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10 Best Things to Do in Montreal (Quebec, Canada)

Montreal is the economic and cultural capital of Quebec. It is a cosmopolitan city with a mix of modernity and old European charm. Many people call it the “Paris of Canada,” and it’s easy to see why. It has some of the most beautiful buildings in North America and is a great place for foodies, shoppers, and sports fans.

Old Port of Montreal
Old Port of Montreal

One of the most popular cities in Canada, Montreal has something for everyone. It is made up of 19 large boroughs, but most tourists stay close to Ville Marie. Still, there are many places to go and things to do all over the huge city.

Let’s look at what’s best to do in Montreal:

1. Go to the top of Mont-Royal

This small hill is between the Appalachian and Laurentian Mountains, just west of downtown Montreal. Mont-Royal is part of the beautiful Mount Royal Park, which was made by the same person who made Central Park in New York City.

Walk or ride your bike up the winding path to the top of the hill to see a view of the city that will take your breath away. The views go all the way to the St. Lawrence River, which is outside of the city.

Don’t miss the chance to sled or tube down the 233-meter-high hill in the winter. During the summer, if you want to see the “Tam Tam Jam,” you should come on a Sunday.

2. Take a stroll through Old Montreal

Old Montreal is the oldest part of the city. It is a beautiful neighborhood that has been around since the 17th century. It has the most old buildings of any neighborhood in Montreal.

You can walk around the area and see some beautiful buildings, like the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica. The church faces the Place d’Armes and is next to the Saint-Sulpice Seminary.

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In Old Montreal, the old streets with cobblestones are lined with great French restaurants, small shops, and many museums. From Champ de Mars, you can also see the center of the city.

Old Montreal: Traditional Ghost Walk of the Haunted City is a tour that you should take.

3. Listen to Jazz

Come to Montreal in July for the best and biggest jazz festival in the world. Around 3,000 musicians from all over the world play at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which draws nearly 3 million people every year.

During the 10-day festival, there are about 650 concerts, and more than half of them are free. Head to one of the 10 outdoor stages to hear free jazz, or buy a ticket to one of the indoor concert halls to see a famous musician.

Ray Charles, Diana Krall, the Liberation Music Orchestra, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ahmad Jamal are just a few of the big names who have played at the festival over the years.

4. Visit a market

In Montreal’s Little Italy neighborhood, the open-air Jean-Talon Market is a colorful place to shop. The farmer’s market is on two city streets and is open every day at 7 a.m.

There are more than 300 vendors who sell fruits, vegetables, and meat from farms outside of the city. Most of the people selling things are the farmers themselves.

You can buy fresh food, cheese, spices, and bulk items there. Even if you don’t need any of these things, it’s a fun place to walk around and meet people.

5. Look around in the Old Port

The Old Port, or Vieux-Port in French, is a large green space along the water in Old Montreal. The port was built in 1830, but since then it has been changed into a place where people can have fun. Each year, more than 6 million people visit this area.

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The Old Port is a beautiful place, and it’s also where the Montreal Science Centre, the Montreal Clock Tower, and Plage de l’Horloge are (Clock Beach). There are also many shows and events there. In fact, Cirque du Soleil puts on a new show at the Jacques Cartier Quay every two years.

Don’t miss the chance to go ice skating at the Natrel outdoor rink in the winter. Get on a ship and sail along the St. Lawrence River in the summer.

6. Eat some Poutine

Even though this French-Canadian dish doesn’t look very tasty, it is. What’s that? It has cheese curds and gravy on top of chips.

Poutine is like chips, cheese, and gravy, but it uses curds instead of shredded cheese. Also, the gravy in poutine is a light brown gravy made from meat gravy, a mix of beef and chicken stock, and vinegar.

Poutine is a fast food dish that you can find in diners and pubs all over the city. It is also sold from food trucks and at sports arenas.

7. Look down on the city from up high

The second tallest building in Montreal is Au Sommet Place Ville Marie. Visitors can see Downtown Montreal, Mont-Royal mountain, the St. Lawrence River, and the Olympic Stadium from the top of its observation tower.

Go up to the 46th floor and you’ll be 185 meters above the city. When it’s sunny, the 44th-floor terrace opens up and is a great place to watch the city’s annual festivals.

The museum is on the 45th floor of the skyscraper. It has 55 videos and 500 pictures that show the city’s history and culture. There is also an exhibit of famous Montrealers, such as choreographer Marie Chouinard, Olympic athlete Jennifer Abel, and restauranteur Martin Picard.

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8. Make Mile End cool

Mile End is a small area with a lot of trendy shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and cafés. It is also a place where artists live, work, and show their work.

You can shop, eat, and drink coffee as you walk around the neighborhood. Stop by St-Viateur Bagel or Fairmount Bagel, two of the most popular bagel shops in Montreal.

Along Bernard Street and St-Viateur Street, you can buy used books, clothes from thrift stores, or clothes made by local designers. Finish the day at the Dieu du Ciel brewery or one of the other great restaurants in the area.

9. Go underground

There is a network of underground malls, shops, and food courts in Downtown Montreal. It’s an easy way to get around the busy neighborhood, and it’s also a great way to avoid the rain and the cold winter.

There are shops and places to eat in the passageways between seven metro stations. It also connects the Central Station, Montreal Exchange, Place des Arts, McGill University, and Windsor Station, which are all important buildings in the downtown area.

The Underground City is great for tourists because it is connected to a number of downtown high-end hotels. But even if you aren’t staying in one of these fancy hotels, the passageways are a great way to get around.

10. Travel through time

There are many great museums in Montreal. Some of them focus on the history and art of Canada. You can learn more about the city, the province, or Canada by going to any of these museums.

Many of the most popular museums, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the McCord Museum, and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, are in the city center. The Pointe-à-Callière Museum and the Galerie de l’UQAM are two other museums in the city.

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