26+ Amazing Things to Do in Old Montreal for 2018
So you want to time travel in Montreal… Take a look at our list below for suggestions on what to do while you visit Old Montreal.
So you want to time travel in Montreal… Take a look at our list below for suggestions on what to do while you visit Old Montreal.
It’s easy to think Old Montreal is all about the past… cobblestone everywhere, narrow streets, old buildings and layers of history. They all work together to transport you in time to Montreal’s European roots, but, today’s artists and designers have taken this historic canvas and turned it into a playground for the modern imagination. Full of delicious restaurants, museums and so much more – take a look at our list below for suggestions on what to do while you visit Old Montreal.
If you’re really hungry check out these 17 Delicious Old Montreal Restaurants You Must Try 2018 or choose from some of our favourites below
Mélisse is the perfect spot to dine at any time of day, what started as a brunch spot has now opened its doors for dinner, too. A light airy atmosphere, minimalist decor, and a breezy terrace make it an oasis in the heart of the city. The food is fresh, simple and well thought out so stop by for a coffee and croissant, or a full delicious meal, whenever you need a rest. At this Old Montreal stop, you can feel new again.
Restaurant Hà has opened up its second location to serve up traditional Vietnamese food in Old Montreal, but one big thing is different this time: downstairs is their new speakeasy, Nhau Bar. The bar serves up exquisite cocktails in unique dishware (a ceramic conch shell makes a surprisingly great glass) and will make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive underground club halfway around the globe.
The chef at Toqué takes fresh local ingredients, and turns them into culinary works of art. With each decadently plated course, this restaurant is at the top of the food game and was voted Best Restaurant by Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants in 2016. Montreal’s love affair with Toqué is not just a fling, it has been a staple of the local culinary landscape since 1993. If you’re looking for the best refined dining experience, Toqué is not to be missed.
The Darling Foundry is a visual arts center showcasing, promoting, and supporting all things contemporary art. A trip there is an encounter with fresh creations from some of today’s most creative minds. And now, the center has its own restaurant, Le Serpent. Alongside crazy high ceilings, marble tables and lights lining the walls the restaurant dishes out Italian classics made with the same innovative outlook.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, especially when it comes to restaurants, take a food tour and you don’t have to decide!
The Old Montreal Food Tour is the best way to experience, taste, and learn about Old Montreal. The tour stops at 6 different tasting locations, four of which are beautiful Old Montreal restaurants and one stop invites you to try their local craft beer. Between the food tastings, your knowledgeable guide takes you to famous Montreal landmarks and dives into the history of the area. Spend time learning about Old Montreal while tickling your tastebuds with the Old Montreal Food Tour.
Montreal is known as a city full of artists. Mingle with them, and discover works from around the world, at these galleries that just might make you fall in love.
On now until August 12, the Phi Centre‘s new exhibition Particles of Existence combines new media and virtual reality to show the universe on a non-human scale. The art venue also regularly hosts concerts, film screenings and other events. The art takes on so many forms, there’s always something new to discover. You can even dance the night away, express yourself, and have your imagination expanded all at the same time.
Take in some of the most innovative contemporary art from around the world at DHC/ART. Up front, here’s one big perk: they always keep their exhibitions completely free. Starting on April 20 the gallery will be open for Bharti Kher’s Points de départ, points qui lient. In using the bindi throughout her work, she explores questions of femininity, culture and its appropriation, as well as many other pressing contemporary issues. See her art for yourself – it will open your eyes.
In partnership with The Darling Foundry (home of the delicious Le Serpent) artist Gilbert Boyer has hidden short phrases, stamped on metal rings, on lamp posts around the park Faubourg des Récollets, making them almost indistinguishable from the urban fabric. Hidden in plain sight and reserved for only the most attentive passers-by, take a look this summer and see if you can find his works giving you permission to rest, or planning a fictional rendez-vous.
What is a visit to Old Montreal, a city full of religious history, without stopping by one of its majestic churches? Today’s artists have even given them an all new cultural significance…
Have you ever heard Leonard Cohen’s song Suzanne? When Cohen sings “And the sun pours down like honey/On our lady of the harbour,” he’s talking about the Montreal sun shining down on Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours chapel’s rooftop statue, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. You can come get a firsthand experience of Suzanne’s shenanigans here as the gorgeous Chapel interior is open to visitors, and then climb the stairs to the top of the tower for an amazing view and to pretend that you, too, are a lady of the harbour.
Well revered as one of the most magnificent and famous churches in Old Montreal, the Notre Dame Basilica, built in 1656, it is the city’s oldest Catholic church. Now, playing throughout 2018, Aura makes the church even more stunning. Projecting lights throughout the building using state of the art technology, the light show highlights the spectacular architecture in ways you’ve never seen it before and takes the audience on a stunning multimedia journey.
No need to crane your neck to look at the beautiful architecture of Old Montreal, settle in on one of these gorgeous terraces and and let the sights (and smells and tastes) wash over you.
Located on the 4th floor above Place Jacques-Cartier, Perché is an urban oasis in the heart of Old Montreal. It serves fresh and bright California-inspired food, perfect for a summer day, or is a great spot to grab some drinks until 11pm. Nestle up with some good company on this beautiful terrace to enjoy the chill tropical vibes and beautiful views of this historic city.
At Terrasse Nelligan, on the roof of the Nelligan Hotel, enjoy food and drink while eye-to-eye with the area’s most iconic architecture, including a view of the breathtaking Notre Dame Basilica. If that wasn’t enough, turn around and you can see the city’s historic port on the St. Lawrence river and the iconic Habitat 67 apartments. All this is just 5 floors above street level and is served with delicious summery dishes, sangria and much more.
Terrasses Bonsecours has both a bistro and a nightclub. The bistro serves tapas and drinks, pulling a younger crowd that is ready to laugh and celebrate at the beautiful waterfront location. Aside from views and food, what Bonsecours really offers is a fun and lively atmosphere for a great night out, but get ready to deal with crowds as it’s very popular during the summer, for good reason.
We know you’re going to need a foot rub after all that walking.
Bota Bota is a ferry-turned-spa and the perfect place to unwind with its Old Montreal backdrop and peaceful setting on the water. Its five decks have every luxurious treatment you could want including: 2 saunas, a eucalyptus steam bath, gardens, outdoor whirlpool baths, massage stations, a relaxation area, and even a restaurant… all of them accompanied by gorgeous waterfront views!
Perk up with a fresh cup of coffee and rest your weary legs at these darling café spots, nestled into the beautiful architecture of the area.
Tommy blends modern style with historic architecture in their bright and elegant two-tier interior. They’re stylish, but they also make one of the best coffees in the city… and you can bite into their warm and gooey grilled cheese or avocado toast with an egg if you need more than a drink for breakfast. Ideal as a study spot, for a quick stop or a full meal, there’s no wonder Tommy is a local Old Montreal favourite.
Reviewed by foodies nationwide, Olive et gourmando is one of the best lunch places in town. As a boutique cafe and bakery, they serve delicious sandwiches, fresh salads and scrumptious baked goods such as croissants and brownies, and they do it well. It’s so popular among locals and visitors alike that you might just have to wait in line, but in the cozy boutique atmosphere you’ll hardly notice the time.
Visiting galleries, restaurants and churches all day can become a bit tiresome for the young and young at heart, but these recommendations will give your sightseeing a much needed sense of adventure.
For more kid-friendly activities around the city, here’s 17+ Amazing Things to do in Montreal with Kids year round.
What’s the definition of adventure? Perhaps, an aerial ropes course on a life-size pirate ship! That’s why Voiles en Voiles is extreme fun for the whole family, and promises to leave everyone happily exhausted from excitement. The courses vary from 2 feet high (for tiny tots) to 35 feet high (for big kids like us). Climbing and inflatable games are also part of this ambitious playground where you can live your childhood dreams of flying and being a pirate, all at once. For those in need of even more of a rush, check out the neighbouring Tyrolienne Zip Line!
Travel the St. Lawrence in style with these eco friendly pedal boats from Écorécréo. You can get away from the buzz of the city and get some exercise too (or just float and let your parents do all the work). Whether you’re going with family, friends or find some romance you’ll be sure to spend some quality time with loved ones once you’re out on the water.
In a location full of history, it’s no surprise there’s lots to learn! You can also choose from these 11 Montreal Museums to Visit while exploring the rest of the city.
The Montreal Science Centre is another exciting family-friendly adventure. Starting on May 10, at DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition you can immerse yourself in fictional worlds and learn about how they were created. True to the museum’s focus on experiential learning, you’ll be able to explore various virtual reality and animation technologies to change how characters feel and even make your own short movie. Also be sure to check out Tiny Giants 3D on their IMAX® screen.
It’s a museum about Montreal‘s history and archeology, but Pointe à Calières is far from boring. They’ve got a wide range of permanent exhibitions: one about the beginnings of Montreal, one about local pirates (perfect for kids), a multimedia show, a hands on archeological adventure – and so much more to discover! This summer and fall you can even travel to Ancient Egypt with their temporary Queens of Egypt exhibition.
Full of designer boutiques, even hitting the mall can be a cultural and artistic event here in Old Montreal.
Rooney, a clothing and accessory boutique, seeks to provide its patrons with the best of the latest trends, from both well known and independent up-and-coming designers. That means a more intimate shopping experience: the items you take home aren’t just another consumer good, they’re a quality product with a story. Come shop here worry-free, Rooney’s collection promises to be right on fashion’s cutting edge.
This high end men’s clothing store could actually double as an art gallery. That’s because the collections you’ll find at Michel Brisson are so meticulously chosen that just perusing through the items transports you into the minds and worlds of some of the best international designers.
Denis Gagnon clothing is an architectural marvel in itself. His designs are at the forefront of fashion, stemming not from trends but from his imagination. Taking a precise and delicate approach to leather, famously Gagnon’s favourite material, the clothes may not be in the average shopper’s price range. They are instead works of art, hanging on racks in the minimalist boutique (along with the clothes of a few other designers) the way paintings hang on the walls of a gallery.
There are plenty of dépanneurs (convenience stores) all around Montreal, but this one’s unique. Le Petit Dep is a charming little boutique full of local goods. You can get their homemade salads, sandwiches and soups, bring home a jar of local syrups, honeys, oils and more, snack on quality local cookies, chocolates, and pastries, cool off with an ice cream from Les Givrées, and have a coffee or beer from a local microbrewery. There’s even more to discover, but you’ll have to check out the store to explore the rest!
The views never stop in this beautiful area, but we’re sure you wont want to miss these favourite photo opportunities.
Not quite Big Ben, but its clock mechanism is an exact replica of the famous tower, so its not not Big Ben… Though we might not still set our watches to its ultra precise mechanism, Montreal’s Clock Tower is a landmark worth taking the time to see. You can even climb its 192 steps to look out over the harbour, or make your way to Clock Tower Beach to soak in the sun’s rays, and (unlike the clock) lose track of time for a moment.
Designed for Expo 67, Habitat 67 is an architectural marvel. Originally designed to introduce the outdoor space and multilevel environments that come with suburban homes to affordable urban housing, it is made of 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms. While the demand to live in the stunning property drove prices up, taking in its weirdness, scale, and vision of the future are all free from the banks of Old Port.
As incredible as Old Montreal is, the rest of the city is also vibrant, buzzing with life and full of amazing things to discover… check out our other neighbourhood guides for the Plateau, Mile End, Mile Ex and Little Italy to continue your Montreal adventure!