Montreal is one of Canada’s most vibrant cities and a popular travel destination for North American and international travelers. It boasts culture, art, history, fabulous restaurants, nightlife, and many attractions, so it’s no wonder it has been called “Canada’s cultural capital”. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Montreal, you’ve come to the right place.
Quebec’s most populated city, Montreal, is also the second largest city in Canada.
While Montreal is famously advertised as the second largest French-speaking city in the world, it is, in fact, the fourth.
From the historic cobblestoned alleyways of Old Montreal to the lush greenery of Mount Royal Park, there are many Montreal attractions to explore. The Quartier des spectacles, Museum of Fine Arts, and Saint Joseph’s Oratory are great for art and culture enthusiasts. The Olympic Stadium and The Underground City provide exciting entertainment and shopping opportunities. Meanwhile, the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood offers a cool and colourful environment and a fabulous restaurant scene.
Here’s a list of the top things to see in Montreal, Canada.
1. Old Montreal
Vieux Montreal is a beautiful historic district with cobblestone streets, quaint cafes, and charming shops.
Located near the St. Lawrence River, Old Montreal offers a unique experience filled with classic European style, especially in its architecture.
Visitors can explore the cobblestone streets, browse the boutiques, or take a horse-drawn carriage tour. The area also has some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, such as the famous Place d’Armes, the imposing Notre-Dame Cathedral and the lively Rue Saint-Paul.
We recommend devoting a whole morning or afternoon to soak up the atmosphere and get to know all the essential Montreal sights.
2. Mount Royal Park
Mount Royal Park is a stunning natural area in Montreal’s heart. The park has lush gardens, winding trails, and spectacular city skyline views. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll, ride a bike, or simply admire the views.
Covering an area of 190 hectares, this park offers endless options and things to do. It is an ideal place for all ages; you can take a pleasant walk, play sports or visit some of its emblematic places, such as the Chalet du Mont-Royal, where visitors can enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee with a view, walk along Chemin Olmsted or climb to the Mount Royal Cross.
3. Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Saint Joseph’s Oratory is a stunning Romanesque-revival style church set on Mount Royal’s slopes.
The church is home to numerous works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and mosaics.
Visitors can explore the church, attend a service, or climb the 299 steps to the top of the dome for a breathtaking city view.
4. Quartier des Spectacles
The Quartier des spectacles is the city’s cultural hub, home to numerous theaters, museums, and other performance venues.
Here, you can explore the vibrant neighborhood, catch a show, or take a walking tour. The area is also home to several festivals and events, such as the International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs Festival.
5. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is one of the city’s most beloved cultural institutions. The museum is home to a vast collection of artworks from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.
The permanent collection is just impressive, with pieces from the likes of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Picasso and Monet, as well as a solid collection of Canadian and Quebec art. Don’t forget to stroll through the buildings on Sherbrooke Street, dotted with outdoor sculptures.
6. The Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium is one of the most iconic Montreal landmarks.
Built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, the stadium is now home to the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. The stadium also hoss major concerts, sporting events, and other events throughout the year.
Visitors can tour the stadium and learn about its history or attend one of the many events that take place here.
7. The Underground City
The Underground City is a network of tunnels and shopping centers located beneath the streets of Montreal.
The network connects thousands of shops, restaurants, and businesses, making it the perfect place to explore. Built as a shelter from the harsh Montreal weather, you can wander through the tunnels and explore the shops while avoiding the freezing winter or hot and humid days of summer.
The Underground City is a great way to experience the city and a must-see attraction in Montreal.
8. Plateau Mont-Royal
Plateau Mont-Royal is a vibrant neighborhood in Montreal known for its charming cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
The area is also home to numerous restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutiques, making it the perfect place to explore. Visitors can take a stroll through the streets or explore the area’s many cultural attractions.
9. The Old Port
The Old Port of Montreal is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, it is the perfect place to explore the city’s rich history and culture.
The symbol of the Old Port is undoubtedly its iconic Ferris wheel. The Grand Roue offers panoramic views 60 meters above the ground. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
10. Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral
The Cathedral Basilica of Marie-Reine du Monde is the third-largest church in Quebec after Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré near Quebec City.
The church’s design is a replica of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
11. Jean-Talon Market
Located in Montreal’s Little Italy neighborhood, the Jean-Talon Market is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
The market features an array of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other local and international specialties.
12. St. Catherine Street & Gay Village
We couldn’t discuss the best things to see in Montreal without mentioning Sainte Catherine Street.
This lively street is home to bars of all kinds and a succession of stores, including fashion and ready-to-wear boutiques. Rue Sainte Catherine is famous as the epicenter of Montreal’s gay village, particularly between rue Saint-Hubert and rue Papineau. You can’t miss it, as rainbow flags are everywhere. It’s impressive and a testament to the open-mindedness of Quebecers.
Beaudry metro station is ideally located to reach the heart of Sainte Catherine. In summer, part of the street is completely pedestrianized.
13. Jean-Drapeau Park
Located east of the city and spread over two islands in the St. Lawrence River, Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, the superb Jean-Drapeau Park combines nature and culture and offers many activities for everyone.
This massive urban park is home to the Stewart Museum, the F1 circuit, the casino, cycling paths, pyrotechnic shows, the Biosphere, the Jean Doré beach, three heated outdoor swimming pools, an amusement park and much more.
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