When it rains in Montreal, it truly pours. Rain showers can last for hours, but there's luckily lots of indoor activities if you do not would like to get caught out through the bad weather (but make sure to pack an umbrella inside your suitcase just in case!). Here is your ultimate guide on how to spend a day you need it in Montreal and have fun!
Enjoy the foodie scene of Montreal
You might not exactly know this, but Montreal has one of the best foodie scenes in The united states. Home to a good amount of eateries, restaurants, bars, and fine dining experiences, look good enough and you’ll soon be treated to a numerous options and cuisines from all over the world.
For those who work in search of particular gourmet tastes, head to Mile End to find the best bagels in town. Local’s often cite Fairmount or St-Viateur as home to the best bagel around, although the jury’s still out regarding which truly is the tastiest! Otherwise, head to l’Avenue (922 Mont-Royal Ave E) to find the best brunch around and LOV (464 McGill St) for the best vegan eats.
And, of course, all of this isn't forgetting some of the must-try dishes in Montréal that aren’t found elsewhere! Hands down, the best smoked-meat sandwiches (a local speciality) should be available at Schwartz’s Deli, while poutine (cheese curds served on the bed of fries and topped with gravy- don’t knock it until you’ve used it) can be found all over town. Meanwhile, my favourite meat-free poutine is served at Lola Rosa. For more recommendations, check out our guide on where to eat in Montreal.
Discover the hidden gems and secret spots of Montreal
From a piece of the Berlin Wall hidden in the Montreal World Trade Centre to a forgotten chapel steps from the Old Port, lots of Montréal’s more hidden and secluded gems are hidden indoors and from the rainy weather which typically occurs during the autumn and spring, but could also arrive unexpectedly during the summer months.
Visit the Basilica Notre-Dame
Beautiful and ornate, the Notre Dame Basilica can be found directly across a spacious square in the Bank of Montréal and is to be found in that old Town district from the city. Encompassed by cobbled lanes, small boutiques, and lots of souvenir shops, the ecclesiastical building dates completely to the first 19th-century.
Easily one of the top things to do in Montreal, the Gothic building hosts some pretty impressive carved stone sculptures, armloads of stained glass windows, along with other breathtaking artworks. Though you are in possession of to pay for a charge to go in ($8 CAD/ USD or $5 CAD/ USD), the Notre Dame Church is among the the finest religious buildings in North America.
Explore the small museums of Montreal
Between a totally free museum stashed staying with you of Montreal, the forgotten Redpath Museum (liberated to visit and discovered around the McGill Campus), and also the history-focused Pointe-à-Callière Museum (that is easily one of my favourites), Montréal doesn't have lack of museums which frequently fly individually distinct in lieu of their more famous counterparts.
In total, there are on the dozen quirky and weird museums which focus on every interest. Some of the more unique cultural experiences in the city that will enthral and brighten the rainiest of days include a trip to the Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys et Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (whose rooftop offers one of the best views from the Vieux Port) and theMusée des Pompiers de Montréal (firefighter museum).
Shop within the underground malls
Throughout the city, there’s a secret pedestrian underground world and network of cafés, eateries, and above all, shopping complexes. Set across malls throughout Montréal, there are miles worth (over 20 to be precise!) of interconnected buildings which mean you’ll never have to step outside (and in to the rain).
In total, six complexes are interconnected via subway stations and ‘souterrain’ tunnels, offering shoppers the opportunity to avoid the rain and purchase their wares without needing to deal with unhealthy weather outside. It’s also important to note that these malls are the place to find an array of interesting artworks, and therefore you’re never sure in regards to what you’ll spy next when you venture underground.
Shop at the Marché Bonsecours
So-called thanks to its position near the Chapel of Bon Secours, the covered marketplace presides within the Vieux Port and it is a must-visit much more that old Town neighbourhood from the city. Boasting a wide array of independent shops and boutiques, this is the perfect place to not only pick up several souvenirs for family member back home, but additionally to spend a day you need it in Montreal.
Explore another churches of Montreal
Though you must pay to go to the Basilica in Old Town Montreal, there are plenty of smaller (and, indeed, larger) churches over the city that equally merit a visit. Within the Old Town district from the city, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is free of charge to visit and dates back to 1771, which makes it among the oldest churches in Montréal.
Elsewhere in the city, certainly one of my favourite finds was the St. Patrick’s Basilica. Liberated to visit and wander around (though, obviously, donations will always be appreciated), this church is a perfect way to hide away in the rain in Montreal. The Basilica was constructed within the mid-19th-century and its style is Gothic-revival (similar to the Basilica of Ottawa).
Hide within the bookshops of Montreal
Cosy and welcoming, Montreal includes a plethora of bookstores to attract every bibliophile. While the most of the best second-hand and specialist shops are available in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood, other districts from the city also boast their own great amount of booksellers.
A personal favourite find of mine was Librairie Bertrand. Located in Old Town Montreal, a welcoming blackboard outside proclaimed a tale: “I have so many books at home… Oh, Look! A Bookstore!” I also loved perusing La Bouquinerie du Plateau as well as purchased a local guidebook there!
Go vintage shopping in plateau mont royal
For those who love thrift stores, there are many hidden shops and off the beaten path locations worth discovering. Many of the best vintage stores have reached the Plateau Mont-Royal district of the city, a hip and classy neighbourhood between Downtown and the Mile End District.
Well-known for its independent bookstores, quaint cafés, and quintessentially Montréal architecture (i.e. the two-storey houses using their outdoor staircases), Plateau Mont-Royal is also where many of the best vintage and thrift stores in town can be found. Among a few of the must-see shops range from the sprawling Eva B and also the very quaint Kitsch’n Swell.
Marvel at artworks in the Museum of Fine Art
Of course, no guide to spending a day you need it in Montreal could be complete without at least acknowledging the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Situated near the McGill Campus and never far from the base of Mont-Royal (the impressively high hill that Montreal’s name derives), this Museum may be the type of place you could locate fairly easily yourself lost set for up to a day.
Founded in 1860, the Museum enjoys a widely regarded international reputation and is amongst one of the finest museums in Canada. Spacious and welcoming, the exhibitions are spread out over five Pavilions, each using their own distinctive theme. And between ancient art, Canadian art, and modern art, there’s sure to be something which everyone will love.