Planning a trip to Montreal soon and want to make sure you make the most out of your stay? Look no further.
We’ve put together a list of 20 awesome things to do in Montreal based on what would be considered essential to the Montreal experience with a dash of our own local recommendations.
We’ve split these into 4 main categories that you can jump to right away by simply clicking:
For most of the listed items, you will find links to further information such as their:
- Location (Hyperlinked To Google Maps)
- Official Homepage
- Official Facebook Page
- Official Instagram Page
Let’s get started!
Located in the heart of the city and referred to as “the mountain”, Mount-Royal acts as the center jewel landscape of Montreal. A very essential experience for anyone who is visiting the city where there’s always activities and entertainment with tons of people getting in on the fun. And it’s by far one of the best places in the city for taking a walk and enjoying the outdoors.
Recommended Reading: Our Mont-Royal Blog Post
2. Old Port of Montreal
Experience history and culture by simply walking down the cobblestoned and narrow streets. With historical buildings, horse-drawn carriages and local artists ready to immortalize you in seconds, the location never ceases to surprise and delight those who make visit. A definite must-visit if you’re in for the summer, as the annual fireworks festivals are best observed from here.
Recommended Reading: Our Old Port Blog Post
3. Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
The basilica marks the religious heritage of Quebec and will fill you with awe as you bare witness to its magnificent decor and design. Though its primary purpose is in spreading the Christian Gospel, it holds its doors open to activities for both locals and tourists who wish to experience the religious history of the province in person.
4. Downtown Montreal
The heart of the city offers everything you’d ever need. The best in dining, shopping and entertainment all within distance’s reach. For shopping needs, you’ve got all of St. Catherine Street West and the underground shopping malls of Les Cours Mont-Royal, Les Promenades Cathédrale, Le Centre Eaton de Montréal and Place Ville Marie shopping centres.
- Les Cours Mont-Royal
- Promenades Cathédrale
- Le Centre Eaton de Montréal
- Place Ville Marie Store Directory
5. Jacques-Cartier Bridge
The Jacques-Cartier Bridge is another emblematic structure that has recently been updated with an incredibly innovative lighting setup with colors that adjusts based on the seasons and the energy of the city. You can catch it shining a different and unique combination of lights and colors every night.
6. The Museum Of Fine Arts
Founded in 1860, this museum is vast in its collection of over 43,000, ranging from Antiquity until now. It features five distinct pavilions that carry a balanced combination of permanent and temporary exhibitions that are marvels to admire.
7. Montreal Science Centre
The Montreal Science Centre is the city’s dedicated science museum that also features a set of permanent and temporary exhibitions, many of which have earned awards of excellence. It sports a pretty cool IMAX theatre as well for a full on immersive experience.
8. McCord Museum of Local History
The McCord Museum is a museum dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of Canadian history, highlighting achievements and themes that elevate Montreal’s contributions in the world.
9. Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum
The Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum honours and remembers the work, legacy and values of Sister Marguerite Bourgeoys, who is best known for founding Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal and whose actions greatly influenced the development of Quebec.
10. The Stewart Museum
Founded by philanthropist and humanitarian David M. Stewart, the museum carries over 27,000 artifacts ranging from the 16th century to today. Mr. Stewart was known for his enthusiasm of sharing his collection with all Montrealers, the basis of which led to the creation of the museum.
Recommended Reading: Our Museums Blog Post
Montreal bagels are something special and you’d be missing out hard if you didn’t try one during your visit. The proper way to do this is to go to either St-Viateur or Fairmount Bagel and get a fresh one in a paper bag. And no. You don’t need cream cheese for these. They’re that good.
- Fairmount Bagel
- St-Viateur Bagel
12. Smoked Meat
Without a doubt, you have certainly been suggested by many to try this one out if you visit Montreal. And there’s good reason for that. A smoked meat sandwich piled high and served on rye bread with a pickle, mustard and coleslaw is right in a lot of ways.
For your benefit, you should be aware of the 3 key ways in which to order this item:
- Lean – If you’re not trying to eat too heavy, you can get leaner pieces in your sandwich. Although we feel this would cheat you of the full experience.
- Medium – This is more of a reasonable option which has combination of lean and fatty pieces. It’s not bad. However…
- Fatty (Our Personal Favourite) – We feel this is the ideal choice as it is a bunch of thick slices of medium and fatty pieces. Go big or go home.
- Main Deli Steak House
- Dunn’s Famous
Besides smoked meat, you’ve surely also been made aware of the other delicious Montreal tradition. – the poutine. The poutine is one of Montreal’s signature food dishes characterized traditionally by filling a plate full of french fries, hot gravy and cheese curds. It’s a great meal for when you’re cozied up in the heat during winter and a great late night snack during the summer. Even our McDonalds have their version available for order. Although to be fair, it’s a bit of a cop out considering the variety of avenues who dominate in design.
Recommended Reading: Our Poutine Blog Post
14. The Big Orange
The Gibeau Orange Julep is a giant orange sphere looming over the Décarie highway and Namur Metro Station. It feels like something out of an old movie where waitresses would rollerblade over to your car with your hamburger and French fries. Though there were many giant orange outlets once upon a time, this is the only one that remains. The signature drink to get here is the Gibeau Orange Julep itself. However, they do have great hot-dogs and poutine as well. They’re usually open until 2AM on weekdays and 3AM on weekdays.
- 7700 Decarie Blvd.
- Gibeau Orange Julep’s Wikipedia Page
- Unofficial Facebook Page
- Gibeau Orange Julep on Instagram
15. Joe Beef
Joe Beef is No.3 in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. If not for just the bragging rights, the place knocks it out of the park with their steak and seafood platters. But if you’re in town, you should take full advantage of the opportunity to experience one of the best eating experiences out there.
16. Dominion Square Tavern
Dominion Square Tavern is a very high-end bar serving sophisticated cocktails that’s been rebuilt from its initial 1927 debut on Metcalfe Street. A great stop to get a few drinks right at the heart of downtown Montreal. And it’s right next to Dorchester Square park, which is a nice space to walk through.
Flyjin is a Japanese restaurant & bar during the day that offers an extensive selection of premium alcohols, wine, cocktails, Saké and Japanese beers. But as dusk takes presence, the venue morphs into one of the most vibrant night clubs in the city.
The Cloakroom Bar is a speakeasy, which means you’ll have to know where you’re going to get to it. Located on De La Montagne St., The Cloakroom Bar is hidden behind a door in front of a suit shop called Maison Cloakroom. Once you enter, you simply need to continue forward to open the secret wall door, which will reveal a narrow hallway leading to the hidden bar. The Cloakroom works differently than most bars in that there is no menu to order from. Rather, your drink is created based on questions about your individual tastes – making the drink uniquely yours.
19. Hurley’s Irish Pub
Hurley’s Irish Pub is classic spot in the heart of downtown Montreal where both locals and travelers come together to grab a pint and relax over traditional music every night. They carry 19 beers on tap and span across two spacious floors with seating arrangements to suit all moods, be it hanging out with a group of friends or one-on-one catch ups. It has this unusually distinct ability to make anyone feel at home when they’re there, even if it’s their first time.
20. Taverne Midway
Like the Dominion Square Taverne, the Taverne Midway is another landmark bar that debuted in 1927. The interior is distinct in its long layout and stylish brick walls. Great drinks are brought forth by great patrons while sitting in the midst of Montreal history. Be sure to definitely stop by this one if you’re in town.
Recommended Reading: Our Beers & Breweries
Here’s A Free Checklist For You To Use!
Planning to adventure? We’ve put together a checklist that you can save onto your computer or phone for quick reference! You can print it out as well if you’re old school like that.
And that’s that! We hope you enjoyed the list! Was there something we missed? Do you think we could’ve added something else instead? Feel free to leave us a comment and we’ll look to add them to the list!
Visiting Montreal In The Near Future? Book Your Stay In The Heart Of The City Today!
All the awesome things to do in Montreal can be done a lot easier when you’re in the middle of it all. Book your own fully-furnished apartment today by checking out what’s available!