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13 Best Places to Visit in Montreal

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the endless options of places to visit in Montreal? With so many cultural hotspots and historic sites, it can be hard to decide where to start. We've put together a list of the best places and things to do in Montreal that will make your trip memorable. Our list will help you make the most of your time in this lively city. It has everything from famous landmarks to hidden gems.

Aerial view of Jean-Drapeau Park, St. Lawrence River and Montreal city on a clear fall day

Our team of travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations helps travellers plan their trips to Canada. Some of our most popular itineraries include time in Montreal.

This guide lists important details like hours of operation, fees, and more. So, whether it's your first time or you've been before, you'll find something new and interesting. Let's dive in and discover Montreal's best attractions.

1. Parc Jean-Drapeau

Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau is a must-see destination for visitors. Spanning over 300 hectares, the park offers a variety of landscapes, including gardens, beaches, and islands. Take a stroll along the scenic Lachine Canal or explore the park's many gardens, including the Floralies Gardens. The park also offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as cycling, hiking, and swimming, making it the perfect spot for an active day out.

The park is also home to many cultural attractions, such as the Biosphere and the Stewart Museum, which offer a glimpse into the city's history and heritage. With operating hours from 6 AM to 10 PM, Parc Jean-Drapeau is accessible by public transport and perfect for visitors to enjoy during the spring or summer when the gardens and trees are in full bloom. Visitors can spend an entire day exploring the park's many offerings.

Close up of the circular structure of the Biosphere in Parc Jean-Drapeau

2. Old Port of Montreal

The Old Port is a must-see place in Montreal if you want to learn about the city's history and culture. This historic area used to be the city's main port and was very important to the city's growth. Today, it's a vibrant hub for festivals and events. Visitors can enjoy a boat tour, take in a film at the IMAX, and wander the Montreal Science Centre. They can also go to Clock Tower Beach, a great place to swim and lay in the sun.

You can take the bus, drive, or ride a bike to get there. Admission prices vary, but you should plan to spend a few hours exploring the area. The best time to go is in the summer when the weather is nice and there are many people around.

Sandy beach with blue umbrellas, stairs and a clocktower

#Travel Tip: Explore the city on a Bicycle Tour

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Book a guided bike tour that takes you through various locations in Montreal. The tour ends with a drink and you can use the bicycle for the rest of the day.

Blog Author - Athena McKenzie
Athena McKenzie
Content Manager

3. Old Montreal

Old Montreal is a charming historic area that shows how the city has changed over time. Walk along the cobblestone streets. Observe the buildings. Visit places like the Notre Dame Basilica and the Bonsecours Market. Don't miss the Place d'Armes, a beautiful square with historic buildings.

You can reach Old Montreal by bus, car, bike, or even on foot. Admission prices vary by attraction, but you should plan to spend a few hours exploring the area.

City square decorated in the winter on a sunny day after snow
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4. Notre-Dame Basilica

The Notre-Dame Basilica is a beautiful piece of architecture and history you should not miss. This old Catholic church is known for its stunning architecture and sound. Visitors can take a guided tour and climb the bell tower for a view of the whole city. Every day of the year, people can visit Notre-Dame Basilica. It is open from 8 AM to 4 PM.

It is in Old Montreal and is easy to get to by car, bike, public transportation, or on foot. Admission prices vary, and you should plan to spend 1 to 2 hours looking around the church. The best time to go is during the day when the church is open for tours, and people can see the beautiful architecture.

Towers of the Notre-Dame Basilica at sunset

5. Montreal Olympic Park (Parc Olympique de Montréal)

Montreal Olympic Park is a must-see for sports and history fans who want to learn about the history and excitement of the 1976 Summer Olympics. Visitors can enjoy the Olympic Stadium, Montreal Tower, Montreal Biodome, and the Montreal Botanical Garden, one of the world's biggest botanical gardens.

Public transportation, like buses and the metro, can take you to the park. It's also easy to get to by bike or car. The park is open every day of the year, but the times that each attraction is open vary. Prices vary from attraction to attraction. The best time to go to Montreal Olympic Park is in the summer when it's warm and there are many people. People can spend a few hours exploring all Montreal Olympic Park offers.

Person riding a BMX bike along the colourful pathways in the Montreal Olympic Park

6. St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

St. Joseph's Oratory is a must-see for people interested in religious history and architecture. It is on the slopes of Mount Royal and has the biggest dome of its kind in the world. Visitors can tour the basilica with a guide and enjoy the views from the terrace. The Oratory is open from 8 AM to 9 PM every day of the year.

You can walk, take public transportation, drive, or ride a bike to get to St. Joseph's Oratory. There is no charge to get in, but donations are welcome. 

Aerial view of Mont Royal and St Joseph's Oratory in summer

#Travel Tip: La Grande Roue after dark

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Not only will you see La Grande Roue’s colourful lights, you’ll also experience other beautifully lit viewpoints at night. This includes the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and Mount Royal’s illuminated cross.

Louise Weiss
Director of Legendary Hospitality

7. Montreal Chinatown (Le quartier chinois de Montréal)

A walk through Chinatown is a great way to learn about Montreal's Chinese community and its rich culture.  The numerous shops, restaurants, markets, and colourful street art offer an immersive neighbourhood experience. Shop for a variety of Chinese products, spices, herbs, and groceries. Do plan to eat at least one meal here — dim sum is a popular choice. 

Chinatown in Montreal is easy to get to by public transportation, car, bike, or foot. .

Close up of a large archway in Montreal Chinatown

8. Jacques-Cartier Square

Jacques-Cartier Square is located centrally in Old Montreal. People spend time in the Square to view the beautiful fountain and old buildings, and watch the street performers. 

Depending on your hotel's location, you can walk, take public transportation, drive or ride a bike to Jacques-Cartier Square. Plan to spend at least 30 minutes enjoying the lively atmosphere of this urban plaza. 

People walk along fresh snow in Jacques-Cartier Square

9. Saint Paul Street (Rue Saint-Paul)

One of the oldest streets in Montreal, Saint Paul Street is also considered one of the prettiest. With its mix of old and new buildings, art galleries, and trendy shops, it is a great place to soak up the unique charms of Old Montreal. The area is home to the Bonsecours Market and the Notre-Dame De-Bonsecours Chapel.

Saint Paul Street is easy to get to by car, bike, public transportation, or on foot. People usually spend a couple hours walking around and shopping here, plus there are many great restaurants. 

Saint Paul Street in Montreal, people walk past old European style buildings, flags, and shop signage

10. Outremont

Outremont is a residential neighbourhood on the slopes of Mount Royal. Charming and peaceful, Outremont is known for its beautiful architecture, green spaces, and quiet atmosphere. It is also home to upscale boutiques. It is a great place to wander if you want to escape the bustle of downtown.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the area to learn about beautiful homes, parks, gardens, and cultural landscapes. Outremont is easy to reach via bus, bike, or on foot. Most visitors spend two to three hours exploring the area.

Pretty street corner with a cafe and patio seating, and a woman pushing a stroller across the road

11. Ville-Marie

The Ville-Marie neighbourhood is located in at the core of Montreal. It is known for its rich history, famous landmarks, and lively arts and culture scene. Most visitors to the city spend time in this area, whether they realize it or not. It is home to some of Montreal's biggest attractions, such as the Old Port, Notre-Dame Basilica, the Underground City, and Place des Arts.

If your hotel is not located in Ville-Marie, it is easy to get to here. Take advantage of public transit, grab an Uber, drive, ride a bike, or even walk.

Most people spend at least two to three hours looking around the area. Take advantage of a guided walking tour to get some insights into the city's history and culture. No matter the season, it's a great place to explore.

View of a quiet street in Montreal and the Leonard Cohen mural on a tall building above houses

12. Mount Royal Cemetery (Cimetière Mont-Royal)

Discover one of Montreal's hidden gems, the historic Mount Royal Cemetery located on the slopes of Mount Royal. Known for its beautiful gardens, historical monuments, and the final resting place of many notable figures in Quebec history, the cemetery is a peaceful and beautiful place to explore. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cemetery and learn about the history and culture of Montreal while also enjoying the beautiful gardens and monuments.

Getting to Mount Royal Cemetery is easy as it is easily accessible by public transportation, car or bike, and on foot. The cemetery is open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. Visitors can spend around 1-2 hours exploring the cemetery.

Mount Royal Cemetery is a popular destination for history and architecture enthusiasts, as well as for those interested in the history of Quebec. It's also a popular destination for nature lovers, as it is located on the slopes of Mount Royal and offers great views of the city. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a local, Mount Royal Cemetery is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Montreal's history and culture.

View of grave stones and greenery in a cemetery on a hill

13. Ecomuseum Zoo

Discover the beauty of Quebec's wildlife at Ecomuseum Zoo, located on the western tip of Montreal island and only a 25-minute drive from downtown. This unique zoo showcases the animals and plants native to Quebec. Visitors can explore the zoo's habitats and learn about the conservation efforts to protect these species.

Getting to Ecomuseum Zoo is easy as it is accessible by public transportation, car or bike. The zoo is open every day of the year, with different timings depending on the season. Admission fees vary depending on the age and type of ticket. Visitors can spend around 2-3 hours exploring the zoo.

Ecomuseum Zoo is a popular destination for families and animal lovers, as it provides an opportunity to learn about the native animals and plants of Quebec. The zoo is also known for its conservation efforts; visitors can learn about the different measures taken to protect the species. It's a great place to spend a day out, learn about Quebec wildlife, and enjoy the beautiful outdoor setting.

Close up of an American Porcupine sitting on rocks at Montreal's Ecomuseum Zoo

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I not miss in Montreal?

Old Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica, and Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal are must-visit places in Montreal.

What is Montreal famous for?

Old Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica, and Montreal Canadiens are some of Montreal's famous attractions.

Is there anything fun to do in Montreal?

Yes. Montreal has several places that offer great fun and entertainment. These include Old Montreal, Montreal Olympic Park, and Saint Joseph's Oratory.

How can I spend 3 days in Montreal?

A 3-day itinerary can include exploring Old Montreal and Notre-Dame Basilica on day 1, Montreal Olympic Park and Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal on day 2, and Montreal Chinatown and Jacques-Cartier Square on day 3.

What is the most beautiful part of Montreal?

Old Montreal, Mount Royal, and the waterfront are some of the city's most beautiful parts.

About the author: Katherine is Product Manager with Fresh Tracks Canada. Having worked in the Canadian travel industry for almost 20 years, she enjoys sharing her local expertise with visitors. She is based in Calgary and one of her favourite Canadian destination is the... Read more

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