The Biosphere museum located at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal

Things to do in  Montreal

The minor fall, the major lift

Poised overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is Quebec’s cultural capital and North America’s most European city. Packed with public art and host to a year-round festival schedule, the city always has a party going on—even in the dead of winter. Big events draw crowds to the Festival Quarter (Quartier des Spectacles). Still, many of the best things to do in Montreal are in its strollable neighborhoods, from the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) to ultra-hip Mile End and the leafy Plateau Mont Royal. Locals pride themselves on living well. Join in by exploring gourmet treats and fresh produce at Jean-Talon Market or cycling along Lachine Canal.

Top 15 attractions in Montreal

St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal (L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal)

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St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal (L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal) located in Montreal’s Westmount neighborhood, is Canada’s largest church and a registered National Historic Site. Started as a small chapel in 1904, the Roman Catholic basilica has grown to contain a cryptic church, a museum, gardens, a 56-bell carillon, and one of the largest church domes in the world.More

Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal)

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Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) charms visitors with its picturesque squares, grand architecture, and winding cobblestone streets. Whether in the Old Port or walking down the main street Rue Saint-Paul, it’s easy to feel transported back in time—in fact, some architectural remains date back to New France. The historic site is considered to be the best preserved Old Town in North America.More

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal)

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Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) is the city's oldest Catholic church and the venue of Quebec hero Celine Dion’s wedding. The Gothic Revival-style church is one of Canada’s most lavish cathedrals, with stained-glass windows, intricate wood carvings, frescoes, sculptures, and a 7,000-pipe organ all vying for attention beneath a blue ceiling studded with gold stars.More

Mount Royal

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Mount Royal (Mont Royal), a 764-foot (233-meter) “mountain” in the midst of urban Montreal, is much-loved by locals and visitors alike, with Montrealers frequenting the leafy slopes as if the area were their own backyard. Cyclists, joggers, sunbathers, picnickers, and strollers abound in the summer, while snowshoers, tobogganers, ice skaters, and cross-country skiers dominate in winter. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted—the creative force behind New York City’s Central Park—the 470-acre (190-hectare) Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal) encompasses forest trails, monuments, and grassy meadows. On a clear day, the views from the Mount Royal summit lookout can’t be beat.More

Old Port of Montreal (Vieux Port de Montréal)

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Once a busy shipping hub, the Old Port of Montreal (Vieux Port de Montréal) is now an entertainment center stretching along the St. Lawrence River. In addition to the promenade, the port is also home to the Montreal Science Centre, La Grande Roue de Montréal, an observation wheel, a boat spa, and seasonal outdoor attractions including an urban beach and an ice rink.More

Montreal Place d'Armes

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Montreal's Place d’Armes, meaning parade square, is a major public venue in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal). The picturesque plaza is bordered by some of Montreal’s most notable architectural landmarks, including the 17th-century Saint-Sulpice Seminary, the Gothic Revival-style Notre-Dame Basilica, and the art deco Aldred Building.More

Montreal Olympic Park (Parc Olympique de Montréal)

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Built for the 1976 Olympic Games, the Montreal Olympic Park (Parc Olympique de Montréal) now houses several attractions that form Montreal’s Space for Life museum district. There’s the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, the 56,000-seater Olympic Stadium, the Biodome, an indoor zoo with around 4,500 animals, as well as the Botanical Gardens and Insectarium in neighboring Maisonneuve Park.More

Montreal Chinatown

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Montreal Chinatown was established in the late 19th century with the arrival of Chinese immigrants from western Canada who came to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Though just a couple of blocks long, the district offers a wide selection of Asian eateries and shops selling traditional handicrafts and souvenirs.More

Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port)

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During the 17th century, Quebec City’s charming Old Port (Vieux-Port) was bustling with European vessels and crews offloading supplies to New France. Now thronged with passengers from incoming cruise ships, the area is filled with historic buildings occupied by art galleries, boutiques, and inviting French-influenced restaurants.More

Jacques-Cartier Square (Place Jacques-Cartier)

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Named after a 16th-century French explorer, Jacques-Cartier Square (Place Jacques-Cartier) is one of the main squares in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal). It was laid out in the early 19th century, and is lined with cafe terraces where visitors can watch as street performers and caricature artists vie for the attentions of passing tourists.More

Mile End

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Situated at the northernmost point of Montreal’s Plateau, Mile End is known for its array of independent shops, cafés, and underground music venues. The vibrant neighborhood, a cultural hub since the 1980s, is teeming with highly-rated restaurants and historical landmarks, from classic bagelries to scenes from the novels of Mordecai Richler.More

Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours)

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Built in the 1840s, this neoclassical silver-domed building has served as a farmers market, theater, and for a brief stint as Montreal's city hall. It was threatened with demolition before being converted into the current market complex, which contains cafes, restaurants, galleries, and shops selling Quebec-made crafts and design items.More

Montreal Underground City

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Montreal’s Underground City (or RÉSO) is a vast indoor complex that extends across a large portion of Downtown Montreal. Subterranean tunnels connect malls, hotels, cinemas, theaters, offices, museums, banks, universities, and metro stations, serving as a warm refuge during the city’s brutal winters.More

Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon)

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First opened in 1933, Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon) is a local institution. Montrealers come to shop farm-fresh ingredients, from Quebec-reared pork and seafood from the country’s east cost to colorful vegetables, everything from purple carrots to orange cauliflower and strangely shaped gourds—all of which are artfully stacked in sellers’ stalls.More

Plateau-Mont-Royal (the Plateau)

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Artsy and laid-back, Plateau-Mont-Royal, aka the Plateau, captures the spirit of Montreal perhaps more than any other neighborhood. Spiraling iron staircases crawl up Victorian-era residences on tree-lined streets, while magnificent street murals add color to commercial thoroughfares. Restaurants, cafés, bars, and boutiques abound.More

Top activities in Montreal

Quebec City and Montmorency Falls Day Trip from Montreal
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History Walking Tour of Old Montreal
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Old Montreal Ghost Walking Tour

Old Montreal Ghost Walking Tour

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Full-Day small-group Montreal tour with Pickup and a Local Taste
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Explore Old Montreal - A Small-Group Walking Tour for the Curious
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Old Montreal Food & Drink Tour by Local Montreal Food Tours
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Montreal City Sightseeing Tour with Live Commentary
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Montreal Bagel Making Workshop
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Montreal Bagel Making Workshop

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Helicopter Tour Over Montreal
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Helicopter Tour Over Montreal

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Beyond the Basilica a Walking Tour in Montreal
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Private day tour to wildlife Parc Omega and Montebello lodge from Montreal
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Sugar Shack (Feb to May) Maple Syrup Private Day Tour with lunch from Montreal
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Jewish Neighborhood Food Tour

Jewish Neighborhood Food Tour

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Old Montreal Private Walking Tour

Old Montreal Private Walking Tour

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All about Montreal

When to visit

Montreal comes to life in the summer, when the long days fill up with festivals and sun. July is the main month for festivals, but it also tends to be one of the hottest. Opt for May or June for milder weather, and to explore the Parc du Mont Royal. The St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, the Go Bike Festival, and the International Jazz Festival all take place in May and June.

Getting around

The city is well-connected by the Montreal Metro, which travels between 68 stations. It’s also perfect for biking, with 560 miles (901 kilometers) of bike lanes and routes that can take you throughout the historic city. While a car is handy for exploring the surrounding countryside, parking can be tricky within the city itself. It’s better to rely on public transport, taxis, ride-hailing services, and walking.

Traveler tips

New York City isn’t the only North American city famous for its bagels. Montreal is home to many beloved bagel shops that line its streets. The St-Viateur Bagel Shop is a favorite, and one of the best things to do in Montreal for food lovers. And while you’re in the Mile End neighborhood, try other Jewish deli favorites like smoked meat.

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People Also Ask

What is Montreal famous for?

Montreal is the largest city in Quebec. It’s famous for its French heritage (explorer Jacques Cartier first visited the area in the 16th century). Downtown Montreal is renowned for its lively nightlife, world-class museums, and architecture landmarks like Habitat 67. It also hosted the Expo 67 and 1976 Summer Olympics.

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What is there to do in Montreal for 1 week?

There are so many things to do in Montreal in one week. That’s enough time to see top attractions like Mount Royal Park, Notre Dame Basilica, and the Museum of Fine Arts. You can also wander neighborhoods like Mile End, dine in eclectic restaurants, and even plan a day trip to Ottawa.

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What attractions are there in Montreal?

Montreal is home to dozens of top attractions, like Notre-Dame Basilica, Mount Royal Park, and St. Joseph's Oratory. It’s celebrated for its Gothic revival architecture, the Olympic Park, and Montreal Botanical Garden. Other highlights include the Biodome, Museum of Fine Arts, and the Underground City.

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What is the best month to visit Montreal?

While this is a city that can handle the cold, its deep winter freeze can be a shock to the system for visitors. Instead, visit in June to enjoy beautiful weather (sans humidity) and a full calendar of festivals. Highlights include the International Jazz Festival to the Grand Prix Weekend.

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Do they speak English in Montreal?

Yes, this is a bilingual place, and English and French are both widely spoken. However, local etiquette dictates that French first is a preference, and not all locals are as comfortable speaking English. Even if you don't speak French, it's polite to add a few greetings and phrases into your rotation.

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What do locals do in Montreal?

To see the city like a local, escape from the Old Port (Vieux Port) and head to the Plateau. There, you can nosh on international fare and relax in hip wine and beer bars. Be sure to explore Jean-Talon Market, stroll the Lachine Canal, and go to a cabaret show.

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