One of the best things you’ll find about Montreal is that the city is made up of a series of intriguing neighbourhoods just waiting for you to get out and explore them. Whether you head to Plateau Mont Royal or The Village, Little Italy or Vieux Montreal, you’ll find a unique atmosphere, along with plenty of fantastic attractions.
For those of you looking to fill your cultural quota, there are lots of places to check out. Make you way to the McCord Museum of Canadian History and you’ll find out more about Canada’s past. If art is more your thing, make sure to check out the fantastic Musée d’Art Contemporain with its stunning displays of temporary art. To keep the cost down, why not check out the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, as it’s completely free to visit the permanent collection which features a fantastic array of objects including a hat belonging to famous ruler, Napoleon.
Montreal has plenty of open green spaces where you can enjoy the city’s natural beauty. From the lookouts in Mont Royal Park, you’ll get amazing views out across Montreal, while the park is also popular with joggers, walkers and cyclists. Another favourite with locals is Parc Jean-Drapeau, located just a short Métro ride from the downtown area, spread out over the Île Notre-Dame and the Île Sainte-Hélène islands. There are plenty of activities to be enjoyed here, including rollerblading and swimming, and if you fancy something less active, why not bring some food with you for a relaxed picnic.
Other cool Montreal attractions include Montreal Tower, which is the world’s tallest inclined tower, and the Montreal Botanical Garden. These are quite close to each other, making it easy to check them both out in one visit to the area. On top of that, you can enjoy the city’s numerous shopping opportunities, from rue Sainte-Catherine to the Bonsecours Market.
10 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Old Montréal, Montreal, Canada
The stunning exterior of this cathedral is pretty breath-taking on its own but step inside and you’ll find the interior is perhaps even more impressive. Built between 1824 and 1829, it features an amazing collection of stained glass windows some of which depict important moments in local history.
Open Mon-Fri 8am-4.30pm, Sat 8am-4pm, Sun 12.30am-4pm; admission $5.
4141 Pierre De Coubertin Ave, Olympic Park, Montreal, Canada
You can’t beat the spectacular views of the city and the surrounding countryside that you get from the top of the 165-metre tall Montréal Tower. Located in Olympic Park where Montréal hosted the 1976 Olympic Games, this is the world’s tallest inclined tower. A quick trip in the funicular will take you right to the top.
Open daily Jun-Aug 9am-7pm, Sept-May 9am-5pm; admission $15.
185 Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal, Canada
One of the top contemporary galleries in Canada, the Musée d’Art Contemporain boasts an impressive permanent collection, much of which was contributed by artists from the province of Québec. Colourful and cool, this gallery is definitely worth checking out for its intriguing sculpture, video, paintings, photographs and more.
Open Tues & Thurs-Sun 11am-6pm, Wed 11am-9pm, closed Mondays; admission $10.
4101 rue Sherbrooke Est, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montreal, Canada
On a stroll through these incredibly beautiful gardens you’ll see a huge variety of plants, flowers and trees. One of the prettiest areas is the Japanese Garden but there’s plenty more to see as the gardens cover an impressive 180 acres. Make sure to check out the greenhouses along with the funky water features dotted around.
Opening hours change with season; admission $16.50.
690 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Downtown, Montreal, Canada
Canada’s rich history is the subject of this museum which hosts a large permanent collection as well as some very enjoyable temporary exhibits. From First Nations artefacts to fascinating photographs to dresses from the ‘20s, you’ll find plenty to capture your imagination at this top historical attraction.
Open Tues & Thurs-Fri 10am-6pm, Wed 10am-9pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mondays; admission $13, free on Wednesdays from 5pm-9pm.
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Canada
It is completely free of charge to check out the permanent exhibitions at Montréal’s much-loved Musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Fine Arts. The displays are housed in two different buildings which are connected by an underground tunnel. There’s a huge selection of objects on display including paintings, sculptures and more. Make sure to visit the Napoleon room where you’ll see this famous ruler’s iconic hat.
Open Tues-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mondays.
Old Montreal, Montreal, Canada
It’s almost guaranteed that there’s always something going on here from exhibitions to ice-skating. However, one of the nicest things to do won’t cost you a cent and simply involves strolling along the quays and admiring the views. Constructed on the site where European settlers first arrived in the city, these quays stretch along for more than 2.5km.
Île Notre-Dame and Île Sainte-Hélène, Montreal, Canada
This huge park is just a short Métro ride from Downtown and is located on two islands, namely the Île Notre-Dame and the Île Sainte-Hélène. It attracts huge numbers of visitors every year and there are plenty of free activities to be enjoyed here including biking, rollerblading and swimming. If you’re looking for something a little less active you can simply stroll through the beautiful gardens or grab some food and picnic on one of the open green spaces.
Mont Royal, Montreal, Canada
Part of the hard-to-miss mountain in the middle of the Montréal, this park dates back to 1876. Today it’s a popular spot with joggers, walkers and cyclists. It boasts a couple of great lookout points, providing visitors with panoramic videos of the city. This is also where you’ll find the Cross atop Mont Royal, which was erected in 1924.
Vieux/Old Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Vieux or Old Montréal is one of the most popular areas with visitors to the city. Stroll along its cobbled streets and you’ll come across attractions aplenty including the spectacular Notre-Dame Basilica. Place Jacques Cartier attracts lots of street artists and entertainers so there’s almost always something happening. On top of that, this area is home to lots of little shops, restaurants and bars for you to check out.
Plateau Mont Royal, Montreal, Canada
As well as boasting some of the best shopping in the city, the Plateau Mont Royal is one of the most popular areas of the city for eating and drinking. It's also home to the beautiful La Fontaine Park with its wide open spaces and artificial pond. This is a really typical Montréal neighbourhood and a stroll along its streets will give you a real feel for this city's enticing flair.
The Village, Montreal, Canada
Montréal’s Gay Village is the heart and soul of the city’s vibrant LGBTQ community. Known for its lively nightlife, this area boasts a great selection of bars and clubs and it’s also home to a wide variety of restaurants and cafés. You’ll know you’re in this funky, welcoming area when you see the bright pink parking metres.
Little Italy, Montreal, Canada
One of the coolest things about this neighbourhood is the Jean-Talon Market which attracts large numbers of locals with its tempting array of produce. This laid-back area is also home to a wonderful array of Italian restaurants and cafés. So if you like your food, you’ll definitely want to spend some time in this part of town.
Downtown Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Montréal’s Downtown or Centre-Ville neighbourhood is packed full of things to see and do, including cultural attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts and the McCord Museum of Canadian History. Nightlife is well-represented in this area too, with revellers heading to the bars along Crescent Street every night. If you’re into shopping, this is where you’ll find the city’s premier shopping stretch, rue Sainte-Catherine. The neighbourhood continues underneath your feet, where Montréal’s ‘Underground City’ connects lots of main attractions and provides even more shopping opportunities.