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Montreal, Canada


Just 45 miles from the U.S. border, on an island flanked by the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, sits Montreal. Both Canada's second largest city and the second largest French-speaking city in the world (after Paris), Montreal ranks first in the hearts of many of its visitors with its unique blend of cultures, festivals, history, and beauty. Exploring the neighborhoods is one of the best ways to get to know Montreal. Old Montreal is characterized by cobblestoned streets and a river promenade replete with street performers. Head to St. Catherine Street to get a taste of downtown, and find time to shop, eat, and spend time browsing the collections at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the Canadian Guild of Crafts. Other neighborhoods worth a wander include the Plateau, with its shops, restaurants, and five-block pedestrian-only promenade on Prince-Arthur Street; and the Latin Quarter near the campus of the University of Quebec at Montreal. Evenings provide even more chances to savor Montreal: the city has the highest per capita number of restaurants in North America. In popular neighborhoods, that means an average 160 restaurants per square mile. Montreal is also considered one of the top nightlife capitals in the world, with bars, clubs, lounges, and other ways to while the night away. There are plenty of flights to Montreal, and the city is within an hour-and-a-half flying time from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

When To Go

With four seasons and a calendar filled with festivals, Montreal can be an affordable and lively destination. The most popular time to visit is during the summer high season when the weather is warm and schools are on break. During the cold winter months, Montreal offers "in the city" outdoor activities including tobogganing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The least expensive and crowded time to visit is during January or February. The spring and fall are pleasant times to visit for milder temperatures and fewer crowds.

high season: May to mid--October
low season: December to February
shoulder season: mid-October to November, March to April

Weather Information

Montreal experiences four distinct seasons. Winters see heavy snowfall, with temperatures averaging 13 degrees in January. Summers bring high humidity, with an average high of 79 degrees in July. Cooler temperatures, particularly in the evening, and scattered showers are common in the spring and fall. Also, occasional snow is likely in late autumn.

Crowd Information

Montreal becomes very crowded during the Grand Prix du Canada weekend, usually held in early June. The city celebrates many other festivals that attract large crowds, including the Montreal High Lights Festival in February, the Mondial de la bière Festival in June, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs Festival in July.

Closure Information

Most attractions are closed on Christmas and New Year's Day. Many outdoor summer activities close after Labor Day weekend, while nautical activities end around Canada's Thanksgiving, which is the second Monday of October.

When to Save

Discounted prices for stays during the winter low season are offered from January through March, and many stores have big sales right after Boxing Day (December 26). Although festivals are typically peak times, many hotels offer special packages in conjunction with the events.

When to Book

Book as early as April or May for lodging during the summer high season. Last-minute discounts are available January through March.

Information provided by Tourisme Montreal