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Montreal Bucket List: 50 Things to Do Before You Leave

Introduction

Montreal, a city that dances to its own rhythm, is a place where history meets modernity, where every street corner whispers tales of the past and every festival celebrates the now. Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, an art lover, or an adventure seeker, Montreal has something to offer. If you’re planning to stay awhile, finding a reliable moving company in Montreal can make your transition smoother. Here’s the ultimate Montreal bucket list, packed with 50 unforgettable experiences you simply can’t miss before leaving this vibrant city.

1. Explore Old Montreal

Old Montreal is a charming mix of cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and cultural landmarks. Start your journey at the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica, a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture. Don’t miss the chance to see the stunning light show, AURA, which illuminates the basilica in a breathtaking spectacle.

Wander through the Old Port and enjoy its bustling atmosphere. From street performers to quaint cafes, there’s always something happening. Visit the Pointe-à-Callière Museum to delve into the city’s rich history, tracing its roots from Indigenous times to the present day.

2. Savor the Flavors at Jean-Talon Market

Jean-Talon Market, one of the largest public markets in North America, is a feast for the senses. Located in the Little Italy district, it’s a paradise for food lovers. Sample fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and baked goods. Don’t leave without trying a Montreal bagel from St-Viateur Bagel or a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s Deli.

3. Climb Mount Royal

Mount Royal, the heart of Montreal, offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Take a leisurely hike or bike ride up the mountain. In winter, try cross-country skiing or ice skating at Beaver Lake. The Kondiaronk Belvedere is the perfect spot for a selfie with the city skyline as your backdrop.

4. Discover the Underground City

Montreal’s Underground City, or RÉSO, is a network of interconnected complexes beneath the city. Spanning over 33 kilometers, it’s perfect for shopping, dining, and escaping the winter chill. Explore its many shops, cafes, and even attend a film at the Cineplex Odeon.

5. Attend a Festival

Montreal is known as the city of festivals. From the Montreal International Jazz Festival to the Just for Laughs comedy festival, there’s always something to celebrate. Check out the Montréal en Lumière festival in winter, which combines gastronomy, art, and outdoor activities.

6. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a treasure trove of art, from classical to contemporary. Explore its extensive collection, including works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Canadian artists like the Group of Seven. Don’t miss the Bourgie Hall, a stunning concert venue within the museum.

7. Wander Through Plateau Mont-Royal

The Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood is famous for its bohemian vibe, colorful murals, and vibrant nightlife. Stroll along Saint-Denis Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard for a taste of the local culture. Pop into quirky shops, trendy cafes, and enjoy a night out at one of the many bars and clubs.

8. Take a Day Trip to Mont Tremblant

Just a couple of hours from Montreal, Mont Tremblant offers year-round outdoor activities. In winter, hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding. In summer, enjoy hiking, biking, and the stunning Lake Tremblant. The charming village at the base of the mountain is perfect for a relaxing stroll.

9. Explore the Montreal Biodome

The Montreal Biodome allows you to experience five different ecosystems under one roof. Walk through a tropical rainforest, a Laurentian forest, the Saint Lawrence Marine ecosystem, a polar area, and the sub-Antarctic Islands. It’s an educational and fun experience for all ages.

10. Dine in Little Italy

Little Italy is a foodie’s paradise. Indulge in authentic Italian cuisine at restaurants like Da Emma and Bottega Pizzeria. Visit the Church of the Madonna della Difesa, a beautiful historic church, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the Jean-Talon Market, which is in the heart of the district.

11. Experience Montreal’s Nightlife

Montreal’s nightlife is legendary. Whether you prefer a laid-back pub, a trendy cocktail bar, or an energetic nightclub, the city has it all. Head to Crescent Street for a lively atmosphere or Boulevard Saint-Laurent for a more eclectic scene.

12. Walk Along the Lachine Canal

The Lachine Canal offers a peaceful escape from the city hustle. Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or bike and explore the scenic waterway. The canal’s paths are perfect for a leisurely stroll, and you’ll find plenty of spots for a picnic along the way.

13. Marvel at Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Saint Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada and a site of pilgrimage. Located on Mount Royal, it offers breathtaking views of the city. Explore the basilica, light a candle, and take a moment for quiet reflection in the serene gardens.

14. Explore the McCord Museum

The McCord Museum showcases Montreal’s social history, with a focus on the city’s diverse communities. Exhibits range from fashion and photography to Indigenous artifacts. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the cultural tapestry that makes up Montreal.

15. Enjoy a Day at La Ronde

La Ronde, Montreal’s largest amusement park, is perfect for thrill-seekers and families alike. With over 40 rides and attractions, including roller coasters and water rides, there’s no shortage of fun. Don’t miss the International des Feux Loto-Québec, a spectacular fireworks competition held in the summer.

16. Visit the Montreal Science Centre

The Montreal Science Centre offers interactive exhibits that are both educational and entertaining. It’s a great place for families, with exhibits on technology, the human body, and the environment. The IMAX theatre is also a must-visit for an immersive film experience.

17. Taste Poutine

No trip to Montreal is complete without trying poutine. This quintessential Quebec dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy is a must-try. Visit La Banquise, which offers a variety of poutine options, from classic to creative toppings.

18. Explore the Botanical Garden

The Montreal Botanical Garden is one of the largest of its kind in the world. With over 22,000 plant species, it’s a haven for nature lovers. Don’t miss the themed gardens, like the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden, which are especially beautiful during the lantern festival.

19. Discover the Montreal Insectarium

Adjacent to the Botanical Garden, the Montreal Insectarium is home to thousands of insect species. It’s a fascinating and educational experience, especially for kids. Learn about the vital role insects play in our ecosystem and marvel at the colorful butterflies and beetles.

20. Visit the Biosphere

Located on Île Sainte-Hélène, the Biosphere is an environmental museum housed in a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. Explore exhibits on sustainability and the environment, and enjoy the panoramic views of Montreal from the observation deck.

21. Shop on Sainte-Catherine Street

Sainte-Catherine Street is Montreal’s main shopping artery, lined with stores, restaurants, and cafes. Whether you’re looking for high-end boutiques or unique local shops, you’ll find it here. Don’t miss Les Cours Mont-Royal, a historic building turned shopping center.

22. Take a Cruise on the St. Lawrence River

Experience Montreal from a different perspective with a cruise on the St. Lawrence River. Whether you choose a daytime sightseeing cruise or an evening dinner

cruise, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the city skyline and the surrounding landscapes.

23. Attend a Hockey Game at the Bell Centre

Hockey is more than just a sport in Montreal; it’s a way of life. Catch a Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre and feel the energy of the passionate fans. If you’re visiting outside of hockey season, you can still tour the Bell Centre and learn about the team’s storied history.

24. Discover the Atwater Market

Located near the Lachine Canal, Atwater Market is known for its fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. It’s a great place to pick up ingredients for a picnic or to enjoy a meal at one of the market’s food stalls. The market’s Art Deco architecture is also worth admiring.

25. Visit the Montreal Planetarium

The Montreal Planetarium offers an out-of-this-world experience with its immersive shows and interactive exhibits. Learn about the cosmos, explore the stars, and experience the wonders of space in the state-of-the-art theatres.

26. Explore Mile End

Mile End is one of Montreal’s trendiest neighborhoods, known for its artsy vibe and diverse community. Wander through its streets and discover charming cafes, vintage shops, and art galleries. Don’t miss Fairmount Bagel, a local institution.

27. Experience the Montreal International Fireworks Competition

Held annually at La Ronde, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition is a dazzling display of pyrotechnics. Countries from around the world compete to create the most spectacular fireworks show, lighting up the Montreal sky in a breathtaking spectacle.

28. Visit the Redpath Museum

Located on the McGill University campus, the Redpath Museum is a hidden gem. It features exhibits on natural history, including dinosaur fossils, minerals, and cultural artifacts from around the world. It’s a fascinating place for curious minds of all ages.

29. Enjoy a Show at Place des Arts

Place des Arts is Montreal’s premier performing arts complex. Catch a ballet, opera, symphony, or theatre performance in one of its many venues. The Quartier des Spectacles surrounding Place des Arts is also a lively area with outdoor events and public art installations.

30. Explore the Montreal Archaeology and History Complex

Also known as the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, this complex offers a deep dive into Montreal’s past. Explore archaeological remains, multimedia exhibits, and artifacts that tell the story of the city’s development from its Indigenous origins to the present day.

31. Dine at a BYOB Restaurant

Montreal’s Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) restaurant scene is vibrant and unique. Enjoy gourmet meals at restaurants like Le Quartier Général or O’Thym while bringing your own favorite wine. It’s a great way to enjoy fine dining without breaking the bank.

32. Visit the Montreal Holocaust Museum

The Montreal Holocaust Museum educates visitors about the Holocaust through personal stories, artifacts, and interactive exhibits. It’s a powerful and moving experience that underscores the importance of remembering and learning from history.

33. Explore Chinatown

Montreal’s Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood with vibrant shops, restaurants, and cultural landmarks. Try dim sum at Kam Fung, browse the markets for unique finds, and visit the Chinese Garden at the Botanical Garden for a peaceful retreat.

34. Take a Bike Tour

Montreal is a bike-friendly city with over 800 kilometers of bike paths. Rent a bike and take a guided tour to explore the city’s neighborhoods, parks, and landmarks. It’s an eco-friendly way to see the sights and get some exercise.

35. Visit the Montreal Aviation Museum

Located at the St. Hubert Airport, the Montreal Aviation Museum showcases the history of aviation in Canada. See vintage aircraft, aviation artifacts, and learn about the pioneers of flight. It’s a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts.

36. Enjoy a Day at Parc Jean-Drapeau

Parc Jean-Drapeau, located on two islands in the St. Lawrence River, offers a variety of outdoor activities. Visit the Biosphere, relax at the Jean-Doré Beach, and explore the Stewart Museum. In summer, don’t miss the Osheaga Music Festival held here.

37. Experience the Montreal Science Centre

The Montreal Science Centre offers interactive exhibits that are both educational and entertaining. It’s a great place for families, with exhibits on technology, the human body, and the environment. The IMAX theatre is also a must-visit for an immersive film experience.

38. Taste Local Craft Beer

Montreal’s craft beer scene is thriving. Visit breweries like Dieu du Ciel!, Brasserie Harricana, and Benelux to sample unique and flavorful brews. Take a brewery tour to learn about the brewing process and the creativity behind each beer.

39. Visit the Montreal Botanical Garden

The Montreal Botanical Garden is one of the largest of its kind in the world. With over 22,000 plant species, it’s a haven for nature lovers. Don’t miss the themed gardens, like the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden, which are especially beautiful during the lantern festival.

40. Explore the Montreal Insectarium

Adjacent to the Botanical Garden, the Montreal Insectarium is home to thousands of insect species. It’s a fascinating and educational experience, especially for kids. Learn about the vital role insects play in our ecosystem and marvel at the colorful butterflies and beetles.

41. Visit the Biosphere

Located on Île Sainte-Hélène, the Biosphere is an environmental museum housed in a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. Explore exhibits on sustainability and the environment, and enjoy the panoramic views of Montreal from the observation deck.

42. Shop on Sainte-Catherine Street

Sainte-Catherine Street is Montreal’s main shopping artery, lined with stores, restaurants, and cafes. Whether you’re looking for high-end boutiques or unique local shops, you’ll find it here. Don’t miss Les Cours Mont-Royal, a historic building turned shopping center.

43. Take a Cruise on the St. Lawrence River

Experience Montreal from a different perspective with a cruise on the St. Lawrence River. Whether you choose a daytime sightseeing cruise or an evening dinner cruise, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the city skyline and the surrounding landscapes.

44. Attend a Hockey Game at the Bell Centre

Hockey is more than just a sport in Montreal; it’s a way of life. Catch a Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre and feel the energy of the passionate fans. If you’re visiting outside of hockey season, you can still tour the Bell Centre and learn about the team’s storied history.

45. Discover the Atwater Market

Located near the Lachine Canal, Atwater Market is known for its fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. It’s a great place to pick up ingredients for a picnic or to enjoy a meal at one of the market’s food stalls. The market’s Art Deco architecture is also worth admiring.

46. Visit the Montreal Planetarium

The Montreal Planetarium offers an out-of-this-world experience with its immersive shows and interactive exhibits. Learn about the cosmos, explore the stars, and experience the wonders of space in the state-of-the-art theatres.

47. Explore Mile End

Mile End is one of Montreal’s trendiest neighborhoods, known for its artsy vibe and diverse community. Wander through its streets and discover charming cafes, vintage shops, and art galleries. Don’t miss Fairmount Bagel, a local institution.

48. Experience the Montreal International Fireworks Competition

Held annually at La Ronde, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition is a dazzling display of pyrotechnics. Countries from around the world compete to create the most spectacular fireworks show, lighting up the Montreal sky in a breathtaking spectacle.

49. Visit the Redpath Museum

Located on the McGill University campus, the Redpath Museum is a hidden gem. It features exhibits on natural history, including dinosaur fossils, minerals, and cultural artifacts from around the world. It’s a fascinating place for curious minds of all ages.

50. Enjoy a Show at Place des Arts

Place des Arts is Montreal’s premier performing arts complex. Catch a ballet, opera, symphony, or theatre performance in one

of its many venues. The Quartier des Spectacles surrounding Place des Arts is also a lively area with outdoor events and public art installations.

FAQs

  1. What is the best time to visit Montreal? The best time to visit Montreal is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and the city hosts numerous festivals.
  2. How do I get around Montreal? Montreal has an excellent public transportation system, including buses and the metro. Biking and walking are also popular, especially in the summer.
  3. Is Montreal a safe city? Yes, Montreal is considered a safe city for tourists. However, as with any major city, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and take basic precautions.
  4. What are some must-try foods in Montreal? Don’t miss trying poutine, Montreal bagels, and smoked meat sandwiches. The city’s diverse culinary scene also offers fantastic international cuisine.
  5. Are there any free attractions in Montreal? Yes, many attractions in Montreal are free, including Mount Royal, Old Montreal, and numerous parks and festivals.
  6. What language is spoken in Montreal? Montreal is a bilingual city, with both French and English widely spoken. Most people in the service industry speak both languages.

Conclusion

Montreal is a city that captivates with its unique blend of old-world charm and modern vitality. From its historical landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods to its delicious food and lively festivals, there’s something for everyone. This ultimate Montreal bucket list ensures you won’t miss any of the must-see sights and experiences. So pack your bags and get ready to explore all that this incredible city has to offer.

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