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Things to Keep in Mind When Visiting Montreal

Visit Montreal

Things to Keep in Mind When Visiting Montreal

Are you planning a trip to the capital of Quebec? Know that it’s one of the safest choices you can make.

For years, Montreal has enjoyed a steady decline in crime rates. That’s why it’s one of Canada’s safest cities and, not to mention, among the most exciting to visit.

It’s a culinary capital and a city that parties almost all the time, to start with. The city is home to some impressive sights and attractions you need to check out.

If you want to make the best of your trip, there are some things you should know about in advance.

It’s A Festive City

Long considered one of Canada’s liveliest cities, there’s not a month where you can’t find some exciting events to attend. 

But it’s between the city’s warmest months of June and September that Montreal really comes alive. That’s when you can find something going on in almost any neighborhood. The city hosts open-air markets, music events, and so much more.

Old Montreal often hosts some of the city’s best outdoor festivals. And it’s also one of the busiest food centers. That’s why visiting it is a priority on the list of things to do in Montreal.

You Can Enter Bars if You’re 18

The legal drinking age comes a bit earlier in Montreal, compared to the rest of Canada. 

Most regions in the country have a legal drinking age of 19. But here, you can start touring the city’s amazing pubs and clubs starting at the age of 18. It makes the city a highly attractive vacation destination for the younger crowds.

That said, it’s important to know that the local crafts are stronger than your average brews – make no mistake about it. Ordering a pint in most bars can have you taking in alcohol levels in the double digits.

It also pays off to know some of the signs when on a night out. For example, the 5-a-7 sign indicates Happy Hours. Keep an eye out for it if you’re traveling on a tight budget.

Mind the Traffic Laws

Montreal has some unique traffic laws. That’s why most people that book a trip want to know about the things to do in Montreal, especially in this aspect.

Well, here’s one thing you shouldn’t – taking a right turn on red.

It’s essential to keep in mind as it’s legal in many parts of the US and the rest of Quebec. It’s easy to get a ticket if you’re traveling by car and forget this law.

A Bilingual City

Most Canadian cities are bilingual, but Montreal does favor the French language. In fact, the city is the second-largest in the world that has French as its official language.

Granted, most statistics agree that around 60% of Montreal residents speak English. So it won’t be difficult to get around and converse with the locals.

But some basic French knowledge can go a long way towards ensuring you always get great service.

Not the Best Transport Infrastructure

Traveling around Montreal is not difficult, but it can be if you want to rely on a car. It’s because traffic can be difficult in some areas due to the narrower city streets.

Parking can also pose some difficulties. That’s why most tourists and residents prefer Uber, taxis, or the metro system. Public transportation has a nice flow and there are 68 metro stations in Montreal. Meanwhile, buses keep a strict schedule and come every 10 minutes.

Of course, there’s always the option to see the city on foot, which provides you with the best views. Just know that there are alternatives to hit all the hotspots if you’re not there for an extended stay.

It’s Cheaper Than Other Canadian Cities

Montreal is not one of the cheapest spots in Canada. But as far as popular tourist destinations go, Montreal is affordable enough.

There are tons of cheap activities in Montreal and even lots of free activities for kids. Accommodations, food, and drinks are affordable, too, even during peak tourist activity.

But if you’re not careful, you can easily blow your entire budget. Attending the city’s festivals can provide many opportunities to stock up on little trinkets and gifts for back home and you may not notice how much you’ve already spent.

When and How to Travel

The fastest way to get to Montreal is by plane. And its international airport, the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport, is less than eight miles outside the city.

There are also three ideal periods to visit the city if you want maximum excitement and great weather.

You can enjoy the warmest months between June and September. But some tourists prefer to visit between March and May or September to November. Even then, the relatively mild weather allows you to partake in almost any outdoor activities.

Besides, one of the best things to do in Montreal is to skate on the waterfront ice rink. So you might not want to cross out a visit during the cold months.

If you need another reason to consider a winter vacation, the higher number of vacancies outside the summer months should help you get a better deal on your accommodations.

Keep in mind that Montreal’s winter months can be harsh on those used to warmer climates. Although winter is beautiful in the heart of Quebec, not everyone can appreciate the cold. That’s unless the purpose of your trip revolves around skiing. In that case, Montreal is an excellent choice for a winter vacation.

Give It at Least Five Days

Montreal has its fair share of sights and attractions, not to mention activities. You simply can’t get a complete experience if you don’t spend enough time.

A five-day vacation is perhaps the minimum that you can stay there if you want to see and do a bit of everything.

Prepare to do some sightseeing and enjoy some of the best food in the world. The city’s devotion to international and local cuisine make it a central hub for foodies from all over the world.

Just don’t forget that the city has some unique quirks. Learning them will help you go through your vacation without hiccups.

Montreal

Visit the Botanical Garden (And 11 Other Amazing Things to Do in Montreal)

Amazing Things to do in Montreal

Visit the Botanical Garden (And 11 Other Amazing Things to Do in Montreal)

There’s much to see, but not enough time for everything. Make sure to make your trip to Montreal count.

Not far away from upstate New York, Montreal is one of Canada’s hottest tourist destinations.

It’s a cultural, economic, and entertainment hub in one of the country’s most impressive areas. And if you want to book some time in Montreal, you’re in for a treat.

Check out the city’s top sights and activities for tourists.

1. Take A Trip to the Botanical Garden

There’s a good reason why most tourists won’t miss a trip to the Montreal Botanical Garden. It’s simply one of the best things to do in Montreal on a sunny or rainy day.

The garden is also a National Historic Site and one that’s considered as among the most gorgeous of its kind in the world. It sits on 75 hectares of land and offers a superb greenhouse complex.

Each garden has its own theme and unique exotic plants that are hard to find elsewhere in a similar configuration. In fact, the garden’s mandate is to preserve indigenous plants, such as the First Nation’s medicinal plants.

2. Visit the Cathedral

The Notre-Dame Basilica is the oldest Catholic Church in the city. It has a very intricate interior with massive stained glass assemblies that chronicle the city’s entire history.

It can take up to two hours to get a comprehensive tour of Montreal’s landmark cathedral. Despite not having admission-free entry, it’s still a fabulous architectural gem that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

3. Explore Old Montreal

Old Montreal is essentially a big neighborhood where both locals and tourists flood its streets all year long. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the busiest part of Montreal.

It’s also the city’s oldest area that’s famous for its cobblestone streets, galleries, and restaurants. The 17th century preserved buildings look impeccable and give this part of town a unique draw.

4. Hike Up to Mont-Royal

One of the best things to do in Montreal is to take a hike up to Mont-Royal. It’s a hill located west of Downtown Montreal, right between the Laurentian and Appalachian mountains.

It offers a great view of the city and what lies beyond its borders. And as part of Mount Royal Park, it also has superb scenery that you must see for yourself. 

It’s an even more exciting spot in the winter as it offers tubing and tobogganing down the hill’s slope.

5. Get A Bird’s Eye View of the City

If you have no problem with heights, get up on one of Montreal’s best observation towers – the Au Sommet Place Ville Marie, which is the second tallest in the city. 

It features a terrace on the 44th floor, which is a great place to look over the city in the summer. You can also check out a mini-museum on the 45th floor that catalogs the city’s history in a series of videos and pictures.

For the best experience, the observation deck on the 46th floor gives you an unobstructed 360-degree view of the city.

6. Go Underground for Shopping

Shopping is among the top activities in Montreal. But why not make your experience less boring?

Downtown Montreal has a vast network of boutiques, malls, and food courts – all of them located underground. It’s a great way to spend some time in town even on a rainy or freezing day.

It also provides quick access to seven of the city’s metro stations and some of the best downtown hotels.

7. Do A Unique City Tour

If you want to speed up your tour of the city’s top attractions, there’s another way to do it other than hopping from metro to metro – the Amazing Race Montreal. 

While it’s mostly a self-guided tour, it’s an interactive experience where you can solve clues as you race between the city’s most important sights. It ensures that you hit all the right spots while also learning more about the town and staying entertained while you do it.

Of course, you’re not really racing anyone, nor is there a prize. But you can choose your preferred tour theme for an even more immersive experience.

8. Don’t Forget About the Museums

Montreal is a great place to visit for art lovers and history buffs. Proof of this is the city’s numerous historical exhibits and fine art galleries.

In fact, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the McCord Museum are just a few examples of places you can visit during your trip.

9. Have a Thrilling Day at the Amusement Park

La Ronde is a popular tourist attraction for tourists and locals alike who want some adrenaline rush. It’s Canada’s second-largest theme park and it sits on the island of St. Helen.

The park offers everyone a wide range of entertainment, from classic rollercoasters to water rides. And if you’re up for it, you can even try skydiving. 

If you’re traveling with the family and you’re out of ideas for things to do in Montreal with kids, spending a few hours in La Ronde is a great idea.

10. Try Your Luck at Gambling (It’s Legal)

There’s more to Montreal’s nightlife scene than clubs and festivals. The city also has a 24-hour casino, which is the biggest in Canada and features three buildings.

Casino de Montreal offers a variety of classic casino games and alternatives for fans of virtual gambling. You can also grab a bite or have dinner in any of the casino’s restaurants, as well as enjoy a cabaret show.

11. Go Party, Montreal-style

The casino can provide an escape or an alternative way to kill some hours one night. But that’s not all. 

Montreal remains Canada’s city that never sleeps. That’s why it has an amazing night scene that’s rich in bars, clubs, and lounges. Feel free to dance until dawn in your fanciest outfit or mingle with the locals in more affordable locales.

The Plateau district, in particular, is perfect for an evening out as it has some of the best choices in venues.

There’s Never a Dull Moment

You can’t get bored in Montreal, even if you’re there for an extended stay. 

During the day, you can visit its museums, amusement park, or simply take in the scenery. And at night, you can let loose and dance yourself to exhaustion. 

Whenever you decide to visit, remember that Montreal guarantees a good time for all.

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