Located along the Saint Lawrence River, and named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill it’s built around, Montréal is the largest city in Quebec. Historically, Montréal was the commercial capital of Canada and remains an important city.  Host to the Montréal International Jazz Festival, the largest jazz festival in the world, and Just for Laughs, the largest comedy festival in the world, there is never a shortage of events to keep you entertained.

The Kanien’keha:ka Nation are the recognized custodians of the lands and waters. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabeg peoples also have strong ties to the area.

Touring Around Montréal

The cultural epicenter of Canada

Artisanal Exploration

Originally named the March́e du Nord, the Jean-Talon Market sits in the heart of Little Italy and is one of the largest open-air markets in North America. It is also one of the oldest in Montreal, inaugurated in May 1933, and is open year-round. Walls are erected around the market after the first frost so that patrons can shop in comfort.

Founded in 1860, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is the oldest art museum in Canada. It has more than 80 exhibition rooms, consisting of five interrelated pavilions, including the Bourgie concert hall, an auditorium-cinema, a boutique bookstore, a publishing house, a public art garden, and the Espace Michel de la Chenelière for education.

The museum is also one of the pioneers in the field of art therapy.

Vieux-Port de Montréal (Old Port of Montréal) and Le Vieux Montréal (Old Montréal)

Old Port Montréal (Vieux-Port De Montreal) stretches for over 2 Km along the Saint Lawrence River and was used as early as 1611 by the French fur traders as a trading post. The port offers visitors a taste of the local history, culture, and shopping. There is also the Clock Tower Beach and boat tours available for those who want to spend more time outdoors.

Old Port Montréal is also home to the Montréal Science Centre, and is host to multiple events and festivals throughout the year, such as Cirque du Soleil.

Old Montréal (Le Vieux Montréal), which is in the same area, is the historic, once-walled district of Montréal. Check out the Place D’Armes, the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, the Place Jacques-Cartier, and the Marché Bonsecours, a two-story domed public market.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Open daily, and inspired by Boston’s Fenway Market, the Time Out Market Montréal includes 16 restaurants, 3 bars, a demonstration kitchen, and a cooking school.

Iconic Montréal Eats

If you are looking for something you can grab on the go, but is also a Montreal staple, try a bagel at St-Viateur Bagel, Fairmount Bagel, or Bagel St-Lo. For those with a little more time to sit and relax, I recommend trying a Montreal smoked meat sandwich at either Schwartz’s Deli or Dunn’s.  

Getting Back to Nature

The Montréal Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in Montréal, with over 22,000 species of plants across 75 hectares, or 190 acres. With exhibition greenhouses and thematic gardens, and the Gardens of Light festival in the fall, one could easily spend two to three hours wandering the grounds.

One of Montréal’s oldest green spaces, Parc la Fontaine features two linked ponds with a fountain and waterfalls. Within the 34 hectares or 84 acres, visitors will also find the Théâtre de Verdure open-air venue, the Calixa-Lavallée cultural centre, a monument to Adam Dollard des Ormeaux, and tennis courts. In the winter visitors can spend time on an outdoor skating rink.

On top of a hill in the middle of the city, and west of the downtown area, Mount Royal Park was inaugurated in 1876 and spans 200 hectares, or 500 acres. Offering around 30 kilometres, or 18.6 miles, of trails to explore, visitors can spend approximately 45 minutes hiking up to one of the three summits. This is considered a moderate hike, and those who complete it are rewarded with spectacular views. The most popular lookout is the Belvédère Kondiaronk in front of the Chalet de Mont-Royal, which houses a café and public facilities.

Located at Olympic Park and inaugurated in 1992, the Biodôme was first built in 1976 as the velodrome for the Summer Olympic Games. The Biodome now allows visitors to walk through replicas of the five ecosystems found in the Americas and strives to help visitors better experience nature through educational activities and research and conservation initiatives.

If you would like any other suggestions on what to do on a free day in Montréal you can contact us at [email protected]

Tours Highlighting Montréal

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