Things to do in Montreal
A versatile mix of architecture, culture and nature, Montreal is the perfect modern destination. One of the three capitals worldwide to be named a UNESCO city of design, along with Berlin and Buenos Aires, and host of the eponymous International Jazz Festival and the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix, Montreal is a city you don’t want to miss.
Nature in the city
We recommend starting your day with a visit to the sweeping hills of Mount Royal, which gave the city its name. Being one of the largest green spaces in the city, the hills offer visitors two belvederes, the most famous being Kondiaronk – a semicircular plaza overlooking downtown Montreal. You can also picnic by the lake on top of the three-headed hill, or take a guided tour of the old cemetery that was built there in 1852.
Nature enthusiast? Luckily, Montreal has got a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Hop in the car for a quick drive to the gorgeous Botanical Gardens, home to some of the most complex and intricate plant sculptures you’ll have ever set eyes on. With its location in the heart of the city, facing Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, the Botanical Gardens are spread over 190 acres of thematic gardens and greenhouses, making it one of the world’s most important and environmentally aware green spaces. One of its main attractions is the Butterfly Go Free exhibition, open from February to April.
The cuisine of Montreal is truly diverse. Be it in the old town, downtown or on one of the surrounding islands, you won’t have trouble finding excellent food. For an even more authentic experience, we recommend the fresh fish markets, where the local fishmongers will expertly prepare your seafood. According to the locals, two of the best are Poissonnerie Sherbrooke and Nouveau Falero.
Culture. Art. Architecture.
Montreal’s territory is composed of the main island, with a 266 km shoreline, several medium sized islands (the most famous of which are Saint Helen’s, Nun’s, Bizard and Notre Dame), and seventy smaller ones. On the Island of St Helen’s, you can visit Buckminster Fuller’s famous geodesic dome that holds the Biosphere, one of the world’s most important environmental museums. It offers its visitors interactive activities and exhibitions, addressing today’s most poignant water, climate change and sustainable technologies issues.
If you plan on visiting with the kids, then St Helen’s La Ronde Amusement Park and Aquatic complex is a good option. In addition to the usual attractions, the park regularly puts on many entertaining activities like concerts and shows.
To discover your share of local history, you also have the David M Stewart Museum, dedicated to artefacts from Canada’s colonial past, particularly that of New France.
Visiting the city’s old town is an exquisite trip into the past. This part of Montreal contains buildings dating back to the 17th century, making it one of the oldest urban areas in North America.
Montreal could offer distractions for weeks on end, but if you want to really make the most of your trip, there’s plenty more further afield. The surrounding province of Quebec is filled with gorgeous little towns completely worth your time.Turn up the adventure factor of your holiday, and try the Mont-Tremblant National Park for a one or two day trip. Less than two hours drive away from the big city, this gem offers outdoor activities everyone can enjoy: from hiking and mountain biking, to skiing, river kayaking, camping and swimming in the crystal waters of Lake Lauzon.