Do you know there’s an entire territory of Canada where French is the first language? Old Montreal is a crucial part of downtown Montreal that highlights European characteristics in the form of its cobblestone streets leading to hidden gems. The attractions offer visitors a variety of things to do in Montreal Canada. It’s a place that invites you to step back in time and experience the city’s vibrant past. From sipping on handcrafted coffee to discovering hidden curiosities, Old Montreal has something for everyone.

Best Things To Do in Old Montreal

The city is filled with beautiful architecture and romantic buildings, some of which date back to the 17th century. There’s so much to do, see, and eat —from going on a walking tour of Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets to experiencing its gorgeous centuries-old architecture. To help you decide on what to do, this guide will help you shortlist the best things to do during your visit to Old Montreal. Dive into the magic of Old Montreal with our comprehensive guide to 25 must-do experiences. Plus, our insider tips will guide you through 25 experiences that capture the essence of this historic gem, while unveiling its vibrant soul.

  • Pick Your Mug of Third-Wave Coffee

Old Montreal has played a big role in promoting the third-wave coffee culture by serving the city’s best coffee through independent cafes. Start your day by immersing yourself in the city’s coffee culture. The place boasts a wide variety of third-wave coffee shops, each with its unique charm. It’s a perfect start to enjoy the aroma of rich flavours while exploring the vibrant streets of Old Montreal. 

  • Enjoy the View

Exploring the Charms And Best Things to Do in Montreal

Immerse yourself in the stunning vistas of Old Montreal’s historic district. You can relish the breath-taking panoramas from a rooftop terrace, an iconic landmark, or a picturesque viewpoint. Some of the popular spots that one must visit include Old Port Clock Tower and Montreal City Hall to experience the impressive skyline of the city. Be sure to capture the essence of the city from different standpoints.

  • Treat Yourself

If you are someone who loves to pamper themselves then indulging in the luxury of bouties and spas is something you should not miss. It’s always nice to treat yourself to a day of pampering and relaxation, especially in this historic quarter atmosphere. Bota Bota is one of the best spas located in the city where you can enjoy a variety of packages with breathtaking views of the district. 

  • Go Out and Explore the Streets

Walking on the streets is something that will surely make your heart beat faster after exploring the beautifully structured streets of Old Montreal. It’s the best mode to uncover the hidden alleys, street art, and historic architecture and experience the ins and outs of the district.

  • Go For a Ride

The 60-metre-tall Ferris wheel is a popular ride that attracts a huge footfall of tourists. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the aerial view of the Old Port’s region. This leisurely activity allows you to cover more ground while enjoying the fabulous atmosphere of the city. 

  • Embrace the History 

Old Montreal is a city that offers the vibe where history meets modernity. Montreal’s evolution from its early beginnings to a bustling cultural centre has turned it into a popular attraction. If you are interested to find out the foundation of the rich history of Old Montreal consider visiting museums, historical sites, and landmarks. Museums such as Pointe-à-Callière or Centre d’Histoire de Montreal are perfect places to get insights into the city’s evolution. 

  • Explore the World of Visual Art

For those interested in the arts, there are plenty of options to explore in Montreal. Visitors can plan a trip to art galleries such as Artgang or Arsenal to admire contemporary pieces or take a stroll to see street murals that adorn the city’s buildings. The diverse range of visual art showcased in these galleries and street exhibits ranges from traditional styles to contemporary expressions.

  • Indulge Your Inner Shopaholic

Old Montreal is definitely a shopper’s paradise that offers a variety of boutique stores and antique shops. As a visitor, it’s difficult to stop yourself from picking unique finds and souvenirs while taking a round in the city. Saint-Paul Street is a must-try attraction of Old Montreal having a diversity of shops, cafes and art galleries. Discover local designers and handcrafted goods at the Bonsecours Market.

  • Unleash Your Inner Food Explorer

Unleash Your Inner Food Explorer in Old Montreal

Old Montreal has some of the best restaurants and patios in all of Montreal. From French-inspired cuisine to local food, Old Montreal’s food scene is a feast for the senses. Spice up your evening with Mexican street food at Taqueria del Centro or Moroccan delights at Marrakech. Explore the diverse array of popular restaurants such as Le Bremner, Caffe Un Po’ Di Piu, Monarque and more. 

  • Take A Sip With A View

The city has the best options for rooftop bars to enjoy your wine in style. Old Montreal comes alive after dark, offering a sophisticated and lively atmosphere. The most prominent upscale cocktail places include Cacao 70 and Dieu du Ciel. Do not miss the chance to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife by sipping cocktails at stylish bars. 

  • Unwind and Be Entertained

Immerse yourself in Montreal’s entertainment scene by attending a live performance. Whether it’s theatre, music, or comedy, Old Montreal has a diverse range of options to suit your taste. Spend your evenings by booking a theatrical performance at the Centaur Theatre or Place des Arts, or laugh the night away at a comedy club.

  • Explore Hidden Spots

Discover the city’s best-kept hidden spots by experimenting with the cobblestone pathways. Exploring the hidden treasures, ranging from charming cafes to underground boutiques, can add an exciting element to your Montreal travel expedition. Additionally, you can always rent a Bixi bike and explore the hidden streets to cover more ground.

  • Witness the Breathtaking Lights

Experience the lighting spirit of Old Montreal as the sun glows over the historic architecture. However, apart from the sunset, you can also experience stunning light displays by lighting out a candle at Notre-Dame Basilica, a popular Roman Catholic Church. Witness a calming experience that illuminates the historic architecture and creates a mesmerising atmosphere.

  • Navigate the City Beneath

Explore the Underground City, a network of interconnected shopping centres, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The Off Saint-Jacques Street is ideal for escaping the winter chill. Explore the underground elegance of the old city wall under the warmth of a glass canopy without fearing the winter storm. 

  • Have Some Fun

Engage yourself in playful activities. From interactive activities to outdoor games, Old Montreal offers a variety of options to bring out the child in you. Challenge yourself at the Montreal Science Centre, or spend time above the city on La Grande Roue de Montreal to experience a time you will remember forever.

  • Wander By the River Bank

Strolling around the river side of Old Montreal is a must-do thing during your visit. This peaceful escape provides a refreshing break from the bustling city life. Travellers can enjoy the picturesque Old Port boardwalk or take a ferry to Ile Sainte-Helene, where they can indulge in outdoor activities and take in breath-taking views.

  • Go For Some Visual Treat

With Cirque du Soleil around the corner, you can enjoy exciting shows to experience a marvellous escape from reality. Each show holds a visual delight, making your exploration a visual feast. Visitors can also wander down the nearby Rue Saint-Paul, the oldest street in Montreal, and admire the 18th-century architecture.

  • Explore the Adventures Side

MTL Zipline in Old Montreal

Above cobbled streets and historic landmarks on the MTL Zipline, the eastern part of Old Montreal has much to offer. Thrill-seekers can engage in outdoor activities like zip-lining or kayaking along the river. Old Montreal’s adventurous side awaits those looking for an adrenaline rush. 

  • Ice Skate with Smooth Glides

During the winter months, experience the charm of outdoor ice skating in Old Montreal. This experience in winter is surely a thing in Montreal you would not want to miss. The transformation of historic squares into winter wonderlands offers a magical and festive atmosphere. After the icy experience warm up with a delicious hot chocolate at a charming cafe, opened in the post-skate glow.

  • Explore the Nightlife

Explore the city’s vibrant nightlife by visiting trendy bars and clubs. However, if you are bored of it, the Igloofest experience is something you cannot miss. Looking to get your groove on to some electronic beats? Montreal has the perfect venues to dance away your worries with top-notch electronic DJs. Additionally, the place also offers rich musical heritage at historic venues like Maisonneuve or intimate jazz bars like Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill.

  • Shake it on the Dance Floor

Joining locals in lively dance events and music festivals is another time-worthy thing to do in Old Montreal. Old Montreal’s cultural calendar is filled with events that celebrate the city’s artistic spirit.  Let yourself loose at lively bars like Pub Saint-Denis or Hurley’s Irish Pub, or groove to the beats at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

  • Seek Out Treasures

Old Montreal’s antique shops and quirky boutiques are filled with one-of-a-kind finds. Dive into the curious shops on Rue Notre-Dame Ouest or hunt for vintage treasures like antique maps, Art furniture, and some quirky Canadian souvenirs.

  • Discover the New

Stay updated on the latest happenings and events in Old Montreal. From festivals to markets, there’s always something fresh and exciting to explore. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of summer festivals like Osheaga or Just for Laughs. Visitors can also witness the winter wonderland of Montreal en Lumiere. In the end, you always have the option to escape city life and find a new spot on the beach at Parc de la Pointe-a-Calliere, which will also offer breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River.

  • Admire the Artistry

Plan a self-guided tour of Montreal’s vibrant street art scene. The plan will be perfect for exploring the well-structured buildings throughout Old Montreal and beyond. Here you can admire the public art installations scattered throughout Old Montreal. These pieces add a touch of creativity to the cityscape, providing an immersive artistic experience.

  • Relax on the Sandy Beaches

Escape the chaos by lying on the sandy shores along the St. Lawrence River. This hidden gem offers a soothing retreat, perfect for getting lost in the beauty of nature. You can also pack a basket of croissants and cheeses to enjoy a leisurely picnic at Parc de la Pointe-a-Calliere.

You May Also Read

Know The Things To Do in Hamilton

Things To Do in Hamilton

Explore The Places To Visit in Toronto

Places To Visit in Toronto

Guide To Niagara Falls Clifton Hill

Niagara Falls Clifton Hill

All About Things To Do in Ottawa

Things To Do in Ottawa

Beyond the Highlights

Before visiting Old Montreal one should know that the place holds several hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From historical explorations to experiencing the long list of fests and events, Old Montreal offers a diversity of things to do. Old Montreal is a treasure-packed place of experiences that smoothly blends history, culture, and modernity. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, this historic place has something special for every visitor.