What can you do in Montréal in winter?
Here it is. The cold season is upon us Montréaler’s and we had the first snowfall to prove it. If you’re happy to see snow again but shudder at the thought of shivering in Québec’s notoriously frigid weather, don’t panic! Winter in Montréal comes with a full range of activities that will help you quickly forget your fears. Without further ado, here’s a list of things you can do to enjoy this time of year and make the most of the season.
Hit the city’s parks for some winter fun
With its many parks, Montréal is the perfect place to explore winter sports. Definitely one of my favourite things to do in the city. Whether you’re into skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, you’ll have many options to choose from. And the best part is, you don’t have to pay for anything. All you need is your own equipment.
I highly recommend La Fontaine Park and Mount Royal Park. They both have slopes that are ideal for skiing and tobogganing, and lakes that freeze over, creating a winter wonderland for skaters to enjoy.
No skates? No problem. Just rent a pair at the Beaver Lake pavilion in Mount Royal Park.
Spend the day at Parc Omega
If you love animals, this outing has your name on it!
Parc Omega, a safari park about a 90-minute drive from Montréal, is home to various species of Canadian wildlife, including moose, caribou, wolves, bison, and bears, that you can observe from the comfort of your car.
If you’d rather explore the park on foot, you can hike the trails, visit a farm, watch the wolves or walk the rope bridges. The park also pays tribute to the Indigenous Peoples who once lived on the land.
Spending a day at Parc Omega is like going back in time immersed in nature. Guaranteed!
Check out the Christmas markets
Montréal becomes truly magical during the holiday season. And it’s no wonder! The city has no fewer than three Christmas markets and it’s all decked in lights and festive decorations that will surely get you in the holiday spirit.
A Christmas market is the place to go if you want to pick up gifts for your loved ones or a souvenir for yourself. You can also stroll between the little huts and admire the work of local artisans. You’ll love it—trust me.
So, when you get the chance, head over to the Great Christmas Market at the Quartier des Spectacles, to the Jean-Talon Christmas Market or to the Montréal Christmas Village at Atwater Market.
Go to an art exhibition
If you’d rather stay indoors and art is your thing, why not visit some of Montréal’s many art exhibitions?
My favourite venues are OASIS immersion and the PHI Centre.
- OASIS immersion, located at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, is Canada’s largest indoor immersive destination. The programming changes every six months, so you can come back and enjoy the sensory experience over and over again. The exhibition currently on display, VAN GOGH – Distorsion, is definitely worth seeing! Since the shows are extremely popular, make sure you buy your tickets in advance so you don’t miss out.
- For more exhibitions that explore the elements of light and sound, pop into the PHI Centre. Visit their website to check out the many activities and exhibitions the Centre has to offer.
Spend an afternoon at Céramic Café
Don’t feel like getting out in the cold? Love arts and crafts? Then I suggest spending an afternoon at Céramic Café. It’s a café where you can paint ceramics (like cups, plates, bowls and vases) while enjoying a hot drink and a snack.
A smart way to stay out of the cold and let your creativity flow!
Contrary to what people usually imagine before moving to Montréal, Québec winters are really not that bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. The snowy season is a magical time and a great opportunity to try lots of different activities and create lasting memories. You just have to learn to make the most of it.
Follow Amandine on Instagram @theamdrd
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.
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