- By Globerouter
- On Jul 26, 2019
- North America
- Travel Tips
So you're planning a trip to Canada, but you're not quite sure what to do in Montreal. The good news is that there's no shortage of entertainment options - the city is home to plenty of artistic, natural, and cultural attractions, and then there's poutine. This Canadian specialty is just one of many experiences to add to your travel bucket list, and when you look, you’ll find plenty more, from high-class sporting action to peaceful afternoons in nature.
Enjoy the great outdoors
In terms of things you must do in Montreal, climbing Mount Royal is up there, so don't forget to include comfortable clothes and supportive shoes on your packing list. The city's namesake makes for a memorable cost-free experience, and an amazing photo opportunity, especially if your visit happens to coincide with sunrise or sunset. Those wondering will find their sight seeing bliss at the city's botanical garden, known as one of the city's best spots for nature-lovers. This expansive garden is filled with a wide variety of plant species, trees, and flowers, and plays host to plenty of bird species. You might even spot a family of foxes on your visit. It also attracts plenty of tourists every year, so if you'd rather experience the garden in peace, time your visit for early morning or late afternoon.
Make time for cultural appreciation
Back on level ground, you can find a range of other budget-friendly entertainment options just wandering around some of the city's oldest neighbourhoods. Old Montreal is the place to get your fill of quaint architecture, trendy shops, and restaurant options which promise to exceed expectations. Within wider Montreal, you'll also find plenty to admire inside the city's art museum, Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal, or in the artistic neighbourhood of Mile End. Even if the notion of visiting ancient relics or perusing art galleries doesn't excite you, Montreal's range of free festivals in motion throughout the year should be enough to keep you interested. The city holds at least two major festivals in July alone, namely the Festival of India and the Montreal Jazz Festival, with many more spread throughout the year, so best to stay alert if you don’t want to miss out.
Choose your season wisely
When you're deciding what to see in Montreal, be sure to factor in seasonal changes, as some attractions and events are only on show during certain months. If you choose to visit during the weeks leading into summer, you’ll be spoilt for choice amongst a wide range of activities, including the festival Acces Asie, which celebrates Asian culture, and free concerts at L'Oasis Musicale. By the time things heat up in June, festival season will be in full swing, with the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, the Eureka Festival, and MURAL art festival catering to a wide range of interests. In case you decide you'd rather stay out of the summer heat, there are still plenty of options. You can swap a summer festival experience for Igloofest or the delightful Lumiere Festival, or dust off your ice skates and brave the cold. Whatever you do, don't forget to sample plenty of winter comfort food.
Don't miss the top highlights
There are plenty of things to do in Montreal, but if you're only staying a short while, you can see many of the main attractions in just one day. You'll find St Joseph's Oratory and Olympic Park in the immediate vicinity of Mount Royal, where you can enjoy a little piece of religious history, or catch a few soccer teams in action. Not far off is the Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the city's most famous pieces of history, which promises plenty of photo opportunities and envy-inducing recounts for your friends and family back home.