13 must see places in Montréal.
I lived in Montreal for 4 years and now visit the city every few weeks. I still discover new places and I love Montréal! I’m going to create a series of articles as there is so much to see and to do there. Let’s start with must see places in Montréal, if you are here for a day a week or longer we have you covered!
The Old Port is my favourite place!!!
The Old Port is a unique place in Montréal. There’s a ton to do there like cycling, walking, or roller-blading on the boardwalk by the water, boat-paddling on the lake in summer or skating in winter. Take a cruise or a boat excursion, visit a SPA, museums, boutiques and galleries or just spend time on Clock Tower Beach. The Old Port has it all!
Also, there are a lot of things to see like the Notre-Dame Basilica (a must see!), Bonsecour Market, Jacque-Cartier Place, City Hall, Montréal Science Centre with an IMAX Theatre, and the Montréal Clock Tower with an amazing view from the top.
At the Old Port, you can also catch the Festival Montréal en lumière, Igloofest, Cirque de Soleil & Fireworks fest (one the best places to see Fireworks) and more other festivals.
I’ll have more on the Old Port in “Discover Old Port in Montreal, Quebec, Canada” (coming soon)
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
Built in 1824, this massive church features vibrant stained glass & hosts concert performances.
I fell in love with the Notre Dame in Paris, it was my favourite cathedral until I saw the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal. I love,love love the Notre-Dame Basilica, Both have their charms and I would not be able to pick a favorite so I suggest you see both, it’s really hard to explain such beauty in words. Just have a look at some pictures.
There are guided tours – check their website for schedule http://www.basiliquenotredame.ca/en/visits/discover.aspx
This is the park of parks! At over 200-hectares in the middle of Montréal Island and includes the highest spots in the city. It’s the place to take a photo of Montreal city.
Frederick Olmstead designed Mount Royal Parc; he also designed New York City’s Central Park. There are two great spots to get a panoramic view of the city: the lookout facing downtown towards the river and a second, which faces the Olympic Stadium.
The mountain also has 3 separate cemeteries, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and Mount Royal Cemetery can be peaceful places for a nice walk among flowering seasonal plants.
The Chinese community continues to shop and celebrate its traditional festivals. It’s not the biggest Chinatown. Great Asian themed restaurants, it’s also a great place to pick up some BBQ duck on the go.
A short metro, bus or bike ride from downtown and you can visit two islands: Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame. Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène is Montréal’s most visited park.
There are activities for all the seasons you can swim in the filtered water beach & outdoor pool, visit museums, flower gardens and amusements parks, walk or cycle on the many trails & outdoor. In winter, you can skate along the skaters’ path on Île Sainte-Hélène, and go tubing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the many trails found in the park.
The Canadian Grand Prix on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is held there, you can live your dream of being an F1 driver and actually drive on the track (it’s open to visitors). The Montréal Casino as well as La Ronde amusement park are there too (as if there’s not enough to do).
Piknic Électronik is held every Sunday in the summer it’s an electronic music outdoors fest open to all.
At night the L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, fireworks light up the summer skies. There really is something for everyone!
Quartier des Spectacles or Place des Festivals
This is the place to be from May to September. It hosts Montréal International Jazz Festival – the biggest Jazz festival in the world, Festival Juste Pour Rire / Just For Laughs Festival, Festival des Films du Monde, Franco Folies, Nuit Blanche and much much more.
The Place des Arts Complex is a major performing arts centre in Montréal, Quebec, and is the largest cultural and artistic complex in Canada in terms of many festivals such as International Jazz Festival. Google ”Place des arts” for shows and event information.
Nightclubs, restaurants, bars, outdoor cafés and pubs, Victorian architecture, boutiques, art galleries – that’s Crescent Street. Come one evening for a drink or dinner, you will love it!
During Grand-Prix weekend the street is closed and F1 cars on display.
The Plateau moves to its own funky beat with walk-up duplexes and old style condos.
Here you’ll find a predominantly francophone community featuring an eclectic mix of artists, students, yuppies, and young families There are interesting shops, cafés, pubs and bars, black-box theatres, art galleries and gourmet shops.
From here you can also visit Saint-Laurent Boulevard or “the Main” and get a smoked meat sandwich from the famous Schwartz Deli. Or Saint-Denis Street with its boutiques and cafés and restaurants.
Morning noon or night there is always something happening.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal
Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on Westmount Summit in Montréal, Quebec. It is Canada’s largest church. Father Andre, who is buried there, said to grant miracles to anyone who climbs their immense staircase to the Oratory on their knees. At the top, you will find thousands of crutches of those who have been healed by his power.
Montréal Botanical Garden
It’s huge!!! 75 hectares (190 acres) of thematic gardens and greenhouses. It is considered to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world due to the extent of its collections and facilities. Great for a walk or hike, the Botanical Gardens features a pavilion gift shop, various events throughout the year (October’s Chinese Lanterns are wonderful), and really nice Japanese and Chinese gardens. Perfect for a picnic.
You can easily spend the whole day in Montréal Botanical Garden.
If you missed Mosaïculture International in 2013, you have a chance to visit it in Gatineau in 2017. Read more at my article “Mosaïculture International is coming to Gatineau, Quebec in 2017“.
The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts
It is Montréal’s largest museum and the most interesting in my opinion. Its a spacious museum showcasing Québec & Canadian visual works, plus international contemporary art – FREE entrance to the permanent collection and temporary exhibition on the last Sunday of the month, on a Museum day in May and discounted fee on Wednesdays. Check more at their website.
Located in the heart of Little Italy, the Jean-Talon Market is one of the oldest public markets in Montréal. The Jean-Talon Market is known for its local fruit and vegetable vendors as well as the cultural diversity of its shopkeepers. It is one of the largest public markets in North America and its atmosphere is lively in both summer and winter. At the Jean-Talon Market, you won’t just find fruits and vegetables, but also flowers, spices, oils, cheese, meat, fish and artisanal bakery goods, in addition to a wide selection of regional products from all over Québec! Not too mention the food – try the savoury French crepes, the fried calamaris or just sit down for coffee and a French pastry.
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