What to do in the Winter in Montréal, Québec
Montréal, located in the French Canadian province of Québec is a magical place to visit in Eastern Canada. Whether you are traveling around Canada, venturing through the Northeast of North America or are looking for a weekend getaway from the Tri-State or New England area, there is so much culture to immerse yourself in Montréal.
During Martin Luther King Weekend in January 2016, I took the 5.5-hour road trip from the New York City area up to Montréal to meet my friend Courtney who was on a work trip there. One of the cool aspects about Montréal is that it is the world’s second largest French-speaking city behind Paris, France.
I absolutely loved Montréal and find it to be a wonderful city filled with beauty, culture, friendly locals and great food! Discover everything to do during a trip to Montréal in the wintertime.
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Traveling to and around Montréal:
Getting to Montréal could be done by taking a road trip, taking a train or flying. If you plan to take a road trip, I recommend renting a car if you do not want to put miles on your own vehicle. If you are looking to fly to Montréal, you could find great deals on Expedia or CheapAir.com.
When you arrive to Montréal, I do not recommend driving because it is a rather large city and there is a lot of traffic. If you are traveling in the winter, there will also most likely be a lot of snow or ice because Montréal is located on the Snowbelt of North America. In that case, I recommend walking (if possible), taking a cab or hauling an Uber or Lyft. In addition, Montréal also has one of the best metro systems in the world! Click here to learn more about how Montréal’s subway system works.
Where to Stay in Montréal:
During my time in Montréal, my friend Courtney and I stayed at a great mid-budget hotel downtown called Hotel Omni Mont Royal, across from the famous McGill University. What I loved about this hotel was that it was in walking distance to Montréal’s buzzing area, Crescent Street. Our hotel room also had beautiful views of Montréal’s famous mountain Mont Royal!
Things to do in Montréal:
Montréal is an inland port where the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers meet. Unlike the capital of the province, Québec City, Montréal is more modern, but still features an old part of town that has original architecture and cobblestone streets. There are also plenty of places to truly experience the French Canadian culture of Québec.
During my time in Montréal, it snowed, making the city look like a magical winter wonderland. Even though it was snowy, that didn’t stop us from exploring the city and having fun!
Experience the Liveliness of Crescent Street:
Lined with beautiful brownstone buildings and cobblestone alleyways, Crescent Street offers some of Montréal’s most renowned restaurants, cafés, bars, music halls and nightclubs.
Enjoy a Delicious Dinner: Located on Crescent Street is a lovely French-Italian restaurant called L’Académie. This cute eatery is located in one of Crescent Street’s beautiful brownstones. Inside, it is super posh and cozy and the food is absolutely amazing! I enjoyed a wonderful penne rosa dish with delicious Canadian wine.
Visit a Live Jazz Bar: Jazz music is a popular staple in Montréal. In fact, the city holds a big jazz festival in the summertime! During one of the nights Courtney and I were in Montréal, we grabbed dinner and drinks at Sir Winston Churchill Pub. It is here where you could listen to Montréal’s best live jazz bands. It is such a fun place!
Relax at a Pub: In addition to grabbing drinks at Sir Winston Churchill Pub, there are a ton of other great bars in and around Crescent Street. A wonderful Belgian craft beer place that I enjoyed was The Bier Markt. It is here where you could grab a ton of different flavored beer. Another fun pub is Dundees, which not only offers beer, but a ton of great cocktails as well!
Dance the Night Away at a Club: During our time in Montréal, Courtney and I wanted to experience the nightclub scene in one of the gorgeous brownstone homes. Jet Night Club features a few stories of different dance floors and plays some of the best music you want to hear when you are out. We had such a great time dancing the night away.
Savor the French Canadian Delicacy ~ Poutine:
One of the first things Courtney and I did in Montréal was try poutine! This delicious speciality is made with potatoes or French fries topped with light brown gravy, cheese curds and it could be added with vegetables, meat or seafood. It is the perfect dish to warm up in the middle of winter!
During our time in Montréal, Courtney and I were recommended a great restaurant called La Banquise that specializes in more than 30 different kinds of poutine. I savored a delicious vegetarian poutine and it was just as amazing as it sounds!
Stroll through Old Montréal:
I absolutely loved Old Montréal or Vieux-Montréal! This magical area features architecture and cobblestone streets that have been maintained and restored dating back to its earliest days. Being able to see this area in a snowstorm definitely made Old Montréal even dreamier!
St. Paul’s Street is where you will find amazing restaurants, cute shops, cozy cafés and so much more in Old Montréal!
Visit the Beautiful Cathedrals:
Located throughout Montréal are some of the most beautiful churches and cathedrals. These old world religious sites are a must-see when you are visiting the city and resemble many churches and cathedrals in Europe.
The first church we visited was the timeless Christ Church Cathedral on St. Catherine’s Street. The second cathedral we saw was the stunning Basilique Notre-Dame. This gorgeous cathedral features stained glass, which depicts scenes of the religious history of Montréal, instead of traditional biblical scenes.
Taste Canadian Maple Syrup:
Since Montréal is known for its oh-so-delicious maple syrup, we stopped into an adorable café and shop that offers numerous maple syrup items. This amazing place is called Delices Erable & Cie!
On the day we went to this awesome place, they were offering maple tastings of different syrups, butter, jams, mustard and other specialties. It was seriously one of the most amazing food tastings I’ve done and I definitely recommend everyone visiting Montréal to do it. I ended up buying several bottles of maple syrup as well as my favorite maple butter to bring home and enjoy with my breakfast in the morning.
Enjoy Canadian Bacon in a Fun Way:
Located in the Little Italy/La Petite-Patrie area of Montréal is an amazing bacon bar (you read that right) called Bar Brutus. This retro lounge specializes in crafted cocktails that usually includes both maple and bacon. Both Courtney and I were so excited to try this place out since we love both of those food products and combined together, they are on point! I definitely recommend checking this place out if you are in Montréal.
Shop Your Heart Out:
Not only are the food and sights great to experience in Montréal, so is the shopping! Located on Rue Ste Catherine are big brand stores, adorable shops and boutiques as well as souvenir stands. Here, you can even walk down the street to the St. Lawrence River.
In addition to shopping on Rue Ste Catherine, Montréal has an epic underground mall, commonly referred to as the Underground City! The name also refers to the underground connections between the buildings that compose the network, in addition to the network’s complete integration with the city’s entirely underground rapid transit system. Located in the Underground City are high-end shops, restaurants and so much more!
Hike or Drive up to Mont Royal:
During our last morning in Montréal, Courtney and I grabbed some coffee at the famous Tim Horton’s and made our way over to Mont Royal, the iconic mountain from our hotel room that overlooks the entire city.
This great park offers great hiking trails and amazing views. During autumn, Mont Royal features some of the best fall foliage you will experience and in the wintertime, you could spot views of the snowcapped Laurentian Mountains from a distance. It is the perfect place to get your nature fix in Montréal.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about what to do during the wintertime in Montréal, Québec, Canada! If you have any questions about my time in Montréal, please feel free to send me an email at email@example.com, contact me via social media or leave a comment below.
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