Montreal is a wonderful city to visit in North America. Given its long history, dating back to the 1600s, and it’s cultural connections to France, it’s the one city in North America that actually feels like you are vacationing in Europe while you are there. If you live in the States and are looking for something that feels like a European adventure but can’t afford to fly overseas, then this is the article for you.
The first thing to note if you are planning on visiting Montreal is that it is a bilingual city. Most people speak French, as well as English, and the French culture is present throughout the city. The French are certainly known for their cuisine and Montreal doesn’t disappoint in this department. The city is known for its restaurants and they are pretty much on every corner. There is too much to list in terms of what you need to try but fresh syrup, poutine, and bakery bread are absolutely something you have to try while you are visiting.
When to visit is also a very important consideration. Located in the shadow of Mount Royal and at the confluence of two major rivers, the Saint Lawrence and the Ottawa, Montreal can have some pretty extreme seasons. Winters are probably going to be the season you most want to avoid. They can be extremely cold and icy and it only gets worse on its windy days which are fairly frequent. If winter is the harshest season in Montreal, spring would probably have to be the most enjoyable. The weather is nice and you also get to see the trees the flowers coming out.
The architecture in Montreal is beautiful and given that the city used to be one of the financial and business hubs of Canada, it has many old buildings to visit. One of its most famous is the Notre Dame Basilica. Montreal also has almost as many churches as it does restaurants and they are some of the most beautiful in the world.
Festivals are abundant in Montreal as well. If there isn’t a festival going on then it simply must be winter because they have quite a few throughout the year. One of the more famous Montreal festivals is the International Jazz Festival. People come from all over the world to attend. It ends up being big enough to warrant closures against car traffic in parts of downtown Montreal.
As far as sports go, Montreal is all about hockey. The Montreal Canadiens hockey team is one of the oldest and most recognizable professional teams in North America and around the world. It’s been around for well over 100 years and its fans are as dedicated as any in sports. It’s been decades since the Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the attendance levels at their home games. If an insanely loud hockey game sounds like fun to you then this is a must on your Montreal checklist.
There is so much to do in Montreal it really is hard to cover it all. Whether you like festivals, the arts, architecture, food, or sports, Montreal really does have it all. It’s also cheaper than a trip overseas if you live in North America. If you live in the U.S. even better, as U.S. dollar will go very far in Montreal after the currency exchange rate. Montreal is a city that is rich in history and culture but easy on the wallet. That almost sounds like the best vacation you could ever have.