Best Things to Do in Montreal in the Summer

Are you working on your plans for your summer vacation in Montreal? If you haven’t started yet, you definitely should, as it is an amazing Canadian destination to visit during this time of the year. Whether you are looking to do activities around the St. Lawrence River, savouring the true flavours of this unique French-Canadian city, or wish to explore what each neighbourhood has to offer, you will find plenty of unique things to do in Montreal. It is a great city for couples, solo travellers, families travelling with kids, and getaways with friends. Make sure to read this guide as you will learn all about the best things to do in Montreal in the summer!

What to See and Do in Montreal this Summer?

Marche Bonsecours - Activities in Old Montreal - Jennifer Dore Dallas

Cycling and Walking Through Montreal

If you are a cycling enthusiast or you simply like to walk to places where there’s a beautiful link between the city and nature, you will be happy to know that there are different options to navigate this beautiful city. Mount Royal is a stunning place to experience any of these two activities while enjoying the scenic views over the city. The Plateau-Mont-Royal also happens to be a hiking and biking paradise thanks to the iconic La Fontaine Park.

Located more south, Lachine Canal National Historic Site proposes an inspiring cycling and walking path through its heritage and historic areas between the Old Port of Montreal and Lake Saint-Louis. Moreover, there are plenty of beautiful places to stop and enjoy a picnic. There is also La Route Verte for those looking for a greater challenge on wheels with its access through Parc Jean-Drapeau and its path crossing over the St. Lawrence River.

Within the Old Port of Montreal, you will get to travel in time as you walk beside the inviting terraces that adorn the cobblestone streets, as you pass by the Notre-Dame Basilica, admire the art of local painters and follow the crowd surrounding the entertainers of the Jacques-Cartier square.

You should also be looking for street art as these colourful hidden gems in Montreal are worth walking a few blocks to be admired. With that said, Saint-Laurent Street has become a compelling open-air museum of artistic pieces from the Mile End neighbourhood to Chinatown.

There are plenty of other interesting hikes to do around the metropolis area. If you wish to know about them, you should read the following article: Best Hiking Near Montreal: Where to Go Outdoors.

Cycling in Lachine Canal - Roxanne Desgagnes - Unsplash
Photo credit: Roxanne Desgagnes from Unsplash

The Different Experiences of the St. Lawrence River to Do in Summer

When looking for what to do in Montreal in summer, you should definitely think of the many experiences the St. Lawrence River offers as the weather gets warmer. Thanks to this H2O highway, you could participate in a paddleboard, surf, or kayak session with a qualified guide of the KSF or wildly jump over the waves of the river with Jet Boating Montreal. For a more charming escapade, the Bateau-Mouche offers the perfect setting to luxuriate in a dinner cruise with the Old Port in the background. It is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Montreal. If you are looking to unwind during your stay in the city, Bota Bota is one of the best Montreal spas to replenish yourself. This floating spa has both an invigorating and soothing water circuit involving a dip in the refreshing emblematic river.

Yes, Montreal Has Beaches

Montreal is home to different beaches which will bring you to fully relax and enjoy the beautiful weather without having to go too far. Located at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Jean-Doré beach is the perfect place for families as there is an inflatable structure for the kids to enjoy and jump in the water as well as a volleyball court and different watercraft rentals.

While the Cap-Saint-Jacques nature park beach will allow you to appreciate a natural sandy bay surrounded by trees, the Clock Tower Beach will offer you a breathtaking view of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Île Sainte-Hélène and Old Montreal. Although it is not allowed to swim at this urban beach, its prime location makes it an entertaining place to sunbathe and cool off under the misters.

Montreal’s Summer Festivals

During one of your trips to Montreal, you should definitely take advantage of the fact that the large island metropolis is a notable host for festivals. While the MURAL Festival is an impressive revelation of the international urban art movement on St. Laurent Street, the Montreal Pride celebrates the sexual diversity and the plurality of gender within the spirited streets of the Village.

If you love music, the Francos de Montréal is really interesting because of its support for French music and the Festival international de Jazz de Montréal is the world’s biggest jazz club. For a colourful and dynamic experience, Osheaga represents the biggest multi-day indie music festival in Canada.

If you are travelling with your family, you will surely appreciate the fabulous fireworks competition presented by l’International des Feux Loto-Québec as well as Yatai MTL thanks to which you will get to experience the Japanese culture and its street food.

Mural Festival - Montreal - Jennifer Dore Dallas

Best Family Activities in Montreal in Summer

If you are looking for things to do in Montreal with kids, be ready to embark on an exciting adventure as you brave the thrilling areal course of Voiles en Voiles. This life-size pirate ship is shaped by all kinds of rope bridges, swings, and climbing walls, which makes it an incredible playground.

For exhilarating adventures in Montreal, prepare yourself to scream your lungs out when riding the numerous rollercoasters of La Ronde, and make sure to observe the most touristy part of the city from a bird’s eye view as you zipline your way over Île Bonsecours.

Another one of the best things to do in Montreal in the summer is an inspiring visit of the Botanical Garden of Montreal. It is a great place to dive into a spectacle of colours, culture and natural perfumes.

La Grande Roue de Montréal at Night - in Old Port

Indoor Things to Do in Montreal

There are several choices when it comes to indoor activities or easy things to do alone in Montreal. With its immersive journey through five ecosystems of the Americas, the Montreal Biodome has created a unique proximity with a stirring fauna and a rich flora. Whilst in the Olympic Park, you can enjoy other attractions such as the Montreal Insectarium, go up the Olympic Stadium tower, and explore the Maisonneuve Park and the Château Dufresne. Built in the early 1900, you will surely be impressed by the Beaux-Arts architecture of this historic monument, which was highly appreciated by the French-Canadian bourgeoisie of that time.

When visiting the old part of the city, Montreal Science Center is an exciting museum to experience dynamic expositions and learn more about how the world works. The IMAX theatre is also part of the well-liked old Montreal activities with its sensational technology put in place for you to fully immerse yourself into the cinematic movie world. There are a lot more places that could be named but the Montreal Aviation Museum distinguishes itself from the rest because of its beautiful old stone barn structure located on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University. During your visit, you will get to admire a fascinating art gallery, discover a collection of aircrafts, and much more.

What Are Montreal’s Best Summer Foodie Places to Eat At?

The ultimate sign indicating that summer has arrived in Montreal is the terraces and the buzzing parks. Be ready to wear your best summer outfit and discover the vibrant places to go enjoy a happy hour and eat delicious food thanks to this little Montreal foodie guide.

Ice Cream Cone - on Place Castelnau - Villeray - Jennifer Dore Dallas

If you want to mix in with the locals in an authentic way, you should visit either Jean-Talon Market or Atwater Market to pick up some local charcuterie, cheese, or anything that would satisfy your craving and go have a laid-back picnic at Jarry Park or in the vicinity of Lachine Canal.

Overlooking the picturesque Jacques-Cartier square, the chic terrace Perché is a real urban oasis where you can indulge in a colourful poke and drink delightful cocktails.

If you are trying to get away from the touristic areas, the Palco Bar located in Verdun is a fun place to get a pitcher filled up with your choice of cocktails and experience shared dining on its cute, secluded terrace.

The Reservoir, on the other hand, offers a brunch menu impossible to resist on its rooftop terrace.

If you are looking for things to do at night in Montreal, you should definitely have dinner at Terrasses Bonsecours as you will get to devour tasty tapas in front of the Ferris Wheel of the Old Port.

Once your belly is full why not head out to have some imported beers at one of the most beautiful bar terraces of the city, the Pub Le Sainte-Élisabeth!

There are plenty of other must-try restaurants for you to spoil yourself with Montreal’s iconic dishes. Let’s start with Au Pied De Cochon which is known for its poutine with foie gras and Schwartz’s Deli for its notorious smoked meat sandwich.

A stop at St-Viateur Bagel is the perfect place to start your day on the go, and La Binerie will make sure to serve you the best pouding chômeur!

For its rustic charm and flavoursome menu, Joe Beef restaurant has become a real institution and a must-visit restaurant. Make sure to have a shared dining experience with someone, so you get to taste as many dishes as possible!

Jean-Talon Market - Ryunosuke Kikuno - Unsplash
Photo credit: Ryunosuke Kikuno from Unsplash

Where to Stay in Montreal? My Favourite Accommodations

Part of the cheap things to do in Montreal is, of course, staying in a hostel. Lodging in a university residence is also an option that not a lot of people think about. Indeed, UQAM university has studios well located in downtown Montreal with single or double occupancies including a kitchenette and a bathroom.

Saintlo Montreal youth hostel is also a great place to get social and for digital nomads looking for a home away from home in an inspiring environment. Recently remodeled, M Montreal is the place you are looking for to enjoy the city’s nightlife on a budget with its proximity to the best Montreal neighbourhoods.

Travel through time to live in Montreal during the ’60-’70s thanks to exclusive stories shaped by the decoration of each room at the Uville Hotel. Overlooking the Old Port of Montreal, Nelligan Hotel will make your luxurious fantasy a reality with its bright rooms of this historic building. With the Mount Royal on one side and the high-rise buildings on the other, l’Appartement Hotel, is perfect for a family getaway with its fully equipped rooms and included breakfast.

As staying in boutique hotels has become really popular, Montreal City has plenty of exquisite places to choose from. The Boxotel is a really fun place to stay since your room can be adapted to your needs thanks to modular furniture within a modern and comfortable setting. Its panoramic terrace with spa will make your visit even more memorable.

Considered one of the leading family-run businesses across the country, Germain Hotel welcomes you within a refined and elegant environment, which combines luxury and the art of living. You can even add a gastronomic experience to your package.

If you are looking to immerse yourself in the English downtown district, Les Bons Matins is a charming Bed and Breakfast to stay at. You will get to sleep in a cozy and colourful bedroom and wake up to the smell of a delicious coffee.  

Room of Boxotel - in Montreal

How to Get Around Montreal in Summer?

Montreal is probably one of the easiest cities to travel around. From the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, you can quickly jump in a taxi or pre-order a ride with an Uber driver and head to any part of the city.

Even if travelling around with different taxi rides might be efficient, you should definitely make good use of the public transit system of Montreal as it is much cheaper! Paying $6 to get the Opus card will allow you to top it up at any time according to the frequency of your travels done with the metro or buses.

Many neighbourhoods like Old Montreal, Plateau Mont-Royal, and Rosemont Petite-Patrie are really interesting to explore on foot as there are plenty of things to observe and appreciate.

If you wish to be active and maximize the things to do in Montreal in one day and therefore venture through many places, renting a Bixi bicycle is a great way to travel around. Starting at 10 cents a minute, you can choose from different subscription packages depending on your needs.

Although it is easy to solo travel in Montreal, you might want to join a Montreal tour guide to learn specific things about history, the microbrewery industry, local arts, etc. You could even plan a little trip outside of the city to explore another part of Quebec. You can read all about the best-guided tours of Montreal and within the whole province in the following article: Ultimate Quebec Best Guided Tours to Book Now.

Metro of Montreal - STM - Manny -Fortin - Unsplash
Photo credit: Manny Fortin from Unsplash

Now that you know all about the best things to do in Montreal in the summer, are you ready to visit this incredible Canadian city?

If you wish to extend your stay within the province of Quebec and plan on exploring other cities, you can read all about the must-see attractions of La Belle Province: 20 Must-see Quebec Attractions to Add to Your Province Bucket List.

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How to Get There and Around / Montreal / Quebec Destinations / Trip Planner / What and Where to Eat / What to See and Do / Where to Stay
About Author

Passionate about travel and food, Jennifer Doré Dallas is a freelance travel writer, author and creator since 2010. On top of this amazing Chasing Poutine blog, she also founded Moi, mes souliers in 2010 and she is the author/co-author of around two dozen Lonely Planet, Ulysse and Parfum d'encre travel guidebooks, in addition to having contributed to other books and hundreds of tourism and Web platforms, magazines, DMOs and Websites over the years. As a lecturer in Web writing and SEO for a Quebec college and consultant for various companies and DMOs, she loves combining technological advances with the classic beauty of words, and is a member of TMAC, SATW, NATJA and IFTWTA!

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