Let’s face it, sometimes you’re just a tourist. Time is short or that’s just your style, it doesn’t matter. It happens that you have to see the highlights and be on your merry way. I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to experience the real Montréal and report back to you about what you must see. From the Fine Arts Museum to the Basilica of Notre Dame, there are so many beautiful and buzzing sights to see! Here it is in no particular order, my top ten sights to see in Montréal.
1. Eat Poutine If you take no other recommendation of mine, this is it. Eat poutine. The local Quebec dish is far from healthy, but it is delicious. To read my ravings about poutine, click here!
2. Contemporary Arts Museum The artwork in here is simply incredible. If you like modern art, and possibly even if you don’t, check this out. It is visually striking, different, and creative. Currently, works by David Altmejd are located there and they will not disappoint. From magic dream zebras, to “Flux,” it is sure to capture your imagination.
3. Fine Arts Museum I went the this museum twice, and I was never bored. Each time I explored a different area, and was very impressed each time. It contained the classic style of art that is normally found in art museums world wide. I would recommend going right the the local art from Quebec, as that is the most unique and something you won’t find many other places. (I also enjoyed the area with Inuit art!)
4. Jean-Talon Market A farmer’s market on steroids located in Little Italy, the Jean-Talon Market is full of beautiful, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Admittedly, I ate a complete meal one evening just walking around and trying samples. It’s also a great way to talk to locals! Most of the people working are more than happy to chat if it’s not too busy.
5. Botanical Gardens and the Olympic Stadium If you have time to go to the Botanical Gardens, I would highly recommend it. My favorite part was the Chinese garden, but I have a special place in my heart for Bonsai trees, so the Japanese garden was great too! Overall, it’s a beautiful area and nice place to spend an afternoon. The olympic stadium is right next door, along with the Tower of Montréal. It’s fun to take pictures in front of (I even went to the top when my sister visited me, but I would recommend saving your money and skipping that) especially the pedestal with olympic rings.
6. Notre Dame Basilica This is an absolute must-see. As you can see from the pictures, it is breathtaking and worth the small fee of $5 CAD.
7. Old Port Another nice area to walk around in and see the history around you. There is a museum at the port if you are interested, but I just enjoyed the view.
8. Cat Cafe This one is totally and completely a personal preference, but if you love animals you will probably love it. I’ve got a link for you right here to find out more about the cat cafe!
9. Mont-Royal: Tam Tams Because I could sing praises of this event all day, I will keep it short. Do yourself a favor and go to Montréal on a Sunday. On Sundays, the hippie crowd all gets together in the park area of Mont-Royal and they play their tam-tams together. Without practice, they play beautiful music all day. I am not exaggerating when I say that there is always at least one drum playing during the day. It’s such a fun atmosphere, and even if that’s not really your scene, it’s a fun thing to check out before going about the rest of your day.
10. Mont-Royal Overlook. If you can only pick one activity to do while in Montréal, you love beautiful views, and maybe a short hike, I have the perfect place for you. Head straight to Mont-Royal and right up to the overlook. On nice days, you’ll see people hiking, biking, jogging, and running up the steep stairs to the top of the overlook. There is also a gentler path in case you’re not interested in the stairs, so it accessible to nearly everyone!
So there you have it! Hope this has helped you with some trip planning or inspiration. What would you add to the list?