Montreal’s Underground City (Montréal Souterrain) is a vast indoor complex that extends across a large portion of Downtown Montreal. Subterranean tunnels connect malls, hotels, cinemas, theaters, offices, museums, banks, universities, and metro stations, serving as a warm refuge during the city’s brutal winters.
With some 20 miles (33 kilometers) of tunnels, 190 access points, and thousands of shops, the Underground City can be something of a maze, especially to the uninitiated. To avoid getting lost, consider joining a guided tour. Tours of the complex show off highlights of the underground realm, which features everything from shopping malls to public artworks and even a segment of the Berlin Wall.
Some tours split their time between the Underground City and the ground-level attractions of Downtown Montreal, stopping at landmarks such as Christ Church Cathedral and the monument-dotted Dorchester Square.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Underground City is a must for visitors who want to shop, eat, or simply escape the frigid winter temperatures.
- Find Underground City maps at Montreal metro stations.
- Many of the major complexes, malls, and attractions in the Underground City are wheelchair-accessible with street-level access and elevators, though some of the tunnels and metro stations are not.
How to Get There
Access points to the Underground City can be found throughout Downtown Montreal. Easy-to-find entrances include malls such as the Eaton Centre, Les Cours Mont-Royal, and Complexe Desjardins. The underground complex is also connected to metro stations, including Atwater, Peel, McGill, Place des Arts, Berri UQAM, Bonaventure, Square-Victoria, and Place d’Armes. Entrances to the Underground City are marked RÉSO.
When to Get There
With heating and air-conditioning keeping temperatures in the tunnels pleasant, the best time to visit is during extreme weather—whether that be humid summer days or the freezing chill of winter.
What to See in the Underground City
For shopping, head to the Eaton Centre and Complexe Desjardins, where you’ll find high-street chains, independent stores, cafés, restaurants, and fast-food outlets. For something a little more cultural, browse the exhibits at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Musée d'Art Contemporain) or head to the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, which hosts numerous conventions and events every year, including Montreal Comiccon. For a bird’s-eye view of the city, ascend to the 607-foot-high (185-meter-high) observation deck at Place Ville Marie.