Best Things to See and Do in Montreal

As the second-biggest city in Canada, Montreal is a lively, exciting place to spend time. From its grand churches to its diverse neighborhoods, immersive galleries, vast parks, and fabulous restaurants, this city has something for everyone. It’s the kind of city where you don’t want to waste a single second, and you’ll be eager to get out and see it all as soon as you arrive.

So, the next time you’re in town, turn your ordinary day into an adventure by exploring Montreal and visiting some of the following amazing locations.

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1. Explore Old Montreal

Montreal is a modern, forward-thinking city. However, it has a history going back several centuries. Visitors can take a step back in time by exploring Old Montreal. That’s where you’ll find some of the city’s oldest structures, constructed brick by brick by French settlers, way back in the 17th century.

It’s actually one of the oldest urban districts in the whole of North America. Some of the top spots to check out include the colonial mansion and museum of Chateau Ramezay, the extraordinary Notre-Dame Basilica, and the Champs de Mars, where you can see the remnants of the city’s original fortifying walls.

2. Admire the Breathtaking Notre-Dame Basilica

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Most big cities have one special building. An iconic structure that always draws in the crowds. A much-loved landmark, standing out from all the others. In Montreal, that special building is the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Drawing in around 11 million people each year, it’s the closest thing to Paris’ own Notre-Dame on North American soil. Some might even say that it’s even prettier, with its ocean blue vaults, multicolored sanctuary, and dramatic Gothic details.

3. Tour St. Joseph’s Oratory

Notre-Dame may be the best-known of Montreal’s religious buildings, but it’s not the only one worth checking out. St. Joseph’s Oratory is another must-see structure. As the name implies, it was built as a shrine to Saint Joseph, and it’s the biggest church in the whole of Canada.

A far cry from Notre-Dame, the Oratory has its own standout design, with a vast church dome and intriguing Art Deco interior. It’s awe-inspiring from the outside, and even more magical once you’ve made your way through the grand front doors.

Inside, visitors can find pretty stained glass, a statue of St. Joseph, and a large museum with a vast collection of religious artworks and creches.

4. Buy Some Fresh Produce from Jean-Talon Market

For something totally different, make your way over to Henri Julien Avenue, the site of the famed Jean-Talon Market. This farmer’s market has been running for decades and is one of the biggest in North America, with around 300 vendors present in the peak summer months.

Whether you’re looking for fresh fruit and veggies, meat, baked goods, sweet treats, cheeses, or just enjoying the hustle and bustle of a good market, this is the place to be.

Many of the vendors also offer samples, so you can roam around, enjoying an array of sights and smells without even having to buy a thing.

5. Traverse the Ecosystems of America in the Biodome

Part of the larger Space for Life museum complex, which also includes beautiful botanical gardens, a massive planetarium, and an insectarium, the Montreal Biodome is one of the best family attractions in the city.

It’s split into four areas, each representing a major ecosystem from across the Americas, like the “Tropical Forest” or “Sub-Polar Region.” Each area contains both plants and animals from that particular part of the world. It’s almost like taking a fast-track voyage through nature, seeing everything from penguins to lynxes along the way.

6. Dive into the Underground City

Hearing the phrase “Underground City” might make you think of some mythical city beneath the city. Maybe you imagine a secret subterranean network of people living out their lives. Well, it’s not quite as magical as that. But Montreal’s Underground City is still worth a visit.

It’s actually a series of shopping centers, cultural spaces, offices, and more, spread out across the central business district and linked together by a labyrinth of mostly-underground tunnels. Twenty miles of tunnels, to be precise! Want to buy some souvenirs? Seeking the best poutine in the city? This is a fine place to start.

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels

Have a Magical Memorable Montreal Getaway

If you’re planning a visit to Montreal and want to have the best possible time, this guide has hopefully given you a few inspiring ideas on how to get started. But this brief list is far from exhaustive. Montreal has many more amazing attractions and landmarks to enjoy, so make sure to explore the city during your stay and uncover your own favorite places.

Keep being AllDayChic!

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