Montréal is the largest city in Québec province and second largest in Canada, and it is named after Mt. Royal, city’s central, triple-peaked hill. City is sitting on a 50 km long island in the Saint Lawrence River and became globally famous since 1976, when it hosted Summer Olympic Games. But before that, Montreal was famous for different reasons, at least regionally – during prohibition times in the US, many people were crossing from New York to enjoy alcohol and entertainment.
- Name: Montreal
- Founded: 1642
- Population: 1.8 million
- Area: 431.5 km²
- Known as: ‘La metropole’, ‘The City of Saints’
Today, Montreal is a modern city with preserved old colonial core in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) dating back to 17th century and many modern art, entertainment and sports venues around the city. International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs comedy festival, and Montreal Canadiens ice hockey games are just few events worth attending every time.
City has many green spaces and it is perfect for urban outdoors, with parks, gardens, and walking trails and bicycle lanes for summer and many ice-skating venues during the winter. There is also entire Underground City – a series of tunnels and passages filed with shops interconnecting Montreal metro station, if you are not into outdoors, for you to explore.
Main attractions in Montreal
There are plenty of attractions in Montreal, both inside the city and within immediate surroundings. We are listing here only top 20-25 of them.
Mount Royal. More of a large hill than mountain, this landmark is year around attraction with park and view of Montreal city and surroundings. Notre-Dame Basilica. Built in early 19th century, this massive church is located in Old Montreal area. Famous for its stained glass decoration, this basilica hosts various religious and cultural evets and it offers guided tours.
Montreal Biodome. Originally built for Olympic Games in 1976 as a velodrome, this structure now hosts four different ecosystems with animals and plants from Americas.
Montreal Botanical Garden. One of the world largest botanical gardens in the world, this green oasis is located in the heart of Montreal. There are 10 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares of land. Old Port of Montreal. Historic riverside complex along Saint Lawrence River in Old Montreal, featuring stores, restaurants, art exhibits and hosting of events and activities. Montreal Olympic Stadium. Large multipurpose stadium with 55,000 seats, built in 1976 for Olympic Games. Located in Olympic Park.
Parc Jean-Drapeau. Two interconnected islands in front of Old Port, hosting various attractions, event venues and museums. Mount Royal Park. Popular park on top and around Mount Royal, designed by the same designer who did Famous NYC Central Park – Frederick Law Olmsted. Popular with families, eco-friendly activities and conservation efforts.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The largest art museum in Montreal and one of the most important in Canada. Featuring Quebec and Canadian works and international contemporary art exhibits.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory. Massive domed Catholic church located on the top of Mount Royal. Hosting various events and concerts and offering guided tours. Old Montreal. Historic neighborhood of Montreal dating back to 17th century with first settlers, place of many landmarks and preserved buildings and cobblestone streets. La Ronde. Built in 1967 for World EXPO, this entertainment park is now hosting thrilling rides for extreme adventure seekers. Located on St. Helen River Island in front of the Old Port.
Jean-Talon Market. Famous, long-running farmers’ market offering fresh vegetables, meat, cheese, fish and baked goods. La Fontaine Park. Centrally located park with two ponds, popular with locals and tourists alike. Offering picnics, trails and paddleboats during the summer and ice skating during the winter time.
Bonsecours Market. Historic market place with two story domed building. It was originally the only market in Montreal and also served briefly as a parliament for Canada in 1849.
Montreal Olympic Park. Original Olympic Park for 1976 Summer Olympics hosted in Montreal. There are several venues, such as stadium Olympic swimming pool, arenas and Biodome. Montreal Science Centre. Science museum located in the Old Port and designed specifically for kids of all ages. Featuring educational and technological exhibits and IMAX theatre. Place des Arts. The largest cultural and art complex in Canada. Hosting various performance events, such as jazz festivals, comedy performances and Opera.
McCord Museum. History museum with research and teaching functions as well. Hosting many social and historical exhibits from Canada’s history. Casino de Montréal. Opened in 1993, this casino is open 24/7, throughout the year and it is the largest casino in Canada. Consists of complex of three buildings.
Lachine Canal. A canal passing through the southwestern part of the Island of Montreal, running for 14.5 kilometers. Offering promenades and boating during the summer and ice skating during the winter time.
From other attractions in Montreal we recommend: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and Place d’Armes.
Top things to do in Montreal
We listed just few attractions to do and see in Montreal, there is certainly much more.
If you have more time (and budget), we recommend: going for a classic, hop-on, hop-off city tour, Underground City Walking tour, you can go on a bus tour to Quebec, or bus tour to Quebec City and Montmorency Falls.
If you are visiting during Christmas time there are several events and Christmas market worth visiting.
Festivals and events in Montreal
Montreal has very dynamic festival and events schedule throughout a year. Here are just few of them:
Fête des Neiges (January), Montréal en Lumière (February), Montreal Digital Spring (March), Blue Metropolis (April), Go Bike Festival (May), Montreal Jazz Festival (June), Just For Laughs (July), First Peoples Festival (August), World Film Festival (September), Black Film Festival (October), Cinemania Film Festival (November), Luminothérapie (December) and many more.
Read more: Festivals and events in Montreal
Interesting facts about Montreal
Here are some interesting facts about this amazing city:
- Montreal has a school for horror movies.
- Montreal’s sister city is Hiroshima, Japan.
- World’s first hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875.
Read more: More interesting facts about Montreal
Best time for flights to Montreal
The peak season for flights to Montreal is June, July and August. The low season for purchasing tickets is January, February and November.
Montreal is served by these airports: St. Hubert Airport (YHU), Mirabel International Airport (YMX) and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). Direct flights to Montreal are offered by 18 airlines.
Top hotel offers in Montreal
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