Montreal, a sparkling and cosmopolitan city that will amaze you with its architecture and its contrasts, the modernity of the buildings of the center, with the city tradition of a European touch.
There are so many activities that can be done in this city, where you never get bored. Here are the ten things to do and see if you are traveling to Montreal, those essential for those who visit it the first time.
All you have to do is start. Montreal is worth a visit soon.
1 – Admire the city from above
View from mont royal
If you want to take beautiful panoramic photos, climb the hill of Mont Royal. Mont Royal is a huge park that offers the possibility of walking, picnics, bbq and many other outdoor activities. In the summer it is very fun to participate in the famous “Tam Tam”, when you meet to play percussion and dance. Inside the Mont Royal is the fascinating monumental cemetery of the city.
2 – Finding nature in the city at the Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Montreal is the third largest in the world by extension and variety. A visit to these gardens and greenhouses is a must, where to marvel at so many species of plants and flowers. Don’t miss a visit to the Insectarium and the butterfly oasis.
3 – Explore an unusual location: the Olympic Park
The sports complex built for the 1976 Olympics hosts the Biodome, a former velodrome, today a real natural oasis that allows visitors to take a trip through the four ecosystems present in America and to admire flora and fauna in their habitat.
This is an ideal place to visit even with children. Another attraction of the Olympic Park is the stadium, the first stadium in history with a retractable roof, and its sloping tower, the highest in the world, from whose top you can enjoy a beautiful view.
4 – Walking around the Old City
Monuments, historic buildings and paved streets make this area unique in the Canadian landscape. Walking through these corners and glimpses up to the Old Port will give you the feeling of being in a fairy tale. Everything is enriched by many bars, restaurants, shops. In winter a huge ice skating rink (Patinoire Bassin Bonsecours) is installed at the port.
5 – Visit the Basilica of Notre Dame
Basilica of Notre Dame
The Basilica of Notre Dame is located in the historic center precisely in the heart of the Old Town at the Place d’Armes, and was built between 1824 and 1829. Today it is a jewel in the landscape of neo-gothic architecture, inside it will amaze you for its colors and for the richness of the decorations.
6 – Eat local specialties: poutine and smoked meat
Poutine and smoked meat
After intense days of urban exploration, you must also indulge in the local gastronomic reality. Then sign on the notebook: Poutine, a really simple but very tasty dish, which consists of a mountain of French fries topped with a sauce of meat and cheese curls: it cannot fail to satisfy your palate. Another dish to try is the famous smoked meat sandwich. I recommend trying it at the Nouveau Palais, a brasserie that catapults you directly in the 70s, or at Schwartz’s Deli.
7 – Participate in a Festival!
Montreal en Lumiere Festival
Montreal is the city of festivals, the city annually hosts almost one hundred events (most of them held in the summer months) from the Montreal Jazz Festival to Just for Laughs, a comedy festival, with street events, clown performances and jugglers, then the Fête des neiges or the Montreal en Lumiere Festival. And if among all the festivals you don’t find something interesting enough, you should know that Montreal is also the home of Cirque Du Soleil!
8 – Discover the City of Circus Arts
City of Circus Arts
Just outside the center is the headquarters of the Cirque du Soleil, the National Circus School and the TOHU, the only stable circus in North America. The City of the Arts can be visited during the Culture Days, but the TOHU organizes many events, even free ones, as well as guided tours. Here you can also see the Cirque du Soleil athletes as they train, as well as participate in one of their many shows.
9 – Go hunting for street art
street art in Montreal
Over the past 15 years, street art has become an increasingly common phenomenon in Montreal. The graffiti have joined new artistic expressions creating an interesting urban gallery made of writing and colors. In Montreal you can’t help but go and explore the city walls to find beautiful and large murals that color some buildings around the city. Saint-Laurent Street or St Cathreine street are two areas not to be missed.
Get lost in the maze of Montreal Underground
Those traveling to Montreal cannot not visit the parallel city that is hidden in its basements!
Designed to make the harsh winters look happier, when temperatures steadily fall below 15 degrees and snow and wind are the masters, Montreal has been designed and built for many years now as a true underground “parallel city” ( called “Réso”) consisting of over 30 km of galleries, which connect buildings and skyscrapers around the center, an area that is full of restaurants, shops, services and even entertainment of all kinds, which allows not only to move, but perform routine activities of daily life indoors. It will be an adventure for the visitor to discover this maze of steps.