With the first massive winter storm of 2019 about to hit us this weekend, bringing on freezing temperatures and giant heaps of snow, the last thing you can imagine doing is heading outside for a day of enjoying what the city has to offer. For the majority of us, our plans most likely consist of staying inside our homes for at least the next 48 hours.
TL;DR Montreal's "underground city" presents the perfect opportunity to spend time outdoors without the burden of ice, snow, and freezing tempteratures. The 33km tunnel system is linked by the metro network across the city. Multiple cafés and food stops are available along the paths. More details below.
Well, if you bore easily and are looking for some activities that still allow you to stay safe from this disastrous weather, look no further. Montreal's "underground city" is perhaps the metro area's most overlooked destination.
It's warm, dry, and still offers some of the best perspectives on Montreal life. This is the ideal place to grab a meal, do some shopping, and even engage in some casual people-watching.
Even better, it's absolutely free to visit! But since cafés and other food joints line your journey, you might want to buy some coffee and stop for a bit to appreciate your day spent "outdoors."
You even have access to hundreds of restaurants and stores and dozens of cultural centres. There's also an indoor skating rink.
In case you were wondering, our secret underground Montreal is actually a circuit of tunnels originally created to reach metro stations, with extensions added on to reach the several downtown malls. And the tunnel system is still growing! We reported last week than a brand new path will connect the McGill metro station with the new réseau express métropolitain (REM).
Today, there are 33 kilometers of pedestrians paths running under the downtown area. Yet, somehow, the tunnels are largely understood as more of a tourist destination than a place for locals to hang out.
Every single American tourist who comes to Montreal asks about the "Underground City." Someone is telling people that a bunch of malls connected to subway stations are a must-see attraction. I assume it's a prank that got out of control— Brooks Otterlake (@i_zzzzzz) December 13, 2018
why do tourists coming to Montreal always ask how to get to the “underground city” as if we had a district 13 from thg situation going on like nah...it’s just a bunch of malls connected by tunnels— ✨ kiana ✨ (@kianadromeda) January 13, 2019
When a tourist asks about Montreal’s underground city like it’s the list city of Atlantis. 🌊— Christopher Curtis (@titocurtis) June 22, 2018
But with so much to do, the tunnel system should become an attractions for Montrealers. Locals should reclaim the "underground city" as their own.
Ventured down a rabbit hole into what is loosely termed "The Underground City" in Montreal and have been wandering around aimlessly for ages— Scott Palmer (@scottjpalmer) May 25, 2017
Montreal's underground city is my best friend when it's -20 degrees outside.— Daniel (@dai_stock) January 19, 2016
You can access the tunnels from any of the indoor shopping areas downtown and from McGill, Peel, Place-des-arts, Bonaventure, Square Victoria-OACI, Place-d'armes, and Lucien-l'Allier metro stations.
You can also find an official map HERE.
Needless to say, it definitely beats staying indoors this frosty winter weekend.