Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and while I really favor visiting new places, there are others that capture my heart and make me come again and again. Montreal is such a place. This city is always on my mind when planning getaways; there are so many cool things to do in Montreal, especially in the summer when the weather is just magnificent. If you have never visit the Canadian city you are surely missing out, and if you are planning to go this year, you have to check my recommendations before you plan your trip.
It’s been 15 years since the first time I visited Montreal and I have to say it was love at first sight. I remember being in awe of the multilingual people of Montreal, their friendly demeanor and the delicious treats I got to enjoy. Its architectural beauty makes it a delight to walk around and makes the many things to do in Montreal even more enjoyable and fun.
It was May 16, 2002 when we headed to Montreal from Santo Domingo as I still lived there then. I will never forget the date because it was an election day in the Dominican Republic and there weren’t many cars on the road as that’s usually a holiday over there. The contrast of the weather was tough for me, because it was hot as usual in Santo Domingo, but it was cold in Montreal, so I struggled with that a little then. However, once I was able to go out and visit so many places I was so happy of being there.
Years later, while living in New York, my husband and I took a couple more trips during the summer and it was the perfect combination of the weather and even many more cool things to do in Montreal during the Formula 1 weekend. It is definitely a great scene and ambiance over there, and I’m sure we will go back with our kids so they can experience the magic.
In the meantime, here are my 10 favorite things to do in Montreal during their beautiful summer. Make sure you are prepared, because you’ll simply fall in love, like I did.
Things To Do In Montreal In The Summertime
- Enjoy The View at Mount Royal. This is probably my favorite spot in Montreal as you can see the city from the top after a nice walk around the park. It is beautiful both during the day and at night, but if you are not one to be captivated by night lights, your visit during a bright clear afternoon will not disappoint. I have visited at both times of the day and I love going while there is still sunlight but at the end of the afternoon. That way you get to experience the daylight view and then stick around for the night lights.
- Delight at Saint Joseph’s Oratory. While you visit Mount Royal, a mandatory stop is to go and view the magnificent Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. It is a huge site with a century of history that is embedded in the culture of Montreal. Montreal is the host of the largest Saint Joseph shrine in the world, and definitely a landmark of the city and Canada. I took a tour of the Oratory on my first visit and then went back there with my husband when we visited last. It is always an amazing sight, a beautiful architectural building and so much religious and cultural history in it. You can get there via public transportation and it is not far from downtown Montreal, which makes it easier to visit.
- Learning at Biodome de Montreal. If you are a nature lover, this is a must see. I will never forget that I saw a penguin for the first time at the Biodome in my first visit to Montreal. Here you can learn about the Canadian ecosystems while getting close to beautiful animals. For traveling families this is definitely a must see, a great opportunity for learning for the little ones and an overall a great experience for adults as well.
- Live The Magic of Cirque du Soleil. Nothing says more Montreal than going to see a show under the Grand Chapiteau at Cirque’s hometown. I couldn’t make a list of favorite things to do in Montreal without adding a night out that includes watching one of Cirque du Soleil shows, followed by a nice dinner in the surrounding areas. This is a plan that can fit both couples on a romantic vacation or as a family night if you are traveling with kids. Cirque is known around the world for the amazing creativity, acrobatics and imagination that is put into their shows. A truly magical experience!
- Visiting the Jean-Talon Market. Besides the mandatory shopping for gifts outing one does when traveling, walking through the Jean-Talon market is definitely one of my favorite things to do in Montreal. Marche Jean-Talon is beautiful and you can spend a few hours checking out the beautiful and fresh produce, the authentic maple syrup, the delicious fresh food you can eat there, and oh, so many flowers! It gives you a great sense of the vibe of the city as locals and tourist stroll the market looking for deals and to enjoy some deliciousness. You can get to the market via public transportation which makes it very easy to access.
- Admire The Notre-Dame Basilica. Located in the beautiful Old Montreal side of the city, his is one of those architectural pieces that you have to see. I’m not an expert in architecture, but it is impossible not to admire the amazing and colorful interior. The blue ceiling, golden ornaments and many beautiful details make the church one of the most beautiful landmarks and definitely one of the great things to do in Montreal. After taking a tour of the church, there are other beautiful buildings and interesting things to see in Old Montreal. You can plan to spend the afternoon strolling around.
- Great Fun at Crescent Street. If you are in the mood for nighttime fun and a vibrant environment, you definitely have to go to Crescent Street. Many of the great things to do in Montreal are happening there. This is what you might call the it place of any city, with several pubs and restaurants, great beer places, dancing and everything you look for to have a great night out. It’s iconic and an important part of the culture in Montreal. That’s the place we go after the Formula 1 race on that weekend and the vibe couldn’t be any better.
- Raise Your Adrenaline at Formula 1. For Formula 1 fans this is one of the best locations to go watch the race, especially if you are on this side of the world. However, even if you are not a fan of the race, this is one of the best weekends of the summer to visit Montreal; if you like big crowds and awesome parties everywhere. During the Formula 1 weekend there are many more things to do in Montreal than what you normally find, and that’s really, really cool if you ask me.
- Montreal Biosphere. Another landmark of the city of Montreal, the Biosphere is worth a visit. Besides having taken a cool picture of yourself in front of the globe, you can check out the environmental museum that is hosted there with information about sustainability.
- Eat Like The Locals. When you travel eating is a big part of the experience; getting to the local cuisine is crucial to learn about any culture. That’s why you need to have, in my opinion, three culinary experiences on your list of things to do in Montreal. In no particular order, make sure you try poutine, which is french fries with cheese, gravy and curds; it is one of Montreal’s staples and usually recommended for visitors. The second is going to Schwartz’s Deli and ordering a smoked meat sandwich; a highly popular and highly rated experience while visiting the city. Last but not least, my favorite treat, try a banana nutella crepe from a street vendor or going to a café on Crescent street.
As you can imagine, there are many more great things to do in Montreal and while I just share with you my favorite ones, I’m sure that once you visit this amazing city, you’ll fall in love with it, just like I did.