Montréal: Top 10 Things to See and Do

Montréal, Quebec is a vibrant city that is filled with beautiful architecture, amazing attractions, but most importantly delicious poutine! The merge of the old-world with the new showcases a charming history that is intriguing to explore.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Saint Joseph's Oratory

Influenced by Renaissance architecture, Saint Joseph's Oratory is widely recognized for its stunning dome which is located on the north side of Mount Royal. People from all around the world are drawn to Saint Joseph's Oratory to experience not only the beauty of the church but to partake in the account of its fame. Canonized by the Catholic Church in 2010, Saint André Bessette began the construction of Saint Joseph's Oratory in 1904. Miracles of being healed from all types of ailments were reported at the oratory which Saint André Bessette credited to the healing power of Saint Joseph. Over 2 million visitors come to Saint Joseph's Oratory, many on a pilgrimage who climb 99 of 283 stairs on their knees as a tribute to the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. This majestic church is the largest in Canada and a treasured landmark in Montréal which makes it imperative to visit.

Where to Find:
3800 Chemin Queen Mary
Montréal, QC
saint-joseph.org

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Explore Mount Royal Park
The best view of Montréal is situated on top of Mount Royal's 764-foot mountain. Take time and explore this breathtaking park spread over 692 acres with an incredible lookout point of the city. The park was designed by the reputable Frederick Law Olmsted, who is also responsible for creating many beautiful parks across the US, including famed Central Park in NYC. Conveniently located west of downtown Montréal, Mount Royal Park is accessible by car, bus, bike, or even a hike if you are feeling ambitious. Make a day of it and pack a picnic because nothing is better than the gorgeous view and yummy snacks! This park is a must see attraction that will not disappoint.

Where to Find:
1260 Remembrance Road
Montréal, QC
lemontroyal.qc.ca

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Montréal Museum of Fine Arts
If you only have time to visit one museum in Montréal then Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is highly recommended. Established in 1860, this museum happens to be the largest in Montréal with a total surface area of 485,100 sq ft. The impressive collections in the museum includes everything from Quebec and Canadian art to international contemporary art. The exhibitions are imaginative and beautifully displayed. Currently, the Fabergé, Jeweller to the Czars exhibit is being shown, while the upcoming Andy Warhol exhibit is also one to watch for. Whether you are an art history expert or just an art enthusiast, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is a remarkable site to visit.

Where to Find:
1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montréal QC
mbam.qc.ca

Notre-Dame-Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica
Established in 1829, Notre-Dame Basilica is a stunning church that is a must-see destination. Conveniently located in Old Montréal, the striking French gothic architecture that fills Notre-Dame is an extraordinary sight to see in person. The vibrant colour scheme inside range from royal blues to deep shades of gold, dramatic colours that are reminiscent of the gothic style. Although there are many beautiful focal points spanning from the intricate pulpit to the 32 ton bronze altarpiece, the stained glass windows add a unique element given that they chronicle Montréal's religious history. The "And Then There Was Light" show at Notre-Dame is a worthwhile event that showcases the structural design and traditions of Notre-Dame through media which runs between June 24 - September 27. Guided tours are also available for anyone interested in an depth look at the church's history.

Where to Find:
110 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Montréal, QC
basiliquenddm.org

old-montreal-tourism-montreal

Photography courtesy of Tourism Montreal.

Take a Stroll through Old Montréal
Reminiscent of European architecture, Old Montréal is the oldest area in the city. Roughly 10 minute walking distance from downtown, Old Montréal is the ideal place to explore. Stroll the charming streets of old Montréal through a leisurely walk or a horse-carriage ride and take in the vibrant sights and sounds of this unique area. Situated alongside the St. Lawrence River, the buildings date back to the 17th century while the cobblestone streets add to that old-world feel. There are great restaurants, bars and shops in this area, making it desirable for tourists and locals. Take your time with this historical district that is rich with character.

Where to Find:
303 Notre-Dame Street Est
Montréal, QC
vieux.Montréal.qc.ca

 

Vieux-Port_de_Montreal_tourism-montreal

Photography courtesy of Tourism Montreal.

Riverside View in Old Port of Montréal
Alongside the St-Lawrence River, Old Port of Montréal situated in Old Montréal is a fun way to spend an afternoon. The serene view of the St-Lawrence River creates a scenic environment for cycling and walking. Activities at Old Port of Montréal include the Montréal Clock Tower, Montréal Science Centre, and IMAX Theatre. This prime location is perfect for water events, a variety of activities from jet boating to boat cruises are offered at Old Port. Tempting boutiques and restaurants also make this area fun to shop and dine. Festivals are routinely featured in this area so there is always more than enough to do!

Where to Find:
333 Rue de la Commune Ouest
Montréal, QC
vieuxportdemontreal.com

- Photo courtesy of Tourism Montreal

biodom-montreal

Discover Ecosystems at the Biodome
Expect to find adorable animals from four different ecosystems replicating the Americas at Montréal's Biodome. The attention to detail in each ecosystems is astonishing, with 4,500 animals from 250 different species and 500 plant species assist in creating an authentic experience. Visitors can expect to begin the journey at the humid Tropical Forest of South America which homes an abundant of stunning birds. The Laurentian Forest mimics North American wilderness includes fascinating otters and lynx as part of the ecosystem. The wonders of the sea are explored though The Saint Lawrence Marine Eco-system which displays a variety of sea life including starfish and sea urchins. The temperature drastically drops while heading to the Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems where the cutest polar species such as penguins are in their habitat. The Biodôme is one of four buildings that belong to the Montréal Nature Museum. There are consistent promotions that include Botanical Garden, Insectarium and Planetarium which are all in the vicinity, if you are looking for an educational outing these options are the way to go!

Where to Find:
4777 Avenue Pierre-de Coubertin
Montréal, QC
espacepourlavie.ca

schwartz

Photography courtesy of Schwartz's Deli.


Dine at Schwartz's Deli
With lineups out the door, Schwartz's Deli is arguably the best deli in Canada, let alone Montréal. With over 80 years of serving mouth-watering smoked meat sandwiches to satisfied customers, it's no wonder that Schwartz's Deli has captivated worldwide attention including celebrities, not to mention Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil are part owners. Don't miss the opportunity to dine at this beloved Montréal landmark on Boulevard Saint-Laurent. The reputation of Schwartz's Deli is impressive, ask anyone who's been and they will rave about the delectable smoked meat, bon appétit!

Where to Find:
3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montréal, QC
schwartzsdeli.com

montreal-nightlife-crescent-montreal

Photography courtesy of crescentmontreal.com.

Nightlife
Nightlife in Montréal is exciting to experience, so much so that It's common to see bachelor/bachelorette parties on the prowl on a regular basis downtown. The bright sights and sounds of this world-class city are on full display at night. Crescent street is an entertaining area to explore since its filled with an array of restaurants, bars and patios. Everything from stylish Stogies Cigar Lounge to popular patio Sir Winston Churchill Pub is located on Crescent street, so there is something for everyone in this location. If you are looking for a lively club or lounge, then rue Ste-Catherine area is also worth checking out. This part of Montréal is known to indulge all your partying needs! Inspired by the Quartier Latin in Paris, the Quartier Latin located in the centre of Montréal is a great area to stroll. Surrounded by cafes, theatres and restaurants there is plenty to see and do. The laid-back atmosphere of this charming street filled with delightful boutiques is worth visiting. Chinatown in rue St-Laurent is also a fun area to walk around, shop and dine. Amazing restaurants, popular nightclubs, and bars, Montréal nightlife has it all!

Montreal-Jazz-Festival

Photography courtesy of the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Entertaining Festivals
Considering the bubbling high energy in Montréal, It's no surprise that this city is home to amazing festivals all year round. Naturally the best festivals run during the summer which tourist and locals alike enjoy. Some worth checking out include Montréal Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs. Montréal Jazz festival is the largest jazz fest in the world which attracts millions of people every year. With hundreds of jazz concerts over a two week run, the enticing jazz musical chords definitely add to the Montréal experience.

If you are looking for a good laugh, then look no further because Montréal Just for Laughs festival is comedy gold. This festival showcases popular comics, as well as up-and-comers. Stars such as Jim Carrey and Tina Fey have been involved with the festival which attracts an audience in the millions yearly. These festivals are just the tip of the iceberg since Montréal offers everything from popular Beer Festival to its celebrated Circus Festival. If opportunity permits, add a festival to your itinerary while discovering Montréal.