It’s no surprise that Montréal is just as busy in the winter, as it is in the summer. Adorned in snow, this city comes equipped with a long list of things to do this time of year. The well-preserved French cultural roots can be found everywhere, whether it’s in the passionate love for the arts or cuisine. For your time in Montréal, take a peak at this winter guide.
The Winter Guide to Montréal
How to get to Montréal
- With multiple direct flights with airlines like Air Canada out of major U.S hubs, it’s an easy-to-reach city. Montréal also has an extensive underground metro, meaning a car on ground will not be necessary.
Where to stay in Montréal
- This time in Montreal, I had an opportunity to experience Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, which is located in the heart of downtown. The beautiful hotel has incredible views over the city, and the location is perfect for visiting every neighborhood. Just a short walk from the shopping area and to the heart of old Montreal, you can easily get around by foot or take advantage of the train station which is right below. I’d recommend booking the Fairmont Gold level, as it includes breakfast and afternoon appetizers in the loveliest private lounge.
Where to eat in Montréal
There’s always my favorites, and now I have a few to add to the rotation. Last time I was in Montréal, I wrote this post on five coffee shops not to miss. Here a few new places to add for cafes and restaurants:
- L’Original: Step down into a cozy chalet style room serving a fresh take on Québécois food. I’d recommend trying one of the local meats.
- Café Parvis: A trendy eatery and cafe, where the lunch menu is centered around flatbreads and salads.
- Schwartz’s: No trip is complete without a stop at this historic spot. Stop in for their smoked meats, and complete it with fries and a cherry soda.
- Foodlab: A seasonal menu that sources local ingredients, serving hearty dishes in the winter.
- Laika: A great spot for lunch that has many options from vegetarian to meats, like sandwiches and salads.
- Chez Claudette: A weekend institution, and the spot to have the ultimate Poutine.
- Brit & Chips: The perfect quick-and-yummy bite — fish and chips and more.
- Cafe Le Falco: This warehouse coffee shop serves Japanese rice bowls and traditional coffee.
- Chez Boris: A classic coffee shop that never goes out of style, known for Russian-style bagels.
- Léché Desserts: This is your spot for all things donuts and sweet treats.
What to experience in Montréal
- Jump into the arts: With multiple museums like the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Contemporary Arts, there are endless options for when you want to be inside. Many of the museums have rotating exhibits, providing an incredible opportunity to see something new each time.
- Shop custom hats: At Ophelie Hats, each hat is tailored just for you and made in store. I had the pleasure to stop by and picked up some warm gear and a great summer hat!
- Ice skate indoors: You’ll find that many of the parks have ice skating on offer, though, for those who want a break, Atrium Le 1000 is available year round for indoor ice skating.
- Spa with a view: Situated along the river, with breathtaking views, you can relax away at Bota Bota day spa.
- Snowshoe or Cross-country Ski Mont Royal: Les Amis de la Montagne have many opportunities for experiencing this beautiful park during winter. With rentals and lessons for snowshoe and cross-country skiing, you can have a personalized experience or refer to the trail map for your own adventure.
- Do a food tour in Mile End: Get acquainted with the scene that is all things culinary with a local tour.
- Coffee shop hop: Refer to this list of five coffee shops not to miss.
- The neighborhoods for architecture: One of the best things to see in Montréal is the different architectural styles in each neighborhood. I love walking the areas of Outermont, Le Plateau, and Mile End.
The Festivals in Montréal
With one of the highest counts of festivals around, there is always something happening to join in on. This time of year, check out these festivals:
- Igloofest: Combing electronic music and igloo villages, it’s an ultimate time for dancing the night away.
- Montréal en Lumiére: Combining culinary and the arts, there is an array of opportunity to indulge in food and the artistic portrayal of light.
For a full list of festivals and events happening be sure to check it out here.
Bon Traveler’s Tips
- Be sure to pack warm, check out this post on what to pack for a winter trip.
- Take advantage of both indoor and outdoor activities.
- Don’t worry if you don’t speak French, English is spoken just as much!
*Bon Traveler was welcome as a guest of Tourisme Montréal and Tourisme Québec, as always, all opinions are own.