As bloggers, we rarely tend to write about where we’re from as a travel destination… that might simply be because it never was one to us. However, we probably are the best positioned to write about the subject, being able to not only talk only about the touristy must-see places, but also about the places locals enjoy! I decided to try to see the city I live in, Montreal that is, as the travel destination it actually is and to list the things I would absolutely not want to miss if it was my first time in Montreal!
THINGS TO SEE
- Montreal Olympic park
As you might know, Montreal hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics. Hence, the city has a Olympic park including a Olympic stadium (duh.). Not your typical Olympic stadium, though… (Is there such thing as a “typical Olympic Stadium?… moving on…)! Montreal stadium is known to be a completely unique monument, evoking a gigantic hand with curved fingers… in other words it’s a huge leaning tower with a big dome. It’s one of the most well known landmarks of the city and an obvious must-see feature!
- Saint-Joseph Oratory
Another well-known landmark of Montreal is the Saint-Joseph Oratory, situated into Côte-des-Neiges, a Montreal neighbourhood, it is a majestic basilica on the Mont-Royal hill. Going up the 280 steps to the Oratory, you might see some pilgrims slowly going up 99 of those steps on their knees. The crypt is really beautiful and you can also visit the chapel, the museum and the gardens around the basilica. The view from the higher level of the Saint-Joseph Oratory is just splendid!
- Notre-Dame Basilica
Montreal isn’t called The City of a hundred bell towers for no reasons: it has a lot of churches. Another gorgeous basilica to visit is the Notre-Dame. This one has a entry fee but it is so worth it! Make sure you look at the list of events taking place there, as they often and have Sound and like shows, together with other kind of concerts! You can find the schedule of the events here. Make sure you walk around the Old port of Montreal after your visit of the Basilica
- Jean-Talon Market
If you enjoy discovering the local’s life, you will love Jean-Talon Market! Summer and winter, it sells produce, meats, cheeses, fish, baked goods, fruits and vegetables! The atmosphere is great and it’s the best way to shop for cheap food if you’re on the budget and wanting to cook back at your Hostel or Airbnb!
- Place Ville Marie Observation Deck
Place Ville Marie Observation Deck is one of the best view of Montreal as it offer a 360o from a 607feet tower! Totally worth seeing!
THINGS TO DO
- Go up Mont-Royal
I hope you love look up points because Montreal is full of them! However, Mont-Royal is the best one! Go on a short hike (around 1h) to the top of the mountain and admire the whole Island (and even its surrounding on non-cloudy days!). One one side of the mountain, you can go walk around Beaver Lake, which you can also skate on during winter! On the other side, stop by the belvedere for another great view of the city and visit from racoons! One just can’t go to Montreal and not spend time on Mont-Royal!
Montreal has a lot of churches and look out points, yes, but it also has a lot of museums! Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the biggest and the best known. You should also check out the Contemporary Art Museum, the Grevin Museum (waxwork museum!) and even the smaller but still very interesting McCord Museum. All those museums are in the same area of the city, downtown, so if you’re brave, you can try doing them all in one day!
- Botanic Garden
If you visit Montreal in the spring, the summer or the fall, I would strongly recommend visiting the Botanic Garden! It is not far from the Olympic Park and it is 185 acres of gorgeous native and exotic flora. It includes 10 themed greenhouses and in the fall, its lantern garden festival is just gorgeous to see at night! If you’re into those kind of things, you can also check out the Insectarium right next to it!
- Go shopping underground
Montreal has an underground city (called RÉSO) which actually is known to be the largest underground network in the world. This network includes the metro but also connections between buildings that include office towers, hotels, residential and commercial complexes, convention halls, universities, performing arts venues and A LOT of shopping centers. Therefore, if you love shopping, you need to spend some time into this Underground city… good luck not getting lost… or spending all your money! I would recommend getting there by Metro Station Peel or McGill!
- Go to La Ronde
If you like amusement parks, you will love La Ronde! It is owned and operated by six flags and it has a lot of attractions (it’s unnecessary to tell you how many since the number increase every years) and twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday, you can enjoy firework at nights! If you can’t make it to La Ronde on one of those days but still want to see the Firework, no worries: They are really easy to see from many spots in Montreal, including Pont Jacques-Quartier!
There are so many more things I still got to tell you about my amazing city: Where to eat and eat, when to come for different type of festivals and special events… I’ll definitely come back soon with more articles about Montreal soon! Believe me, if you’re not convinced yet, those will convince you to add Montreal on your bucket list!
Wondering where to stay in Montreal? Read my tips on how to pick the best hostel, here!