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20 ultimate things to do in Montreal

By Cameron Quincy Todd
February 22, 2019, 4:13:29 PM EST

Like many of the world’s greatest cities, Montreal is best experienced while wandering: taking in a street festival, climbing Mont Royal, walking the riverfront or exploring the eclectic boutiques and restaurants of the city’s vibrant, diverse neighborhoods.

Our favorite experiences in Montreal include kid-friendly museums and architectural wonders, International Jazz Festival and indigenous art exhibits, off-the-beaten path neighborhood explorations and rustic day trips, and, of course, the best bagels, smoked meats and poutine you can find. And when you need a place to stay, we’ve got lots of hotel recommendations.

1. Climb Mont-Royal

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A chalet, a lake, a large wooded forest, and a series of trails make this 764-ft hill overlooking the city seem larger than life. Frederick Olmstead, of Manhattan’s Central Park, designed Parc du Mont-Royalin the 1870s with the goal of providing natural respite from city life. Much of the park is kept intentionally overgrown and wild, with a network of trails leading through densely wooded areas. An observatory at the hill’s peak gives way to panoramic views of the city and the forested mountain down below. Winter options for scaling the mountain include a series of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, a toboggan run, and a snow tubing course.

2. Have a Picnic in Parc La Fontaine

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(Photo:woodleywonderworks/Flickr, [CC BY 2.0])

An 84-acre sprawl in the middle of the Plateau neighborhood, Parc La Fontaine is especially gorgeous in late summer and early fall when the leaves are starting to turn. Green lawns full of picnickers slope around two large ponds and a fountain, where you can paddleboat in warmer months and ice skate in winter. For provisions, stop at Ma Poule Mouilléefor Portuguese rotisserie chicken, or Boulangerie Mr Pichot for croissants. Then head to the Depanneuracross the street to purchase beverages: of the many great reasons to picnic in Montreal, one is that you are legally allowed to sip wine or beer in public parks as long as you are also picnicking.

3. Eat Portuguese Chicken

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(Photo/David Leonard)

The Montreal food scene is made great by the multiculturalism of the city, a melting pot of immigrant cultures far beyond the anglophone and francophone influences. A casual food favorite and must-try for any visitor is Portuguese chicken, rotisserie bird with the perfect amount of grease, spice, and deliciously cooked meat. For a few dollars, enjoy a sliced, roasted chicken in a fresh bun with mayonnaise, tomatoes, and lettuce, or purchase a whole or half chicken with salad and french fries for a group picnic. Coco Rico, Romado’sor Le Coq Ricoare all solid outposts for this local favorite.

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