Montreal Tourist Attractions that are not just for tourists.. it’s true!
It’s way too easy to take the city we live in for granted: we’ve grown accustomed to having tons of quality restaurants at our fingertips, authentic cultural experiences around the corner, and more festivals than we can count. What a shame it would be to miss out on Montreal’s gems just because they sound so familiar! Take a look at these Montreal tourist attractions that you should check out.
20. Eat a St-Viateur bagel in the middle of the night
One of Montreal’s treasured darlings, St-Viateur Bagel, is your best friend for all things midnight munchies. Ok, maybe only one thing… their famous bagels. But isn’t that all you need? Open 24 hours, and selling those mini cream cheese cups to go with your bagel on the go, stumble into this famed joint for a warm, gooey snack on your way home from the bar.
19. Take a stroll down Prince-Arthur, fall in love by the Carré St-Louis fountain
Between St-Laurent and St-Denis, Prince-Arthur becomes a cobblestone, pedestrian friendly street that houses terraces, a panoply of Greek restaurants, and a few ice cream shops. That makes it the perfect place to take a walk, grab a bite, and end up in the park by the dreamy fountain (and maybe even fall in love over a shared ice cream?).
18. Discover the Mile-End Montreal food tour
Apart from offering a scenic and historical tour of the mile-end this tour also launches you into a gastronomically induced journey of some of the best food in Montreal. 6 stops, which include the best vegan falafel, authentic italian gnoccis, and the best Montreal chocolate, this walking tour is enjoyed by both locals and tourists!
17. Take a Cruise on Le Bateau Mouche
Le Bateau Mouche is up there in the classy summer date department. Gourmet food, musical acts, and world class servers, book this one fast if you want to fit it on your summer bucket list. With a selection of different cruises to choose from, you can even hop on Le Bateau for a fine food breakfast cruise you’re sure to remember.
16. Have a « picnic » at Piknic Electronik
One of the best places for tourists to visit is Saint Helen’s Island. The island is home to great festivals like Osheaga at Jean Drapeau park, LaRonde, Montreal’s Biosphere and Piknic Electronik. Under Alexander Calder’s statue, L’Homme, tourists and locals flock to dance to the electronic beats of local and international DJs. Let’s be honest, Piknic is the perfect excuse to drink in the middle of a nice summer day. Shake your booty on the dance floor at the main stage or sunbathe by the river accompanied by a signature Piknic bucket of alcohol. For more information, click here.
15. Ride Down the Lachine Canal with Ma Bicyclette
Ma Bicyclette is a bike rental service right on the Canal. The folk here do repairs, sell snacks, and are some of the friendliest staff around. It’s a great option for tourists to get the Lachine Canal experience without having their own bike, but it’s also a favourite with locals because of the good vibes, location, and the commitment-free aspect of riding around this neck of the woods. Extra perks that totally beat renting a bixi: guided bike tours, and all rentals include a helmet, lock, saddle bag and map.
14. Discover Montreal’s history at the Pointe a Callière museum
Walk down the steps to the museum’s archaeological crypt and see the only remnants of the 1744 fortifications that used to stand there. This permanent exhibition about Montreal’s history delves into everything from the First Nations communities to the present. One of their temporary exhibits, Hello, Montréal!, looks into the history of Bell and the evolution of the telephone in Montreal. For more information, click here.
13. Wander Around the Botanical Gardens
It might be a little out of the way, but this veritable oasis of lushery is something every Montrealer should make a trip to, at least every few months (especially in winter). Not only is it breathtakingly gorgeous, but it’s like a mini vacation: with tons of different plant and flower species imported from all over, alternating exhibits and events, not only does it (literally) bring you back to your roots but the organizers have brought miniature pieces of paradise directly to our city.
12. Grab a beer on the Le Sainte-Élisabeth terrace
One of the most beautiful hidden courtyards in Montreal, Le Sainte-Élisabeth terrace is just a couple of blocks away from Montréal’s main summer festival location: Place du Quartier des spectacles. Many tourists and locals wind up here after a show or to simply just enjoy a cold beer with friends.
11. Take a trip to Montreal’s famous landmarks
The Farine Five Roses sign and silo #5 are both the products of the industrial revolution of Montreal. They still stand today as the last vestiges of an industrial Lachine Canal. These heritage sites are grandiose and beautiful to look at (if you’re into unmaintained industrial architecture). An excursion to these landmarks is a great way to learn about Montreal’s history and even better for a photoshoot!
10. Go to Marché Jean-Talon
The Marché Jean-Talon is one of the oldest and largest public markets in North America. Accessible in both summer and winter months you can find colourful fruits, vegetables, cheeses, oils spices, flowers, baked goods, and more local artisanal products. Visitors, as well as, residents truly appreciate and enjoy this place!
9. Hike to the top of Mount Royal
The mountain and it’s 30 foot tree topper of a cross look good from the ground, but the view is even better at the top. Head to the lookout and Chalet du Mont Royal for a stunning photo op, or over to Lac aux Castors to grab a snack at the pavilion and have a picnic by the water. You can get to the top by walking up gently sloping gravel paths, bike, bus, car or, literally, by going off the beaten path onto less travelled trails for a full experience of nature in the heart of the city. It’s always a good time for a breath of fresh air!
8. Go vinyl hunting
Vinyl is coming back and its a good thing! If you’re a backpacker or a hipster local thrifting for that perfect vinyl, or just browsing, Montreal is home to some sweet record shops, such as: Cheap Thrills, Phonopolis, Au 33 Tours, and Beatnik Records– to name a few. See what amazing tunes you can discover!
7. Have a religious experience at Saint-Joseph’s oratory
The history behind the magnificent Saint-Joseph’s Oratory is one that draws 2 million visitors each year. Saint Brother André’s love of Saint Joseph inspired him to build the basilica in his honour. Brother André’s healing powers drew many pilgrims to the basilica, and the cured left their canes and wheelchairs there. You can now see the thousands of canes and wheelchairs at the oratory and light a candle in the basilica for a loved one.
6. Spend your Sunday at Mount Royal’s tam tams
Every Sunday, Montrealers take to the foot of the mountain with a blanket, food, and drink to bask in the sun. Around the George-Étienne Cartier Monument, hundreds gather to drum to the same beat. Tam Tams is a must-do for tourists and locals alike during the warmer months.
5. Eat a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz
Montreal is proud of its smoked-meat, and Schwartz is ranked the #1 best deli in North America. With over 80 years of tradition, it remains a Montreal classic and never gets old.
4. Grab a coffee at this cat café
Café Chat L’Heureux is proud to be North America’s first ever cat café. It is open to anyone who wants to cuddle up with a cat and a warm cup of coffee. The bistro offers hot and cold drinks, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, and salads, along with vegan and gluten-free options. This is truly an original place that gathers many travellers, but also many locals who love to hang out while enjoying the benefits of cat-therapy.
3. Go eat a poutine at La Banquise
This poutine place has been up and running since 1968 and is stated (by some) to be the best poutine joint in town. It attracts many vacationers, but this doesn’t stop Montrealers from crowding the place up. La Banquise is literally open 24 hours a day, and offers over 30 different types of poutine. After a long night out, for a delicious meal, an afternoon snack, or even for breakfast…poutine is the way to go!
2. Watch the Fireworks
Running from July 1st to August 1st, the 31st edition of L’International des Feux Loto-Quebec fireworks will be hard to miss. Gather friends, family, or lovers and make your way to Jacques Cartier Bridge or the Old Port’s Terrasse sur l’Auberge for maximum viewing capacity.
1. Walk around in beautiful Old Montreal
Cobblestone streets, majestic buildings, galleries, coffee shops, high end restaurants… Tourists may love this little piece of Europe, but with all those elements, it’s no wonder locals call themselves lucky to have it in their backyard. Grab a latte and get lost on the narrow roads, gaze out at the water on the Old Port, check out the Notre-Dame Basilica and visit a museum or two while you’re there! A vacation for everyone, with endless things to do.