Montreal is the largest city in the Québec Province of Canada. It is also the second largest French-speaking city in the world. Complete with breathtaking natural beauty, amazing museums, great shopping options and vibrant markets, Montreal is a popular holiday destination. One of the highlights of this city is that it is deeply rooted in culture and the hundreds of festivals that happen here every year are a proof of it. If you happen to be in Quebec or anywhere in Canada for a holiday, do take the time to visit Montreal and check out these 10 amazing Montreal tourist attractions.
Located right in the middle of the city, Mont Royal is a part of a park with the same name. While the park offers several outdoor activities akin to USA’s Central Park (both designed by the same person), you should either bike or hike to the top of the mountain for the breathtaking view of the city. On the other hand, the park is a great place to spend time with family and friends, play a sport and just relax. If you visit Mont Royal on a Sunday, you would get to be a part of tam-tams, a gathering of dancers, drummers and vendors, aiming to have fun.
2.Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
If you are an art lover, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a place you would love. Home to more than 41,000 exhibits, you would find paintings, sculptures, drawings and paintings of everything from traditional fine arts to unique and quirky modern art. You would find art collections from Mediterranean Archaeology, world cultures as well as Islamic, Asian and African art. Some of the masterpieces you find here belong to Rembrandt, Veronese, Picasso, Rodin, Monet, Derain, etc. Along with the permanent exhibits, temporary or travelling exhibits are also showcased at this museum.
To understand any city, it is important to visit the place that has the roots of its origins. Old Montreal was found and built in the 17th century and houses several historic buildings. Walk along the streets of the old city and you would come across a museum of archaeology and history, an old but elegant church, old port and a gathering space. Though it is the oldest neighbourhood in the city, it has a young and lively vibe. Bike or walk along the waterfront or choose to dine at one of the several restaurants here; whatever it is, you would have a great time here.
A part of Old Montreal that needs special mention is the Notre-Dame Basilica. Built in 1829, this church represents the Gothic Revival style architecture and is the oldest one in Canada. The architecture of the building, its religious paintings and stained-glass windows would want you to explore the interiors of the place too, and you would not be disappointed. Join the 20 minute guided tour where you would get to know more about the art, architecture and history of the place. If you want to know more, there is a one hour tour that would take you even further into the church and give access to galleries, sacristy, etc.
Those interested to know how the Canadians lived in the past would have a delightful time at the McCord Museum. You would find more than 20,000 objects including clothing, accessories, textiles, quilts, etc. belonging to the native people in this museum. Apart from this, the museum also displays household items, furniture, glass, silver, ceramics, weapons used in war, ceremonial items, fishing and hunting equipment, domestic implements, etc. In short, you get the chance to peak into the social history of the Canadians with a visit to this museum.
6.St. Joseph’s Oratory
St. Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada and its main feature is its huge roof that measures 97 meters. The church is dedicated to the patron saint of Canada and a tour of St. Joseph’s Oratory would take you to the original chapel, the Basilica and the gardens. It even has a museum that displays artistic and religions art or exhibits. Apart from all this, you also get to see an amazing view of the city if you climb the long series of steps of the church.
7.Montreal Botanical Gardens
If you want to spend time outdoors, the Montreal Botanical Gardens would be your best bet. Spread around an area of 75 hectares area, the Botanical Garden has 10 greenhouses and around 30 themed gardens. Some of the best greenhouses are ferns, orchids, rainforest, bonsai, miniature Chinese trees, etc. Check out the themed gardens including Chinese, Japanese, rose, alpine, aquatic, toxic and medicinal. The garden also has an Insectarium, where you would find over 250,000 specimens of both naturalized and living insects. Kids would also love to play at BuzzGround, a fun play area in the park.
8.Atwater and Jean-Talon Market
If you do not want to spend your whole holiday sightseeing and want to have a taste of the local life of people of Montreal, head to the markets of Atwater and Jean-Talon. Both are farmers’ markets where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, bread, cheese, meat, flowers, baked goods, speciality foods, etc. You can also take home candies, maple syrup, homemade jams and preserved, etc. There are also several cafes, eateries and restaurants, where you can sample the local cuisine. Even if you do not want to buy anything, visit either of the cafes to enjoy the ambience of the place.
9.Montreal Holocaust Museum
Although Montreal is home to several amazing museums, one you must not miss is the Montreal Holocaust Museum. The museum exhibits the experiences of holocaust survivors through certain objects and testimonials. During the two hours you spend at the museum, you would get to know about genocide and the personal experiences of the terrible holocaust through images and videos. Be it young or old, this museum would surely move and touch people of all ages.
10.Montreal Food Tour
For many of us, holidaying in a new place cannot be complete without trying the local food. Moreover, Montreal has an array of restaurants, both casual and fine dining, where you would get to try the local delicacies. One of the most classic French Canadian dish you must try here is the poutine, which is a mix of cheese curds, chips and gravy. You must also try smoked meat, honey-infused bagel and coffee in Montreal. Wherever you go in the city, you are not far from a restaurant that serves the most delicious food.
These 10 things to do in Montreal would keep you engaged and entertained during your holiday. However, there are several other things in Montreal that you should check out, if time permits.