Visit Montréal – Old Town
The most popular place to see when you visit Montréal is the Old Town. Place d’Armes is a great spot to start a walking tour of the Old Town. On the square is Notre-Dame Basilica and the statue of Sieur de Masionneuve, the founder of Montréal. Next to Notre-Dame is the Sulpician Seminary. Around the corner from the Sulpician Seminary is the Centaur Theatre. At the other end of the square from Notre-Dame is Canada’s first bank – the Bank of Montréal.
From Pace d’Armes wander down Rue Saint-Jacques past the business district. Then walk down Sainte Helene and Recollets Streets to view the 1870s architecture. Next visit the obelisk by the St Lawrence River at the Old Port. The Museum of Archaeology and History is located here.
Visit Montréal – Old Port
In the Old Port, try the Amphi-Bus and see the Montréal Science Center. Walk north along the seafront on Rue de la Commune or wander past the interesting buildings and side streets on Rue Saint-Paul. Back on Rue Notre-Dame a couple blocks north of the basilica, brings you to the Court Houses, Nelson’s Column, Place Jacques Cartier and City Hall.
Then finish off your walking tour by returning to the river and Bonsecours Market, known for its high end shops. You can walk out on the quay to visit the Clock Tower. At the outer edge of the Old Port is Habitat 67, which is a housing project built for Expo 67.
If you prefer an organized walking tour, try the Walking Tour of Old Montréal.
Visit Montréal – Olympic Stadium
At the Oympic Stadium, ride the glass elevator to the top of the Big O and spend time in Olympic Park. Take a tour such as the Montréal Tower Observatory Admission. The Olympic Stadium is famous for its financial and structural problems, but has attained great popularity with tourists. It includes the Montréal Biodome. On a visit to Olympic Stadium you will also find an insectarium, the Montréal Botanical Gardens and a planetarium.
Visit Montréal – Mount Royal
Mount Royal is a hill top park of more than 300 acres. Mount Royal was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park in New York. Jacques Cartier chose the name Mount Royal in 1535 and there is a plaque honoring him at the lookout. Overlooking the park is St. Joseph’s Oratory where you can view the heart of Brother Andre, which is kept in a jar.
Visit Montréal – Underground City
The Montreal Underground City has more than 20 miles (30 km) of pathways under the city. The Underground City is located roughly between Peel and Place-des-Arts metro stations on the Green Line and between Lucien-L’Allier and Place-d’Armes stations on the Orange Line.
Visit Montréal – Hotels
St Lawrence River Islands
Cross the Jacques-Cartier Bridge to St Helen’s Island and Notre Dame Island. On St Helen’s Island visit La Ronde Amusement Park, which is run by Six Flags. The Montréal Biosphere is also on this island. The Montreal Biosphere is an environment museum built for the 1967 World’s Fair. Don’t confuse it with the Biodome at Olympic Park.
On Notre Dame Island spend some time at Parc Jean-Drapeau. You can also cruise past the St Lawrence River Islands on a Montréal Historic Discoverers Cruise.
Visit Montréal – More Sights
- Little Italy; Chinatown – begins a few blocks north of Place d’Armes.
- Mary Queen of the World Cathedral
- Montréal Museum of Fine Arts – see some of Napoleon’s clothing.
- Atwater Market and Jean-Talon Market
- Rialto Theatre
- For bikers, try the Montréal Half-Day Bike Tour or use the Bixi Public Bikes. Pedal the Gouin or Lachine Canal Bike Paths.
Savor the Tastes of Montréal
- Smoked meat – try Schwartz’s Montréal Hebrew Delicatessen.
- Poutine – french fries, cheese curds and gravy.
- Maple syrup
- Charcuterie — a selection of pâté, sausages and other cured meats.
- Pouding chômeur – maple pancake pudding.
- Flavors of Old Montreal Waling Tour
- Montréal Dinner Cruise
Things to See and Do near Montréal
Montréal weather is a northern continental climate. In summer you can expect average highs of 80 F (25 C) and lows around 60 F (16 C). In the winter months average highs are below freezing. Extremely cold temperatures of -30 are possible in the winter.
Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, but is slightly higher from July through September. Fall colors make late August the best time to visit Montréal.
Get to Montréal
Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is the way to get to Montréal. The airport is also known as Dorval. It’s the headquarters for Air Canada. A cab ride between the airport and downtown will usually take less than a half hour. You can also take the #747 bus and buy an inexpensive day pass. The subway (metro) and buses in Montréal are operated by Société de transport de Montréal (STM).
The metro has 4 lines and provides access to most tourist attractions in the city. There is also a regional rail system. Via Rail connects passengers with Québec and Toronto.
Visit Montréal – Background
The city of Montréal was founded in 1642. It is in the province of Québec, which is different than the city of Québec. Montréal is named after the Mount Royal hills. About 4 million people live in Montréal. French is the official language. Less than 20% of the people in Montréal speak English. The St Lawrence River provides freighter access to the Great Lakes. Cruise ship get to the city from the Atlantic. Montréal hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1976 and the World Fair in 1967 (Expo 67).