Guides Montréal Old Montreal Travel Guide: The Places You Must Visit in 2024

Old Montreal Travel Guide: The Places You Must Visit in 2024

City Guide March 8, 2024



Welcome to Old Montreal, the heart of Montreal's historic charm and a must-visit destination in North America for those seeking a blend of culture, history, and modern-day excitement. This quaint yet bustling district is home to cobblestone streets, stunning architecture dating back to the 17th century, and a vibrant atmosphere that attracts visitors from around the globe.

Whether you're into people-watching at lively cafes, exploring art galleries, or taking guided tours of historic sites, Old Montreal offers an unforgettable experience. Our Montreal travel guide will take you through this captivating area's must-visit spots and hidden gems, ensuring your visit is as enriching and enjoyable as possible.

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Notre Dame Basilica

The Notre Dame Basilica is a beacon of history and beauty in Old Montreal. This architectural masterpiece, known for its lavish interior, is a premier Montreal tourist attraction that captivates visitors with its stunning Gothic Revival architecture. Inside, the basilica is adorned with intricate wooden carvings, breathtaking stained glass depicting scenes from the religious history of Montreal, and an awe-inspiring altar. Attending a mass here is an experience like no other, with the ambiance enhanced by the sound of its majestic organ.


Old Port of Montreal

Next on your Montreal travel guide is the Old Port of Montreal, stretching along the Saint Lawrence River. This lively hub is a favorite spot for locals and tourists, offering a wide range of activities year-round. From ziplining and paddle-boating in the summer to ice-skating in the winter, the Old Port ensures fun for all ages.

The panoramic Ferris wheel offers breathtaking views of the city and river, making it a perfect photo op. The Old Port is also home to the Montreal Science Centre, known for its interactive exhibits and IMAX theatre.


Notre Dame Basilica

The Notre Dame Basilica emulates Old Montreal's rich history and architectural grandeur. This stunning gothic revival masterpiece isn't just a feast for the eyes; it's a symbol of Montreal's cultural and spiritual heritage. Visitors are captivated by its intricate interior, where every detail, from the star-studded vault to the exquisite wood carvings, tells a story of faith and artistry. Take advantage of the mesmerizing light show that brings the basilica's history to life, making it a top pick for anyone's Montreal travel guide.



Old Port of Montreal

The Old Port of Montreal is where the city's historical charm meets leisure and entertainment along the Saint Lawrence River. This bustling hub is perfect for people-watching, with endless activities ranging from zip-lining to riverboat tours that offer a unique view of Montreal's skyline. Winter or summer, the Old Port is alive with festivals, markets, and outdoor attractions that cater to all ages. It's also home to the Montreal Science Centre, a family favorite for its interactive exhibits.


Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Archaeology and History Complex

Pointe-à-Callière stands as a cornerstone of Montreal's heritage, offering a deep dive into the city's roots at the very site where it all began. This Montreal must-visit museum showcases the archaeological remains of the original settlement and narrates the city's evolution through immersive exhibits and guided tours. The museum's commitment to preserving and presenting Montreal's history is evident in its thoughtful displays and engaging programs.


The Underground City

Exploring the Underground City is like discovering a hidden world beneath the bustling streets of downtown Montreal. This extensive network connects shopping centers, hotels, museums, and subway stations, making it an intriguing aspect of Montreal tourism. Perfect for those chilly days or to experience Montreal's modern ingenuity, the Underground City offers a unique shopping and dining experience. Art installations and public spaces within this subterranean complex add a cultural touch to your exploration.


Château Ramezay

Step back in time at Château Ramezay, a 17th-century historic site and museum that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the life of early Montrealers. This beautifully preserved building, once the governor's residence, is now a gateway to understanding Montreal's colonial history. Château Ramezay showcases the daily life, culture, and challenges of the people who shaped the city's early days through its exhibits, gardens, and collections. The museum's interactive and educational approach makes history accessible and engaging for all ages, highlighting its significance in the tapestry of North American heritage.


Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is a beacon of creativity in the city's heart, showcasing various works from ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces. As a pivotal part of Montreal's art scene, the museum is renowned for its diverse collections, including significant fine arts, music, film, fashion, and design pieces.

With rotating exhibitions and a dynamic array of programs, the MMFA offers visitors a chance to engage with art in a profoundly personal way. Whether you're an art lover or a casual observer, the museum's inviting atmosphere and innovative exhibits make it a key destination for cultural enrichment.



Parc Jean-Drapeau

Parc Jean-Drapeau, situated on two islands in the Saint Lawrence River, is an urban escape offering a wide range of outdoor activities and events. From the thrilling Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix to serene botanical gardens, the park embodies Montreal's spirit of adventure and appreciation for nature.

The park transforms into a vibrant festival ground during the summer, hosting music and cultural festivals that attract global audiences. For those seeking a quieter experience, the park's pathways and green spaces provide the perfect backdrop for a peaceful day of exploration or relaxation.


Saint Joseph's Oratory

Saint Joseph's Oratory is not just an architectural marvel; it's a beacon of spiritual solace and one of Montreal's most revered sites. Perched atop Mount Royal, this majestic basilica offers panoramic views of the city, but the interior truly inspires awe. Pilgrims and tourists alike are drawn to its serene ambiance, magnificent dome, and shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph. The Oratory's gardens and museum further enrich the visitor experience, offering a peaceful retreat and insights into its fascinating history.


Dame de Bon Secours Chapel

Nestled in the heart of Old Montreal, the Dame de Bon Secours Chapel, also known as the "Sailor's Church," is a hidden gem with a rich historical tapestry. This 17th-century sanctuary is not only a place of worship but also a testament to Montreal's maritime heritage and the enduring spirit of its people.

Visitors are captivated by its beautiful, serene interior and the museum that tells the story of Marguerite Bourgeoys, Montreal's first teacher and the chapel's founder. Climbing to the top of the tower rewards stunning views of the Old Port and the Saint Lawrence River, offering a unique perspective on the city.


Art Galleries and Walking Tours

Old Montreal is a canvas of artistic expression, with art galleries dotting historic streets and alleys. These galleries range from contemporary spaces showcasing cutting-edge works to intimate studios where local artists share their craft. Exploring these art havens offers a glimpse into the vibrant cultural tapestry that makes Montreal unique.

Moreover, joining a walking tour is an excellent way to dive deeper into Old Montreal's rich history and architecture. Knowledgeable guides bring the past to life, revealing stories and secrets that the cobblestone streets hold.

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