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8 Best Things to do in Montreal

Montreal is the pinnacle of French Canada and a must-see delight for the eyes location for anybody visiting Quebec. After all, it is the biggest city in Canada’s French-speaking Quebec region and the second-largest in the country. It’s lovely in both the summertime and the winters. In such a diverse and big city, it can be hard to list out the best things to do in Montreal, but don’t worry. Scoop Canada has your back in solving this dilemma and making out the most of your trip.

The combination of European elegance and contemporary North American flair is a fascination among tourists. Montréal is the capital of the province of Québec in Canada. It is located on an island banked upon the ever-beautiful Saint Lawrence River and is called after Mt. Royal, the triple-peaked peak that dominates the landscape.

Its districts, most of which were originally distinct cities, contain neighbourhoods spanning from cobblestoned, French colonial Vieux-Montréal to cosmopolitan Plateau, which is home to the infamous Gothic Revival Notre Dame Basilica. So, what are the best things to do in Montreal?

Montreal
Photo by VV Nincic on Flickr

Because of its considerably older history, heritage, and excellent sense of urban design, Montreal boasts an extraordinary variety of easy-to-access gorgeous landscapes and exquisite urban centres. Despite its origin in Canada, it is a French county. Despite the fact that many individuals in Montréal speak English, English is rarely spoken in other areas of the region. Sections of New Brunswick, the territory to the eastern side of Quebec, are likely influenced by the same.

Montreal is the most popular destination for international events in Great White North as well. It hosts the legendary Canadian Grand Prix, Cirque du Soleil is based in Montreal and organized the 1976 Summer Olympics. Expo 67, the topmost renowned world’s fair of the twentieth century, was also held in Montreal.

Montreal is also abode to many amazing vacation spots, like the natural history museum, Montreal botanical garden, Mont royal cross, Parc du Mont-Royal, Mount Royal Park, Montreal fireworks festival, Montreal food tour, and so on. You can also opt for a Montreal walking tour, it will be more convenient if you have to travel with family.

Major tourist attractions flourish in Montreal. You will find many fine astounding examples of modern skyscrapers, great cuisines, cross country skiing, Montreal casino, art galleries, stunning architectural works, local culture, contemporary bars, and much more when strolling the streets of Montreal. Montreal is a city of festivities, hosting approximately 100 multi-day spectacles each year. Explore 11 Best Beaches Near Montreal which you must visit on your trip.

There is nearly always something fascinating going on in downtown Montreal, from entertainment to artwork to literary works, cinema, theatre, dance, and much more. Montreal’s originality and appeal, which have traditionally made it a much-loved capital, are still prevalent.

Montreal is a budget-friendly underground city to visit in Canada, but there are always options to save money. A 7-day vacation to Montreal costs approximately $1,263 for a single traveller, $2,268 for couples, and $4,253 for a typical family of four.

The cost of a hotel room in Montreal ranges from $40 to $294 an overnight, so plan ahead and make out the most of your trip by following Scoop Canada’s guide to the best things to do in Montreal. Let’s delve into the most important info and find out the best things to do in Montreal.

8 Best Things to do in Montreal

1. Experience the Buzz at Montreal International Jazz Festival

International Jazz Festival
Photo by Matias Garabedian on Flickr

Ranking on the first on the list of best things to do in Montreal, for over 40 years, the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal has indeed been intertwined with a love for art and music, having been named the world’s biggest jazz fest by Guinness World Records in 2004. Each year for ten days, devotees of music in its finest essence rubbing elbows with lovers of all forms of jazz-related entertainment in the French-speaking capital of North America.

All on a one-of-a-kind location built to cater to festival goers’ everyday needs, right downtown in a car-free zone. Without a doubt, Montreal is the actual beating centre of the jazz world. Its mission, as a non-profit organization founded in 1981, is to popularize jazz and similar musical styles through free outdoor events and widespread distribution.

Music enthusiasts from all over the globe gather to old Montréal every summertime for the outstanding Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. In the course of the 10 or so days of this toe-tapping, mood-boosting, magnificent event, music enthusiasts can experience a variety of diverse influences, spanning from punk to mainstream and electronica to hip-hop.

Over 500 performances are performed by 3,000 artists and musicians from over 30 nations on the car-free sidewalks of the Quartier des plays, in magnificent concert halls, and tiny karaoke bars, transforming Montréal into a massive creative galaxy renowned as Planet Jazz. An unquenchable passion for music, larger-than-life imagination and a deep feeling of community has propelled them forward. No wonder it is one of the best things to do in Montreal.

Its purpose is to publicize jazz and kindred musical traditions through public outdoor venues and ready availability, as well as serving as a significant tourist destination for Montreal and a launching pad for local musicians. Shows take place in a range of settings, ranging from small jazzy bars to the huge concert venues of Place des Arts.

A few of the street performances take place on cobblestone streets, while others take place in terraced landscapes. And the best part about the amazing Montreal Jazz Festival is that the majority of the performances are free. No other Jazz Festival on the planet boasts such a large number of free shows, all of which are consistent of excellent quality and continuity year in year out.

2. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Downtown Montreal

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr

A vast collection of art and design artefacts showing the workmanship of craftsmen from Quebec or elsewhere will fascinate you. It is amongst the best things to do in Montreal for any art lover. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a magnificent museum in Montreal dedicated to the arts. By exhibition space, it is Canada’s biggest art gallery.

The exhibit is situated on Sherbrooke Street’s renowned Golden Square Mile length. The MMFA is among the most frequented galleries in North America, with over 1 million tourists visiting here each year.

Its very innovative temporary displays integrate a variety of artistic disciplines – visual arts, entertainment, cinema, couture, and design – and are spread to all corners of the globe. One World art, International art, decorative arts, design, and Canadian art are among the highlights of the museum’s encyclopedic collection, which is shown in five domes.

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Harmony, which opened in 2016, was intended to make the exhibition site the 18th biggest art museum in North America. In 2013, there were roughly 44,000 artworks in the permanent massive collection. The Art Organization of Montreal’s first “reading room” served as a forerunner to the museum’s modern library, which is Canada’s earliest art archive.

The International Group of Administrators of Large-Scale Exhibits also referred to as the Bizot Group, is a platform that enables the heads of the world’s major museums to interchange artefacts and art installations. It is Canada’s earliest art gallery, having been established in 1860. And, it was Canada’s most toured art gallery in 2020.

The Art Association was unable to collect pieces for exhibition or acquire artworks from individuals since it lacked a stable storage facility. The group had a nomadic existence for the next two decades, with its exhibitions and discourses staged in numerous Montreal locations. Now, this place is ranked amongst the best things to do in Montreal and the fascinating display alone takes about two hours to complete.

The timeframe of the trip will be determined by your preferences and the exhibitions available at the time. There are excursions guided by operators and audio self-guided tours available as well, both of which are time-efficient and informative.

3. Explore the Ever Beautiful Saint Laurent Boulevard

Saint Laurent Boulevard
Photo by Jorge Lascar on Flickr

Saint-Laurent Boulevard, one of Montréal’s finest prominent locations, offers a diverse, varied, and diverse combination of things to do and see, both indoor and outdoor, at any moment of the day. This is precisely why “The Main” is so popular.

People of different ethnicities and colours congregate to this bustling hub—a north-south axis that splits the capital into west and east, to be precise—to buy, dine, drink, mix, and explore out a few of the city’s latest popular trends and concepts.

Saint Laurent Boulevard is one of the best things to do in Montreal and a significant thoroughfare in Montreal and is also referred to as Saint Lawrence Boulevard. The Main, which is an adaptation for “Main Street,” is a trade conduit and architectural heritage site that runs north-south across the capital near-centre.

It is a go-to for trendy, vintage, and classic outfits, modern furniture, smart accessories, and one-of-a-kind décor stuff, and it never disappoints with its diverse selection. The boulevard’s dynamic and popular culinary culture attracts foodies from all over the world, with options spanning from budget-friendly restaurants to arty coffeehouses to premium diners serving flavours from all four corners of the world. Stroll along Saint Paul street and explore Montreal like no other.

Its nightlife culture is remarkable, with crowds swarming till the early hours of the morning in laid-back breweries, chic clubs, witty cabarets, music venues, dance clubs, karaoke bars, and bistros. The distinctive establishments in this area are also great places to catch popular musicians and up-and-coming impressive acts: who knows, you just might spot the next big thing. During the summer, the strip hosts a variety of vibrant festivals you must not miss.

4. Have Fun in La Ronde Amusement Park

La Ronde Amusement Park
Photo by Martin Lewison on Flickr

Wondering what are the best things to do in Montreal for an adventure lover? La Ronde promises a day filled with enthusiasm and excitement for the entire family, with over 40 attractions and rides, stunning shows, and amusement all across the park.

La Ronde is a much-visited renowned Montreal amusement park that was established as part of the Expo 67 amusement complex in 1967. Six Flags operates currently within an emphyteutic contract with the City of Montreal that runs until 2065.

It is Quebec’s biggest and Canada’s second-biggest adventure park. La Ronde is remodelled into a horrifying adventure park with spooky zones, haunted homes, and activities during Fright Fest. Live actors disguised as ominous characters are allowed wild on the premises, ready to leap out at you at any moment, adding to the overwhelming eeriness.

La Ronde is popular and is generally infamous for its abundance of thrill, buzz, excitement, and family fun. There is a slew of factors to make La Ronde your summer leisure go-to fellas. New activities have been launched, and they are categorized by “thrill ratings” like seasoning blends: medium, light, or max.

The “max thrill” segment covers 13 rides, notably Le Vampire, a hanging coaster that takes riders through 5 head-over-heels spins at speeds exceeding 80 kilometres per hour.

Roller coaster, diving shows, Ferris wheel, and plenty of places to dine and enjoy are among the other highlights. With so many activities to participate in in the city over the summers, it can be difficult to decide which places are truly worthwhile to go on your weeks off, and indeed La Ronde is one of the finest.

5. Tour the Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
Photo by Doug Kerr on Flickr

The Mount Royal Oratory of Saint Joseph is well worth your money and the article assures you that you will be amazed by the magnificent beauty here. It is a lovely Basilica, quite massive, and a delight to walk about it, taking in all of the amazing architecture and artwork with a sense of peace surrounding you.

The Crypt Chapel and the Votive Candles Chapel are both worth exploring, leaving no doubt as to why the oratory is amongst the best things to do in Montreal.

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic little monastery and provincial treasure on Mount Royal’s Westmount Peak in Montreal, Quebec, at 3800 Queen Mary Street. It is Canada’s biggest cathedral, with one of the world’s biggest church arches, and is a cultural heritage as well as National Historic Site of the Great White North.  Pilgrims from all around the countries come to see it and each year, it gets almost 2 million tourists.

The premises of Saint Joseph’s Oratory have broad meadows, soaring trees, and an attractive Garden of the Way of Cross, in contrast to colourful rose bushes. In conclusion, this is a one-of-a-kind spot for calm and quiet.

The oratory is a centre for the sharing and dissemination of dynamic cultures, with performances, exhibits, and periodicals. You will embrace belief and interaction with others by participating in the spiritual life of Saint Joseph’s Eloquence.

When the daily Mass is not in action, tours of St. Joseph’s Oratory are accessible. The cathedral is open to the public for free, however, contributions and donations are warmly welcomed. Explore nearly a century of history, tradition, and progress at the world’s biggest shrine dedicated to honourable Saint Joseph at this Montreal monument and a treasure of Canadian and Quebec heritage.

6. Satisfy Your Shopaholic Self in Jean-Talon Market

Jean Talon Market
Photo by Sandi Aldridge on Flickr

Is it true that the market has been ranked on a list of best things to do in Montreal? Yes, it is true. Montréal, following Toronto, has the highest number of people of Italian heritage in Canada. The neighbourhood has been based in one of the capital’s most attractive sections, Little Italy, for even more than 100 years.

Montreal’s Jean-Talon Market is infamous and much-loved by the local farmer’s market. The diverse market is bordered to the northern side by Jean-Talon Avenue, to the southern area by Mozart Avenue, to the western side by Casgrain Avenue, and to the eastern side by Henri-Julien Avenue.

Place du Marché du Nord is the name of two city-maintained sidewalks. The Jean-Talon market is situated amid the metro stations of De Castelnau and Jean-Talon. It is Montreal’s biggest market and North America’s biggest open-air market which is swarmed by the locals and tourists alike.

This vast outdoor market, the glory of Little Italy, is Montréal’s most diversified market. Numerous celebrity chefs browse for ingredients and delicacies that can only be found here or at surrounding gourmet food stores.

Three long enclosed lanes are lined with fruits, vegetables, flowers, and baked goods vendors, all bordered by eateries, cafes, and restaurants with little patios. Even in the dead of winter, the market is open underneath large tents.

Swing by Le Marché des Saveurs du Québec or souvenir shops, they are amongst the best things to do in Montreal, and the only big stores in town dedicated solely to Québec delicacies including fresh cheeses, wine, and cider, smoked meats, and a wide assortment of other treats.

During the peak season, well over 300 vendors service the Jean-Talon Market. It is a fantastic spot to load up on cookout supplies before travelling to Mount Royal for spending the afternoon.

7. Wander Through Old Montreal

Old Montreal
Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr

Old Montreal, the city’s most classical area and abode to various best things to do in Montreal, preserves vestiges of the nation’s past and provides an enchanting and scenic respite in the exploration of life in the capital for both tourists and locals. Old Montreal’s winding cobblestone alleys, which date back to the 17th century, are home to bustling courtyards and beautiful shops, bars, and cafes.

A majestic Gothic Revival cathedral, the Notre-Dame Basilica, and the Pointe-à-Callière gallery with city archaeological ruins are among the city’s attractions.

The Montreal Science Complex and the landmark Clock Tower, with vistas from the peak, are located in the Old Port of Montreal, which is located across the St. Lawrence River. It was rehabilitated at significant expense and is currently used as a recreational and entertainment centre. If you are a vintage lover, have a look at things to do in Old Montreal and get ready to have fun.

The area has been extensively renovated in the past few decades and is immensely popular with both locals and tourists. The most important attraction here is simply strolling the meandering cobblestone walkways with 19th-century houses as your historical and heritage backdrop. The entire region is a tangle of little alleys, streets, and courtyards, with hidden stores and eateries.

The best way to see Old Montréal is via walking, beginning at the Champ de Mars Subway Stop. Just south of the terminal are Place Jacques-Cartier and the City Hall, with Rue Notre-Dame and Rue St. Paul directing towards more ancient buildings, high-end fast food joints, and lavish retail stores. Plan ahead on spending at least 8 hours in this vicinity.

8. Explore the Notre-Dame Basilica

Notre Dame Basilica
Photo by Travis Wise on Flickr

Visiting Notre Dame Basilica is like stepping back in history and experiencing Montreal as it once was; you can’t explore the capital without at least peeking inside. Notre-Dame Basilica is a cathedral in Montreal’s Old Montreal quaint town.

At the junction of Saint Sulpice Avenue and Notre-Dame Road, the cathedral is situated at 110 Notre-Dame West Street. It overlooks the Place d’Armes plaza and is near to the Saint-Sulpice Monastery.

The cathedral’s architecture is one of the most striking on the planet, and it is considered a masterwork of Gothic Revival design. The tombs are a vivid blue colour with gilded stars, while the remainder of the monastery is azure, blue, scarlet, silver, purple, and golden.

The Basilica of Notre Dame is one of the best things to do in Montreal and a sanctuary of worship where the believers embrace the Word of God, as well as a Canadian national heritage landmark and a unique tribute to Montréal’s heritage. The internal design of Notre Dame inspires awe. Each year, about a million tourists record the sanctuary, hues, vault, window frames, and skylights.

It is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays; and 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. You will have to pay approximately $6, but it will be well worth it. Simple basic entrance fees are necessary to fund the Basilica’s ongoing maintenance. Admission includes a twenty-minute guided tour. You will experience peace and calm like no other place here.

A Message to Take Away

Montreal is a must-see destination in both the summer and winter. Irrespective of your age, everybody will find something to satisfy their traveller self and to their liking. The people are friendly, and the cuisine is fantastic. Time spent in Montreal, which is known for its historical sites, winding cobbled walkways, and Parisian style, is a must on any trip to Montreal.

This well-kept city is home to premium cafés, unique stores, and the best things to do in Montreal. Place d’Armes, a lovely public area flanked by historic buildings, notably the Notre Dame Basilica, is a must-see. After exploring Old Montreal, head to one of the capital’s various neighbourhoods to take in the beauty, grandeur, elegance, and native culture.

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