The Best Things to Do in Montreal
Collected by John Newton , AFAR Contributor
Montréal has been described as the cultural capital of Canada, and while Toronto may disagree, a strong argument can be made on behalf of Québec's largest city. Its mix of anglophone and francophone cultures—as well as the influence of First Nations and other communities—makes its unique, and fascinating. From landmarks that date from the days of New France to the city's contemporary art scene, here's a guide to some of Montréal's highlights.
Place Jacques-Cartier, Montréal, QC H2Y, Canada
Forget the hagglers and the steep prices: Place Jacques-Cartier really is the epicenter of Old Montreal. It was the gateway to the Old Port and to Chinatown—and to where it all began, back in 1723. The square is named in honor of Jacques...
1260 Chemin Remembrance, Montréal, QC H3H 1A2, Canada
Few places in Montreal can boast the peace and quiet of Mont Royal. Where else can locals hang out with beavers, foxes, raccoons, and squirrels, all while breathing the fresh mountain air and admiring the sun's reflection on the lake? Indeed, Mont...
4141 Avenue Pierre-De Coubertin, Montréal, QC H1V 3N7, Canada
Along with the buildings constructed for Expo 67, the structures built for the 1976 Olympic Games give Montréal's cityscape a decidedly contemporary flair. The swoop of the tower of the Olympic Park (Parc Olympique), which leans at a mind-boggling...
859 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3A 0C4, Canada
“Located on the campus of McGill University, the quirky Redpath presents three floors of dinosaurs, mummies, letters from Charles Darwin, and totem poles frozen in time. It is one of Canada’s oldest museums, dating to 1882,” says...
1085 Rue de la Cathédrale, Montréal, QC H3B 2V3, Canada
If you have visited Rome, Montréal's cathedral (Basilique-Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde et Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur) may look familiar. It's a reproduction, on a smaller scale, of St. Peter's Basilica. In a city where relations between...
Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X, Canada
In the late 18th century, Montréal had outgrown its walls and among the first neighborhoods to be developed was the Plateau Mont-Royal. It is still a lovely residential area, and also has busier commercial streets lined with small shops and...
1920 Rue Baile, Montréal, QC H3H 2S6, Canada
A legendary figure in the world of architecture, Phyllis Lambert made one of her earliest contributions to the field when she convinced her father, Samuel Bronfman, to hire Mies van der Rohe to design New York's Seagram Building. She went on to...
185 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H2X 3X5, Canada
When it opened in 1964, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) was a true pioneer, the first institution in Canada devoted exclusively to contemporary art. It has been in its current home on the Place des Arts, along with the city’s...
Vieux Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, Montréal, QC H2Y, Canada
Sitting right next door to the Basilica of Notre-Dame in the heart of historic Montréal, St-Sulpice Seminary is the second-oldest building on the island. (The oldest is the 1671 LeBer-LeMoyne House, roughly six miles from the center of the...
280 Rue Notre-Dame Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1C5, Canada
In the heart of Old Montréal, off the Place Jacques-Cartier and across the street from the city hall, the Château Ramezay offers a chance to travel through some 500 years of Montréal's history, from even before the arrival of the earliest French...
2929 Avenue Jeanne-d'Arc, Montréal, QC H1W 3W2, Canada
The Château Dufresne might not be high on most visitors' lists of sights to see in Montréal, but as it is just across the street from both the city's botanical garden and the Olympic Stadium, you may want to drop in if you are in the...
350 Place Royale, Montréal, QC H2Y 3Y5, Canada
Montreal’s museum of archeology and history is located on the very spot where the city was founded in 1642. Built on an actual archeological site, as visitors can attest while exploring the crypts in its lower levels where objects from the 17th,...
458 Rue Notre-Dame Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1C8, Canada
Though Sir George-Étienne Cartier’s name may not be familiar to many outside of Canada, he played a pivotal role in uniting Upper and Lower Canada in 1867. A prominent figure in Québec politics before Confederation, his support...
55 Île Sainte Marguerite, Boucherville, QC J4B 5J6, Canada
If you aren't going to add a visit to some of the more rural parts of Québec before or after your time in Montréal, it's possible to get a small taste of the province's wild side at the Îles-de-Boucherville, a small group of...
1050 Boulevard David-Bouchard N, Granby, QC J2H 0Y6, Canada
The Eastern Townships, to the east of Montréal, were first settled in the years after the American Revolutionary War, when land grants were issued for displaced Loyalists. A key city in the area, though, is perhaps best known for residents...
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