Have a look at our article “Things to Do in Montreal this Summer 2019” for more updated ideas and things to do for the summer season.
Things to Do in Montreal During Winter
The snow has fallen, the mittens are out, and you’re wondering what you’re gonna do without Montreal’s amazing terraces until May. It’s okay, we’ve got you! Here are 15 things to do in Montreal that will fill that sun shaped void in your life, and spice up your winter just the right amount.
Let’s start with exploring other guides you might be interested in. If you’re wondering what to do on a fun date during the cold Montreal winter, check out our article Top 12 Romantic Things to do in Montreal. If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit and need suggestions for what to do, check out Top 16 Holiday and Christmas Activities in Montreal. We can also offer some recommendations on where to eat in our snowy city, so have a look at 23 Delicious & New Places to Eat in Montreal 2019.
15. Check out the city’s best new bars and restaurants
This new izakaya in the heart of Old Montreal gives traditional Japanese elegance a playful twist: the decor, and some of the menu, is inspired by the Crazy 88 scene in Kill Bill. While you’re there enjoying the easily shareable izakaya dishes, make sure to take a look around and notice all the cinematic details in your surroundings. Then, the cocktail list is definitely worth exploring, too.
417 Rue Saint Nicolas
Set in an art deco paradise with a metal palm tree at the center that pulls the scene together, this Japanese, Peruvian fusion restaurant is making waves. The name, Tiradito, is a Peruvian dish of raw fish that’s very similar to sashimi; and it’s offered on their menu. It’s also a great stop for some fresh and creative cocktails. If you’re taking a date, opt for the sake punch for two!
1076 Rue de Bleury
In the heart of downtown, Gokudo is a hidden Japanese bar that’s chic with a bit of novelty thrown in for good measure. The back section of the bar evokes a 50s or 60s Japanese underworld. Their drink menu mainly features sake and imported Japanese whiskey, and their well-balanced cocktails are carefully executed for that optimal taste.
630 Rue Cathcart
Clandestino & Boho:
Head to Old Montreal for a night out at the city’s hippest bars. Boho is Miami-style bar that’ll make you think you’ve stepped into a beach house. Think pink glossy floors, tropical plants, and some of the coolest fruity cocktails within miles–some even come with a Popsicle! Sharing the same entrance and owners is Clandestino–but the vibe is completely different. Clandestino is more refined and is set is a darker, cavernous space with mismatched, tufted couches. They offer over 100 different kinds of tequila and even have 15 varieties of salt to pair it with!
436 St Francois Xavier St
14. Take an Old Montreal Food Tour
It’s no secret that Old Montreal is a gem to be discovered. The Old Port, the European architecture, the cobblestone streets, etc etc… but what is kind of new is its foodie scene. With more and more people moving to the area, remarkable food vendors have been opening up and are well-worth discovering. The Old Montreal Food Tour takes you on a journey to many of them, highlighting Quebec culture and history as it does. What better way to enjoy the magic of winter than warm up and eat food, and then pop back out to discover the winter land for just a little bit, and then warm up with even more food!? The tour even features some warm soup broth during these cold months.
–> Check out the Old Montreal Food Tour
13. Hit up the best ramen restaurants in town
There’s nothing quite like pairing a warm bowl of soup with a cold winter’s day. Together, head to one of Montreal’s best ramen eateries for a romantic night of rich delicacies.
This new ramen eatery in the Mile End neighbourhood serves up their homemade noodles in a speedy fashion. In a warm setting that’s dotted with plants and orchids, patrons can sip on their Tonkostu broth which is the perfect balance of thick, fatty and creamy. Head to The Main for some of the best noodles in town!
5207 St Laurent Blvd
You’ll first be greeted by warm “welcome!” from the staff as you walk in. Yokato is a small ramen eatery known for its delicious broth called Tonkotsu, made by boiling pork bones for approximately 12 hours. Top off your soup with their very own homemade ice cream!
4185 Rue Drolet
This tiny 10 seat Japanese restaurant serves up some grand meals. Their specialty is takoyaki which are round balls usually made up of octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion. You can see patrons enjoying the restaurant’s daily specials at the window bar. Though they don’t have ramen on the menu, you can savour their udon noodle and soba soups which often grace the alternating menu.
77 Rachel St W
The Montreal Craft Beer Tour is the perfect afternoon activity! Montreal is no exception to the current craft beer boom and can be easily discovered during winter time.Whether it’s as a gift to a loved one, a way to show an out-of-towner Montreal’s best brewpubs, or even a way to spend some quality time with the beer lovers you love so dearly, it’s Latin Quarter brewpub itinerary will let you savour beer, observe the cheer, and learn more about Montreal. Have a look here: montrealcraftbeertours.com
11. Winter time for the whole fam jam!
Whether they’re your own, or family in from out of town, kids and toddlers are sure to make you re-live that mystical winter magic and warm up your heart. Sledding down the Mont-Royal, spending the day at the Biodôme, Botanical Gardens, sipping a hot chocolate… these are all classic wintertime activities for every generation. Take a look at our article for more things to do with kids in Montreal.
10. Rent a Cabin in Parc National Du Mont Tremblant
Mont-Tremblant is an ever-popular destination for winter-lovers who like to ski and participate in all kinds of outdoor activities. This winter activity, however, is perfect for both the outdoorsy and those who like to curl up at home with a good book–why not rent a cabin! There’s also the option of going dog sledding! That’s right, dash through the snow with some Siberian huskies and experience the winter season to its fullest. Head to Mont-Tremblant with a significant other or with a few pals and take in the pristine views in this snowy paradise. For more information, visit their website.
9. Warm up at the McCord Museum
The McCord Museum is at the heart of the city, and aims to bring visitors closer to the roots of the land which they occupy. Starting from February 8 until May 5, 2019 the museum will have an exhibition of the works of renowned Indigenous artist Kent Monkman. Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience follows Monkman’s alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testicle on a time-bending quest to decolonize Canada’s history. While at McCord you can also check out the museum’s permanent exhibition Wearing our Identity: The First Peoples Collection to discover the relationship between clothing and all aspects of Indigenous life, culture, communication and identity. For more information, visit their website here.
8. Light up your night at Luminotherapie
Think of Luminotherapie as the 21 Balancoires of the winter months. Set up in Place des Arts every year, Luminotherapie is an interactive art installation bringing light, and a bit of inspiration, into the darkest season of the year. The contest runs annually, providing visitors a whole new experience each winter. The next iteration runs from November 28, 2019 to January 26, 2020.
7. Even more museums!
A cold winter’s day in Montreal can hardly be better spent than wandering around the warm halls of one of the city’s top art galleries. Stay warm as you get inspired at theMontreal Museum of Fine Arts, which is home to some of the most spectacular exhibitions featuring innovative art from today’s creative minds, as well as works from masters of the past. On now, is the exhibition Alexander Calder Radical Inventor, showcasing his abstract art “that made sculpture move.” Following it, from March 2nd, 2019, is Thierry Mugler Couturissime, which showcases the magic of costuming and haute couture. Learn more about the museum here.
1380 Sherbrooke Street O
6. Of course, Igloofest!
Over the years, Igloofest has become a world famous electronic music event. Montrealers will brave the absolute coldest weather, suit up in ski jackets, and hit this outdoor dance floor. Igloofest brings in some of the biggest names in the industry, so I guess we can’t blame these crazy kids. It’s almost like an extreme sport, and people take great pride in their ability to bust a move in -20 degree weather. You can join in on the fun from January 12th to February 2nd 2019, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Take a look at this years lineup here.
5. Montreal en Lumière Festival
Montreal en Lumière, responsible for the famous annual Nuit Blanche, is an all-time winter favourite. In its mission to help Montrealers “take back winter,” the festival offers music performances, gastronomic events, and art to boot. The city won’t sleep on Saturday, March 2 when pockets of activities, events, and exhibits will take over the town for Nuit Blanche. The whole festival, however runs from Feburary 21 to March 3, 2019. For more information, click here.
4. Check out the underground city network
Nothing beats winter like a little retail therapy, especially if you don’t even have to go outside to hit the shops. You might need guide for your underground explorations, and we’re here for you. The city’s network of tunnels is so big, you’ll even find a full skating rink in a mall downtown. Speaking of…
3. Go Skating!
One great thing about winter is the skating rink cuteness factor that’s suddenly available to Montrealers. A hilarious (or graceful) date, a family outing, or maybe a test of your friendships, a little skating is good for everyone. This website will be your best friend on your skating quest. It’s got all of Montreal’s skating rink’s details, such as location and opening hours.
Relaxing in the open air by the water sounds like it would only be possible in summer, but Bota Bota is there for you to get rid of those winter blues in a pinch. This spa on the water comes with all of the amenities from a stress-releiving water circuit to more specialized treatments, so you can get exactly the rejuvenation you need. Get pampered, get hot tubbed, get a massage, or some water therapy, all with a backdrop of beautiful views of Old Montreal from the water. Learn more about their hours and services here.
1. Warm up with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa
Coffee culture is big in Montreal, so there’s always a new cafe waiting to be discovered around every corner. If you’re in Little Italy, love eclectic decor, and crave the coziness of your friend’s living room (and some nachos) – try Le Cagibi. Meanwhile, Cafe Myriade has a couple locations both downtown and in the Plateau, bringing its reliably good coffee to you when you need it most. For even more ideas of sweet spots to warm up check out our ultimate guide to the best Montreal cafes.