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Montreal Travel Guide: 50 Best Things To Do & Hidden Gems

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Montreal, Canada's second-largest city, is a mosaic of incredible districts. While exploring neighborhoods like Downtown Montreal, Le Plateau, South West, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and Jean-Drapeau Park, you'll understand why this city is a traveler's paradise. But let's kick off our Montreal love affair in Old Montreal, or as locals call it, Vieux-Montreal. Picture this: cobblestone streets and 17th-century architecture so beautiful, it'll make you forget you're in North America.

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Famous Saint-Paul Street in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Famous Saint-Paul Street in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Foie Gras fries at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Canada Maple Butter Donut at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Canada

Kick off your day by grabbing breakfast at Le Petit Dep, an adorable café located on the oldest street in Montreal, Saint-Paul Street. The café, renowned for its charming aesthetics, serves coffee starting at $2.50, and sandwiches that range from $4 to $9. If you're one of those folks with a green thumb, you'll feel right at home at L'Orbite Café, a plant shop where you can sip your morning brew. Now, if you want to experience the "wow" factor, head over to Crew Collective Café. Housed inside the former Royal Bank building, this café doubles as a co-working space and is considered the most beautiful café in Montreal. It's a bit pricey, but the atmosphere is priceless.

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Attractions • Restaurants • Rooftops
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Best Places for Travel in Montreal

  • 1. Le Petit Dep

    The cutest cafe in Old Montreal, a great place to start off your walk through the Old Port. A coffee start at $2.50 USD

  • 2. L'Orbite Cafe

    Have you ever had your brunch in a plant shop? Sit among hundreds of plants while enjoying your morning coffee.

  • 3. Crew Collective Cafe

    The most beautiful cafe in all of Montreal, located in a former bank building. A coffee start at $2.50 USD

  • 4. Old Port

    Large outdoor area with street vendors, pedal boating, views of the St. Lawrence river and the pirate park.

  • 5. La Grand Roue

    Tallest ferris wheel in Canada at a height of 60 meters, with mesmerizing views of Old Montreal. Tickets are $22 USD for a 20-min ride.

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  • 6. Zipline Montreal

    The longest urban zipline in Canada! Soar over the Old Port for just $14 USD with dazzling speeds.

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Colorful Baos at Bao Bao Dim Sum in Chinatown, Montreal in Montreal, Canada Graffiti Alley in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Wet Set MTL Jet Ski in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal in Montreal, Canada

Once you've fueled up, meander toward Old Port. Take in the lively street vendors and try your hand—or feet—at pedal boating (it's not paddleboarding; there's a difference, trust me). And while you're there, don't forget to cross the bridge to La Grande Roue, Canada’s tallest Ferris wheel. The 20-minute ride offers panoramic views of the city and even gives you a glance at the strong currents of the St. Lawrence River—all for $22. Got an adrenaline itch? Scratch it by soaring over Old Port on an urban zipline for just $14. Then head over to Clock Tower Beach—a hidden gem with views of Jacques Cartier Bridge and the yacht harbor—and soak up the sun. If you're up for more thrills, try jet skiing on the St. Lawrence River or opt for a helicopter ride over the city.

  • 7. Clock Tower Beach

    Hidden secret urban beach at the northern tip of the Old Port, open from mid-June to mid-September with great views of the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

  • 8. Wet Set MTL

    One of the coolest things to do in Montreal is jet ski the St. Lawrence river to get a sense of the strong currents. 20-min quicky rides start at $60 USD

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  • 9. Helicraft

    Take a 30-min helicopter tour of Montreal and soar above the Olympic Stadium, downtown Montreal, Mont Royal and the Boucherville Islands for just $150 USD!

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  • 10. Jardin Nelson

    A bit touristy but still a gem of a restaurant in Old Montreal with often live Jazz music on the weekends.

  • 11. Terrasse William Gray

    One the best rooftop patio's in Montreal which offers a panoramic view of the Old Port.

  • 12. Basilica Notre-Dame

    The most beautiful church in Montreal, completed in 1829 with the most beautiful interior decor you will see in a modern church. Watch the AURA light show experience for $62 USD Map

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The famous Canard en Conserve at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal in Montreal, Canada The famous Canard en Conserve at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal

Old Montreal is a culinary playground, too. Jardin Nelson offers live jazz music and drinks in a historic setting. Though the French onion soup may be a miss, their drinks and atmosphere are a hit. While in the area, swing by Terrasse William Gray for a rooftop view, or pay a visit to the awe-inspiring Basilica Notre-Dame. Finish off with a relaxing spa session on the Bota Bota, a floating spa on the St. Lawrence River, with prices starting at $50.

  • 13. Bota Bota

    Pamper yourself after a long exploritory day in the Old Port at the most famous spa in Montreal. Packages start at $60 USD

  • 14. Saint Louis Square

    This area is known as Little France located in the Le Plateau district surrounded by beautiful victorian houses.

  • 15. Le K Kiosk

    Located in the middle of Saint Louis Square park, a great spot for an afternoon coffee. They offer free books to read.

  • 16. Saint-Laurent Blvd

    The shopping and nightlife street of Le Plateau. The street also has many great restaurants and bars. Go visit on the weekends during the night for a true party experience.

  • 17. Graffiti Alley

    Situated in the parallel running streets of Saint-Laurent Blvd. Tons of tons of incredible murals await you around every corner.

  • 18. Cafe Orr

    A hidden gem for coffee and brunch, this is also a great co-working space and offers unique seating areas and hidden attics.

Monkeys at the Biodome in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Insects at the Insectarium in Montreal, Canada Insects at the Insectarium in Montreal, Canada Saint Louis Square in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Habitat 67 in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Biosphere in Montreal in Montreal, Canada F1 Montreal in Montreal, Canada Colorful Hotel le Germain in Montreal in Montreal, Canada

Next up: Le Plateau. A laid-back area brimming with cozy shops and restaurants, Le Plateau is the go-to spot for foodies. Kick off at Saint Louis Square before heading to Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a bustling avenue known for its vibrant nightlife. As for food, the Foie Gras Benedict at Le Passe Compose is not to be missed. Speaking of Foie Gras, head over to Au Pied de Cochon for an outrageous maple butter donut filled with Foie Gras cream. If you thought Montreal was only known for Poutine, think again!

  • 19. Chez Jose Cafe

    Laid-back cafe on Duluth street in the heart of Le Plateau district, try their soup, sandwiches and the Bombay Sapphire water bottles.

  • 20. Cafe Santropol

    A true gem for coffees in Montreal, it offers a backyard garden with a pond and koi fish. Above all, prices are very reasonable and the cafe is pet-friendly.

  • 21. Au Pied de Cochon

    The most unique restaurant in Montreal for serving their famous duck-in-a-can, which they open with a can-opener at your table and dump the contents on your plate.

  • 22. Le Passé Composé

    Another fantastic restaurant for brunch. They are known for the excellent french toast and mouth-watering Foie Gras Benedict, which can set you back $30 USD

  • 23. India Rosa

    A hidden gem on Mont-Royal Avenue for serving the most incredible Indian I've ever had in Canada. Try their delicious curry and Maharaja cocktails.

  • 24. Fairmount Bagel

    We tried the St. Viateur and Fairmount bagels, which are striving for the best bagels in Montreal. The winner: Fairmount bagels for being most crispy, soft inside and boiled in honey water.

Helicraft's helicopter ride in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Helicraft's helicopter ride in Montreal

The Mile End district is another jewel in Montreal's crown, offering a bagel rivalry like no other between St. Viateur and Fairmont. After some extensive and delicious research, Fairmont bagels win the title, being slightly sweeter due to their honey water boiling technique. And guess what? They're open 24/7! Also, check out Sports de Combats to let out any frustration you have, smashing everything from plates to computers.

  • 25. Sports de Combats

    Having a bad day? Destroy anything you ever wanted in their Rage Cage, grab a baseball bat and slam plates, cups, glasses, computers and laptops.

  • 26. Jean-Talon Market

    The most famous outdoor market in Montreal and one of the oldest in North-America, try their famous meats, cheeses and fruits all for great prices.

  • 27. 5 Senses

    Another unique cafe in downtown Montreal. A charming cafe with an intense interior decor, inspiring painting and excellent bagels and smoothies.

  • 28. Kondiaronk Belvédère

    The BEST view of Montreal, either in the morning, afternoon or at night the skyline views of the city are always breath-taking. Visit on a clear day without rain.

  • 29. St. Joseph Oratory

    After the Kondiaronk Belvedere dropped by this place, which is the largest church in Canada built in the art-deco style. Do explore the catacombs of this church which are often overlooked.

  • 30. Chinatown

    A dense area in downtown Montreal loaded with fantastic Chinese restaurants and bakeries. Visit the Sun Yat-Sen pavillion for some Chinese art and souvenirs.

Helicraft's helicopter ride in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Montreal's Olympic Stadium from 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada Montreal River Surfing in Montreal, Canada Montreal River Surfing in Montreal, Canada L'Orbite cafe in Old Montreal in Montreal, Canada L'Orbite cafe in Old Montreal in Montreal, Canada Crew Collective Cafe in Old Montreal in Montreal, Canada Le Petit Dep in Montreal in Montreal, Canada

Downtown Montreal offers beautiful views from Kondiaronk Belvedere, amazing architecture at St. Joseph Oratory, and a smorgasbord of delicious food options like Sammi & Soupe Dumpling in Chinatown. When night falls, Saint-Crescent Street is your go-to place for vibrant nightlife.

  • 31. Sammi & Soupe Dumpling

    The best Chinese food in Montreal, their steamed and pan-fried dumplings are absolutely mouth-watering. Also, their prices are top-notch!

  • 32. Bao Bao Dim Sum

    Colorful Chinese dim sum in the style of cartoon characters, often filled with red bean past and matcha. These buns are a great snack in Chinatown.

  • 33. Le Central

    The first gourmet food hall in Montreal, filled with some of the best restaurants in the city, from Spanish to Italian cuisine and many dishes are very reasonably priced.

  • 34. Crescent Street

    The most famous nightlife street of Montreal, however quite tourity. Luckily I created a complete nightlife guide to show you the hidden gems on this street and avoid the crowd.

  • 35. Leon Cohen Mural

    A famous Montreal pop icon, and one of the largest murals on Crescent street, especially at night, this mural is vey well lit and can be even seen from the Kondiaronk Belvedere.

  • 36. Montreal Tower

    Tallest incline tower in the entire world offering excellent view of northern Montreal. Standing 165 meters tall at a 45-degree angle and holds up te roof of the Olympic Stadium from the 1976 Olymic Games.

Foie Gras Benedict at Le Passé Composé in Montreal, Canada Foie Gras Benedict at Le Passé Composé

For those wanting to venture a bit farther, the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district offers views from the Montreal Tower and interactive experiences in the Biodome and Botanical Gardens. Don't miss out on the Insectarium, the largest insect museum in North America, located right next to the Botanical Gardens.

  • 37. Biodome

    Explore 5 unique ecosystems in this massive indoor building located besides the Olympic Stadium; tropical rainforest, gulf of St. Lawrence, Laurentian maple forest, Labrador Coast and Sub-Antarctic Islands.

  • 38. Botanical Gardens

    One of the largest botanical gardens in the world complete with a large Japanese and Chinese gardens for which materials were shipped in from Shanghai. Do not miss the massive indoor green house for a plethora of plants.

  • 39. Insectarium

    My favorite museum in Montreal is the Insectarium where you can sit in your own personal booth admirring a large array of different super-colorful insects. Do not miss their butterfly garden on the rooftop.

  • 40. Le Grand Poutinefest

    A visit to Montreal is not complete without poutine, go all out at their annual Poutinefest where you can try cheeseburger and even General Tao poutine.

  • 41. Fromage Victoria

    My favorite number #1 poutine in Montreal, sadly located outside the city center but it does every ingredient correct and offers the most perfect squeaky cheese curds.

  • 42. Joe Beef

    A local legend for its incredible steaks and desserts. However, this restaurant is pricey but it is worth every penny, especially if you are a foody.

French toast at Le Passé Composé in Montreal, Canada Brunch at Le Passé Composé, Montreal in Montreal, Canada View at the Kondiaronk Belvedere in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Insectarium in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Insectarium in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Best curry in Montreal at India Rosa in Montreal, Canada St. Viateur bagels in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Pan-fried dumplings at Sammi & Soupe dumpling in Chinatown, Montreal in Montreal, Canada

South West is a lesser-known district featuring Atwater Market and Joe Beef for some high-end dining. For the selfie addicts and photographers among us, Habitat 67 is a marvel to behold. And for the truly adventurous? Try river surfing at Parc de Dieppe.

  • 43. Habitat 67

    A unique housing project built for World Expo 67, this is a great spot for selfies and photography in general. It reminds me of a scene from Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

  • 44. Montreal River Surfing

    Behind the Habitat 67 you'll find an access path to watch the river surfers. Do be careful, this pathway is very muddy!

  • 45. Parc Jean-Drapeau

    The best park in Montreal is located on St. Helen's Island offering exceptional views of the Montreal skyline and the Old Port. Rent a Bixi bike to get to the island or take the Montreal metro, and is only 1 stop.

  • 46. F1 Montreal

    I've always wanted to watch the F1, and Montreal hosted it luckily again. I got my ticket for $260 USD from Stubhub, the day before race day. Was it worth it? Perhaps only if you are a car fantastic, the standing spots aren't too great.

  • 47. Biosphere

    Built for the World Expo 67, but burnt down in the 1970s. Nowadays a museum which teaches about the environment, and waste we throw out as humans. Entrance is $16 USD

  • 48. La Ronde

    Canada's second largest theme park located on St. Helen's Island and hosts the annual Fireworks festival. Do jump on their famous Goliath rollercoaster. Tickets start at $50 USD

View from the La Grande Roue ferris wheel in Montreal in Montreal, Canada View from the La Grande Roue ferris wheel in Montreal

Finally, if you're a Formula 1 fan, you won't want to miss Parc Jean-Drapeau, host to the annual F1 Montreal event in June. It's a heart-pounding experience to see cars zip by at speeds up to 330 km/h.

  • 49. Montreal Nightlife

    By far the best nightlife scene in Canada and offers a ton of bars, nightclubs, day time rooftop parties and lounges. Make sure to watch my complete nightlife guide with the TOP 35 Bars & Clubs in Montreal.

  • 50. M Montreal Hotel

    The best place to stay in Montreal for travellers on a budget. They offers rooms ranging from $50 USD upwards to $200 USD, dormitories of fully serviced apartments with jacuzzi's on the rooftop and the large M Bar in the basement.

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Epic steaks at Joe Beef, Montreal in Montreal, Canada Dinner time at Joe Beef in Montreal, Canada Desserts at Joe Beef, Montreal in Montreal, Canada Vietnamese food in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Vietnamese food in Montreal in Montreal, Canada India Rosa, Montreal in Montreal, Canada Dragon Flowers, Mile End, Montreal in Montreal, Canada Le Grand Poutinefest in Montreal in Montreal, Canada

So there you have it! A whirlwind, action-packed, food-filled, utterly enthralling list of 50 things to do in Montreal. Get your stretchy pants and walking shoes ready; this city is waiting to be explored!

Le Grand Poutinefest in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Le Grand Poutinefest in Montreal

Of course, a discussion about Montreal wouldn't be complete without mentioning its exceptional food scene. Le Grand PoutineFest, an annual event that celebrates one of Quebec's most beloved dishes, gathers food trucks and chefs from all over to put their unique spins on poutine. Imagine the classic gravy-soaked fries and cheese curds upgraded with international flavors and gourmet ingredients—it's a culinary experience you won't want to miss. For a more daily culinary adventure, the Jean-Talon Market, one of the oldest public markets in Montreal, is a food lover's paradise. Here you'll find everything from local cheeses and meats to exotic spices and imported delicacies. Open year-round, the market is a bustling hub where locals and tourists alike come to enjoy the rich tapestry of flavors that define this multicultural city. Whether you're indulging in a smoked meat sandwich, a freshly baked bagel, or an artisanal piece of chocolate, Montreal offers a gastronomic journey that's as diverse and captivating as its culture and people.

Le Grand Poutinefest in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Jean-Talon market in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Jean-Talon market in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Jean-Talon market in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Jean-Talon market in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Avocado toast at Cafe Orr in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Cafe Orr in Montreal in Montreal, Canada Soup dumplings at Chinatown, Montreal in Montreal, Canada

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