9 Montreal Tourist Traps That Locals Should Actually Try

These activities are actually worth experiencing.
9 Montreal Tourist Traps That Locals Should Actually Try

Montreal is particularly bustling in the summer, with its many festivals and events. It's also the high season for tourism: tourists flock into the city to see what Montreal has to offer.

And, though many tourist activities have Montrealers rolling their eyes (we're looking at you, Old Port zipline), others are actually really worth trying.

There's something to be said for being a tourist in your own city. Try one of these more "touristic" activities to get to know the city better and have a genuinely good time.

Aura Basilica

Where: 110 rue Notre-Dame W.

When: 2-3 shows every evening in July, find the full schedule here.

Aura Basilica is an amazing lightshow in the Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the city's most beautiful churches. The show uses projections to highlight the beauty of the cathedral: I won't give away too much about the show, but I can tell you that it's amazing.

More information.


Where: Throughout Old Montreal.

When: Tuesday – Sunday, dusk till midnight.

This installation invites visitors to learn more about the city's history through "poetic, dreamlike and occasionally playful" characters. It's a great way to explore the streets of Old Montreal at dusk. After, stop for a drink at Philemon or l'Assommoir.

More information.

Throwback Tours

Where: 350 rue St-Paul E.

When: You can book a timeslot here!

Throwback Tours is a company based in Montreal that offers historical tours of Montreal in classic convertibles. It's a new and fun way to see the city!

Read our article here.

Jardin Botanique

Where: 4101 rue Sherbrooke E.

When: Sunday – Thursday 9 – 6
Friday and Saturday 9 – 7

This locations draws tourists in, and with good reasons. The gardens in the summer time are actually magical: it's amazing how much care goes into tending to the plants. You can spend hours wandering through the gardens, which all have different themes.

More information.

Bonsecours Market

Where: 350 rue St-Paul E.

When: Monday – Sunday, 10 am – 6:00 pm

You've definitely already spent a day wandering through Atwater market or Jean-Talon, but have you ever gone inside the Bonsecours market? Despite it being a hotspot for tourists, it's actually a pretty great place to buy local products.

More information.

Observatoire Ville-Marie

Where: 1 Place Ville-Marie

When: Monday to Wednesday, 11:30 am to 10:30pm,
Thursday and Friday, 11:30am to 11pm
Saturday, 10am to 11pm, Sunday 10am to 10pm.

This observatory has hands-down one of the best views in the city: see the city from 185 meters from the observatory itself, or view it as you sip a drink at Les Enfants Terribles.

More information.

The Clock Tower

Where: 1 Quai de l'Horloge

When: Saturday – Thursday, 11:00am – 7:00pm

The clock tower is another place to get a great view of our city. Plus, climbing up to the top of the tower is a nice little bit of exercise.

More information.

Îles de Boucherville

Where: 55 Île Sainte Marguerite, Boucherville.

When: Monday – Sunday, 8:00am – 7:00pm

The Parc national des îles de Boucherville is one of Montreal's best-kept secrets. Peaceful nature, fresh air and a number of activities are at the visitor's disposal. The park is the perfect escape on a warm summer day when the heat of the city gets to be too much.

Read our article for more information.

Oratoire Saint-Joseph

Where: 3800 chemin Queen Mary

When: Always open.

This amazing church is Canada's biggest. You can see it from quite a distance, but few have ever been inside. It is worthwhile to go and take a peek, as the decor is really impressive.

More information.

These activities are all really worth trying, though we might gloss over them as "tourist traps," they're actually a super fun way to explore the city.

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