“My father was always suspicious of people who don’t like Montréal.” (Adam Cohen, son of Leonard)

Adam Cohen once said that his father had always been suspicious of people who don’t like Montréal. In WOWnGO we think that’s rightly so. Montréal is a huge metropolis with gorgeous architecture, vibrant day- and nightlife, great food and colourful street art. Sometimes you can trace the influence of English and French cultures on the same street. Its multiculturalism, bilingualism, a blend of the old and the new is what makes Montréal so attractive for millions of tourists and locals. You can come back to this dynamic city over and over again because of a plethora of amazing things to do in Montreal.

Continue reading to find out about diverse activities in Montreal that you cannot miss and enjoy a virtual city tour.
Things to do in Montreal

Things to do in Montreal
Free Things to do in Montreal
Getting Around in Montreal
Money Travel Guide for Montreal
Weather in Montreal. What is the best time to visit Montreal?
How many days should I spend in Montreal?
Interesting Facts about Montreal
What do I need to know before going to Montreal?


#1 Enjoy real Montreal Bagels

If you arrive hungry in Montreal, refuel at one of the best bagel shops in the city. Why bagels? Well, Montreal-style bagels successfully compete with New York-style bagels and they certainly have their fans. As one can guess from their name, these bagels were first produced in Montreal. Real Montreal bagels are hand-made ones; there’s no mass production. They are chewy and dense. Before Montreal bagels are baked in wood-fire ovens, they’re boiled in honey-sweetened water. To fully appreciate the taste, eat your first Montreal bagel plain.

For an authentic experience, head to Fairmount Bagel or St-Viateur Bagel, which are considered by many as the best places to savour bagels in Montreal.

#2 Vieux Montreal aka Old Montreal

One of the most gorgeous parts of the city, located between the St.Lawrence River and Downtown Montreal, is brimming with historic buildings and squares, cobbled lanes and great monuments. This part of the city truly reminds me of Paris and feels like a real escape to the capital of France. Saunter through the oldest street of the city (Saint Paul Street), chill at the fountain near the impressive City Hall and take in the majesty of the Notre Dame de Basilica. Did you know that Celine Dion had her wedding in this shrine? Take a tour of the oldest part of Montreal, the Bonsecours neighbourhood and pay a visit to Notre Dame Bonsecours Chapel and the museum opposite the church. Finally, head to the Old Port which served as a fur trading post back in the XVI century.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

#3 Old Port

Just several steps divide Old Montreal from one of the most popular tourist attractions, Old Port. Despite its name, Old Port doesn’t operate any longer. This important historic part of the city is now home to numerous events, impressive houses and natural spaces. Enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel, walk through the narrow streets and take in the pretty views. No matter which season you arrive, you’ll always find a lot of activities to enjoy and never get bored. From dance parties in winter and a poutine weekend in summer, there’s always something for everyone.

**#4 Habitat 67

The trailblazing design of the building which was initially a master thesis project turned into a real thematic pavilion of World’s Fair Expo 67 and finally turned into a living space for the residents of Montreal. Located near St.Lawrence River, overlooking Old Port and Downtown Montreal, Habitat 67 is the place where the cutting edge meets natural spaces. With garden terraces, this architectural landmark integrates the perks of suburban homes and urban apartments.

#5 Mount Royal

Looking for breathtaking views of Montreal? It is easy to scratch the itch if you climb up Mount Royal. Towering at 233 m above the ground, it will take you nearly 45 minutes to climb it up. Otherwise, you can drive up your car to the Smith House parking lot and have a quick ascend after that. Mount Royal Park is a great green space with several cycling and hiking paths. In 1643 Maisonneuve erected a cross atop the Mount as a result of his promise to the Virgin Mary whom he prayed to end a disastrous flood. Today, there is no and there can be no other piece of architecture higher than the cross in the city.

Interesting Fact: Lush Mount Royal Park, as it looks today, was designed by F. L. Olmstead who was also a designer of Central Park in NYC.
Parc Mount Royal

#6 Take a walk at Quartier des Spectacles

Quartier des Spectacles or the Arts and Entertainment District is a vibrant district in the heart of the city. It hosts hundreds of festivals and events every year, including the world-known Jazz Festival, great Francofolies Music festival, magical Montréal en Lumière and the vivid Montreal circus festival. Come here for all forms of art- street art, music, theatre and more. The district is truly magical at night when everything is illuminated.

#7 Jazz Festival in Montreal

Nearly 2 million jazz fans gather every year in downtown Montreal to enjoy the grand show and music legends at this international festival. With artists from all over the world and 2/3 of free concerts, Montreal International Jazz Festival is one of the greatest festivals to enjoy in Montreal in summer.
Jazz Festival in Montreal

#8 Le Musée des Beaux-Arts

Art lovers will also appreciate the works stored in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Being the oldest art museum in Canada, it features installations and exhibitions on Quebec, Canadian and international art. From archeology to fine arts, you’ll be stunned by the huge collection of artworks found here.

#9 Le Plateau Mont-Royal

Want to see other than the downtown side of Montreal, then Le Plateau Mont-Royal is your ultimate destination. Its vibrant streets with colourful murals and street-art installations, green spaces, pedestrian areas and themed parks will bring you closer to some of the best shows and events and will become a perfect location for the best Instagram pictures.
Happen to be here in summer? Get to the Mural Festival, and listen to charming street musicians while sipping coffee from one of the cafes at Mont-Royal Avenue. This busy avenue transforms into a nice pedestrian area and remains like this during the whole summer.
Came over in winter? Lace up your skates and get warm at Montréal en Lumière.
Don’t skip on the hipster Mile End that brims with numerous cafes, charming artisan shops, top-notch craft brewery Dieu du Ciel, legendary restaurants and the best bagel shops.

#10 Go Shopping in Montreal

If shopping is calling your name, you’re in the right city. Did you know that Montreal is Canada’s fashion capital? With many interesting boutiques, eclectic Mile End is a great place to shop for clothing, beauty products, shoes, souvenirs and even food. Also, you’ll find some great high street stores and luxurious shops on Rue Sainte Catherine.
While in Old town, come by the Bonsecours Market, a great place for quality souvenirs.

#11 Culinary Scene

Did you know that Montreal is a great foodie destination? Bagels, poutine and smoked meat sandwiches are 3 tidbits you cannot miss in Montreal, not to mention maple products. While poutine is synonymous with Quebec cuisine, smoked meat also has a long tradition that has origins in Montreal. According to one legend, smoked meat originated from Schwartz’s, which is nowadays, one of the most popular places to enjoy your smoked meat sandwiches. Speaking of poutine, the dish is made of French fries, squeaky cheese curds and topped with gravy. Today, you’ll find everything from traditional to vegan and vegetarian options.
For a dessert, savour some maple dishes or if you have plenty of time on your hand, pay a visit to one of the maple farms near Montreal.
poutine in Montreal

#12 Unwind at a Lavender Field

If you got tired of the city buzz and crave for some relaxation in nature, scratch the itch at one of the lavender farms. Consider Blue Lavande, Maison Lavande or Champs de Rêve Lavender Fields. Enjoy the great outdoors, take great pictures of lavenders and the landscape and enjoy a picnic. If in Blue Lavande, try a yoga class at the fields and enjoy massage therapy.
Lavender Fields near Montreal

#13 Olympic Park

All the fans of the Olympics, watch out! Built to host the 1976 Olympic Games, the park is now one of the ultimate places for locals and tourists alike. Whether you want to watch a match, swim at the swimming pool or admire the views of the city from a 45-degree inclined tower (by the way, it is the tallest leaning tower in the world), don’t forget to add Olympic Parc to your Montreal bucket list.

TIP: If you want to save money, try to visit on a day when the traffic is light and park your car outside the stadium parking.

#14 Visit Montreal’s Botanical Garden

Vast territory in the middle of the city covered with diverse flora makes for one of the best botanical gardens in the globe. With numerous greenhouses, various plants from different corners of the world, cultural gardens and some odd plants, Montreal Botanical garden should be on your bucket list. Although 75 acres sounds like a “mission incomplete” for one visit, you’re bound to enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature. Whenever you come, there will be some beautiful plants to admire.

#15 Montreal Biodome

Along with Planetarium, Botanical Gardens and Insectarium, Biodome is a part of Space for Life. Located in the heart of Montreal, Biodome is a learning, research and recreational environment where you’ll have a chance to wander through 5 different ecosystems with plants and animals and look at the exhibition It’s Time to Act. With 1500 species of plants and animals, summer and winter alike, Montreal Biodome makes for a perfect place to visit whenever you come to Montreal.

#16 Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

Being a part of Montreal’s Space For Life, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium will bring you closer to nature, take you to the stars and get you acquainted with all the important nuances of the world beyond Earth. Montreal’s Planetarium features two separate theatres and exhibitions on space and astronomy.
The stardom is rather small but as an educational space, it is so beloved by kids. Both young and adult enjoy wonderful shows in the immersive theatres.

#17 Have fun at La Ronde Amusement Park

Like Habitat 67, La Ronde was built as an entertainment centre for Expo 67. Being the second largest entertainment park in Canada, La Ronde has something for all walks of life. From terrific roller coasters for adrenaline junkies to charming rides for kids and water parks for the lovers of water activities, you’re bound to enjoy the day.

TIP: tickets should be booked in advance since they’re often sold out a week in advance, especially in summer. Also, remember of the possible congestion at the parking lot if you go by car. Alternatively, consider taking a train.
La Ronde near Montreal

#18 Take a tour through museums or choose one

If you describe yourself as a curious personality that loves learning new things and exploring the world, Montreal is a great place for you. With several great museums of different themes, you’ll find something that interests you.
To explore Montreal through a historical lens, head to Château Ramezay, which served as the Canadian headquarters of the American Revolutionary Army. If you’re head over heels for archeology, head to the largest history and archeology museum in Canada - Pointe-á-Calliére.
Redpath Museum is a place for those interested in natural history while McCord Museum features artifacts connected with the social history of Montreal.

If you’re coming with kid girls, Barbie Museum is something you’re looking for.

#19 Unwind at Saint Jacques Nature Parc

Whether you want to soak up the sun at the beach, hike, cycle, or buy some organic produce, come to the largest nature park in Montreal, Saint Jacques Nature Parc. This park hosts the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix in June and in winter it is heaven for cross-country skiing. Besides, you can take eco-tours here, enjoy a picnic, savour the scents of Floralies Gardens, enjoy water sports and appreciate some art.


• Explore Old Montreal
• Visit some of the free shows at the Montreal Jazz Festival (you have to book a ticket, anyway)
• Get closer to nature at Parc Jean-Drapeau
• Enjoy the views of the city at Parc du Mont-Royal
• Enjoy street art at the Mural Festival
Museums Day (last Sunday of May)

*Check which museums participate in this event. Besides, these museums are free throughout the year:
1.Redpath Museum
2. La Guilde
3. Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours
4.Barbie Expo

• Check Nuit Blanche

*Translated as Sleepless Night, Nuit Blanche is a part of the wintertime festival Montréal en Lumière. Most of Nuit Blanche's activities are free. You can also check the activities of Montréal en Lumière.

• Enjoy the free activities offered in Winter Village at Olympic Park
• Enjoy some free activities during Fête des Neiges
• Take pictures of the most Instagrammed houses at Square St.Louis in the Plateau
• Check the interior of La Grande Biblioteque
• Read a book at Westmount Library
• Get tanned on the Clock Tower Beach
Watch fireworks in summer

*For the best views head to Old Montreal or Le Village au-Pied-du-Courant
• [Learn Montreal history with virtual and augmented realities]

Adam Cohen painting in Montreal Downtown

Getting Around in Montreal

If you’re without your car, don’t worry. Montreal’s Metro is a perfect way to get around the city. You’ll be able to easily reach all the popular tourist attractions from downtown by metro. Montreal’s bus network is also well developed.

When it comes to popular districts such as Old Montreal or Quartier des Spectacles, walking on foot or taking bicycle tours is a perfect idea. Instead of bicycle tours, you can also rent a bike with one of the bicycle rental systems.

In case of any kind of trouble, you can order a taxi. You can check with UBER or a local firm Eva.
Metro in Montreal

Money Travel Guide for Montreal

The Canadian Dollar (CAD) is the currency used in Montreal. It’s easy to find ATMs in the city to withdraw cash but credit/debit cards are also accepted.

While the U.S. dollars are accepted almost in every place, you’ll receive a poor exchange rate or non at all.

Weather in Montreal. What is the best time to visit Montreal?

SUMMER: not surprisingly, it is the tourist season in Montreal. Starting from May, the weather is warm which is perfect to explore the city. The average temperature by day is 24 C with July being the warmest month.
Fans of Jazz come to visit Montreal’s Jazz Festival in June and July. Other famous events include poutine weekend in July and Just for Laughs. Otherwise, the whole summer is packed with numerous festivals and events.

FALL: with summer temperatures in early September and clement weather till the end of October, fall is the off-season. While it is still nice to explore the city on foot, hotels get cheaper. With an average 6 C in November, the weather might feel like light winter for many people, especially those out of Canada.
If you come in October, you absolutely have to go to Montreal’s Botanical Gardens for Gardens of Light.

WINTER: a snowy and brutally cold period in Montreal. With temperatures dropping to -12 C, you’d better be prepared for colder days since Montreal is one of the coldest cities in North America. However, Montreal hosts some of the best Christmas Markets and festivals. Some of the most popular festivals and events are Motréal en Lumière, Santa Clause Parade, Fête des Neiges (a range of winter outdoor events) and Igloofest (a concert of electronic music).
Dress appropriately if you decided to pay a visit in the wintertime.

SPRING: In most cases, you can expect nice mild weather starting from April (winter usually lingers on into March, in its milder version, though).

How many days should I spend in Montreal?

While you can see some of the most renowned attractions in Montreal in one day, it’s recommended to stay from 3-4 days to explore all the main attractions at a leisurely pace.
Montreal T-shirt

Interesting Facts about Montreal

  1. It is one of the largest French-speaking cities in the world, although many of its residents are bilingual in English.
  2. No building in Montreal can be taller than the cross on Mount Royal.
  3. Montreal took its name from the large intrusive rock Mount Royal, although its first name was Ville-Marie.
  4. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada.
  5. Montreal has the second highest number of restaurants per head in North America.
  6. Montreal is famous for its crunchy bagels which successfully compete with American-style bagels.
  7. There’s is the second largest entertainment park near Montreal, La Ronde.
  8. Montreal is the city of festivals. There are not only numerous festivals throughout the year but also some of the most extreme festivals in the world. For example, in January-February Montreal hosts one of the coldest music fests, Igloofest.
  9. The song “Give peace a chance” by J. Lennon and Yoko Ono was written in Montreal during their bed-in in 1969.
  10. Montreal is a UNESCO city of design.
  11. Canada’s largest church, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, can be found in Montreal
  12. The first Olympics held in Canada were held in Montreal in 1976.
  13. Montreal has an Underground City called RÉSO which saves many people from cold in winter. The tunnels of the Underground City connect shopping malls, offices, museums, hotels, universities etc.
  14. Montreal is called a Sin City. The story dates back to the Period of Prohibition in the US when Americans came here to escape the ban. Since then, Montreal is famous for its erotic culture and now has over 40 erotic theatres.

What Do I need to Know before Going to Montreal?

  1. “5-à-7” stands for “Happy Hour”
    You’ll see this sign on many bars, pubs, restaurants and other types of eateries in Montreal.
  2. In Montreal as in the whole of Quebec, you cannot turn right on a red unless it is determined otherwise. This is done for the safety of the residents.
  3. You have to keep in mind that winters tend to be harsh here. Check the weather report before coming in winter and think of proper clothing for your trip.
  4. Don’t worry about English. Although Montreal’s only official language is French, most people (especially in tourist areas) will understand you and will be able to answer in English. Montreal is a bilingual city and you’ll easily get around with English. Greeting people in their native language is a nice gesture, though.
  5. The legal drinking age in Montreal is 18 which is why many people come here to party.
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