Montréal is synonymous with vitality. The city is ever evolving, constantly innovating, and always welcoming. While certain health restrictions are still a reality, many emblematic Montréal activities are still available. Here are 21 options to help you explore Montréal — one of the world’s best cities — in 2021.
1. Learn more about the city
There is always something new to learn about Montréal. When you sign up for a local walking tour, not only are you educating yourself, but you’re also supporting small local businesses. Guidatour, Fitz and Follwell, Spade & Palacio, Tours de la table, and Local Montréal Food Tours all provide awesome tour options. Summer challenge idea: sign up for one walking tour each month!
2. Pedal new pathways
With over 700 kilometres of bike paths, Montréal offers endless routes and excursions to undiscovered corners of the city. Start with a loop around Parc Jean-Drapeau or coasting along the Lachine Canal. Here’s all the info!
3. Get take-out
Sure, it might be an obvious suggestion, but there are *so* many great restaurants in Montréal. You could eat from a different Montréal restaurant each day for ten years and never eat at the same restaurant twice. Here’s a comprehensive list of some of our favourite Montréal restaurants with take-out options!
4. Soak up some sun
As an island, Montréal presents multiple opportunities for lounging near the water. Here’s a guide to beaches (and pools) in and around Montréal. Beach, please!
5. Buy local products
If you're yearning to update your summer wardrobe with clothing and accessories that are unique and of high quality, why not support local businesses while you're shopping? Here are some places to get started.
6. Nab one of these sweet hotel deals
Montréal hotels are open and eager to welcome locals who need a change of scenery and a bit of rest. If that sounds like you, then explore these Montréal hotel offers.
7. Promenade your partner
During summer months in various neighbourhoods across Montréal, streets close to traffic and restaurants, bars, and boutiques spill out onto the sidewalk. They’re called “promenades” and they’re wonderful places to hangout. You’ll find promenades everywhere, from Verdun to Outremont to the Village.
8. Be bathed in light
Located on the ground floor of Montréal’s convention centre, OASIS Immersion is a walkable, no contact experience featuring 105 laser projectors and 119 surround sound speakers. A truly unforgettable visual experience.
9. Expand yourself
No, I’m not talking about more Montréal take-out (see point #3) — I’m talking about expanding your mind. One of the best ways to do this is through a museum. Montréal has magnificent museums. Where will you start?
10. Do the ultimate Montréal photographic scavenger hunt
From the cross atop Mount Royal to the Olympic Stadium, Montréal has got BDE: big design elegance. If you take photos of all of these architectural icons in Montréal, you’ll win a huge prize*.
(*The huge prize is my everlasting affection.)
11. Go big and go green at Frédéric-Back Park
Environmental sustainability meets arts and culture at Frédéric-Back Park, a 192-hectare green space with a 5.5-kilometre bike path, incredible lookouts, sheltered picnic areas and more.
12. Learn about indigenous history and art
Before European colonization, the land and waters around what is currently known as Montréal was called Tiohtá:ke by the Kanien’kehá:ka peoples. The deeper you dive, the more you’ll learn about the rich histories and cultural practices of local indigenous peoples. Start here.
13. Take a cooking class
Maybe this is the year you really augment your gastronomy game? Montréal is one of the world’s great food cities and plenty of professionals are available to give you their tips of the trade. Learn to cook in Montréal!
14. See the symphony
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal is one of the city’s great melodic treasures. They’re offering webcasts throughout the summer, as well as some “pop up” performances around the city—such as their drive-in benefit concert on June 5.
15. Do a mural scavenger hunt
Thanks to creative locals and festivals (major props to MURAL Fest), the entire city of Montréal has become a canvas for larger-than-life works of art. Here’s everything you need to know about Montréal murals.
16. Take a kayak
No seriously, you can rent a kayak in various places around Montréal. Popular options include the Lachine Canal (with H2O Adventures) or Verdun (with Navi).
17. Go surfing
First things first: yes, there is surfing in Montréal. You might be wondering, “How can an inland city have a legitimate surf scene?” While the city isn’t located beside an ocean, it does offer a reliable wave. The wave just happens to be located in a river.
18. See the sunset from Saint Joseph’s Oratory
This costs zero dollars. Yet it will make you feel like you can touch the heavens. Here’s how to get there.
19. Treat yourself to a massage
Whether you’re looking to relieve sore muscles, rejuvenate tired skin, take a day to yourself or spiff up for a big date, Montréal has got the spa for you.
20. Spend time in nature
Walk the tree-covered mountain in the middle of the city, picnic by a fountain, read a book in a city square, or snowshoe through wild nature parks – whatever the season, Montréal's green spaces are expansive and essential.
21. Be gentle with yourself
It’s been a tough time for everyone. You’re doing the best you can.
Disclaimer: Remember that the availabilities of activities in Montréal continue to evolve based on public health guidelines. Visit our page regarding COVID-19 for the most up-to-date information.
Daniel Baylis is a writer and adventurer. Born in British Columbia, Daniel came to Montréal with the kooky bohemian notion that he would write poetry, learn to speak French and fall in love. Having achieved various levels of success in said domains, he now focuses his energy on a new hobby: artisanal pickling.