Why Montreal Wants You to Visit in the Winter

Montreal is a bonafide winter wonderland that attracts visitors from around the world. This fabulous city in Quebec must be good to bring so many visitors to Canada during the cold winter months. Not to mention, Montreal winter activities are epic!

 

If you’re looking for a winter vacation that’s a little different, Montreal is the right destination for you.

 

However, winters are pretty intense here in Canada. When you’re traveling to Montreal, think about coming prepared. We’re thinking full-on ski gear, snow and cold-resistant wardrobe and winter equipment for your vehicle.

 

And since conditions on the road to Montreal can be dire, renting a car while you’re there may not be such a bad idea. You can choose to rely on your car the entire time or rely on services like GlobeCar to get around this wonderfully diverse and charismatic city.  

 

Here are some of the most compelling reasons why you should visit Montreal in the winter.

 

Montreal winter activities

 

Montreal Winter Activities for Your Next Vacation

Great Ski Culture

 

Of all the Montreal winter activities, I’d have to say that their ski culture stands out the most. The city itself has plenty of cross-country trails where you can get outside and enjoy the fresh air. 

 

The Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem in Montreal where you can ski two miles through the beautiful wooded trails. This course is beginner-friendly and affordable— you only pay for parking.

 

The Botanical Garden trails connect with the larger Maisonneuve Park trails if you’re looking for a day of easy skiing.

 

Mount Royal, from which this great city gets its name, is also easily accessible from the heart of Montreal. For downhill skiing, however, you may need to choose a means of transportation for out of town and head for the hills.

 

When it comes to the cost-effectiveness of this road-trip, don’t worry. It’s well worth the short trip since Quebec is filled with incredible ski resorts. 

 

Montreal winter activities, boy riding sleigh

 

Endless Other Outdoor Activities

 

If skiing isn’t your speed, there are plenty of other outdoor activities that make winter in Montreal magical. Take your family tobogganing or skating in one of the parks. Some of the resorts outside the city center even offer dog sledding lessons.

 

Wrap up the day with some gourmet hot cocoa. Montreal is also home to a few exotic tea houses where you can try blends from around the world.

 

If you’re so inclined, you can go for high tea at one of the classier establishments that offer a fusion of British and French pastries and delights. 

 

Maple Syrup montreal

Photo by Eduardo Vázquez on Unsplash

 

Maple Syrup Season

 

Visiting Canada during maple syrup season is a must. Thankfully, winter is that time of year, and there’s no better place to celebrate than Quebec. Maple syrup is perfected by the hot days and cool nights of autumn.

 

In the winter, the trees are tapped, and the sap is boiled down to make some delicious maple syrup.

 

Head to a sugar shack and indulge in this sweet treat. If you get out of the city limits, you may even get to tour a maple tree farm and tap a tree. Within the city, there are plenty of sugar shacks that present fine dining dishes using maple syrup.

 

Don’t leave Montreal without having a maple syrup snow pop— hot maple syrup poured over snow.

 

Montreal Winter activities

Luminotherapie in the Quartier des Spectacles Photo source CCL

 

Playing at Luminotherapie

 

Luminotherapie is an annual pop-up spectacle that runs throughout December and January. This installment boasts interactive artwork that uses light to create an uplifting and magical experience for attendees.

 

Luminotherapie takes place in the Quartier des Spectacles, where tourists and locals come together to play.

 

The installations at Luminotherapie change every year. This event is great for families, as well as adults who wish to be filled with child-like wonder as they walk through the dazzling displays.

 

 

Partying at Igloofest

 

Igloofest is an electronic dance music festival that takes place in Old Port. The festival lasts for three weeks. Despite being held outside in the heart of winter, it attracts attendees and musical guests from around the world. 

 

To prepare for Igloofest, you’ll want to pack warm layers as the temperature can drop down to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit). Get ready to dance the night away to stay warm with 4000 of your closest friends.

 

 

So Much Comfort Food

 

Montreal is filled with an incredible culinary scene. What better time than winter to warm up with an Old Montreal food tour?

 

Not only will the delicious dishes warm your heart and soul, but there’s no worry about how you’ll look after overindulging when you’re bundled up in a snowsuit.

 

Some dishes you can expect to enjoy during your tour include Montreal bagels, local smoked meats, poutine, carrot cake, and macarons that rival Parisienne ones in taste. These will be paired with local craft beer, making for an amazingly indulgent day. 

 

When you’re done with your food tour, you can head to one of the Scandinavian spas in Old Montreal and lounge in the manmade hot springs. Some tour providers also include spa admission as a part of the experience!

 

Montreal Underground, Montreal winter activities

Underground shopping Photo source CCL 

 

Underground Shopping

 

If venturing out into the cold really isn’t your scene, Montreal is still the perfect winter destination. Head beneath the streets to the Underground City.

 

This expansive underground network covers 20 miles worth of shops, subways, and walking paths so that you can hide from the cold and explore in comfort.

 

The Underground City is a perfect destination for those really cold or snowy days when you don’t want to be outside, but don’t want to miss everything Montreal has to offer.

 

Head to a movie, grab a bite to eat and pick up a few souvenirs from this otherworldly destination. 

 

The Underground City connects numerous above-ground shops and locations, so don’t think that you have to find some secret access tunnel. Over 500,000 people use this network each day. In most cases, people don’t even realize they’ve walked into it.

 

Visit Montreal’s Winter Wonderland

 

The Montreal winter activities in this post show that this destination is truly a winter wonderland that has something for everyone. If you’re looking for a vacation that’s a little different, visit this incredible city during the winter and embrace the cold. After a few days, you won’t even notice it.


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day."It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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