Montréal's Musts

All about Montréal

L'équipe de rédaction
  • Montréal

A striking union of European charm and North American attitude, Montréal seduces visitors with a harmonious pairing of the historic and the new, from exquisite architecture to fine dining. Once home to the First Nations people, this island gem on
the magnificent St. Lawrence River in time saw travellers from far and wide land on its shores before becoming a bustling port city. The French colonists were the first to arrive, followed by the English, the Scottish and the Irish. Later, myriad peoples from around the world settled the lush swaths stretching up to Mount Royal.

Today, 120 distinct ethnic communities are represented in its population of more than 3.6 million, making Montréal a veritable mosaic of cultures and traditions. The world's second largest francophone city after Paris, it merits the moniker
'international' city, a cosmopolitan centre with proud roots in the past that enthusiastically embraces the future. A world leader in such industries as aeronautics, information technology and biotechnology, the city has also made significant innovations in medicine, multimedia, the arts and urban planning. Its avant-garde spirit has not gone unnoticed: in 2006, Montréal was named a UNESCO City of Design. 

Day and night, Montréal pulses with activity. Each season, it is host to an array of events, exhibitions and gatherings
for the thousands of culture, nature and thrill seekers who come here to enjoy its diverse offerings. While Montréal's
masterful chefs continue to elevate its reputation as a gourmet destination, creative artists and artisans draw admirers
in droves to the haute couture ateliers, arts galleries and charming boutiques that line the city streets. 

Getting around the city on a day-to-day basis is hassle-free. Its streets, vast parks, underground pedestrian network, and métro system are safe and easy to navigate. The best way to get to know the city is on foot, through any one of its
many colourful and vibrant neighbourhoods which overflow with markets, boutiques, restaurants and local cafés—diverse
expressions of the inhabitants' joie de vivre. Montrealers are naturally charming and quite often multilingual.

Their spontaneity and ability to welcome visitors have propelled Montréal to its current position of international host city, where some of the world's most exciting events are held annually. When one considers the urban landscape and its inhabitants, this resulting passion seems only natural.

Montrealers are naturally charming and quite often multilingual, with a spontaneity and ability to welcome visitors that has propelled Montréal to its current position as an international host city. When one considers the urban landscape and its inhabitants, along with some of the world's most exciting annual events, this local passion seems only natural.


Ride the LGBTQ rainbow in Montréal

Safe spaces for LGBTQ folks are still vital, and that's why people from around the world continue to visit Montréal. Inclusivity and diversity are embedded in local culture. Yes, we've got an exceptional Pride Festival (each August), and
yes, we've got pulsating nightclubs. But Montréal's queer scene is nuanced and found not only in the Gay Village but
also in neighbourhoods across the city. Modish queers are found sipping local beer at Notre-Dame-Des-Quilles — a bar
with its own bowling alley or at Verdun's Palco. Cinephiles unite each autumn for the annual LGBTQ film festival in several
theeters downtown. The big idea here is that travellers — who happen to be LGBTQQIP2SAA — can pick and choose a variety of experiences, all while feeling entirely welcomed.

Love is in the air

Romantic dinners and walks in the park are only a fraction of Montréal's romance realm for couples. Quaint cobblestone
streets, cozy boutique hotels and that one-of-a-kind French-Canadian style make the city North America's romance capital, a hotbed of charm. Romantic subtleties permeate the city. At Hôtel Nelligan, the walls are adorned with poetry. In 
winter, couples can ice skate in Parc La Fontaine to the soundtrack of classical music. Heck, we even have a restaurant
called LOV. That said, the best romantic discoveries are the ones we can't plan for you. They're the unplannable moments,
when the city lights are reflected in the eyes of your sweetheart and the city feels like the setting of a romantic film. But it's not La La Land — it's Montréal.

Local Flavors

Montréal's neigbourhoods are like the members of an extended family. They each have their personality, their qualities and their tastes. You need to take the time to get to know them and appreciate them for their uniqueness. All put together, they make Montréal the eclectic and charming city that it is.

Montréal with a view

There are many beautiful views of the city from a wealth of places, but nothing beats a bird's eye view to realize its grandeur and beauty. Here our Top 3 of where to appreciate the city from above.

  1. Located at the front of the historic Mount Royal Chalet, the Kondiaronk Lookout offers a beautiful view of downtown, the river and the South Shore. It is the romantic place par excellence to admireMontréal, especially
    the summer evenings.
  2. Perched on the 46th floor of the most emblematic tower of the city center, the brand new Observatory at the Place Ville Marie summit offers a 360 ° view, and 188 meters high!
  3. At the foot of the Olympic tower, the tallest inclined tower in the world - it is 165 m high - we are dizzy just to
    raise our heads and look up, then we let ourselves be carried by its funicular glazed Which already allows to see the details of the top Olympic park as well as the east of the city. Once up, Montreal stretches out before us as far as the eye can see, the mountain, the Jacques-Cartier bridge, the river...



Things that makes Montreal unforgettable


Between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue


Saint-Laurent Boulevard, also known as "The Main" is one of the most with-it streets in Montreal. It's where you go to enjoy the rich variety and texture of city life. Take a culinary tour around the globe in its many restaurants. Delight in the creativity of its talented designers. Let yourself go into its bars and clubs. Its authentic personality and architecture are the product of over 300 years of history. From the 20th century on, newcomers to Canada chose Saint-Laurent to live and to work, and today its residents and businesses testify to its varied origins. It is a symbolic thoroughfare, marking the point where the city's Frenchspeaking, English-speaking and immigrant communities meet. No stay in Montréal is complete without a visit to the Main.



1, avenue du Casino, Montréal, QC H3C 4W7

If you're the kind of person who likes to try your luck in the most elegant surroundings, you'll love the Casino de Montréal, located on the beautiful Île Notre-Dame. Housed in the former pavilions of France and Quebec - built for Expo 67 - this temple of the game has everything to please. A jewel of urban architecture, in a renewed and cutting-edge setting, the Casino de Montréal offers one of the largest gaming varieties in North America with approximately 3,000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables The Montreal Casino is also the rendezvous for gourmets who come to enjoy culinary experiences in one of its five restaurants. There are also five bars, where you can enjoy the cocktail of your choice and a cabaret featuring burlesque, electro, humor and big names from the entertainment. Ideal for a memorable night with the love one or a couple of friends. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



At the lower end of St.Laurent blvd. / de la Commune Street T. 1 877 496-4724

This exhibition centre is one of the rare places in Montréal where exhibitions  are focused on a variety of disciplines as human sciences and arts. Above all, it incites visitors to examine the relationship between these disciplines through the exhibitions themselves or through various activities, thus enriching the perspectives of the topics raised.



Musée and historic site of Montréal, 280, rue Notre-Dame Est Montréal, Québec  H2Y 1C5

A prestigious residence from the 18th century, the Château Ramezay is Montréal’s portal to its past and the first building in Québec classified as an historic monument. The Château invites you to relive more than 500 years of history, from the pre-contact Amerindian era to the 20th century. A must-see attraction in Old Montréal, the Château exhibits its collections in a variety of ways, intermingled with multimedia portrayals of historical figures recounting, in six languages, highlights of their lives at the manor. The site includes the Governor's Garden, a typically delightful 18th century urban retreat.



Every night - Old Montréal, Montréal en Histoires. T. 514-872-3207

Loosely inspired by the history of Montreal, Cité Mémoire invites you to meet a host of characters who've witnessed the city's evolution firsthand. Poetic, dreamlike and occasionally playful, the tableaux come alive with images, words and music. Projected throughout Old Montreal, the work appears on the very walls that surround us, the ground on which we walk, the trees that frame our present. The projections presented in Cité Mémoire cover a range of milestones in Montréal’s history, well-known (or not so well-known) characters, or sometimes a local slice of life. Narrative or impressionist, touching or amusing, they express our values of coexistence, innovation, tolerance and generosity
that are the foundation of our city. A creation by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, in collaboration with Michel Marc Bouchard. For a complete Cité Mémoire experience, download Montréal en Histoires free application. Soundtrack and historical contexts available in 4 languages.



BIODOME, 4777, av. Pierre-De Coubertin, Montréal   /  JARDIN BOTANIQUE, 4101, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal  /  INSECTARIUM, 4581, rue Sherbrooke Est. Montréal  /  PLANÉTARIUM, 4801, av. Pierre-De Coubertin. Montréal  QC H1V 3J3  /  T. 514 868-3000

In Space for life you’re invited to come explore the world around you as you’ve never seen it before! Bringing together the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium, the Space for Life offers an exceptional opportunity to explore the countless facets of life and nature in an original way. It’s a living laboratory, where the infinitely small takes on enormous proportions and the infinitely large is presented on a human scale. A fascinating voyage for visitors of all ages!



Another important attraction for Montrealers, but also for tourists is the subway. Montréal is one of the few cities in Canada to have an underground transit system. Each metro station in Montreal really has its own distinctive character. This characteristic, as well as its links with the "underground city", make this network an architectural work unique in
the world. The four lines take you almost everywhere on the island of Montreal and if necessary, the bus takes care of completing the journey.



Bordered by René-Lévesque Blvd., Côte-des-Neiges Road, Mount-Royal Park and University Street

Once home to Canada's Anglophone, predominantly Scottish, upper class, this beautiful neighbourhood—named for the square mile it covered—is lined with gorgeous Victorian homes, leafy parks and trees and a plethora of architectural masterpieces which span the Medieval, Renaissance, Greek and Roman, Gothic and Germanic styles.



185, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest Montréal, QC H2X 3X5  T.  514 847-6226

A veritable 21st century institution, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is located in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles and at the site of Place des Arts. It lies in the centre of a unique cultural complex in Canada, combining both the performing and visual arts. Founded in 1964, the MAC is the first institution in Canada devoted exclusively to contemporary art. The Museum offers a varied program, including the presentation of its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions of works by artists from Québec, Canada, and abroad.



1379 -1380, rue Sherbrooke Ouest,  Montréal, Québec  T. 514-285-2000

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has one the highest attendance rates among Canadian museums. Last year, over 1,300,000 visitors enjoyed its encyclopaedic collection, unique in Canada, and its original temporary exhibition, which combine artistic discipline (fine arts, music, film, fashion, design) and feature innovative exhibition design.



690 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC H3A 1E9  T. : 514-398-7100

The McCord Museum is one of the most important historical museums in Canada. It celebrates Montréal life past and present—its people, its artisans, its communities, its metropolitan area. Through a contemporary approach, the Museum presents exciting exhibitions that appeal to people from here and elsewhere. It also offers educational and cultural activities and innovative Internet projects.



Arrondissement Plateau Mont-Royal

As soon as the first fine spring weather arrives, all kinds of people flock to the parc La Fontaine to relax in the shade of its trees or do a picnic and sunbathee, including gay men — in solo or in groups. The artificial pond allows visitors to observe a wide range of bird species throughout the summer season. In winter, the pond is transformed into a skating rink, with music. An outdoor theatre, the Théâtre de Verdure, presents events all summer long. A few steps away, the cultural bistro
Espace La Fontaine offers a menu of tapas, snacks, light meals, and healthy desserts, to be enjoyed indoors or on the patio. A table d'hote menu, local beers, and a wine list are also available. A cultural gathering place, Espace La Fontaine presents exhibitions by local artists, original shows, and entertainment.



Spanning two islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeau is where fun happens – and not only because it’s home to the Montréal Casino and La Ronde amusement park! Come here for a riverside walk, to luxuriate on the grass with a picnic, relive history at Musée Stewart, learn about nature at the Biophere, and even dance the  day away to electronic music. Best thing is, this four-season paradise is but a 20-minute metro ride from downtown Montréal. Plunge into summer in the middle of the St. Lawrence at Parc Jean-Drapeau (spanning Île-Notre-Dame and Île Ste-Hélène) when the great green expanse rocks to Piknic Électronik, music festivals like Osheaga, an Olympic pool, the Formula One race and the La Ronde amusement park. But it doesn’t slow down for winter – play in the snow with the whole family at Fête des Neiges, or just snowshoe or cross-country ski around the miles of paths while gazing at stunning panoramas of the river and the downtown skyline.


Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who created New York City's
Central Park, this park boasts a vast network of walking paths and stairs
that will lead to you a variety of wooded areas and landscapes. Magnificent
lookouts offer breathtaking views of the city and region. Lastly,
Les amis de la montagne (friends) offer numerous education, conservation
and recreational activities.



Entrée rue Saint-Urbain : 1600, rue Saint-Urbain. Entrée rue Sainte-Catherine : 175, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest. T. 514 842-2112,

Place des Arts is the largest cultural and artistic complex in Canada. Located in downtown Montreal, the "Place des Arts" has six halls including the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier which, with its 3,000 seats, is the largest multipurpose room in the country, the Maison symphonique de Montréal, Théâtre Maisonneuve, Théâtre Jean Duceppe and the Cinquieme. From large-scale shows to intimate shows, Place des Arts offers an extraordinary variety of programming. In the heart of the Quartier des spectacles, the quadrangle of Place des Arts also has rehearsal rooms, a costume workshop, restaurants, shops, administrative spaces, indoor parking and the Museum of Contemporary Art, all linked by underground ways. Its six theaters have a total of 7,800 seats, and its outdoor esplanade is the meeting place for Montreal's major festivals.



A quadrilateral bordered by Sainte-Catherine, Jeanne-Mance, Balmoral and De Maisonneuve Streets

Located in the Quartier des spectacles, Place des Festivals is a public space that covers an area of 7,500 m2. It is entirely dedicated to festivals, urban entertainment and leisure. Developed by the Montréal architecture firm Daoust Lestage, it serves as a stage for free artistic activities of all shapes and sizes throughout the year. It also features a 235-jet fountain – the biggest interactive fountain in Canada!



350 Place Royale, Montréal, Québec  T. 514 872-9150

Pointe-à-Callière is a national historic site rising above the actual remains of the city's birthplace. It takes visitors on an authentic archaeological tour from the 14th century, when Natives camped on the site, right up to the present. They'll see Native artefacts, the city's first Catholic cemetery, its first marketplace, and lots more. Cutting-edge technology and a multimedia show bring Montréal's past to life in a whole new light. The Museum's contemporary building is linked by an
underground passage to the Ancienne Douane, Montréal's first Custom House, leading through an archaeological crypt safeguarding more than six centuries of history, beneath the raised portion of Place Royale.



Since May 2017 — foir the 375th anniversary of Montreal —, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge is bath in pulsing, interactive lighting activated in real time. Thanks to intelligent programming, this first connected bridge comes alive every night. An iconic landmark during the day, the bridge comes to life at sunset, marks the new day at the stroke of midnight, and goes into sleep mode at daybreak. Activated by millions of data that make up the pulse of the city, the bridge becomes a unifying, living and lasting symbol. The bridge changes with the seasons thanks to a 365-colour calendar. Day after day, it gradually changes from an energizing spring green to a radiant summer orange, a voluptuous fall red, and finally an icy winter blue. The light subtly evokes the passage of time. Every hour on the hour, short animations visually translate Montreal’s mood. These animations are customized to the moment by traffic, weather and social media data collected during the day. Dominant themes in the media translate a specific colour to the bridge: environment is green, technology is aqua, business is yellow, sports is blue, institutions (religious, political & justice) is pink, civil society (health, education, lifestyle & leisure) is red and arts is purple. The vitality of Montrealers is constantly seen through a subtle flickering of the lights. The intensity, speed and density of the light particles varies with mentions of Montreal on social media. Make the bridge shine by using the hashtag #illuminationMTL.



The once industrial urban neighbourhood in Montréal's southwest area has transformed into one of the city's trendiest neighbourhoods, at once youth-oriented and family-friendly, a place for late-night dinner and drinks as much as it is for sun-dappled afternoon bike rides along the canal. Brick smokestacks and revamped warehouses recall the city’s industrial past in the canal district, which is fast becoming a hub for food, drink and outdoor fun. Walk, jog and bike along the sides of the Lachine Canal or kayak, canoe and electric boat on the waters of the canal itself – there are many ways for the motion-oriented to enjoy this area. Sample the creative cuisine at one of Notre-Dame Street’s plethora of super-hip upstart eateries, and find something utterly unique at one of the many artisanal food shops, antique stores, galleries
and designer boutiques. Stroll through the iconic Atwater Market to make your visit complete.



Île Sainte-Hélène, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montréal, QC  H3C 6A3. T. 514 397-2000

La Ronde offers more than 40 rides and attractions, dazzling shows, as well as entertainment. This large amusement park, located close to downtown, produces and presents L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, the annual Montréal International Fireworks Competition. La Ronde also presents its annual Halloween Fright Fest every weekend of October.



The name “the Underground City” refers to the vast network of pedestrian walkways below the city. There are 33 kilometres of connecting passageways beneath downtown, with the métro (subway), commuter trains and buses also converging here. The passageways serve a more leisurely purpose as it provides access to 40 entertainment venues and attractions. The concept began in 1962 with the lower level shopping mall in Place Ville Marie. With the coming of Expo 67, Montréal’s dream of a métro finally became reality. The underground went through many stages of development. One of the more spectacular periods was the raising of Christ Church Cathedral on piles, in order to lay the foundations for a shopping centre underneath.



As historic and grand as it is, Old Montréal teems with contemporary life among antique beauty, stunning architecture and epic views. The bustling main boulevards and quietly charming cobblestone side streets meet at the intersection between times old and new, modern boutiques and gourmet bistros tucked in buildings nearly four centuries old. Explore the cathedrals, chateaus and cobblestone streets for a remarkable look at Montréal’s noble history from the time of colonial New France, then relax and people-watch in a setting backed by the stunning vistas of the St. Lawrence. Whether it’s your first visit or tenth return, Old Montréal’s showstoppers are a definite must. While Old Montréal’s sidestreets and back lanes hold enough secrets best revealed over repeat visits, these epic gems of the Vieux-quartier are the city’s pride and joy.



Quay Jacques-Cartier, Montréal

Unique destination in Montréal stretching along the St. Lawrence River for more than 2.5 km (1.5 mi.) and offering varied activities: festivals, concerts, family activities, cruises and excursions, restaurants with terraces, an urban beach, Montréal Science Centre and superb movies at the IMAX TELUS theatre.


Montréal's Big Gay Heart

The Village’s come-one, come-all spirit marks this rainbow-hued quarter as a vital part of the city’s urban landscape. Both an LGBTQ community gathering point and a living, breathing neighbourhood, the Village is far more than one of Montréal’s liveliest party hubs – although, nowhere else quite gets down in the quite same way. Openness 24/7. Beaudry metro station with its rainbow pillars stands proudly at the geographic heart of Montréal’s gay village, the biggest of its kind in North America. Bustling Sainte-Catherine Street running east to west acts as the gaybourhood’s main drag, stacked with fine eateries, boutiques, and a multitude of B&B options housed in uniquely Montréalaise architecture. Welcoming nightclubs that stay packed long into the night personify Montréal’s joie de vivre and the anything goes scene awaits. The fun runs 24/7, making Le Village one of Montréal’s most vibrant, open, and inclusive quarters both day and night. Within the Village’s borders await the full gamut of urban necessities. Restaurants, shopping, Victorian-era apartment buildings
and eye-popping public art installations guarantee an unforgettable wander. And did we mention flirty? The balls of
the Montréal Village have become iconic. Designed by internationally-renowned landscape architect Claude Cormier,
the annual urban canopy has traditionally been a single colour that denotes queerness and nonconformity: pink. Since last year, however, an 18-tone sequence — which references the rainbow flag — spans the entire length of the pedestrian zone, comprising of more than 180,000 resin balls.


Two urban beaches

Think you can’t go to the beach if you’re in the city? Think again! Even a densely-populated metropolis like Montréal harbours two fine sand beaches.

The Clock Pier Beach

T. 1 80 -771-7678 / 1 800 971-7678 

The Clock Tower Beach is located just a few yards away from Old Montreal, this urban beach in Montreal’s Old Port offers ideal vacations’ athmosphere with it’s many chairs, umbrellas and it’s fine sand and a shower for the lack of waves… For a drink between friends or for some quick food there is a bar to accomodate sun bathers. Layed out at the foot of the Clock Tower by internationally recognized landscape architect Claude Cormier (yep, the suspended Balls in the gay village are his creation also), this beach is the best there is between city and leisure and with a relaxed environment.

Jean-Drapeau Park's Beach

Île Notre-Dame T. 514 872-6120 

Not too far from the previous urban beach, this one is located at Jean-Drapeau Park, it also has fine sand and a lake to swim in or just relaxe and sun bathe. If you’d like, you can rent a canoe, a kayak or pedalboat or can play volleyball with a bunch of friends.