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Décorations de Noël sur l'avenue McGill College
Photograph: Tourisme Montréal / Daniel Choinière

Where to see Christmas lights in Montreal

If you like to catch the city lit up in the winter, use this guide to find out where to see Christmas lights in Montreal

Written by
Kaitlyn McInnis
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Winter in Montreal can be a drag with its subzero polar vortexes, perquisite layers upon layers of warm clothing and storms so thick you can’t see down your block—unless you’re into that sort of thing. Thankfully, to counter the cold and darkness, we waste no time lighting up the city for the wintertime holidays, and we’ve got your guide on where to see Christmas lights in Montreal. It’s a festive place with glistening decorations around every corner, and it makes for one of the best things to do on Christmas. So bundle up and for a stroll after a full dinner at one of the city’s best BYOBs or best French restaurants, and enjoy some dazzling discoveries that rival our favourite Montreal attractions.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in Montreal

Where to see Christmas lights in Montreal

In an effort to raise money, food and awareness for local food banks, the CP Holiday Train makes its way across North America every November, stopping in Kahnawake and ending the evening in ​Lacolle, an hour’s drive outside of the city. You won’t want to miss these endearingly kitschy train cars, decked out in seventies-style Christmas lights.

Sami Hajjar's Christmas Display
Photograph: Fondation Plan A / Sami Hajjar's Christmas Display

2. Sami Hajjar's Christmas Display

A more traditional holiday light display, Sami Hajjar's Christmas Display in Saraguay on the northwestern side of the island, boasts over 100,000 light bulbs strobing to Christmas tunes, blow-up Disney characters and more, all set against a castle-like suburban home.

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Complexe Desjardins
Photograph: Complexe Desjardins

3. Complexe Desjardins

Complexe Desjardins is a popular Downtown Montreal commuter mall to get from the green line to the orange line, but the central fountain is worth stopping for—especially in the wintertime. The brightly lit Fontaine Boreale jets high into the air in the center of the mall while the surrounding ceiling lights pulse to the beat of classic Christmas tunes.

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
Photograph: Susan Moss

4. Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

Old Montreal is an especially magical spot in the wintertime. For one, there are significantly less tourists blocking the sidewalks, and strolling through the empty streets with the Notre Dame Basilica lit up in against the dark, snowy skyline feels exactly like stepping into a feel-good holiday movie.

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Dorchester Square
Photograph: @hbenjamin.photo.gallery

5. Dorchester Square

A popular spot for office workers to lunch in the summertime, Dorchester Square turns into a glistening wonderland come winter. It’s not over-the-top or overly Christmas-themed, but the sparkling lights set against the trees and surrounding high-rises make for a very romantic Montreal park stroll.

Saint Catherine Street West
Photograph: Marie Deschene / Tourisme Montréal

6. Saint Catherine Street West

Not everybody likes the hustle of Christmas shopping, but strolling through the lit-up shops and sights on Saint Catherine will put even the biggest Grinch in a festive mood. Make sure to stop at the beloved Ogilvy Christmas window on the corner of Saint Catherine and de la Montagne, where mechanical woodland creatures have been delighting locals since 1947.

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Centre Eaton
Photograph: Centre Eaton de Montréal / @centreeatonmtl

7. Centre Eaton

Want to see the city lit up without bracing the cold? Head underground and make your way to the Centre Eaton. Alongside the shops and food court—including Time Out Market Montréal—you’ll find a sprawling, interactive Christmas tree with sparkling Christmas lights running through along all five floors.

Musée du Château Ramezay
Photograph: Michel Pinault

8. Musée du Château Ramezay

For a particularly mesmerizing experience, make your way to Château Ramezay, one of the best things to do in Old Montreal. The historic house and museum dates back to the 18th century, but really glistens in the wintertime when the entire property is decked out in Christmas lights. The Château also offers baking workshops and various holiday-themed activities for families.

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Place des Festivals
Photograph: Benoît Durocher

9. Place des Festivals

Place des Festivals transforms into a true winter wonderland starting in November, and unlike most spots on our list, it keeps the ‘luminotherapy’ going well into the frostier half of spring. Head to the Christmas Market which stays open from early December through to Christmas Eve and make sure to pencil in a second trip after the holidays; that’s when the outdoor complex transforms into an illuminated playground designed to give a pulse of warmth to the winter’s short days and dark nights.

More of the best things to do around Christmas in Montreal

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