The snow has fallen, the mittens are out, and you’re wondering what you’re gonna do without Montreal’s amazing terraces until May. It’s okay, we’ve got you! Here are 15 things to do in Montreal that will fill that sun shaped void in your life, and spice up your winter just the right amount.
Let’s start with exploring other guides you might be interested in. If you’re wondering what to do on a fun date during the cold Montreal winter, check out our article Top 12 Romantic Things to do in Montreal. If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit and need suggestions for what to do, check out Top 16 Holiday and Christmas Activities in Montreal. We can also offer some recommendations on where to eat in our snowy city, so have a look at 23 Delicious & New Places to Eat in Montreal 2017.
15. Check out the city’s best new bars and restaurants
Set in an art deco paradise with a metal palm tree at the center that pulls the scene together, this Japanese, Peruvian fusion restaurant is making waves. The name, Tiradito, is a Peruvian dish of raw fish that’s very similar to sashimi; and it’s offered on their menu. It’s also a great stop for some fresh and creative cocktails. If you’re taking a date, opt for the sake punch for two!
1076 Rue de Bleury
In the heart of downtown, Gokudo is a hidden Japanese bar that’s chic with a bit of novelty thrown in for good measure. The back section of the bar evokes a 50s or 60s Japanese underworld. Their drink menu mainly features sake and imported Japanese whiskey, and their well-balanced cocktails are carefully executed for that optimal taste.
630 Rue Cathcart
The centerpiece of this new hip bar/restaurant is the beautiful pink cherry tree blossoming at its heart with a bar wrapped around it. The tree should indicate to patrons that this restaurant offers meals that are tasty, fresh, and maybe even a little floury. The setting was inspired by the futuristic world in the Blade Runner movies; a little bit steampunk and modern at the same time. Also offering sake and other Japanese traditional meals like udon noodle soups, tempura and temaki, this new kid in town is a must-visit in the gay village.
1101 Boul de Maisonneuve E
Clandestino & Boho
Head to Old Montreal for a night out at the city’s hippest bars. Boho is Miami-style bar that’ll make you think you’ve stepped into a beach house. Think pink glossy floors, tropical plants, and some of the coolest fruity cocktails within miles–some even come with a Popsicle! Sharing the same entrance and owners is Clandestino–but the vibe is completely different. Clandestino is more refined and is set is a darker, cavernous space with mismatched, tufted couches. They offer over 100 different kinds of tequila and even have 15 varieties of salt to pair your tequila with!
436 St Francois Xavier St
14. Take an Old Montreal Food Tour
It’s no secret that Old Montreal is a gem to be discovered. The Old Port, the European architecture, the cobblestone streets, etc etc… but what is kind of new is its foodie scene. With more and more people moving to the area, remarkable food vendors have been opening up and are well-worth discovering. The Old Montreal Food Tour takes you on a journey to many of them, highlighting Quebec culture and history as it does. What better way to enjoy the magic of winter than warm up and eat food, and then pop back out to discover the winter land for just a little bit, and then warm up with even more food!? The tour even features some warm soup broth during these cold months.
13. Hit up the best ramen restaurants in town
There’s nothing quite like pairing a warm bowl of soup with a cold winter’s day. Together, head to one of Montreal’s best ramen eateries for a romantic night of rich delicacies.
This brand new ramen eatery that opened up in the Mile End neighbourhood serves up their homemade noodles in a speedy fashion. In a warm setting that’s dotted with plants and orchids, patrons can sip on their Tonkostu broth which is the perfect balance of thick, fatty and creamy. Head to The Main for some of the best noodles in town!
5207 St Laurent Blvd
Yokato Yokabai Ramen:
You’ll first be greeted by warm “welcome!” from the staff as you walk in. Yokato is a small ramen eatery known for its delicious broth called Tonkotsu, made by boiling pork bones for approximately 12 hours. Top off your soup with their very own homemade ice cream!
This tiny 10 seat Japanese restaurant serves up some grand meals. Their specialty is takoyaki which are round balls usually made up of octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion. You can see patrons enjoying the restaurant’s daily specials at the window bar. Though they don’t have ramen on the menu, you can savour their udon noodle and soba soups which often grace the alternating menu.
77 Rachel St W
12. Ski on Mont-Royal!
Skiing, the classic wintertime sport. You might not be able to train for the Olympics on the Mont-Royal, but you can definitely have a bunch of fun. You know, for some skiing is also an excuse to enjoy a superb hot chocolate after, so there’s that too. If you don’t own skis and want to go wintertime wonderland anyway, there are many places to rent in Montreal. Fitz and Follwell and le Yéti are good stores for ski rentals. The view is breathtaking and it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful city skyline.
11. Winter time for the whole fam jam!
Whether they’re your own, or family in from out of town, kids and toddlers are sure to make you re-live that mystical winter magic and warm up your heart. Sledding down the Mont-Royal, spending the day at the Biodôme, Botanical Gardens, sipping a hot chocolate.. these are all classics that aren’t going anywhere. Take a look at our article on the topic for more info.
10. Rent a Cabin in Parc National Du Mont Tremblant
Mont-Tremblant is an ever-popular destination for winter-lovers who like to ski and participate in all kinds of outdoor activities. This winter activity, however, is perfect for both the outdoorsy and those who like to curl up at home with a good book–why not rent a cabin! There’s also the option of going dog sledding! That’s right, dash through the snow with some Siberian huskies and experience the winter season to its fullest. Head to Mont-Tremblant with a significant other or with a few pals and take in the pristine views in this snowy paradise. For more information, visit their website.
9. Warm up at the McCord Museum
Their latest exhibition, Illusions, looks at the golden age of magic shows. Admire the magnificent posters from the 19th and 20th centuries that are a cross between advertisement and art, inviting you to witness never before seen levitation, illusions and tricks. This exhibition runs until January 8th, so act fast! Their upcoming exhibition, Michel Campeau: Life Before Digital, highlights the work of amateur photographers from the fifties and explores the perspectives of material cultures during that era. This exhibition will run from February 16th to May 6th. For more information, visit their website here.
8. Light up your night at Luminotherapie
Think of Luminotherapie as the 21 Balancoires of the winter months. Set up in Place des Festivals every year, Luminotherapie is an interactive art installation with featuring bright and twinkly holiday lights. Comprised of thirty seesaws that light up and play music, the event invites Montrealers to take part in their very own winter playground. It runs from December 8, 2016 to January 29, 2017 at Place des Festivals.
7. Even more museums!
Spend a cold winter’s day remembering one of the world’s most beloved poet and songwriter at Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art. This gifted Montrealer, who passed away in 2016, is well known for having written truly beautiful songs; including some of the greatest love songs. Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything explores the themes that inspired the songwriter’s work and and the legacy he leaves behind. Head to the MAC for an afternoon of discovering and remembering this Montreal legend.
Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything (Present- April 9th, 2018)
185 Rue Sainte-Catherine O
6. Of course, Igloofest!
Over the years, Igloofest has become a world famous electronic music event. Montrealers will brave the absolute coldest weather, suit up in ski jackets, and hit this outdoor dance floor. Igloofest brings in some of the biggest names in the industry, so I guess we can’t blame these crazy kids. It’s almost like an extreme sport, and people take great pride in their ability to bust a move in -40 degree weather. You can join in on the fun from January 18th to February 3th 2018, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Take a look at this years lineup here.
5. Montreal en Lumière Festival
Montreal en Lumière, responsible for the famous annual Nuit Blanche, is an all time winter favourite. In its mission to help Montrealers “take back winter”, the festival offers music performances, gastronomic events, art to boot, and yes Nuit Blanche, where the city doesn’t sleep and there are pockets of activities, events, and exhibits speckled all around town. From Feburary 22 to March 4 2018. For more information, click here.
4. Indulge in Merry Montreal’s tons of impressive activities, including a New Year’s party!
Bring in 2018 with the city you love: Merry Montreal is hosting a free outdoor party with an insane lineup, including Daniel Belanger. Until then, let them entertain you for the rest of 2017 with the cutest Christmas market, a holiday cinema, and some cute cozy “warming up stations” at La Place Jacques Cartier. Check out their website for more details.
3. Go Skating!
One great thing about winter is the skating rink cuteness factor that’s suddenly available to Montrealers. A hilarious (or graceful) date, a family outing, or maybe a test of your friendships, a little skating is good for everyone. This website will be your best friend on your skating quest: http://www.patinermontreal.ca/. It’s got all of Montreal’s skating rink’s details, such as location and opening hours.
2. Get festive with one of Montreal’s Holiday activities
The holidays aren’t all about gift shopping. They’re also about pretty bright lights, the gatherings, the special exhibits, and that magical holiday cheer. Check out our article on 11 things to do during this most wonderful time of the year.
Big news! Bota Bota has recently revamped their water circuit! So even if you’ve been, return and return again this winter 2017. With outdoor jogging out the window for your stress relief tactic, the occasional spa visit is an excellent replacement. In Montreal we have the elegant Bota Bota, which is set right on the water amidst an aesthetically pleasing collection of industrial and historic buildings. Get pampered, get hot tubbed, a massage, some water therapy, and get rid of those winter blues in a pinch.