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An island city with French charm, there is plenty to see and do in Montreal, especially for arts and culture lovers. Expats in Quebec's largest city will not be short of sights to see, museums to explore and music to appreciate.
Montreal is multi-cultural and its people and cultural scene reflect the city's diversity. There is something on offer for everyone, including expats with children thanks to its many beautiful parks and activities for kids. The city also hosts numerous annual events.
From museums and cathedrals to farmer’s markets and parks, the city has it all. Below are some of the must-see sights in Montreal.
Recommended attractions in Montreal
This farmer’s market offers the very best in local produce. Expats can sample and buy local vegetables, dairy products, baked goods, olive oil and seafood at a market that has been operating since 1933. The market is located in the Saint-Henri area of Montreal.
This amusement park in Montreal is world famous. It offers a Ferris wheel, numerous rollercoasters and rides, as well as performances of every variety. Even the biggest thrill seekers won’t be disappointed with the rides and attractions available at La Ronde. The park is open daily between June and August, and on weekends in May, September and October.
This environmental museum was built for the 1967 World Fair. This is a great outing for children as it teaches them about sustainability and different habitats such as rainforests, the Arctic Circle, woodlands and coastlines. Different parts of the museum recreate these different environments, transforming a museum visit into an exciting hands-on experience. There are various plants and animals on display as well as an underwater observatory.
This famous Old Montreal landmark is a beautiful Gothic church dating back to the 1820s. Any history or architecture enthusiast will appreciate the building’s beautiful carvings, stained-glass windows and vaulted ceiling.
This area of Montreal is on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River and is a major tourist attraction. Buildings in this part of the city date back to the 17th century and include Montreal City Hall, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and Château Ramezay. Expats should also visit the nearby Vieux Port de Montreal where they will find an ice-skating rink, an IMAX cinema and the Montreal Science Centre, which is a great place for children to visit.
Parc Olympique, as it is known locally, was built for the 1976 Olympic Games. Expats can visit the park to see the various exhibitions, concerts and sporting events that are held there.
Parc du Mont-Royal
Parc du Mont-Royal is a protected area that covers the forests on the slopes of Mount Royal. Expats and their families visiting this beautiful area of Montreal can cycle and paddle boat in the summer, and enjoy the snow in winter.
This archaeological museum is a National Historic Site and it honours the founding of Montreal. Expats can embark on a self-guided tour of the museum and explore the history behind the French Canadian city. The museum is built around an archaeological dig site and visitors can view artefacts dating back hundreds of years.
St Joseph's Oratory
St Joseph’s Oratory’s famous dome can be seen from miles away. This is a pilgrimage site that attracts over two million visitors every year and is something expats in Montreal should not miss.
Village du Père Noël
Village du Père Noël, or Santa’s Village, is an hour's away from Montreal but is certainly worth the trip for expats with young children. The little ones can meet Santa Claus, see magic shows and interact with reindeers.
Are you an expat living in Montreal?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Montreal. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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