How to Spend 1 Day in Montreal
Montreal, Canada’s 2nd-biggest city and the cultural capital of Quebec, thrills visitors with its melting-pot cultural influences, passion for fine food and fun, European-style old town, and picturesque riverfront setting. If you have only one day to explore Montreal, here’s how you can make the most of it.
Morning: Montreal’s Must-Sees
Start by ticking off the city’s top sights. Opt for a guided bus tour or a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour that covers the don’t-miss landmarks, from the Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) to Mount Royal (Mont Royal), the cross-topped “mountain” after which the city is named. Active travelers can explore on two feet instead, or try the method of transportation preferred by many locals—bike—during a cycling tour. If you visit in winter, seek shelter from the sub-zero temperatures in Montreal’s Underground City, a vast complex of tunnels, hotels, malls, universities, and museums.
Afternoon: Splashes and Thrills
Montreal offers up countless opportunities to get active within the city confines. Go rafting or jet boating on the Lachine Rapids, or jet-skiing around the St. Lawrence River. For an exhilarating activity that doesn’t involve getting wet, try careening down a zipline by the Old Port of Montreal or taking to the skies over the city during a flying lesson. If snowy winter weather prevents these activities, you can dial up the adrenaline indoors with a race car or skydiving simulator instead.
Night: Dinner Cruises or Pub Crawls
Come evening, slow down the pace with a romantic dinner cruise along the St. Lawrence River. Admire the dazzling lights of the downtown area, float by St. Helen’s Island (Île Sainte-Helene), and glide under the Jacques Cartier Bridge while enjoying a multicourse meal aboard. For something a little livelier, join a guided pub crawl around Montreal. Hop between some of the city’s buzziest drinking spots before ending your experience in a nightclub, where you can mingle with Montrealers until the wee hours.
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