Top 5 Reasons to Visit Montreal

There’s something particularly magical about Montreal in the winter. It's North America's most European city, and also predominantly French with a flare for culture and charm. Even though it gets darker and colder in the winter Montreal is still a fantastic city to visit, and here's why!

Even though it can be dark and cold for most of the year, it’s during the winter months that Montreal really comes to life! So here's how you can make the most of your time in Montreal! And remember you can always add on one of our inclusive winter camps for teens.

Not a fan of the cold? Fear not! We also have programs in Italy, Spain, and France as well as many other destinations around the world. Check out our Destinations section for things to do in those cities as well!



1. Mont-Royal

Mont-Royal (233 m) is much more than Montreal’s namesake; it’s one of the city’s largest green spaces and one of the few places in the world where people can do winter sports within city limits.

Here you can go tobogganing, tubing, ice-skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even take a ride in a horse drawn sleigh. Don’t worry about bringing equipment, there are plenty of places to rent gear in the city.

After your outdoor activities we recommend warming up at one of the many cafés in the Plateau neighborhood, which is also the best place to get a panoramic views of the breathtaking skyline.

2. The Nordic Terrace

The people at SAT have turned their rooftop patio space into a great place to gather for good food and drinks all year round by building a traditionally designed yurt! This spacious, soft-sided shelter remains open throughout the winter.

Even when most of the city’s elevated eateries have closed for the season the Nordic Terrace remains open, so when it’s cold outside you can visit this toasty and inviting space, relax on a fur throw, and enjoy a variety of fanciful culinary creations and warm winter drinks.

3. French Canadian Food

Montreal is known for several delicious and iconic foods, including poutine, smoked meat, tourtière, Montreal-style bagels, and crepes. While these are available all year round, there’s something particularly special about hot food in the cold winter.

These specialties can be found throughout the city and are the perfect way to warm up after exploring, skating, skiing, or any of the other wonderful outdoor activities available in marvelous Montreal.

4. Festivals

Montreal has some truly amazing festivals, and fortunately for you, many of the most iconic fêtes are during winter. Three in particular stand out – Igloofest, Fête des Neiges, and Montréal en Lumière. Igloofest is an electronic music festival that takes place at the Old Port in January.

The Fête des Neiges is a free multi-weekend event that includes a variety of winter activities, including ziplines, tubing, sled dog tours, skating, shows, music and more. Last, but not least, is Montréal en Lumière. This celebration of art, food, and lights is one of the biggest such festivals in the world!

5. Old Montreal

Montreal’s historic center is at its most enchanting when it’s covered in a blanket of snow, delicate icicles hanging from the eves of the beautiful French-colonial buildings.

Old Montreal is the ideal place to go for a winter stroll and it’s also another great place to go skating, or even ice-fishing. Every Saturday night the Old Port is lit up by fireworks thanks to Montreal’s Fire on Ice Festival and in the weeks before Christmas Old Montreal also hosts a lovely Christmas market.

Contact Us to Find Out More About Our French Language Programs Abroad