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Your guide to Montreal
Welcome to Montreal
Montreal is the largest French-speaking city in the world next to Paris, and while the Old Montreal district’s cobblestone streets, cathedrals, and lofty architecture have an unmistakably European vibe, Quebec’s most populous metropolis contains a spirit and attitude that is distinctly its own. The island city in the St. Lawrence River is a trend-setting hub of design, music, beer, and cuisine in a globally influenced landscape.
At the north end of the city, the Plateau Mont-Royal and Mile End areas draw crowds to concert halls, cocktail bars, and bakeries. Public parks attract locals and visitors alike under such singular landmarks as the inclined tower in the Olympic Park and the Biosphere dome over the environmental museum in Parc Jean-Drapeau. Whether you’re here for Montreal’s history, culture, community, or scenery, it’s easy to fall in love with this international destination.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Montreal
It’s no secret that Montreal is at its absolute finest in the summer. Winters can be chilly and long, and as soon as the temperatures start to warm up, the city explodes with activity. All summer long, Montreal plays host to a variety of public festivals and celebrations, from the famous Montreal Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs comedy festival to fireworks, outdoor movies, and neighbourhood parties. During the warmer months, Montreal is also about parks and patios, or terrasses as the locals call them, as well as outdoor cafes, bars, and restaurants. Come winter, the temperatures can get low and the snowbanks high, but there’s still lots to do — locals will say this is the time to fully appreciate an authentic Montreal experience. And no matter the season, Montreal is a short drive away from outdoor activities in some of Canada’s most incredible wilderness areas, with hiking and camping in summer, and snowshoeing and skiing in winter.
Top things to do in Montreal
Old Montreal and Old Port Montreal
Montreal’s historic port area is an impressive journey back to the city’s fur trading origins in the early 17th century, complete with cobblestone streets, public squares, markets, and architectural gems like the famous Notre-Dame Basilica. Of course, there have been a few updates in the last few hundred years, and Old Montreal is also known for trendy restaurants, contemporary art, and even an old ferry boat that has been converted into a spa.
In Montreal, “do like the locals” means finding a perfect piece of grass to picnic on or a shaded area under a tree to relax. Montreal’s crown jewel is Parc Mont-Royal, which features kilometres of walking trails, recreation areas, and a fantastic view of the city. Other classic green spaces include Parc Laurier, Parc La Fontaine, the Lachine Canal, and Parc Jean-Drapeau on Saint Helen’s Island.
Go just a few metro stops from downtown and you’re in the quirky and eclectic Mile End neighbourhood. It’s ground zero for Montreal’s artists, musicians, artisans, and a global array of cultures. Perfect for walking, this area is packed with unique boutiques and a range of great eateries including two of Montreal’s most famous bagel shops.