There is so much to see and do in Montreal you might be having a hard time narrowing it down. You’ve probably already heard that while in Montreal you need to have poutine, bagels, visit Old Town and Le Plateau Mont Royal. But I wanted to share with you my top 5 favorite things we enjoyed from our trip to Montreal that you should consider when planning your trip.
If I had to use one word to describe Montreal it would be art. Art is everywhere! I couldn’t only show you one thing in this category so I am going to talk about the Exhibits that were happening while we were there and the Museums we went to.
Place Des Arts is a square around the Contemporary Art Museum that hosts exhibitions in the square. While we where visiting there were a couple different exhibits but our favorite was the 21 Swings. They light up and played music as you swung.
Gay Village has 180,000 rainbow balls hung above Sainte Catherine Street East which is closed to cars between Saint Hubert and Cartier for pedestrians to enjoy during the summer months. This was meant to be a temporary exhibit so who knows how long it will continue for so check online to see if it will be there when you are.
The McCord Museum is free on Wednesday evenings excluding any special exhibits. But our favorite museum if you have to pick one, was the Archaeology museum, Pointe-a-Calliere. This one isn’t free but we thought it was worth the price. One of the cooler permanent exhibits is called the Memory Collector and weirdly enough it is a collector sewer. You can walk through the sewer and it has a light installation projected onto the walls. Who knew you could make a sewer look so cool? They had two special exhibits which we really enjoyed. One was the Queens of Egypt and the other was called Allo, Montreal which was about the history of the phone. Also, make sure you get in the elevator and take it to the top for a great scenic view of the city, included with your ticket.
4. Crew & Collective Cafe
Yes, I’m listing a coffee shop as one of the top things not to miss in Montreal. Why? Because the building is so beautiful! It was formerly the Royal Bank of Canada and it was erected in 1928. Wait till you see it, just wow! Plus you can get some strong coffee to keep you awake for all your sightseeing.
We had lots of delicious food, but if I had to pick one to recommend I would say Muru Crepe. We liked Muru Crepe so much we went here twice. They have delicious savory crepes and had no problem leaving the meat out of the crepes for us so we had more options. The two crepes I enjoyed were egg, grilled veggies and mozzarella cheese and Goat cheese, spinach, olive, almond, mushrooms.
2. Mont Royal Observatory
So apparently this was the perfect weekend to visit Montreal because we got lucky again and the tulips were in bloom. You don’t need hiking boots as it is mostly pavement and wooden steps. Being from Florida, where everything is flat, we were like omg so much up hill walking and steps but it was worth it. The view is amazing on its own! The view AND tulips, even better!
There is also a nice building there as well with bathrooms, some snacks for sale and a gift shop. There are even some seats with a view inside to get a break before your hike down.
Our favorite thing from our trip was the Aura sound and light show. I had seen videos of this online and it looked beautiful but I wasn’t really sure if it was something I would enjoy. I was wrong, it was amazing! We had goosebumps, the show is beautiful and dramatic and the cathedral itself is amazingly detailed. It is a ticketed event so you should buy your tickets in advance.
People start lining up pretty early but there are plenty of good seats so I don’t really see the point of why we did that. You go around the edges of the cathedral and see some individual scenes and then you can get your seat whenever you are ready. I wouldn’t sit too close as the show is on the front half of the cathedral and I think you would be craning your neck to look up. Definitely go see Aura if you have a chance.