Montreal Travel Guide
Montreal is one of the most-visited cities in Canada. It’s the capital of Quebec, the French-speaking province in Canada. It has roots in both Canadian and French culture because of this. It is a great city to visit no matter what time of year you wish to go. There are a lot of festivals, hotels, restaurants, and general things to do in Montreal.
The Olympic Village
Montreal was the host of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The Olympic stadium built for the games is the centerpiece of what stands today as the Olympic Village. The city’s baseball team, The Montreal Expos, played there until they left for Washington D.C. in 2005. There are guided tours of the Olympic Village available to tourists today.
Take the High Ground at Mont-Royal
Sitting to the west of downtown Montreal is Mont-Royal. This hill is actually volcanic in nature and most of the area at the peak of the hill is taken up by a park and cemeteries. The hill is also hugged on either side by McGill University to the East and the University of Montreal on the West side. The hill provides some great views of the city.
An Overall Safe City
Montreal does have some of the typical dangers that you find in any big city, but overall it is a safe place. The only bother many tourists have is being approached by a member of the homeless population begging for change. There are some areas to stay out of if you don’t know what you are doing, but they aren’t areas frequented by tourists anyways. The people of Montreal are also notably friendly with visitors to their home.
There is a sizable offering of great hotels in Montreal. Some of the most popular places to stay are The Ritz-Carlton, Loews Hotel Vogue, and the Hotel Gault. For the best prices, try to book them as early as possible.
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Like most French-speaking areas, Montreal’s primary religion is Catholicism. The center for this religion in the city is The Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. The church is breathing both in size and beauty. It has been in existence since French settlers first started inhabiting the area in the 1600’s until today. The Catholic presence isn’t as strong in the province today, but it is still a major landmark.
Old Montreal is a small district with cobblestone streets, trendy shops, ultramodern art galleries, great restaurants, and outstanding architecture. Don’t miss City Hall, the Hotel De Ville, or Old Port.
Above ground, downtown Montreal looks similar to most modern big cities. Below ground, however, there are more than 20 miles of tunnels that connect shopping malls, apartment buildings, hotels, commercial buildings, several train and bus terminals, and the Bell Center amphitheater and arena.
The former working-class district known as Atwater is now a trendy neighborhood with a thriving Sunday market, shops, cafes, and historic churches. There’s also a tour boat that takes visitors up and down the canal.
Chinatown has plenty of great places to eat and many cool little shops.
History in Montreal
Montreal boasts of a long and rich history with no shortage of must-see museums and historical sites. The Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal dates to 1672 and served as the first cathedral of the Diocese of Montreal from 1821 to 1822. Canada’s largest church, the St Joseph Oratory, stands on the southwest edge of Mount Royal. The exterior of this beautiful basilica is Italian Renaissance and the interior is contemporary.
The Museum of Fine Arts is a comprehensive museum with extensive European and Canadian collections.
Built in the 18th century, Château Ramezay was home to the 11th governor of Montreal. Benjamin Franklin stayed here for a short time in 1776.
You can visit actual archeological digs at the Montreal Museum of Archeology and History.
Located in the complex called Place Des Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum has an extensive collection of modern art.
Things to Do in Montreal
Olympic Park houses a stadium, the Biodome, and the Botanic Gardens. The Biodome tour takes you through the Canadian tropical rainforest, the maple forest, up the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and ends at the Sub Polar region. Each habitat is realistic and beautifully presented.
The Botanic Garden consists of 10 greenhouses, an Insectarium, a Chinese garden, and a Japanese garden. Each greenhouse has its own theme. The Chinese garden hosts a lantern festival in autumn.
The Casino de Montréal features lavish decor and plenty of entertainment with more than 120 gaming tables and 3,200 slot machines. Catch a show at the Cabaret and feast on haute cuisine at Nuances.
La Ronde Amusement Park has something for everyone. One section of the park hosts rides that cater to all thrill levels and boasts of the world’s highest wooden rollercoaster. Another area has about 10 different rides geared for young children.
In late July, La Ronde hosts the L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, the world’s most prestigious fireworks competition.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Montreal travel.