Arguably the most important cultural city in all of Canada, you'll not be short of activities that will expand your mind and amend your perspective, as well as plenty of "purty" places worth taking pictures of. Whether you're spending your time walking above and below ground in downtown, milling through the preserved centuries of Old Montreal or experiencing the cultural attractions dispersed around the rest of the city, you'll find Montreal to be a great place to immerse yourself.
Downtown is where you'll find the majority of attractions, cultural and otherwise, whether you are strolling the underground tunnels that connect six metro stations and shopping malls or traveling Saint Catherine or rue Sherbrooke ouest, which run parallel to each other and are home to plenty of museums, churches, and architectural standouts. These include the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and the Montreal Forum. For sports enthusiasts, a hockey game at the Bell Centre (Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal) is an essential stop.
A jaunt through Old Montreal is a chance to imagine the city as it was 200 years ago, with its cobblestoned streets, quaint public squares, and impressive old buildings. It also has the highest concentration of museums in the city, including the Montreal Science Center and Centre d'histoire de Montréal (houses the complete city history). The two main squares are the Place Jacques-Cartier, a pedestrian haven for street performers and chic eateries, and the Place d'Armes, which features the gorgeous Notre Dame Basilica. The old port (Vieux-Port) is worth a stop as well for a mixture of modern (Cirque de Soleil) and historic (the clock tower) attractions.
You shouldn't limit your Montreal experience to these two districts of the city, especially when there is plenty to draw you to neighborhoods like Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, where the Biodome and Olympic Stadium are good for a couple of hours time. You've also got Montreal's approximation of alternative culture in La Plateau, which runs adjacent to downtown, where you'll find well-tended green space, cool little cafes and suburban row houses. There are a few galleries and outdoor art spaces here as well (Carré Saint-Louis and Théâtre de Verdure are notable).
Trust us when we say that you'll not see a better encapsulation of Canada's diverse history in one place, whether you are frequenting the museums and parks or the less-traveled avenues of the city. For further information or travel ideas, consider our activity listings and start planning your trip to Montreal.