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Parc La Fontaine
Photograph: Alison Slattery

Things to do on Boxing Day in Montreal

Sure, there’s lots of shopping, but the best things to do on Boxing Day in Montreal go way beyond that

Written by
Amie Watson
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Finding awesome things to do on Christmas in Montreal can be tricky; fortunately, there are a few more options for things to do on Boxing Day in Montreal as a follow-up. From classic Boxing Day sales to Taiwanese fried chicken and bubble waffles—two things that should probably always go together—to a rock show that city’s best music venues, a flower-filled greenhouse and some of the city’s best speakeasies and cocktail bars, your Boxing Day will be stacked with activites. If you want to get out and about, there’s skiing in Montreal and ice skating to get in on as well.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in Montreal

The best things to do on Boxing Day in Montreal

Shop Boxing Day sales
Photograph: Tourisme Montréal/Daniel Choinière

1. Shop Boxing Day sales

Remember how you didn’t buy that dress/television/game/gadget you wanted on Black Friday? Now’s your second chance, because Boxing Day (or week) sales can be the best discounts of the year. Montreal’s major shopping centres including the Eaton Centre, Place Montreal Trust and the entire underground path between them, as well as the Rockland Centre, Place Alexis Nihon and the Marché Central with its big box outlet shops; all of them are open. If you’re willing to travel a bit further, there’s Dix 30 and Carrefour Laval as well. People still camp out for discounted high-price items, so if you want that new tablet before they run out, get caffeinated and get out there.

Go skating at Parc Lafontaine
Photograph: Alison Slattery

2. Go skating at Parc Lafontaine

Skating is always free at Parc Lafontaine, but rentals cost $10, a luge costs $8 and you can even rent a skating walker for the kids for $4. Forgot your hat, mittens or foot warmers? You can buy those on-site, too. The rink is open from 10:30am to 8pm  from Monday to Friday and 10am to 8pm on weekends. Check the website to keep track of opening dates in the early and late season and to find out about the condition of the natural ice on the day that you plan to go. If it isn’t open on a particular day, check out the many other options on our guide to ice skating in Montreal.

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Go to Chinatown West for Pan-Asian Eats
Photograph: Hot Star - Large Fried Chicken / @HotStarLargeFriedChicken

3. Go to Chinatown West for Pan-Asian Eats

If you followed the Time Out guide for things to do on Christmas in Montreal, you might already have slurped noodles or dumplings in the best restaurants in Chinatown, but you probably didn’t check out Chinatown West near the Guy-Concordia metro station in the student-friendly Shaughnessy Village. Thanks to Concordia University’s large Asian student body hungry for authentic eats, the area has some of the most delicious Korean, Taiwanese and regional Chinese eats in the city: Option include—but are far from limited to—longstanding favourites like Aunt Dai with sweet and spicy eggplant and cumin beef to Taiwanese fried chicken at Hot Star, Korean barbecue at Sam Cha, Hong Kong bubble waffles at Zoe Dessert and milky bubble tea at Presotea. If any of them are closed, you’ll find another for just as cheap and just as delicious just down the street. Look for lines and steamed windows.

Catch a movie
Photograph: Krists Luhaers

4. Catch a movie

Faced with another seemingly endless day of talking with your family? Offer up the plan to join the crowds heading to the latest big budget film in IMAX or 3D at downtown Montreal’s two largest English language movie theatres instead, either at the Scotiabank Cinema or the Cineplex Forum, or the Quartier Latin Cinema for French films. Buy your tickets online in advance to make sure you get seats. It turns out that lots of people dislike talking to their families as much as you.

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Get out of town & ski at Mont-Tremblant
Photograph: Courtesy Tremblant

5. Get out of town & ski at Mont-Tremblant

The most famous ski destination in Quebec, Mont-Tremblant has 78.4 km of ski slopes with 95 runs, 1164 snow cannons and 18 acres of ramps, rails and jumps. It’s one of our favourite spots when looking for skiing in Montreal. With a good mix of easy, moderate and difficult runs, it’s got something for everyone, including great après-ski options in the Mont-Tremblant village.

Warm up in microclimates at the Biodome
Photograph: Commission canadienne du tourisme

6. Warm up in microclimates at the Biodome

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s no better place to be than the tropical rainforest at the Biodome. The state-of-the-art facility lets you walk through four microclimates complete with more than 4,500 animals and 500 plant species, including butterflies. Snow will be the furthest thing from your mind – at least until you walk through the Subpolar Regions of the Americas room. Don’t worry, the ice is behind glass walls, so you’ll stay warm while watching those awfully cute penguins. It’s one of the best things to do in Montreal, hands down.

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Visit the Science Centre
Photograph: Luc Lavergne

7. Visit the Science Centre

With interactive exhibits and an educational IMAX theatre, the Science Centre is an awe-inspiring destination for all ages on Boxing Day. Whether you’re learning about volcanoes or blasting off into outer space, you’ll be plenty entertained. There are separate tickets for IMAX films and museum admission. Word to the wise: Two IMAX films here cost less than a single ticket to an IMAX feature at the Scotiabank theatre downtown. Education and savings, now that’s a Boxing Day sale!

A visit to the Botanical Gardens
Photograph: Jardin botanique de Montréal – Espace pour la vie

8. A visit to the Botanical Gardens

The 10 indoor greenhouses of the Botanical Gardens are open year-round. They include a fern greenhouse an arid regions greenhouse full of cacti and succulents (ingenious things), as well as an orchids and aroids garden. Take note that the nearby Insectarium is currently closed for a makeover, so you’ll have to wait a bit before you can learn about the things that eat the plants you spent all afternoon learning about.

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Hit up some local markets
Photograph: Alison Slattery

9. Hit up some local markets

Jean-Talon Market and Atwater Market, Montreal’s two largest public farmers markets, are both open on Boxing Day and easily accessible by metro (Jean-Talon metro and Lionel-Groulx metro, respectively). Whether you’re grabbing some local ales from the downstairs Quebec beer room of the Fromagerie Atwater, picking up some carrots or curry powder for your turkey leftovers plans, or buying a crunchy-crusted homestyle apple pie to bring to your family’s Boxing Day party—it could be a thing!—these markets have you covered.

Winter-themed cocktails at Coldroom and Miracle Montreal
Photograph: Miracle - Bar de Noël / @BarMiracle

10. Winter-themed cocktails at Coldroom and Miracle Montreal

Montrealers love cozy nooks and tasty beverages. When those two things come together, it’s a Christmas miracle (or in this case, a Boxing Day miracle)! At the Old Montreal bar Coldroom, some of the city’s best bartenders will be on hand to make you cheeky seasonal creations with plenty of eggnog, buttered rum and nutmeg-spiked Falernum. The speakeasy bar is also responsible for Miracle Montreal, a holiday popup with its own special menu of drinks and food.

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Sip a "Feu de camp" at N Sur Mackay
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/N Sur Mackay

11. Sip a "Feu de camp" at N Sur Mackay

Holiday drinks aren’t all about mulled wine or hot chocolate. It’s the “campfire” at Shaughnessy Village cocktail bar N Sur Mackay. The vintage décor makes for lots of dark corners to snuggle up in while the welcoming bar is the perfect place to make a new Boxing Day friend, all while your exceptional bartender torches the marshmallow on top of your rum-based drink. Sweet, silky and delicious.

Read a book in a warm café
Photograph: Le Dépanneur Café / @depcafelive

12. Read a book in a warm café

While major coffee chains will be open, you could also head to more interesting neighbourhood-based cafés with the best coffee in Montreal. One of our favourites is the bohemian Depanneur Café in the Mile End, where owner Benoit Bingham makes incredible Queen Elizabeth cake to eat before or after your grilled cheese sandwich—that’s at its most awesome when rounded out with a café au lait and their homemade vegan soup.

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See a show at La Sala Rossa or Bar Le Ritz PDB
Photograph: Myriam Francoeur

13. See a show at La Sala Rossa or Bar Le Ritz PDB

Two of Montreal’s most popular indie venues, these hot spots don’t stop the music for a little thing like Christmas in Montreal. Sure, you might hear a punk or klezmer version of ‘O Christmas Tree,’ but it’ll come with cheap beer, quality equipment and well-trained sound people. You’re going to be dancing, head-banging or at least side-stepping to whatever’s coming out of those speakers.

More of the best things to do around Christmas in Montreal

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