Photo cred - gbalogh

The holidays are coming, and beyond the immediate hurdle of final exams or work deadlines or whatever you need to finish before everyone fucks off for their (religiously neutral) winter holidays, you need to host a first time visitor to Montreal. Maybe's it's your family, here to visit you at university. Maybe it's your long-distance partner, here to spend some precious time with you in the winter. Maybe it's old friends whom you really want to impress, because you feel guilty you never talk much anymore.

There's a specific set of criteria that winter Montreal trips require: it needs to be local, it needs to be impressive, and unless it specifically takes place outside, it requires minimal amounts of outdoor exposure.

Click here for 9 Montreal Locations To Take A First Time Visitor During The Holidays >

Photo cred - casino de montreal

Casino de Montreal

Website/ Facebook

Because nothing bonds people more than losing $100 in 60 seconds.

Juliette et Chocolat



a) They have a ton of locations (I recommend the one on St-Denis, next to the Berri-UQAM metro. If your visitor is allergic to the cold. It's less than a five minute walk from the metro station, you'll be right next to dozens of other restaurants, and there's Théâtre St-Denis if you want to watch French movies. )

b) If your parents are coming, artisan chocolate shops are the best things ever to moms.

Photo cred - Grégoire Huret

Bell Centre for a Habs game

Because Bell Centre is the best arena in the NHL, and the Habs are pretty good this season

(the definition of "good" for serious fans is, of course, up for debate. But the Bell Centre is still pretty amazing)

Ogilvy's Christmas display (and the rest of St-Catherine for shopping)

Because it's the most adorable thing ever. And if you're too weak to stay outside on St-Catherine for too long, browse in Centre Eaton instead)

The patisseries in Chinatown

Because it's only a five minute walk from Place d'Armes station, and if you're sick of cheap and delicious pastries, you can check out the bubble tea lounges, or the tea shops, or the souvenir stores, or the stall selling sticky dragon beard candy.

Old Port skating rink

Website/ Facebook

If your visitor is made of hardy stuff, head the opposite direction from Chinatown on Rue St-Urbain to the Old Port. You can stroll through the snowy streets to admire the old buildings (don't do this if your visitor is European: European cities are as old as balls, you won't be impressing anyone) or skate a few circles on the Old Port rink. Skating outside is fun for everyone.

Montreal Improv

Website/ Facebook

Because improv shows are always different, every time. Tickets at Montreal Improv are under $10 (cheaper than movie tickets!) and they are a fun, unusual way to spend an evening. Check out their Friday Smackdowns, or any of their other shows that run in the evenings from Wednesday to Sunday. Make it a night and have dinner on the Main too.

Mont Bromont


Not exactly in Montreal, but so frequently visited by Montreal-ers that it counts at a Montreal location, right? If you have the means and the transportation, and if whoever is visiting you has never hit the slopes before, you practically owe it to them to give it a try. If you've noth advanced past the beginner stage, go at night for the night-skiing. Traveling through snow in the freezing dark? One of the most Montreal activity imaginable.
If Mont Bromont is out, check out our list of other ski resorts closest to Montreal.

Photo cred-Rich Kaszeta

Au Pied de Cochon

Website/ Facebook

Because it is the best upscale sugar shack for people who want house-made ketchup, local tomato tarts, and luxurious foie gras on their poutine. Pricey, but after you spent so long shepherding your guests around the city, maybe they'll offer to foot the bill?

(If only).

If you're also a weirdo about Montreal culture and humour, find Sijia on Twitter (@hey_sijia) or on her tumblr.

Looking for more? Click here for 10 Montreal Festivals You Must Attend With Your Friends This Winter >

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