Believe it or not, there are some people that have never been to Montreal — I know, right?! But with more and more people coming to visit our magical city, we love getting the chance to show why we love the MTL. Because it's so diverse, there are endless things to do in Montreal.
I mean, even those of us that live here know that there are always new things for even us locals to see and do.
But when friends and family come for the first time, there are some quintessential things that everybody must do for their first time on the island.
Whether it's for a week or for a weekend, you want to share all of the art, culture, history, and, of course, food that we are so lucky to have right here at home.
Plus, it's a great chance to explore your own city just like a tourist.
So to help get you started on the ultimate first-time itinerary, here are 14 things to see and do to help make them fall in love with Montreal as much as we are.
Rue St-Paul & The Promenade du Vieux-Port, Old Montreal
For some history and culture, head to Old Montreal for some beautiful architecture, world-class cuisine and the European flair that visitors are always looking for.
Not only is the canal beautiful, but it's also a National Historic Site of Canada, making it as educational as it is fun.
Rent kayaks, a swan pedal boat, or BIXIs to get the best views.
On the way to the Old Port, you'll pass the iconic, yet mysterious Farine Five Roses sign. One of the most notable parts of the skyline, it flashes every night like the Montreal spirit, itself.
Address: 138, ave. Atwater, Montreal, QC
Montreal has its fair share of markets, but Atwater Market is one of the quintessential spots to get a total experience.
Plus, it's by the water, so there are lots of spots to explore and picnic once you grab some snacks.
Spanning two islands in the Saint Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeau has plenty to discover, including secluded groves, a stone tower, beach, Aquatic Complex, the Espace 67 festival grounds, as well as the last remnants of the famed Expo 67.
Looking north, you'll also get unmatched views of the downtown skyline with Mount Royal in the background.
Bike there from the Old Port to pass right by the funky Habitat 67 residential complex.
Go Up The Mountain
Address: 1576, Voie Camillien-Houde, Montreal, QC
Starting off with a view of the city from up above, the lookout on Mount Royal is a definite must-visit.
Not only is the view amazing, but the walk up the mountain that the city is named after should be on any visitor's bucket list.
Address: 3895, boul St. Laurent, Montreal, QC
You can't go to Montreal without trying some of Montreal's famous smoked meat.
And for a truly authentic experience, take your guest to one of the best in the city that just so happens to be partly-owned by none other than Céline Dion, herself.
Montreal has some serious coffee shops. Whether you're starting your day or need that mid-day pick-me-up, a stop at one of the city's best cups of joe is the way to go.
Address: 263, St-Viateur O., Montreal, QC
Montreal is known for its bagels. So much so, that even on Netflix's Somebody Feed Phil it was the very first stop.
Take your visitor to one of the city's legendary institutions that truly turns bagel-making into an art.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Address: 3800, chemin Queen Mary, Montreal, QC
Also on the mountain is Saint Joseph's Oratory, a Roman Catholic basilica. It gives great insight into the religious and architectural influences on the city and has amazing grounds to explore, including a well-hidden garden.
Montreal has its fair share of unique neighbourhoods to discover.
But since you can't see all of them, head to the Plateau, one of the city's trendiest pockets, with its colourful houses, street art, cafés, and amazing boutiques.
Boulevard St-Laurent is, of course, a must, but for a little architectural tour walk north along avenue Laval from Square St-Louis to avenue du Mont-Royal.
Address: 4141, ave. Pierre-de Coubertin, Montreal, QC
Montreal hosted Canada's first-ever Olympics back in 1976. Today, the Olympic Stadium is a reminder of Montreal's world-influence and one of the city's greatest accomplishments to date.
Explore the grounds and maybe even head to the neighbouring Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan or Biodôme (once renovations are complete).
Rue Crescent & The Leonard Cohen Mural
Leonard Cohen was one of Montreal's greatest exports. And since 2017, this mural has been a way to help keep his legendary spirit alive on as he watches over rue Crescent, which abounds in restaurants and terrasses.
At the top of the street, at the intersection with rue Sherbrooke, the Montreal Musée des beaux-arts sits waiting to be explored.
Address: 4101, rue Sherbrooke E., Montreal, QC
Covering 75 hectares and home to 30 themed gardens and 10 greenhouses, the Botanical Garden is of the most beautiful and distinct parts of the city.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment and obey any local laws.