Montréal is only Canada’s second-largest city, but its cool and eclectic mix of culture, history, and art places it at the top of most curious and adventurous travellers’ bucket lists.
The city sits on an island, menus and street signs are available in both English and French, there are thousands of lovely and reasonably priced places to stay…
Should we continue? If you’re looking for the perfect Montréal itinerary (but don’t know where to start), don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 of Montreal’s most amazing things to do.
Sip a beer (or two) at one of Montréal’s pubs or breweries
In Montréal, it’s easy to find good beer. Don’t worry, beer drinkers: there are plenty of brew pubs throughout the city, and you should be able to stumble upon one or two every few blocks.
Each offers classic drafts as well as unique finds, including both domestic and international brews. If you don’t know where to begin, the best way to discover brewery in Montreal is to find a brewery tour of the most famous breweries in the city!
Go on a street art treasure hunt in Montréal
Street art has become one of Montréal’s core visual identities over the last few decades, hidden in alleys, on rooftops, in parking lots, and covering local businesses and restaurants.
The city took an active role in promoting local artists in 1961, even requiring public bundling projects to devote 1% of their budget to arts initiatives.
Since then, over 3,500 public works have been created, and there is even an annual festival, MURAL Montréal, that celebrates Montréal’s street art every June.
A guided tour is recommended for serious street art enthusiasts. However, if you’re travelling on a tight budget, you can simply go for a walk. Almost every street has something to offer.
Dance and have fun at Igloofest
Igloo Fest, Montréal’s coolest electronic music festival, brings the heat in the cold of winter. Every January, thousands of music fans congregate (and bundle up) at the Old Port Quays for two weeks of icy cold jams.
Visit Igloofest’s massive igloo village, compete in the annual “Iglooswag” snowsuit contest, and keep warm with an endless supply of hot beverages.
When we say “bundle up,” we mean it. Temperatures can be freezing (around -30). Wear layers underneath your snowsuit and protect your fingers, toes, and eyes from the wind and cold.
Eat some poutine at La Banquise
If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that Montréalers adore poutine. For those who don’t live in the Northeast, poutine is a traditional Quebec dish made up of hot greasy french fries, squeaky cheese curds, and a healthy heap of fresh brown gravy.
Does that sound strange? Yep. Absolutely delectable? Sure thing. La Banquise is the place to go for the full Montréal poutine experience.
This bright and colourful restaurant has a large menu (we’re talking 30+ unique poutine dishes), vegan options, and really cool Montréal nightlife vibes (did we mention they’re open 24 hours a day?).
Waiting in line at La Banquise during peak hours (dinner to late night, Friday-Sunday) is insane. You can almost always count on a long line of hungry people down the sidewalk. Try to visit during the week, and lunch may be the best option.
Hike Mont Royal to witness a golden sunrise
Okay, so it’s not technically a mountain, but Mont Royal is one of the best hikes near the city. This big ole hill has deep roots that date back to 1535, when Jacques Cartier discovered the land and named it Mont Royal after the incredible views (the city of Montréal was later named after it).
Mont Royal can now be explored in a variety of ways. Depending on your level of fitness, you can hike, bike, take the bus, or drive to the summit and Mont Royal Lookout.
There are also lakes, pavilions, and gift shops, so take your time and explore everything this hilly landscape has to offer.
If you’re looking for some physical activity (while avoiding the crowds), head to the Outremont Summit and surrounding parks.
There are no signs, and getting there by public transportation is difficult, but once you find it (the side entrance is in a residential area of Mont-Royal Blvd), you’ll be greeted by pristine woods, winding slopes, and a treasure at the summit: a solitary stone lookout.