25 Unique Things to do in Montreal – Activities and Attractions

Find out the once in a lifetime experience you can have at Montreal.

Looking towards having a once in a lifetime trip to Montreal or just wanting to hang out on a normal evening, there are things to do in Montreal for everyone. You won’t love to miss all these places, activities and attractions in Montreal for anything else. You can swim in the summer, ski in the winter.

It doesn’t end there, you can as well go to the resorts, restaurants and shopping malls that are ready to serve tourists and residents alike. Whatever it is that you want, you will get it in this beautiful city any time of the year.

What if you are looking for attractions in Montreal, for sure you will find one. Starting from a combination of eye candy attractions and landmarks, the city’s amazing lotus-eating lifestyle of art, culture, restaurants and bars, and incomparable character that makes it one of the finest cities in the world.

This city is a top destination for tourists for these obvious reasons. You will learn about all the top and best places, activities and attractions in this city below.

Where is Montreal located?

Montreal is the second-most populous city in Canada and the most populous city in Quebec. It was founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary”. The city is located on the Island of Montreal.  The city is situated 196 km (122 mi) east of the national capital Ottawa. It is 258 km southwest of the provincial capital, Quebec City.

The official language in Quebec is French,  however, about 18.2% spoke only English while 18.7% spoke neither French nor English at home. Meanwhile, 9.4% of the population spoke a mix of French, English and a foreign language at home.

Population of Montreal

According to 2021, Montreal had a population of 1,762,949 and a metropolitan population of 4,291,732. This population made it the second-largest city.

It is also the second-largest metropolitan area in Canada. This makes Montreal a city full of activities and fun for both residents and visitors. You can visit this beautiful city at any time of the year.

Cities near Montreal

What about trying life outside of Montreal. Residents and visitors in Montreal still have a chance of getting more fun from the cities surrounding it. Most of these cities are peculiar in their own ways. So, you can decide to find out what life looks like in these cities below:

How to get to Montreal by Air or Road

If you are visiting Montreal for the first time, you can either travel by road or air. Whichever option you choose, there is a safe and easy way to get to the city. If you prefer to travel by air, you will definitely use any of the two airports in the city which are  Montreal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport and Montreal Saint-Hubert Longueuil Airport. From this airport, you can get taxis and buses to any axis of the city.

However, you may decide to travel by road. If that is the case and you are driving your own car, you can follow any of the numerous routes leading to this city.

You can use any navigation app if you don’t know the routes well. If on the other hand, you can use any public transit from your point of departure.  You can use the GO Transit once you set your feet into Montreal.

Unique Things to do in Montreal

Wondering what to do in Montreal when you visit. Here are some of the activities and attractions for everyone in the city.

#1: Visit Mount Royal

Bearing the same name as the city, this mountain is the centrepiece of Montreal. It is a great place for sightseeing in every direction as you explore every angle. There are many reasons to visit Mount Royal.

It may be an expensive city park but it gives a taste of the outdoors without leaving the confines of the city. You wouldn’t want to miss gazing out over the city from the Mount Royal Chalet all year round. Moreover, during winter, you rent your equipment to enjoy skating, skiing, or sliding.

#2: Wander through the streets of Old Montreal

You would probably want to know what Montreal was when the first French settlers established it in the 17th century.  View the narrow cobblestoned streets and foundations in Old Montreal are what solidifies the European roots of Montreal.

What about the street performers at Place-Jacques Cartier, Inuit art at Galerie d’art Images Boréales, sunning at the Clock Tower Beach, or the Gothic Revival church Notre-Dame Basilica. All these await you in this old city.

#3: Find your wild side at the Montreal Biodome

Looking for an indoor zoo and aquarium, the Montreal Biodome which hosts recreations of four different ecosystems will be a perfect attraction for you. You can visit this great place in the winter to get the best experience you want.

#4: Stroll through the Botanical Gardens

If you are the type that loves walking around, the Botanical Gardens are perfect for you. This is a humongous collection of plant life spread out over 190 acres of culturally thematic gardens, greenhouses, and Art Deco pavilions.

You wouldn’t want to miss one of the world’s most prestigious collections of plant life. This garden has a sheer variety of species numbering in tens of thousands. For this reason, the Botanical Garden is one of the most cherished attractions of the city for either leisurely visits or educational trips.

#5: Feast your eyes on the Cirque du Soleil

Known all over the world, this Montreal-based circus company synthesizes a global set of circus styles. We guess you won’t want to miss grabbing a pitcher of sangria at the rooftop bar.

#6: Discover art in every form at the Phi Centre

If you love art, you can see work from local and international artists alike at this multidisciplinary arts centre. Whatever it is you are looking for: aural, visual, tactile, olfactory or gustatory, there’s always something astounding going on.

Oh, you wouldn’t even like to miss the next Food Core event. Of course, you would love to be at the event where chefs and food writers give immersive presentations on building blocks of cuisine.

#7: Get lost for a day in Parc Jean-Drapeau

Have you been to a place so big that you lost your way in the process? Parc Jean-Drapeau will surely give you that experience. Full of huge green spaces, attractions, a major festival site, a high-speed racetrack and an amusement park spread out across two islands. This park offers more than you can imagine. You can as well watch the Canadian Grand Prix on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

#8: Get lit by the Jacques-Cartier Bridge

This bridge which connects the Island of Montreal to the city of Longueuil is lit by a chromatic calendar of 365 colours. This offers a beautiful view to residents and visitors of this great city. You can even get close enough to admire the bridge’s decorative lighting in memory of the 150th anniversary of Canada.

#9: Take a street art tour of Saint-Laurent

You can tour Saint Laurent by walking along the stretch of the Main or its accompanying alleyways to view graffiti from artists both raw and recognized.

While on this tour, you must be alert to notice local talents like Miss Me or Stikki Peaches. What about looking out for Mural Festival and Under Pressure in August. Wonderful places to visit.

#10: Marvel at the iconic architecture of Habitat 67

What if you are told that this housing complex designed by the architect Moshe Safdie with the shape of stacked cubes is one of the most recognizable attractions in Montreal. You wouldn’t believe it until you visit. Why not try it now and then you can tell others of this top attraction.

#11: Paddle or pedal lengths of Lachine Canal

A national historic site, Each section of the canal yields different things to see and do by land or by water. Being one of Montreal’s more panoptic bike trails, it extends from the Visitors Centre in the borough of Lachine for history to popping into the neighbourhood of Saint-Henri for lunch. Both visitors and residents find this top attraction amazing.

Places to go in Montreal

#12. Party it up in clubs across Downtown

Want to enjoy your nightlife in Montreal, you can try any of the clubs downtown. With a legal drinking age of 18, a prominent presence of inner-city university campuses and its bars closing at 3 a.m., this city holds a longstanding reputation for being a party town most days of the week.

#14: Have dinner and see a movie at Cinéma Moderne

Are you with your partner, then having your dinner can be fun in this great cinema? Thanks to a supergroup of film festival and production company veterans, Montreal has joined the moviegoing revolution with this intimate drink-dine-watch movie theatre equipped with a top-of-the-line projector and sound system.  Hopefully, you wouldn’t miss any of the special events like screenings and panel discussions with directors.

#15: Visit La Grande Roue de Montréal

You can get a great view of the city by climbing this top attraction in Montreal. To have different views, you can climb aboard for the day and night package.

#16: Gaze upon cutting-edge art at Musée d’Art Contemporain

This is Montreal’s premier destination for curated collections of contemporary art. MAC is Canada’s first contemporary art museum and combines exhibits of both visual and performing arts regularly. Try visiting this museum during Montreal’s annual Nuit Blanche festival for the Nocturne, with DJ and VJ performances, art workshops, and temporary installations.

#17: Blissfully drift away aboard Bota Bota

Known as a spa on water, you can get relaxed with any one of its massage or beauty treatments. This is followed by wining and dining at its onboard restaurant La Traversée.

#18: Visit the hallowed ground of L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph

You can visit the largest church in Canada.  This church has one of the largest domes of its kind in the world. Saint Joseph’s Oratory is for those in search of nature, culture and spirituality.

#19: Eat your heart out in Chinatown

Why not try out the numerous and various types of restaurants, shops and bars surrounding the small pedestrian-only strip of De la Gauchetière.

#20: Foster a love for reading at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly

Regularly scheduled readings by authors make for high-spirited events, but May is the month to visit for Free Comic Book Day or the Montreal Comic Arts Festival.

#21: Sip on craft brews from Dieu du Ciel!

You can visit this homegrown microbrewery specializing in tasty beers that are both traditional and experimental. Both locals and tourists love this.

Why not try it out? Either grabbing a bottle of its set-in-stone pantheon of famous recipes to any exploratory recipe that incorporates fruits, flowers, spices or sweets. This is great and amazing.

#22: Trip out in the Satosphère projection room

Nothing is stopping you from visiting this beautiful edifice. A 360-degree spherical projection screen providing wild audio-visual presentations, films, dance parties and games are presented in a fascinatingly conceptual venue. With 157 speakers and regular programming that sees the likes of virtual reality, VJs and DJs, it’s an experience that’s more than unique.

Activities to attend in Montreal

#23: Take in the view at the Olympic Stadium

This multi-purpose stadium built for the 1976 Summer Olympics is a popular destination for both sightseeing and sports events. You can go to this wonderful stadium to watch some games. Of course, you wouldn’t like to miss the First Friday’s street food festival. Thus festival runs from May to October with food trucks from around the city. You would also like to see the Toronto Blue Jays drop in for an exhibition match.

#24: Put your hands together at the Quartier des Spectacles

What is it? The city’s go-to district for entertainment and cultural events spaced out across eight areas, and the main site for some of the city’s most famous festivals.

The light and music-based art installations of Luminothérapie help with winter doldrums, while screenings at the Cinémathèque Québécoise never fail to satisfy.

#25: Dance in the sand at Village au Pied-du-Courant

This is a public space that has been reinvented as an urban living lab. This allows bars, chefs, musicians and the public to dip their toes in its sand and swing from its hammocks. You would love to be part of this fun, especially whenever its beer garden is hosting live music performances. Or when it opens for the International Fireworks Festival.

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Special things to do in Montreal

If you are in Montreal on special days, then you are in for a lot of fun. There is hardly a time in this historic city without an event. If you come in the summer, there are a lot of outdoor activities for you.

If on the other hand, you come in the winter, then you can ski, skate or have some indoor fun. You can as well attend some events and festivals whenever you are in town. Just get ready for fun on any special day in Montreal.

What to do in Montreal every day

Residents and visitors alike can enjoy themselves in Montreal every day with the following activities:

  • Go to the bars
  • Visit a farm
  • Eat-in a restaurant
  • Go to the parks
  • Take a workaround the trails

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to visit Montreal?

The best times to visit Montreal are from March to May and from September to November when the weather is milder and hotel vacancies run amok. But aside from fluctuating rates, you’ll discover that there really isn’t a bad time to vacation here.

What are the coldest months in Montreal?

The cold season lasts for 3.3 months from December 4 to March 12, with an average daily high temperature below 34°F. The coldest month of the year in Montréal is January, with an average low of 10°F and a high of 24°F.


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