking as the French population appreciates anyone who at least tries to speak French. Montreal is a beautiful city to soak up the culture of a bilingual city that offers so much more ambience than its competition- the other cities in Canada!
Marilyn Aikman - Lived in Montr̩al, QC

Yes for sure. Lots of restaurants and shopping. Festivals. A nice area by the water. With a Ferris wheel. Amusement park. Lots of parks. Depends when and what youre interested in!
Natalie C Luck - Lives in Montr̩al, QC

Yes, Montreal is definitely worth visiting. It's the second largest city in Canada. It's beautiful in both the summer and winter time. Visitors love the mix of European charm and modern North American style.

Is 2 days enough in Montreal?

You could take a bus tour of old Montreal and then spend the day on beaver lake wake up the next morning meet a friend for breakfast. Walk down Saint Denise Street go to Schwartzs for lunch go to the Montreal museum have dinner in Old Montreal. And get to the airport.
Theres ethnic cuisine from all over the world you could spend two days in Little Italy and not see everything because there are just so many restaurants.
Chinatown is small but there are many good restaurants Saint Lawrence Street alone is a world unto itself Theres a vibrant French and English culture in Montreal and if all you have is two days definitely come Ive been here for decades and even now I find myself discovering a new neighbourhood or a new street and Montreal. Is always changing just when you get used to Summers that make you think youre in California in the blink of an eye there are winters turn the city into an enchanted kingdom. At least until the snow gets dirty.
Stuart Nutik - Lives in Montr̩al, QC

Two days is enough to get a taste and feel of Montreal, but do go in more depth, add a third day.
Lynn - Legal Support Contractor

If you are traveling to Montreal first time, I suggest you spend at least 2 days in Montreal to explore the city's famous spots. If you have more time to spend, that's awesome!
Advocate Gaurav Bhalla - Immigration Consultant at Nationwide Visas Delhi

What is Montreal famous for?
Montreal is North America's number one host city for international events. Montreal is home to the famous Cirque de Soleil and hosted the Summer Olympics in 1976. Montreal also played host to Expo 67, considered to be the most successful world's fair in the 20th Century.

Is Montreal close to Niagara Falls?
The distance from Montreal to Niagara Falls is 318 miles. The road distance is 407 miles.

Do you need a car in Montreal?
Thanks to Montreal's public transportation system, there really is no need for a car. Parking is relatively cheap, but you might have difficulty finding a spot in the more touristy neighborhoods. Also, gas is expensive: You'll be charged by the liter rather than by the gallon.

Do they speak English in Montreal?
Montreal is a city where you can speak two languages: English and French.

How do we get around Montreal? We are looking for the best way to explore Montreal by either bike or public transportation. What are a couple stops on the route we should check out?
You should plan to go mid summer, ideally during the annual International Festival. Lots of fun, clowns and mimes in the streets, International Jazz, Comedy, etc Festivals. Montreal is a walking city particularly downtown. In the early mornings you can smell the croissants baking. Make it a point to go to quaint Quebec City. Take cruise up the St. Lawrence. Start with this site and subscribe for their free mailings. Bon Voyage..
Robert M. - Former International Business Consultant
Honestly, the best way to get around Montreal is on foot. Montreal is remarkably walkable and you can find interesting neighbourhoods and buildings pretty much everywhere. That being said, theres a big except for. As you move away from the St. Lawrence River, the terrain gets pretty darn steep. If youre going parallel to the river, Montreals topography isnt that challenging, but in the other direction, it can be exhausting.
That being said, the pearl of the city is the big hill that gives the city its name - Mont Royal. Its higher than the highest point in Toronto, which is on a lake thats well above sea level that also goes up not quite as steeply as you move away from the water. You should visit Mont Royal. It has great views and a little chateau at the top where you can grab snacks.
Best way to get to it is to take the bus west from Mont-Royal Subway Station on the Orange Line. It climbs up a not too steep hill to an observation deck that has a great view of the east end of the city and Olympic Stadium. Its also quite near the big lit up cross thats one of the citys primary symbols. From there, its a bit of a walk to the chateau. You can follow the Escarpment Trail which runs along the cliff (theres a very steep drop off on the southeast side of the hill) and joins up with the main trail later on.
Theres also a biking/walking trail, the Olmstead (yes, the Central Park Olmstead) that winds its way up the hill and its easy enough to bike up, but its extremely long. If you want to walk up, start at Peel Avenue downtown and walk towards the hill - thats where you find the very long staircase to the top and the chateau. You can walk up other parts of the hill (theres a rough path on the east) but the staircase is the easiest way.
For the best walking, theres Old Montreal and the Old Port. Most of the buildings are at least 150 years old and many are older. Theres the ancient Place Des Armes (where soldiers would gather in an emergency) which is next to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Science Center is down at the port too. For biking, the Lachine Canal is a great trip, and ends at the Old Port.
Transit is the best way to get to the old Expo 67 site, to the Olympic Stadium area (which also has the Biodome and the Botanical Gardens nearby) and some of the more distant neighbourhoods, like the Plateau. A car should be avoided unless youre actually leaving the Island of Montreal for the outer suburbs where transit is terrible. Some of the communities around Montreal are very old and quaint, like Terrebonne.
Steven Haddock Lives in Toronto, ON (1959 Present)
In the summer, I would definitely recommend public transit (Metro, bus, Exo commuter trains and buses) and bike. Walking is good too. There's an extensive bike network in the city. If you don't have your own bikes with you, the Bixi bike share service is truly excellent. It operates from April 15 to November 15. Definitely DO NOT try to get around the city by car. The traffic, limited parking, and construction zones are a very problematic.
St̩phane Beauregard Lives in Montreal, QC (1963 Present)

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