A beautiful city which is just a couple of hours from the border with the USA, Montreal is a Canadian city which is brimming with historical places, foodie experiences, and plenty of culture. Here are 7 fabulous reasons to visit Montreal ASAP!
All the galleries and museums
For those who enjoy their weekend getaways served with a side of art galleries, history museums, and modern art exhibits, Montreal provides just the ticket. Some of the best museums in the city include the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which is free for under 30s, as well as McGill University’s very own cultural space, Museum Redpath, which is free for everyone to enjoy.
If modern art is more your thing, be sure to check out the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) for short, which also happens to be free on certain evenings and regularly holds book events and the like. While in the city, there’s also plenty of street art to admire, and festivals are held throughout the year, particularly in the Quartier des Spectacles (the entertainment district).
Plenty of history
And while we’re on the subject of galleries and museums, it’s worth noting that Montréal is home to plenty of history. Highlights of Montreal include Chateau de Ramezay, a 17th-century former family mansion, as well as the Notre Dame Basilica.
Situated in the historic district of Old Montreal, this ecclesiastical building is home to some of the best Gothic Revival architecture in the world. Elsewhere in the city, history can be found around pretty much every corner; from the cobbled lanes of the Vieux Port to the Mount Royal Cemetery. Of all the best things to do in Montreal, going in search of history more than certainly tops the list…
The food and drink scene
For foodie lovers, Montreal likely needs no introcution. From maple syrup, a speciality so synonymous with Canada that the tree’s leaf even appears on Canadian flags to Bagels (the real question is: does Montreal or New York make the better bagel?), there’s no shortage of foodie experiences to be had.
For the meat eaters out there, you can’t visit Montreal and miss out on poutine. If you’re not in the know about this Quebecois delicacy, it’s cheese curds sprinkled over chips and smothered in gravy- much more delicious than it sounds. Otherwise, smoked meat sandwiches are particularly popular!
Breathtaking views of the bay and beyond
While Canada is best-known for its wild landscapes and rugged terrain, the country also has a whole lot of beautiful urban scenes. One of the best views to be found in Montreal, and indeed the land beyond the city, is that from the Oratoire St Joseph, a Roman Catholic church completed in 1967.
If you prefer to go on a little hike and escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city, then I recommend visiting Parc Mont Royal, a volcanic hill in the heart of the city. The hill actually gave its name to the city and provides some of the best views of the skyscrapers that are so synonymous with Montreal’s skyline.
A European vibe
Though it may be situated in North America, Montréal has a particularly ‘European’ ambiance to it. Head to St-Paul Street for the best of Europe. The road follows the line of a former fort and is the oldest established street in the city.
Once the main way to get through Montreal, Saint-Paul was first opened to the public during the 17th-century. While there, be sure to check out the Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel (constructed in 1771, this is one of the oldest churches in Montreal), as well as the Bonsecours Market (a beautiful domed building now home to plenty of boutiques and independent stores).
The city itself is divided into several neighbourhoods, Plateau Mont-Royal and Little Italy to name but a couple. If you’re looking for the best food market in town, then you simply need to pay a visit to the Jean-Talon market in the heart of Little Italy.
For those wishing to visit a hipster coffee shop, or simply shop some vintage ware, then a trip to the student district of Plateau Mont-Royal is an absolute must! And if you want a little more luxury, then the Mile End area of the city offers plenty of boutiques and independent stores selling everything from stationery to clothing.
Learn some science
You may not know this, but Montreal is home to some of the best botanical gardens and biodomes in North America. Highlights of the city’s science scene include the Montreal Botanical Gardens (one of the most important green spaces of its kind in the world), and the biodome (situated in the Olympic Park, this dome houses replicas of four different ecosystems found in North America).