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Though Montreal is often called "The Paris of Canada," it is indisputable that the city also has its own unique charm, from its mountainous surroundings to its crowning waterfront location. The historic and the ultra-modern blend seamlessly in the city which has long held the title of Quebec's cultural capital. Visitors can take in the old district with its cobbled streets by morning, then easily transfer to the business district with its slick skyscrapers for lunch. With its bustling markets, ample shops, and beautiful natural and architectural landmarks, Montreal is not to be missed. However, if you only have a day to explore this iconic city, here's what you all you should be sure to pack in (within reason)! This guide focuses around Old Montreal — a part of the city that boasts some of its most wonderful sights — more than enough to fill up and optimize any traveler's to-do list.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

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10 Places

Place Jacques-Cartier

Battlefields, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Old Port of Montreal

Historic Walking Areas, Neighborhoods, Biking Trails

Montreal Science Centre

Science Museums, Specialty Museums

Pointe-a-Calliere Museum

History Museums, Specialty Museums

Rue St-Paul

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel

Churches & Cathedrals, Archaeology Tours, History Museums, Walking Tours

Caleche Rides in Old Montreal

Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours

Chinatown

Neighborhoods

Notre-Dame Basilica

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Churches & Cathedrals

La Ronde

Theme Parks

Madison S's City Tips

  • Parking can be a nightmare, especially in Old Montreal. If you're road tripping, be sure to book a hotel with a lot, and go on foot/use the subway to reach most locations!
  • Most locals are bilingual (French/English). It's polite to speak French if you can (the first language in the area), but don't be offended if someone replies in English to be nice!
  • If you visit in winter, prepare. It gets bitterly cold and snowfall is heavy. Bring warm clothes, layer to stay dry, and keep your eyes up: icicles falling from roofs are a danger!
  • Save
    Place Jacques-Cartier
    Battlefields, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    A public square, once known as New Market Place, Place Jacques-Cartier is home to a colorful array of shops and performers, as well as Montreal's oldest public monument, Nelson's Column. Named for the man who claimed Canada for France, the square has something of a French air to it, with cafe seating sprawling onto the cobbled, uphill street, which stretches from City Hall on one end to the waterfront on the other. It is always decked out for the season, from lighted trees in winter to garden terraces in the spring, and every manner of artist, kiosk, and entertainer fills the time in between. Truly a hallmark spot to begin your venture into Montreal.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Try some of the local food! Outdoor kiosks serve maple taffy pops on snow in the winter (or go to Maple Delights cafe in any season), and do give Poutine a try while in the area!
    • Close to the square, on Rue de la Commune, there is an original part of the Old City's fortification. It is in the basement of the restaurant Auberge du Vieux-Port.
    • The original Nelson's Column was removed from its spot of honor in 1997, to preserve it as a historical relic. The current one is a replication.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #43 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The historic center of Old Montreal. Perfect place for people watching and appreciation of architecture. 09/19/2018
    • History in Vieux Montreal 09/17/2018
    • Place Jacques-Cartier
    Address:
    Between rue Notre-Dame and rue de la Commune
    Montreal, Quebec
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-866-3471
    Other:
  • Save
    Old Port of Montreal
    Historic Walking Areas, Neighborhoods, Biking Trails
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    The historic Old Port of Montreal on St-Lawrence River was originally used by fur traders in the early 1600's to exchange and transport their wares. Though no longer in use for such trade purposes, today it is a central location for exploration and entertainment, with numerous museums, performers, and restaurants along its banded width, and with plenty of people (and horses!) to entertain you in between stops.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Popular attraction Circ du Soliel is in this area. Buy tickets for a show or enjoy the venue from the outside, where there is often a bit of free entertainment to entice you.
    • It is downhill from Places Jacques-Cartier, and visible from the square.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #34 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must if you are in the city. 09/25/2018
    • Good place during sunset 09/24/2018
    • Old Port of Montreal
    Address:
    De la Commune West
    Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2E2
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-283-5256
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Montreal Science Centre
    Science Museums, Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Located on the waterfront at King Edward's Pier in the Old Port, the Montreal Science Center is a relatively new addition to the city. Inaugurated in 2000, the ultra-modern establishment hosts a number of temporary exhibits that indulge the senses and employ cutting-edge responsive technology to immerse visitors in the experience. Its interactive permanent collection is complimented by a state-of-the-art IMAX theatre. Whether you're there to learn or play, you'll be sure to enjoy a visit to the MSC!

    Good for
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • "Clic!" is a hands-on permanent exhibit for very young children at the museum, making this a great spot for those traveling with kids.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #52 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun place to visit 09/17/2018
    • Great science center 09/14/2018
    • Montreal Science Centre
    Address:
    2, de la Commune Street West
    Quai King-Edward
    Montreal, Quebec H2Y 4B2
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-496-4724
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Pointe-a-Calliere Museum
    History Museums, Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Pointe-à-Callière Museum focuses on bringing the Old City's archaeology and history to life for its visitors. Built upon some of the very first foundations of the city, some of these original foundations are included in its basement exhibit, along with artifacts from natives, as well as French and British settlers. It is unique in that it allows you to experience history outside of mere replication or pure restoration. Truly an exciting place to visit, especially since there are multiple floors to explore, including a rooftop with a view!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • History Buff
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • There is a rooftop restaurant — L'Arrivage — with an amazing view of the city andopen until 4pm (2pm on Monday) for lunch. Reserve ahead to enter without a museum pass.
    • Despite it being a local archaeological museum, new historical exhibits are hosted a few times a year, showcasing art and artifacts from around the world.
    • It's just down the road from the Science Museum, so it makes sense to visit both while in this area.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Air conditioned, otherwise...eh. 09/23/2018
    • A really well done museum 09/23/2018
    • Pointe-a-Calliere Museum
    Address:
    350 Place Royale
    corner of rue de la Commune
    Montreal, Quebec H2Y 3Y5
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-872-9150
    Price range:
    $13 - $13
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Sat - Sun
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Rue St-Paul
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    The oldest and one of the most scenic streets in Old Montreal, Rue Saint-Paul is a cultural center, with numerous art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques nestled into its charming, stone-faced buildings. On cobbled Rue Saint-Paul, former home of the founder of Montreal, you will find the Bonsecours Market and the Notre-Dame De-Bonsecours Chapel. Go for the charm, the history, and the window shopping.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • If you're staying late, check out sister restaurants Boccata & Borroco — one a wine bar (with a 15 page list!) and the other offering fresh tasty food. Both use local ingredients.
    • A sculpture of three chatty women, "The Gossipers," is a popular spot to take a photo. Keep an eye out for this charming bronze hallmark by Rose-Aimée Bélanger.
    • If you'd like a guided tour of this historic street, Viatour offers tours year-round. Book ahead to make sure you get a spot.
    • It is a very short walk from Pointe-à-Callière.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The essence of Old Montreal on foot 09/23/2018
    • A lovely street filled with art galleries, historic buildings, shops and restaurants 09/19/2018
    • Rue St-Paul
    Address:
    Rue St-Paul
    Montreal, Quebec
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-788-6100
    Other:
  • Save
    Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel
    Churches & Cathedrals, Archaeology Tours, History Museums, Walking Tours
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (Our Lady of Good Help), built originally in 1771, used to be the site that weary sailors would visit in pilgrimage to ask the Virgin Mary for 'Good Help' on upcoming voyages at sea. For this reason, the Chapel was gifted the stunning statue of the Virgin that now sits atop it, facing the port, as the Star of the Sea. The landmark has incredible artistic and historic value, with gorgeously detailed stained glass windows in its main room, an archaeological dig available to explore in its crypt, as well as the a museum dedicated to St. Marguerite Bourgeoys.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Look for a spiral staircase leading up when you are exploring the Chapel. Though steep, the top offers brave climbers a wonderful view of the harbor.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 98 Museums in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Light, bright, and beautiful contrast to Notre Dame Basilica 09/23/2018
    • Exquisite church in Old Montreal 09/22/2018
    • Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel
    Address:
    400 St-Paul St. E.
    Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1H4
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-282-8670
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Caleche Rides in Old Montreal
    Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    What goes better with cobble stoned streets than a horse drawn carriage? A staple of the area, Caleche Rides generally run from Saint Antoine St south to the Saint Lawrence River. Covering many of the areas in this one-day list, the rest from being on your feet also comes with a free tour from a colorful driver dressed for the occasion. So go on, take a load off, and go a bit more in depth with the city: you've earned it!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Carriages leave from the Place d’Armes and both ends of Place Jacques-Cartier. Prices are charged by the half hour. Carriages can generally accommodate up to 4.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 73 Outdoor Activities in Montreal
    • relaxing trip 08/26/2018
    • Get the right guide, and it will be fantastic! 07/14/2018
    • Caleche Rides in Old Montreal
    Phone:
    +1 438-765-3506
    Price range:
    $15 - $15
    Hours:
    Mon
    10:30 AM - 3:00 PM
    Tue - Thu
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Fri - Sun
    11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Chinatown
    Neighborhoods
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Chinatown in Montreal, neighboring the Old Town, is home to numerous markets, gift shops, restaurants, and bakeries. There is a small public square at its center with an artful pavillion, and murals and highly intricate graffiti line the streets surrounding it. While certainly smaller than in other big cities, it's worth a visit to get a good deal on delicious food, pick up souvenirs, and — if all the walking has been murder on your body — get a well-priced massage!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • It is small compared to most Chinatowns in North America, but don't hold that against it! Definitely go for dessert as bakeries are the star in this manageably-sized area.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #99 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    • No question, food is good. 09/16/2018
    • Montreal Chinatwon 09/05/2018
    • Chinatown
    Address:
    St-Laurent Blvd
    Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1E9
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-990-1872
    Other:
  • Save
    Notre-Dame Basilica
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    With the distinction of being Montreal's oldest Catholic church, built in 1656, Notre-Dame Basilica is famous for its interior, where incredibly detailed stained glass windows recount Montreal's history, and where wood reliefs and tall oil paintings depict religious scenes. It is a serene spot, despite its popularity with tourists, and continues to wow thousands of visitors a year.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you go during a service, be polite and do not utilize flash photography, make noise, or walk the aisles — unless you are doing so to take a seat.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful church 09/25/2018
    • Beautiful 09/25/2018
    • Notre-Dame Basilica
    Address:
    110 Notre-Dame Street West
    Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1T1
    Canada
    Phone:
    +91 88002 37808
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:30 PM - 4:00 PM
    Mon - Fri
    8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Sat
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    La Ronde
    Theme Parks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Every summer in La Ronde, L'International des Feux Loto-Quebec, a major international fireworks competition, takes place. Visible from the Old Port and about a half an hour in length, the show differs from year to year, and is always spectacular. A wonderful way to end your night ... considering the show begins at 10pm!

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Bring a portable radio along with you (or use an app) to hear the music meant to accompany the show. Tune into FM 105.7 to listen.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #200 of 447 things to do in Montreal
    • Over-all horrible 09/21/2018
    • worst six flags ever 09/15/2018
    • La Ronde
    Address:
    22 Chemin Macdonald
    St. Helene Island
    Montreal, Quebec H3C 6A3
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 514-397-2000
    Other:
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