7 Reasons To Visit Montreal, Quebec [Canada Travel Guide]
There is something truly special about Montreal; from stunning architecture and delicious food to amazing arts and culture and a pulsating nightlife, it truly has something for everyone, any time of the year.
Whether you want a romantic trip, a break with friends, or a family holiday, here are seven reasons why you should make this Canadian city your next travel destination.
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Many people think Montreal is the most European city in North America. Given its history of being colonized by the French and then the British, it’s hardly surprising that the city has an old-world feel! Walk around the city and you’ll see 17th-century French style architecture, imposing British buildings from the 1800s and there’s plenty of 20th-century art deco too.
Visiting Old Montreal with its cobblestone streets is like stepping back in time. Do not miss the famous Notre Dame Basilica, one of the most beautiful churches in the world. There are lots of buildings from the World Fair Expo in 1967 and the 1976 Summer Olympics too – Habitat 67 is a spectacular housing complex and the iconic Olympic Stadium has the world’s tallest inclined tower.
Montreal has more restaurants per capita than any other city in North America and there is something to suit everyone’s tastes and budget. The food scene is thriving here and wherever you eat, you won’t leave hungry. High-brow gastronauts will love the French-inspired restaurants and fans of street food are well catered for – this city is renowned for its food trucks and you’ll find plenty of places offering delicious bites for when you’re on the go.
Montreal also hosts excellent culinary festivals throughout the year. Make sure you try these three local specialties – Poutine, a delicious mess of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, the best salt beef sandwiches in the world, and the famous bagels, baked in woodfire ovens.
3. Underground City
Montreal gets very cold in the winter, with below-freezing temperatures, and the summers can be hot and humid. The city’s ingenious solution was the RESO (a.k.a Underground City) – a subterranean network of 20 miles of subway stations, shopping centres, restaurants, cinemas, museums, and even a university. You can shop, eat, be entertained, and explore to your heart’s content without worrying about the weather.
This vibrant city plays host to nearly 100 festivals every year and there are always events taking place no matter what time of year you visit. The famous and purpose-built Quartier des Spectacles, with its open spaces, indoor and outdoor stages is dedicated to festivals and events of all sizes. Again, there is something for everyone – arts, food, music, film, dance, literature – you name it, they celebrate it! Not to be missed are the Fireworks Festival, Festival en Lumiere, Just For Laughs, and the Montreal Jazz Festival, the biggest and best in the world.
There are many miles of green and beautiful parks to see around the city. Mount Royal Park is the biggest and actually does have a mountain. Montrealers know it’s a large hill really but don’t mention it! You’ll get some stunning and panoramic views of the city from its three peaks. The Jardin Botanique, with over 22,000 plant species from around the world, is also a must-see.
Parc Jean-Drapeau is spread over two islands and was the site for the 1967 World Fair Expo – today the park is packed with attractions and activities perfect for families and ecology lovers will enjoy the Biosphere museum. The Montreal Olympic Park, home to the 1976 Olympics has the stadium and other venues, along with beautiful botanical gardens and an Insectarium.
The city is renowned for its buzzing nightlife and it is often said it is the party capital of Canada. If you really come to life at night, you’ll find the city does too! Whatever tickles your fancy, Montreal is truly special after the sun goes down. Amongst the bustling streets, you’ll find eclectic cocktail bars, crowded nightclubs with world-class DJs playing into the early morning, basement jazz lounges, drag queen cabarets, and amazing places to eat and drink.
Gamblers will love the Casino de Montreal – the biggest in Canada – with five floors of gaming, restaurants, bars, and brilliant live entertainment on offer 24 hours a day. Visit Canadian online casino’s before you head there to get into practice.
7. Arts & Culture
Art, culture, and history lovers will find plenty of options in Montreal. There are more than 40 museums so there is something for everyone. Kids will love the dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies at the Redpath Museum, while the Pointe-a-Calliere museum showcases the archaeology and history of the people who founded the city in 1642.
Art aficionados can savour modern pieces at the Musee d’Art Contemporain and classics at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. There is also a vibrant street art scene and you’ll find vivid examples all over the city. In addition to the wonderful festivals that take place through the year, you can get your culture fix with the L’Opera de Montreal, whose season begins in late September, and you’ll find outdoor theatre through the summer in many city parks.
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