Once upon a time, before 2020, we could go anywhere, anytime, without having to worry which Greek letter is spreading among us. Ah, the good old days.
Thankfully, in Montreal, even in the dead of winter, with curfews looming over us and -31 degrees Celcius always just around the corner, there is always something to do to make you temporarily forget about the madness.
Here are a few of our favourite things to brighten up your weekends.
Hot cider. Maple syrup taffies. Beavertails…The Old Port is worth a trip even if it’s just for the sweets.
One of our most-loved spots in the city, this is where you come for the history and you stay for everything else. No matter the season, this Montreal must-see packs a punch of fun, whether you’re sailing in spring, zip lining in summer, picnicking in fall or skating on the pond in winter.
With La Grande Roue set across the Montreal skyline on one side, and the frozen St-Lawrence on the other, the Old-Port skating rink is the perfect magical setting for a break from reality.
And a lovely way to spend time with friends and family. You (almost) forget the cold.
A walk through Illumi is like a peek into a magical world. Enchanting from start to finish, this nighttime adventure features a three-kilometre-long walk illuminated by millions of intricate light structures. Be sure to check out the giant garden patch and magical forest universes as well as the mind-blowing animatronic Jurassic creatures. Totally worth the frostbite!
There are two ways to enjoy Illumini; by car or by foot. If you choose the latter, make sure you bring extra layers of clothing and a thermos of hot chocolate (there are a few places along the route where you can sit down and warm up, but the hot drinks are not worth the price). If you are visiting with small children, we recommend a stroller/ sled or wagon as the walk is quite long.
Get your adrenaline pumping with the season must-do!
However old you are, tubbing is always a good idea. And when you add the breathtaking beauty of the Laurentians, Les Glissades du Domaine des Pays d'en Haut is a non-brainer spot to visit. The mountain features 13 sunny slopes and 5 types of rides with different difficulty levels.
Be sure to check the weather conditions before making your trip, dress up super warm and pack a lunch and warm beverages.
And don’t forget your helmet!
A timed honour tradition, skiing is to Canadians what football is to Americans (ok so we’re also big on hockey, but you get our drift). While the fabled Whistler slopes are on the other side of the country, Quebec’s mountains are well worth the visit. From easy cruising down the Sommet Saint-Sauveur or family-friendly Bromont mountains to Mont-Sainte-Anne’s intermediate hills and Charlevoix’s triple diamond trails, skiers of all levels will find something to their liking across the province.
With so many beautiful places to ski, we can’t decide on just one; however, we have to highlight an indisputable, four-season ski resort contender. Located barely an hour and a half away from Montreal, the Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort is a favourite tourist destination and weekend getaway for Montrealers. Featuring a charming village nestled at the foot of the mountain, and fun activities for the whole family. From dune buggy tours, dog sledding and fat biking too (of course) skiing and snowboarding, this resort is sure to please!
Take a walk on the bright side with a colourful mural walk through the city. Since the 2012 launch of Montreal’s first-ever mural festival, our buildings have become a blank canvas for urban artists and a must for art lovers across the world. From the renowned alleys in the Plateau and the colourful streets of La Petite Patrie to downtown hotels and the basketball courts at the Soeur-Madeleine-Gagnon park, incredible art can be found all over the city.
Check out one of the many guided tours offered throughout the city, like the ones by Viator or Spade & Palacio, or weather permitted take a bike ride (yes, even in winter if you dare) through the many vibrant neighbourhoods across the island.
Here’s an interactive map of murals and their locations.
Next time you hear “staying in is the new going out” give something on this list a try. Don’t let winter (or the pandemic) keep you in.
Have fun! And bundle up, you can look cute on Insta in summer.