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Foliage, Festivals & Fireworks
Montreal is a historic, vibrant Canadian city in the heart of Quebec where festivals, nightlife, arts, live performances, and great food are at your fingertips year-round. Just climb to the top of Mount-Royal, where Montreal gets its namesake, and you’ll take in sweeping views of the mountains and bustling city life below. Visit in the fall when the foliage bursts into fiery red, orange and yellow hues for some of the most scenic drives and walks in North America, or escape the winter weather to explore the vast Underground City (RESO), unique to Montreal.
It may seem strange to make your first stop underground, but a whole other world exists just below the city streets and is a must-see for first-time visitors. Montreal’s RESO, or La Ville Souterraine as it’s called by French-speaking residents, is visited by more than 500,000 people per day. Urban life is buzzing in this underground network. RESO covers 20-square miles and is filled with restaurants, galleries, stores, corporate headquarters, nightclubs, and plazas. Ever watch a hockey game or a concert below ground? See your favorite artist or root for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens® at Bell Centre hockey arena. Going underground is a perfect way to escape Quebec’s harsh winters and it is easy to get back to the city above.
Montreal’s blend of European and American influences offer guests and locals an unbeatable arts scene. At the heart is the Place des Arts, Montreal’s center for the performing arts. Feel the vibrations and beautiful melodies of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal); be moved by shows of the Montreal Opera Opera (Opéra de Montréal) or some of Canada’s top ballet companies Les Grands Ballets Canadiens). Then view more than 7,000 works by international artists at the Montreal Contemporary Art (Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal).
Festivals of all kinds are hosted in Montreal year-round, from fireworks, fashion and igloo building to comedy and music. Groove to the smooth rhythms at the Montreal International Jazz Festival or party down at the ten day celebration that is the High Lights Festival, featuring light shows, live music, and performing arts.
Downtown’s modern skyscrapers and historic buildings stand side-by-side along the streets where you can shop the Complexe Desjardins, or grab some of the best dim sum in Montreal’s Chinatown.
Go back in time as you walk the cobblestone streets in Old Montreal, home to many popular attractions like the 300-year old Château Ramezay, the beautiful Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), Pointe-a-Calliere archaeological museum, and the Bonsecours Market. Once Montreal’s city hall and the Parliament of Lower Canada, today the Market is filled with cafes and local shops. Just out front is The Quays of the Old Port (Quais du Vieux-Port), offering waterfront dining, shopping and paths along the Lachien Canal. Later, tour the University of Montreal (Université de Montréal) campus in the Outremont neighborhood, just north of downtown.
The city is filled with stunning gothic-style architecture of historic Cathedrals. Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral (Cathédrale Marie Reine du Monde) is a smaller version of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, while the 17th century the Notre-Dame Bascilica is inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Climb 283 steps to the top of Saint Joseph Oratory’s impressive observation deck. Built on the side of Mount-Royal, many devout believers make the journey to the top on their knees as part of a religious pilgrimage. While at the top of Mount-Royal, take in Eastern views at The Camilien-Houde lookout and see attractions like the Olympic Stadium, Jacques-Cartier bridge, and the St. Lawrence River. From the Kondiaronk Chalet lookout, check out Montreal’s downtown buildings and the countryside views of the Montérégie region.
Head to Saint Helen’s Island for unique and fun family attractions. At Montreal’s Biosphère children can learn how water moves from a cloud to rain and how rivers flow to the ocean through interactive exhibits. Then have some fun and raise your hands high on rollercoasters at La Ronde, a theme park owned by Six Flags®. Visiting in the summer? Watch as more than 6,000 fireworks shoot into the air and burst into stunning colors at the annual International Fireworks Competition (L’International des Feux Loto-Québec), the largest pyrotechnics competition of its kind in the world.
Whether you’re visiting this Quebec city for business or some fine food and fun festivals, make yourself at home at one of our Best Western Montreal hotels.
Top Montreal Attractions
- RESO – Montreal Underground City
- NHL’s Montreal Canadiens®
- St. Joseph Oratory of Mount-Royal
- Montreal Biodome
- Bonsecours Market
- Notre-Dame Basilica
- La Ronde, by Six Flags®
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