Capitaine Sandwich
Photograph: Capitaine Sandwich

49 best things to do in Montreal right now

Your Montreal bucket list for tourists and locals alike. Discover epic restaurants, secret bars, and outstanding events happening across the city.


UPDATE, June 2024: From the top shows at the Montreal International Jazz Festival to the best ways to cool off this summer (plus discovering the most talked about iconic restaurant opening in Montreal; the largest street food truck festival in Canada and finding out where to eat 150 tacos in one day), Montreal is full of amazing and free things to do right now. Whether you are looking for cheap eatswhere to find one of the many secret gardens or simply the best family-friendly activites, this list is for you.

This essential round-up of Montreal musts is your to-do list whether you're a tourist or a local: from the best bars and speakeasies to the most stellar free museums—it rounds up the most outstanding things to do across the city.

Complete guide to the best restaurants in Montreal
Best things to do with kids in Montreal

Best attractions in Montreal
Best Airbnbs in Montreal

Time Out Market Montreal
  • price 2 of 4

Our local editors have handpicked and gathered the best of the best restaurants and chefs under one roof at Time Out Market Montréal. It's a 40,000-square-foot, next-level culinary and cultural destination that's located in the Centre Eaton de Montréal—and home to one of downtown's most killer cocktail menus. But don't just take our word for it.

Best things to do in Montreal

What is it: A luxury lakeside getaway tucked into the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains, Manoir Hovey was just named the No. 1 Resort in Canada for the fourth consecutive year.

Why go: A five-diamond restaurant serving refined farm-to-fork cuisine? A new lakeside spa with a year-round Nordic thermal experience? 30 acres of birch forest and English gardens? How many more reasons do you need.

Don't missdip in the heated outdoor pool, or kicking back on one of the two private beaches.


What is it: Les Premiers Vendredis—a Montreal festival that brings together over 40 food trucks—is one of Canada's biggest gatherings of its kind. 

Why go: Extending its run from Friday to Sunday at the start of every month, Les Premiers Vendredis—one of the summer's most thrilling cultural and culinary events—is a three-day affair this year, spreading joy and next-level food across the Olympic Park Esplanade and Quai de l'Horloge in Montreal's Old Port.

Don't miss all the delicious new vendors listed below.

What is it: Perched atop one of the city's best hotels, Terrasse Alizé is a secret rooftop oasis in the heart of the city (and our new favourite happy hour spot).

Why go: This heated, covered terrasse open rain or shine is pouring some serious cocktails—not to mention the menu created by the renown Chef Jean-Sébastien Giguère.

Don't miss the beef tacos with pico de gallo and salsa verde made from the restaurant garden. 


What is it: Taco Fest is where you can sample over 150 authentic and reinvented tacos, meet talented Montreal chefs, take part in salsa classes, and enjoy the rhythms of Latin music. 

Why go: A spicy atmosphere? Some of Montreal's best and most celebrated chefs? Tacos, tequila, guacamole, churros, and hot sauce? And we haven't even talked about the cocktails and dancing.

Don't miss getting your tickets now as last year's event sold out

What: One of the city's treasures, the Montreal Botanical Garden is celebrated as one of the world's finest botanical gardens, hosting an array of events, exhibitions, and activities throughout the year.

Why go: A new pavilion designed to be invisble just won a Prix d’excellence 2024 from l’Ordre des Architectes du Québec for the entrance pavilion of the new insectarium.

Don't miss the newly-renovated Insectarium, home to over 3,000 insect species in its specimen collection and over 175 living insect species. T


What is it: A touring 25,000 square-foot inflatable park just announced its Canadian dates and Montreal is on the list for 2024.

Why go: Imagine an enormous bouncy house spanning a whopping 16,000 square feet and towering 32 feet high. Complete with basketball hoops, climbing towers, a colossal slide, a ball pit, comfy seating areas, it’s even home to a 20-foot tall climbable rabbit and a thrilling obstacle course stretching over 300 metres, featuring a whopping 50 diverse challenges.

Don't miss the Sport Slam inflatable, a sports arena bursting with goals, nets, hoops, balls of all shapes and sizes, special climbing zones, and an epic battle zone.

What is it: Le 9e Montreal, the tea room opened by Flora Eaton in 1931, has been shuttered for 25 years and is finally reopening in all is former glory.

Why go: In addition the Île de France restaurant's stellar menu by Executive Chef Liam Hopkins and Culinary Director Derek Dammann, there is also a sexy bar (Le French Line) and an event space that will knock your socks off.

Don't miss out on a visit to Time Out Market Montréal on the second floor of the Montreal Eaton Centre.


What it is: Montrealers are lining up for the fresh, delicious and gigantic donuts at Homers Boîte à Beignes—a Simpson’s-inspired donut shop in NDG.

Why go: They are worth it. We're talking about dozens of next-level, oversized donuts ranging from Cookie Monster to Kit Kat to Crème Brûlée.

Don't miss the daily flavours like white chocolate strawberry shortcake, or overlook the classics (hello, glacé of our dreams).

What is it: Big, small, hidden and wildly beautiful, the best 15 secret gardens in Montreal show off the city's most lush, tranquil side.

Why go: From a stroll through Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens to secret, meditative spaces, spending time in the city's hidden greenspaces does the soul good.

Don't miss finding out what's behind the wall framing the beach volleyball courts on Avenue du Parc.


What is it? Time Out consulted our expert team of local editors and contributors worldwide and each championed the coolest street in their respective city. After careful consideration, we curated a definitive list and Montreal's Plaza St. Hubert made the top 30.

Why go A Latin enclave and hipster hotspot, Saint-Hubert Plaza is partly covered with a glass roof, making it ripe for exploring whatever the season. You'll find art galleries, brunch spots, some of the hottest new restaurants in th city and coolest bars.

Don't miss the honky tonk and line-dancing at Spaghetti Western

What is it: Montreal is non-stop fun thanks to all the parties, festivals and happenings that come back to the city year after year, and we've rounded up over 40 of our favourites.

Why go: From Montreal’s answer to Coachella to one of the biggest Pride celebrations around, spring, summer, winter and fall in Montreal are chock full of events from jazz to burlesque with urban art and fireworks sprinkled in between.

Don't miss the world’s largest inflatable theme park coming to Montreal this summer.


What is it Picture a hidden galaxy-inspired staircase leading up to a glamorous, jungle-themed oasis with a polished marble bar, glass ceiling and mind-blowing cocktails served in disco balls and you’ve got Milky Way.

Why go? Glamorous decor, lush tropical plants, a massive skylight and award-winning cocktails make a killer combination.

Don't miss the Disco Pisco, served in a disco ball cup

What is it: Discover Centre Playbox, the biggest entertainment centre in downtown Montreal, with cutting-edge VR games, arcade games, skill games and claw machines for visitors of all ages.

Why go: Cheap thrills await with over 80 machines inside this new 18,000 square-foot space in the Eaton Centre. With games starting at $2.50, Centre Playbox is home to more than 80 machines and attractions in a space that’s over 18,000 square feet. 

Don't miss the best chefs and restaurants under one roof at Time Out Market Montreal across the hallway.


What is it: This highly anticipated opening in Mile End's Laurier West, helmed by 25-year-old chef Anderson Lee, is serving up chic Chinese-inspired dishes in a sexy, late-night environment.

Why go: The new Montreal hotspot was the only Canadian restaurant to make the World's 50 Best list, ranked one of the best global openings in 2024.

Don't miss the mushrooms grilled in an addictively delicious beurre blanc and miso sauce, the five spice duck platter (with all the accompaniments) and the fall-off-the-bone spare ribs.

What is it? The well-known tale of a distant galaxy has been transformed into a burlesque performance, with Storm Troopers from The Empire Strips Back invading Le National theatre in varying stages of undress.

Why go? Sultry Star Troopers? A scandalous Skywalker striptease? Expect a tantalizing burlesque experience that brings your favorite Star Wars characters to life with humour that will leave you laughing and titillated at the same time.

Don't miss the sexy Mandalorians, rebels, drones, Jedi, and even a seductive Ewok.


What is it Sugar shacks on and off the island of Montreal offer an absolutely essential iconic food experience.

Why go Nothing beats slipping into the countryside and tasting the local bounty when spring brings the seasonal opening of the sugar shacks.

Don't miss sleigh rides, bean bags, hopscotch, inflatable bouncy castles, DJ-hosted dance parties, fresh donut and taffy tastings, face painting and more

What is it? Smack in the middle of Montreal’s Golden Mile, the Montreal Four Seasons Hotel is nestled amongst some of the best museums in the city, exceptional shopping experiences and many of the top tables in town.

Why go? A restaurant helmed by Marcus Samelsson that overlooks the city skyline? A luxurious hidden spa that’s one of Montreal’s best kept secrets? And we haven't even talked about the pool.

Don't miss the next-level seafood tower at Marcus restaurant

  • Things to do

What is it: Whether you’re looking for one of the best romantic restaurants, or one of the best Montreal attractions to set the mood before a make out sesh or to grab a casual coffee in the most romantic café in town, we’ve compiled a top-notch list of places to try.

Why go: From the best restaurants in the city, to the best wine bars—and some stellar cheap eats in between—let us play wingman.

Don't miss ideas that are off the beaten path, like our favourite ping pong club or axe throwing.


What is it With 61 breathtaking slopes, and a vertical drop that will satisfy the biggest daredevil, Les Glissades (1 hour north of Montreal) is the most innovative snow sliding centre around.

Why go With 13 sliding zones at 4 difficulty levels, there are 5 types of rides for your pleasure. One of the best things to do this winter just outside of the city, ​​it's guaranteed fun for the whole family—adrenaline junkies included.

Don't miss the holiday menu at the chalet's restaurant.

What is it About 30 minutes from Montreal, Uplå — North America’s largest outdoor trampoline park — is an illuminated tree top experience that’s like no other. 

Why go? Picture jumping on a series of bouncing platforms suspended 20 feet above the ground in the Mont-Saint-Grégoire forest. Jump, slide, climb, and laugh while exploring a universe of interconnected nets and tree-top village made up of playful little cabins.

Don't miss the 7 treetop maisonettes, including two on two floors, 2 spiral slides and 1 secret passage.


What is it: We quizzed over 21,000 city-dwellers to find out the world’s greatest cities for art and culture, and Montreal topped the charts

Why go? No matter what time of year, there's always something going on in Montreal. During the winter, between a gigantic free skating rink in the heart of the city and free family-friendly drag brunch happenings, your cultural bucket list is always full.

Don't miss one of the best things to do this season: Luminothérapie—original and interactive free winter experiences in the form of large light-and-sound installations designed specifically for public spaces.

What is it? Originally established in the 17th century by the city’s first settlers of New France, the narrow cobblestoned streets and foundations in Old Montreal are what solidifies the European roots of Montreal.

Why go? This neighbourhood looking out onto the Saint Lawrence River united some of Montreal’s top-tier restaurants, long promenades of shopping, a handful of museums, historic structures and attractions upon attractions. There’s never a shortage of things to do by day or by night in this part of town.

Don’t miss: The street performers at Place-Jacques Cartier, Inuit art at Galerie d'art Images Boréales, sunning at the Clock Tower Beach, or the Gothic Revival church Notre-Dame Basilica.


What is it: An outdoor elevated sugar shack experiece with the best views in town.

Why go? Eat in a magical bubble on one of Old Montreal’s most spectacular rooftops this winter. Enjoy a next-level meal featuring locally sourced ingredients inside clear, heated, frameless geodesic domes.

Don't miss the sunset when the terrasse is transformed into an elegant, magical experience (picture sparkly lights, candles and faux-fur throws) with staggering views of Old Montreal's skyline (cue La Grande RoueMarché Bonsecours and the river beyond) that are usually only enjoyed during the warmer months.

What is it? Two fundamental components of Montreal’s identity: booze and brunch. Mash them up and you’re got a slice of heaven.

Why go? Brunch is hard to improve upon, and enjoyed on a sunny rooftop with incredible views, suddenly nothing can be wrong with the world. 

Don’t miss: Arthur’s Nosh Bar serves a mean bagel brunch, and the pain perdu at Leméac, in glittering Outremont, is French toast on ‘roids.



What is it? Sprawled across the 45th and 46th floors of Place Ville Marie — one of the city’s most iconic buildings — Hiatus is a top tier rooftop experience.

Why go? Who doesn't love a new restaurant. Breathtaking, panoramic views of the city? A stunning dining room, bar, and open kitchen that promises a one-of-a-kind culinary experience? A stunning terrasse that's also the highest outdoor vantage point in Montreal? Let us count the ways.

Don't miss the outdoor patio’s lush greenery where you can take in the city's magnificent sunsets.

What is it: Guerlain Spa at Four Seasons Montreal, one of the city's best kept spa secrets.

Why go: A couple’s suite, 24-hour fitness centre, designed by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and indoor sky-lit swimming pool with an upstream current generator are only a handful of reasons to pamper yourself at this spa hidden inside a luxiry hotel.

Don't miss a meal at the hotel's Marcus Restaurant + Terrace—one of city's the best restaurants and brunch spots.


What is it: An opulent café in Old Montreal that marries Gilded Age vibes with third wave coffee.

Why go: If you don't fall for Crew Collective & Café's soaring 50-foot-high ceilings and inlay marble floors, make sipping an espresso (below an ornate painted plaster ceiling) feel like a romantic experience—or transform a simple lunch featuring local classics from an ordinary to an extraordinary moment.

Don't miss the next-level coffee—and vaulted coffered ceilings, gleaming marble, lofty archways, grand staircases, brass chandeliers and burnished gold touches everywhere. 

Complete guide to the most romantic restaurants in Montreal here.


What is it? Have you heard? It’s official: Rue Wellington in Montreal was named coolest street in the world according to this year’s Time Out Index. Time Out asked 20,000-plus city-dwellers which streets they think are the coolest, and this year only two Canadian cities made the list.

Why go? Rue Wellington is flanked by one of the best restaurants, and one of the best new restaurants in the city, so there’s no questioning its cool factor. Add some next-level cocktail bars, stellar brunch spots, some of the best sandwiches in town and even a sandy urban beach into the mix, and you’ve got the coolest crowd in the city.

Don't miss Did we mention the free tuk-tuk?

What is it? It's your eat-like-a-local bucket list for iconic Montreal food.

Why go? If eating an abundance of insanely delicious Portuguese, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern and Caribbean options sounds good—plus poutine, the best delis and sandwich shops, smoked meat and bagels—don't waste another second.

Don't miss Dua Lipa (and Nike!) showing a lot of love for Montreal's bagels


What is it? Montreal’s superpower: its food scene. 

Why go? From some of the world’s most famous and best restaurants to new affordable discoveries, Montreal can guarantee one thing: there's always something incredible to eat. No matter the cultural leanings, local fare generally puts an emphasis on fresh market vegetables, a fuss-free aesthetic (bagels, anyone?), and atypical cuts of meat (hello, smoked meat). 

Don’t miss: The 12-plate tasting menu of Le Mousso, or for a pared down experience, the shaved Québec ham topped with local cheeses (and a bottle of wine of course) at Vin Mon Lapin.

Discover Montreal's hottest new restaurant openings.



What is it? The premier drag cabaret destination from Mado Lamotte, the Village's queen diva. 

Why go? In a city known for its nightlife—and the best gay bars and LGBTQ+ clubs—this performance venue of three decades delivers the city’s wildest evenings of drag performances. Any given night’s a festive no-filter display of costumes, music, comedy and dancing that regularly features new performers (including star players from RuPaul's Drag Race). Shows are generally in French with Madame Mado translating for Anglos if they ask nicely. Remember: The closer you sit to the stage, the more likely you’ll get roasted by the hostess. 

Don’t miss: The regular Friday and Saturday nights series Mado Reçoit, MCed by the doyenne herself. It’s the classic Cabaret Mado experience.

What is it? An indoor zoo and aquarium which hosts recreations of four different ecosystems found in North America, plus some Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Why go? Originally built for the judo and cycling events of the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Montreal Biodome features thousands of animals from over 200 different species and 500 different plant species to explore. A visit to its immediate neighbour of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium will yield an equally fascinating time.

Don’t miss: The greenery and humidity of its tropical rainforest, or its collection of penguins that’s unique to Canada.

See the Montreal Biodome and the St. Lawrence River on a half-day tour.


What is it? See work from local and international artists alike at some of the city's best art galleries.

Why go? Montreal is packed with artists, partly because it’s got art programs that draw students from far and wide, partly because it’s still the cheapest big city in Canada to live and artists like things cheap. As a result, the cultural scene here is rich and varied, with dozens of independent art galleries and artist-run centres to visit for free. Whether they’re commercial galleries (bring your wallet if you’re looking to furnish your space) or not-for-profit exhibition centres, they’re all different in flavour and a perfect complement to the city’s world-class museums.

Don’t miss: the legendary opening parties at Centre Clark

What is it? A huge, sprawling network of connected subterranean tunnels running throughout the downtown core with easy access to the metro system. Air-conditioned in the summer, and heated in the winter.

Why go? Walking the full circuit numbers in at over 30 kilometers, so one visit to this multi-level maze is never enough. It’s a functional web of passageways to get from restaurants to malls to downtown attractions, one of the largest of its kind in the world with half a million people using it every day.

Don’t miss: The indoor ice skating rink of 1000 de la Gauchetière, the fragment of the Berlin wall at the World Trade Centre and Eaton Centre, the site of Time Out Market Montreal.

Book a walking tour.


What is it? Montreal’s premier destination for curated collections of contemporary art numbering at over 8,000 pieces by over 1,500 artists both national and international.

Why go? Founded in 1964, the MAC is Canada's first contemporary art museum and combines exhibits of both visual and performing arts regularly. With its HQ currently undergoing massive renovations, it has relocated to an even more central spot at the heart of Place Ville Marie. It remains a gathering place for locals and tourists to check out art both provocative and contemplative, in addition to lectures, workshops, and fresh new exhibits every single year.

Don’t miss: Visiting this museum during Montreal’s annual Nuit Blanche festival with DJ and VJ performances, art workshops, and temporary installations.

What is it? A Mile End bookstore belonging to a Canadian publishing company specializing in comics and graphic novels by authors both international and national.

Why go? Drawn and Quarterly, one of many beloved bookstores in the city, has been a publisher of comics since 1990. Its popularity prompted the opening of this bookstore in 2007 and is now a gathering place of the city’s literati that organizes big name book launches. It’s not just about comics either, as the store curates solid selections both in fiction and non-fiction.

Don’t miss: Regularly scheduled readings by authors that make for high-spirited events, but May is the month to visit for Free Comic Book Day or the Montreal Comic Arts Festival.


What is it? If there’s one thing Montreal is known for, it’s the nightlife, with DJ events and torn dancefloors across this central borough.

Why go? With a legal drinking age of 18, a prominent presence of inner-city university campuses and its bars closing at 3 a.m., this city holds a longstanding reputation for being a party town most days of the week. Bass-pounding joints like the underground forest supper club and nightclub Soubois are popular for spending the night, followed by the after-hours spot Stereo to literally dance until the sun comes up.

Don’t miss: Visiting a stretch of bars and clubs like Crescent Street during the weekend, especially during F1 Grand Prix, when that street goes wild.

What is it? A 60-metre tall observation wheel that’s kaleidoscopically lit and equipped with climate-controlled booths running throughout the year, offering a full view of Old Montreal and downtown.

Why go? Also referred to as the Montreal Observation Wheel, La Grand Roue was set up in Old Montreal to commemorate the city’s 375th anniversary. Fashioned after similar structures found in Chicago and Hong Kong, the panoramic views aboard this illuminated wheel make this a picturesque attraction for tourists and a romantic evening for locals.

Don’t miss: Climbing aboard for the day and night package to get two alternate views of the city, or early bird specials that cost half the price.


What is it? From urban mountains to sandy beaches, hit the trails and explore the best of the outdoors in and outside of the city.

Why go? When you need little break from the bright lights of the city, or to check out fall's foliage at its peak, go for a walk. Hiking is the easiest thing to do in and around Montreal: There are fantastic park trails to be enjoyed within the city itself, and quick road trips from Montreal that are easily done within a day or a weekend. 

Don't miss the nighttime multimedia forest light show, Foresta Lumina, in Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook.

What is it? The performing arts centre that makes Montreal a top live music city, from local acts to international extravaganzas.

Why go? First an indoor skating rink in the 19th century, then a cinema, then a theatre, the building that houses MTelus has been delivering entertainment for over a century. Known to locals as Metropolis, this is the site for some of Montreal’s biggest acts (besides the Corona Theatre) with none of that stadium show feel.

Don’t miss: Grab some pre-drinks at Time Out Market Montréal and then hop on the metro, or head to Foufounes Électriques or cocktails at Taverne Midway, topped off with hot dogs from Montreal Pool Room (sorry, no pool tables).  


What is it? A prime example of Montreal’s neon-soaked history of exotic dancers on the ground floor strip club, with an upstairs cabaret featuring burlesque, vaudeville and drag shows.

Why go? One of the few businesses to remain intact since Montreal’s red-light district was given a major facelift, Café Cléopâtre is part of the reason why this city was formerly known as the Paris of North America. 

Don’t miss: The first Saturday of every month has Bareoke, combining karaoke with stripping by anyone who wants to participate. It’s more wholesome than it sounds with a respectful and fun vibe.

What is it? The city’s go-to district for entertainment and cultural events spaced out across eight areas, and the main site for some of the city’s most famous festivals.

Why go? With a summer roster of Montreal’s biggest events like the Just for Laughs comedy festival and the International Jazz Festival (the world’s largest), plus regularly scheduled public art, this area prides itself on being the center of attention most days of the week. It’s also where the dapper performances of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Montreal Opera can be found.

Don’t miss: The free outdoor performances that animate the whole area throughout the summer festivals, and screenings at the Cinémathèque Québécoise, which never fail to satisfy.

More great things to do in Montreal


Neighbourhood guides to Montreal


Find the hottest reservations in town

Only drink the best in town

    You may also like
    You may also like