Are you planning a trip to Montreal? Not sure where to go and which activities are worth visiting? We know Montreal is a popular city and there are plenty of interesting things to do. There’s a mixture of historic buildings, modern architecture, fun museums, and lots to learn about Montreal’s cultural evolution. We’ve looked into all the popular attractions to ensure you pick the best places to experience on your next trip to this Canadian city. Read on for our list of fun things to do in Montreal.
1. Scenic Cruises
What better way to explore a city covering most of an island, than from the water? See the St. Lawrence River on a cruise aboard Le Bateau-Mouche. You’ll glide past major attractions like the Olympic Stadium, the Clock Tower, and the Biosphère. Arrive early so you can pick a seat on the terrace, main deck, or upper deck for unparalleled views of Montreal. Alternatively, you may want to enjoy an extended 3.5-hour cruise that includes a romantic dinner. You’ll be served a 4-course meal made from authentic local produce. During the night, there’ll be a live music band playing as well as a unique sound and lighting show at the end of the cruise.
2. Botanic Gardens
It’s time to surround yourself with the beauty of nature in the Botanical Garden. Explore the biodiversity of over 22,000 plant species as they are showcased in 10 exhibition greenhouses. Moreover, it has 30 uniquely-themed gardens – all spread out over 75 hectares of land. The Montreal attraction is one of the world’s most important botanical gardens. Specifically, this is due to the impressive facilities, and extensiveness of its plant collection. If you’re visiting Montreal with kids looking for fun, they’ll love the life-like garden sculptures.
3. Old Port of Montreal
Get ready to experience the bustling vibe of the Old Port of Montreal. More importantly, it was the city’s center of sea trade in the 17th century. After being neglected during the 1970s, it has since been transformed into a dynamic waterfront district. Here, you will have an abundance of entertainment options, such as the Old Montreal Ferris Wheel, Montreal, and Science Centre. Furthermore, there is an urban beach (Place de l’Horloge) in the summer. On the other hand, there is a spacious outdoor skating rink during the winter, the Montreal Clock Tower, and an IMAX cinema. Besides walking, you can also explore the area by bike, segways, onboard a river cruise, or paddle boats.
4. Voiles en Voiles
Nested in the Old Port of Montreal, Voiles en Voiles is a family-oriented adventure park. The park features 10 aerial courses that are set on two spectacular life-size pirate ships. The courses are as low as 2 feet from the ground, which is perfect for young children, and as high as 35 feet above the ground. It is super fun and you get to have some amazing views from Old Montreal, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. The park was designed with kids in mind, but adults will also have a lot of fun climbing abroad those giant ships. Other activities include a 5D Movie Theatre, climbing wall, merry-go-round, inflatable games, and an archery tag arena. For the holiday season in December and January, Voiles en Voiles transforms into a winter theme park.
5. Art Galleries
Montreal is well-known for its art scene. Indeed, this is evident in the number of art galleries, and street art & murals in various neighborhoods. Get a taste of the vibrant art scene by checking out some of Montreal’s art galleries. Likewise, the Phi Centre is where you will witness art in almost every imaginable form. Go through the site’s art gallery, performance space, theatre, production facilities, and cinema. Don’t forget to visit the DHC/Art Fondation pour l’art contemporain (Foundation for Contemporary Art). It consists of two splendid buildings in Old Montreal and annually features two to three long-running exhibitions. Another option is to explore the world of street art at the Freshpaint Gallery. It comes up with art and temporary installations in some of the city’s vacant spots.
6. Montreal Tower & Olympic Stadium
The one in Pisa isn’t the only impressive leaning tower! Meet the Montreal Tower, the world’s tallest inclined or leaning tower soaring at 165 meters with a 45-degree angle. Ride to the top of the tower on a glass-encased funicular. It is the only one in the world to operate using a curved construction. Experience stunning 360-degree views – awarded the highest rating of three stars by the Michelin Guide. And of course, you don’t want to miss the Olympic Stadium. The doughnut-shaped structure was built for the 1976 Summer Olympics. If you visit on a day with a major event, there’ll definitely be a fun carnival atmosphere.
7. Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium
The awe-inspiring eco-responsible structure of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is home to a unique take on astronomy. Learning about space is made more fascinating with visually stunning animation, images, multimedia games, and projections. This is where you will develop a deeper appreciation of the link between the sky and life on Earth. The planetarium, along with the Biodome, Jardin Botanique, and Insectarium, forms the Montreal Space for Life. It is Canada’s most comprehensive concentration of natural science museums. Aside from the exhibits on astronomy and space, the planetarium also houses two separate theaters.
8. Ecomuseum Zoo
Your list of fun things to do in Montreal will not be complete without the Ecomuseum Zoo. In the only outdoor zoo in Montreal, you will see animal species from Quebec in their naturally captivating surroundings. All the animals housed by the zoo cannot go back to the wild due to various reasons. Some were injured, orphaned, or raised by people. The Ecomuseum Zoo provides a caring, permanent home where the animals can be protected while in a natural setting. Some animals you can expect to see on tour include hawks, eagles, owls, the American Porcupine, Arctic Fox, waterfowl, and ducks. Indoors, the “From Light to Dark” exhibit features small nocturnal mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
9. Montreal Indoor Skydiving
Have you ever wondered how it feels like to fly? Take a leap and enjoy the fun experience of going indoor skydiving in a wind tunnel. SkyVenture Montreal lets you defy the law of gravity by skydiving in a safe indoor environment, using a free fall simulator. No experience is necessary, and you can skydive alone or share the thrill with your family and loved ones! Safety equipment and training are provided before the actual free fall session.
10. Urban Zipline Adventure
An urban zipline adventure is just what you need to explore Montreal from a different perspective. This ride may look adventurous, but it’s a fun ride through the Old Port skies. It starts with climbing the Montreal Clock Tower. At the top, you have panoramic views while the instructor briefs you on the safety rules and procedures. Once you’re ready, you’ll speed through 1,200 feet of a biplane on top of the Old Port of Montreal. After the zipline, take home a souvenir photo as proof of your bravery!
11. Biosphere – Environment Museum
The Montreal Biosphere is the only museum dedicated to the environment, in North America. This architectural marvel is located at Parc Jean-Drapeau, in the former United States pavilion for the Expo 67 World Fair in 1967. It has since been turned into an interactive museum. You’ll see exhibitions that tackle crucial climate change issues that involve air, water, sustainable development, and eco-technologies. The Biosphere’s animated activities also teach how solutions can be done daily, to protect the environment from further harm. If you have a family with young kids, this is a great place to visit.
12. St Lawrence River
Montreal sits on the shores of North America’s most notable river – St. Lawrence River. There are several fun ways to experience the grandeur of this historic river, depending on what activity you prefer. Go on a leisurely bike tour along the river and enjoy the majestic river view, along with the impressive architecture of Old Montreal. If you have a need for speed, hop on a jet ski and feel as free as the wind while gliding on the St. Lawrence River. For active travelers, you may prefer a sea kayaking tour. But by far the most popular option catching a sightseeing cruise and relaxing along the river.
13. Montreal City Sightseeing
One of the most fun ways to explore Montreal is through a sightseeing tour with a professional tour guide. As you cruise around the city on a comfortable coach, you will also learn the most important things about each landmark you pass. Get to see Olympia Park, which was where the 1976 Summer Olympics were held. Many tours offer a stop at Mount Royal Park which has breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and downtown Montreal. This is also where you will see St, Joseph’s Oratory, one of the most visited shrines in the world. Experience the historic charm of Old Montreal, the old city center. Soak in the culture of the French Quarter on your way to see the Notre-Dame Basilica’s majestic structure. Other fun highlights on sightseeing tours include Chinatown, Bonsecours Market, and Place Ville Marie.
14. Montreal Underground City
Montreal has the largest underground network, and it is just waiting to be explored. Especially on cold rainy days. The whole network covers 33 kilometers, with four transit stations, 10,000 parking spaces, and about a hundred buildings. Some of the things you’ll see include glass murals, a section of the Berlin Wall, an old national bank vault, and a four-story water fountain. There are even 10 hotels and 265 restaurants underground. You can spend most of your time in Montreal underground without missing a lot from the top!
15. Beer & Brewery
Get to know Montreal through guided tours of breweries and distilleries in the city. Explore Cirka Distilleries, the first distillery to properly distill alcohol in Montreal. Head on to a cooperative brewing facility a place known for kombucha cocktails and tea. Or, spend a few hours with exclusive access to brewing facilities, where the guide will expertly tell you about Montreal’s beer history. Quench your thirst with a few craft beer samplers as you explore the Old Port of Montreal. Cap off the fun experience with a visit to a speakeasy with a secret subterranean entrance.
16. Local Food Tasting
Get to know Montreal through its local food districts – and their corresponding sumptuous secrets just waiting to be revealed. The enticing French pastries and delicacies in Old Montreal show the area’s rich French heritage. Meet talented local chefs and try the cuisines that make up Chinatown. For something different, join one of Montreal’s most historic and prominent Jewish communities with a food tour. You’ll get a taste of smoked meat deli, a kosher bakery, and the renowned Montreal bagel. Alternatively, discover how big the food truck industry has become in Montreal by going on a bike tour. Like with any food tour, make sure you have an empty stomach so you can taste everything along the way.
As you can see, there are plenty of fun things to do in Montreal. This popular Canadian city is ideal for families, kids, history buffs, adrenaline junkies, and keen explorers. However you define fun, you’ll be spoiled for choices if you’re after fun activities or attractions to visit in Montreal.