As I am writing this a pure white blanket of fluffy and powdery light snow is falling from the sky. Winter is truly here, and you should be excited! I know that the short days can be rough, we are all feeling it. Trust me.
That said, this should be seen as prime-time for bonding with those most important people. Because friends that make time for you in January are true friends. The best way to stave off the winter blue in my opinion is to participate in all the exciting and adrenaline pumping winter activities this city and our region has to offer.
We are exceptionally lucky to be living in such close proximity to some gorgeous mountains and lakes where you can spend the day alpine skiing, ice fishing or skating. All those quintessential winter activities that are friends down south can only dream of doing.
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Indulge in juicy and explosive dumplings at one of Qing Huas three locations
Dumplings are quite possibly the most addictive food available in the city, they will stay in your mind for weeks. Qing Hua has three different locations, so it's easy to get your hands on these soft pillows of goodness.
Japanese classic of Montreal Kazu still has a line up outside almost ever night
This Japanese spot opened just a few years back, and gained instant popularity due to the low-key environment and high-quality authentic food. If you haven't yet tried this one, it's a must. Check out the Facebook below for all the info!
Arguably the best Pho in the city, try a fragrant bowl at Pho Lien in Cote-Des-Neiges
Pho Lien is a little hole in the wall Pho place located right in the heart of Cote-Des-Neiges. This family-run joint has quickly become the place to go for the best pho in town. Great date night for a cold winter night.
Visit Greenspot Restaurant for a greasy and classic deli breakfast
Steamy eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, pancakes - BRING IT ON. This is the best spot for that greasy breakfast that hits the spot. There won't be any color in your plate, just various shades of brown greasy goodness. More info below!
For a tangy taste of Northern China check out Nouilles De Lan Zhou in China Town
Although Nouilles De Lanzhou is found on a main street in China Town, it's completely unassuming because on the surface it's just a couple tables scattered on top of the entrance of a grocery store. However, once your food comes you will realize this place is so much more. Choose your own noodle size, slurping encouraged.
For Eastern European specialities served up in a cafe concept visit Hof Kelsten in the Plateau
There's no table service here, just walk up to the counter to order and wait patiently for a tray to bring to your table. Cafeteria style. But like, a hipster cafeteria. If you have not yet been to this place, for at least a coffee, you're definitely missing out.
Grab a drink at Magdalena Wine Bar in Saint-Henri
Brought to you by the same people who opened Ludger not to far down the street, Magdalena is a wine bar perfect for a low-key evening of bite-sized eats and wine drinking.
Visit New Rum Bar in Town Bleu Nuit
This place should make you feel all warm and cozy when it's -20 below outside. Or maybe that's just the spiced drum flowing through the veins. Regardless, this new spot is a must visit for all Rum-lovers out there.
Try 100% vegan ramen at Ramen 900 in Saint-Henri
Ramen 9000 serves up a bowl of savoury and fragrant ramen that is - wait for it, 100% vegan. However, all you meat-lovers can have choice of egg or added beef, if that's what floats your boat.
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Take your date to "Le Grand Marche De Noel De Montreal" Christmas Village in the Heart of Downtown
Inspired by the charming Christmas traditions from around the world, this event offers a magical Christmas village in the heart of downtown Montreal with local craftsman and animation to help you get into the holiday spirit. See the page below for details!
Take your date to the opening of Old Port's Patinoire Natrel
The Natrel skating rink is back! A true Quebec winter tradition,with a gorgeous view of the city, don't miss it! All the details below in the Facebook event. Pure romance.
Need to take a coffee connoisseur on a date? To impress, visit Caffe Farina on Notre-Dame West
This understated spot in Saint-Henri speciality is coffee. They do, however, serve a variety of sandwiches, salads and other sweet snacks. Check out the Facebook page below for all the info!
Take your date to Le Red Tiger for a unique Vietnamese street food experience
One part cocktail bar, one part street food, all parts amazing. Pull up a little plastic stool with your date and get ready to share unique and tasty plates, and of course - indulge in one-of-a-kind cocktails. Check out their Facebook page below!
Take a short drive to Saint-Sauver with your SO for a day of snow tubing!
Snow tubing is quite possibly the most exhilarating outdoor winter activity. Perfect date idea, too. It's also great for all you lazy bones out there because there is a lift that brings you and your tube back up the hill. Just sit back and enjoy the slide.
Take your date fam to annual Fetes Des Neiges at Parc Jean Drapeau
Just because it's snowing, doesn't mean the fun has to stop. Fetes Des Neiges is an outdoor winter festival hosted every year at Parc Jean Drapeau with tons of fun activities for the whole family. Check out the official site for all the details!
Go on a date and check out IGLOO FEST this January!
Igloo Fest is the holy-grail of Montreal Winter parties and shows.Basically the Osheaga of winter. The line-up for this year is officially announced. Buy your tickets now, they are going fast! More info at the official site below!
Indulge your sweet tooth and split a treat at La Bete A Pain in The Plateau
You and you're main squeeze both have a sweet tooth? If yes, this is a great romantic date idea. Sample some delicious sweets and pastries at La Bete A pain. More info at their Facebook page below!
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Visit a local farmers market in La Chute Quebec
The La Chute farmer and antique market is one of the biggest in the greater Montreal area. With over 20 selling all types of one-of-a-kind antiques, this is a great place to drag your boyfriend to on a Sunday afternoon. Open all year round!
For a cheap way to pass a cold afternoon, visit your local IKEA
Hear me out, IKEA is a great place to pass an afternoon, especially when it's cold out. They literally have everything you could possibly want under one roof, including Swedish meatballs and ice cream Can't ask for more.
Visit September Surf Cafe in Saint-Henri for Cocktail Fridays
Very cute and charming September Surf Cafe on Notre Dame hosts a occurring cocktail event every Friday. Pay a visit to this cozy coffee shop in the evening for a beer or drink.
Visit Concordia Greenhouse for a workshop on the Art Of Making Tea
Concordia Greenhouse hosts tons of fun and diverse workshops and events throughout the year. This January they are hosting a tea workshop. Follow their Instagram page to stay updated!
Classic indoor ice skating in Downtown Montreal at Atrium Le 1000
Do you want all the cute and romantic parts of an ice skating date without all the cold and shivering, then check out the biggest indoor skating ring in Downtown Montreal. A great - and inexpensive- winter date idea. Link below for the details!
Attend a free NYE celebration hosted by the city
The Clock Tower Quay and Place Jacques Cartier will be the location of the cities NYE party starting at 6pm on December 31st. Music and fireworks to be expected. Check out the event page for all the info!
Go to Quilles G Plus for an evening of "Cosmic Bowling"
Indoor cosmic bowling is a forever- fun and cute date idea. Even better in the winter on that extra cold night. Quilles G Plus is unique with neon and black lights and an impressively relevant music selection playing in the background. Get there early, lanes get busy fast!
Pay a visit to the MAC for the Leonard Cohen exhibit this January
This is a highly anticipated exhibit which will be showcased at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Montreal. A great way to spend a cold January afternoon. The exhibit will be running all winter until April 2018.
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Head to the capital city, Ottawa - for a day of sights and good food and drinks
If you haven't been to Parliament Hill since your 5th grade field trip now might be the time to do it. Ottawa isn't the tiny modest government worker city you may believe it to be. Now boasting a population bigger than Vancouver, it's the 4th largest city in Canada, and also happens to be only 90 minutes outside of Montreal. Enough said.
For an upscale spa experience head outside the downtown core to Strom Spa Nordique for an unforgettable winter spa experience
Nothing is quite as relaxing and luxurious as treating yourself and your BFF to a winter spa get-away. Strom Spa has several locations right outside the city, so pick one that is convenient for you.
Just a short drive outside of Montreal is Montebello Quebec, a winter day trip to remember
Deer and animal sightings are almost guaranteed while driving around the Montebello region of Quebec. Feeling fancy? Stop by the famous Chateau Montebello for coffee, lunch or even an overnight stay.
Visit the Eastern Townships and Ski Mont Orford
Not all the skiing in Quebec is in the Laurentians. If you travel South of the Island you will find some beautiful mountains and quaint towns there, too. Mont Orford is a great one to visit for all the alpine skiers out there.
Get into some hot yoga to beat the January cold
January is a great time to get in shape, obviously. And considering that it will be very cold, it's also a great time to sweat and stay warm. Hot yoga puts those two together, making it a cheap and fun winter activity.
Take a road trip and visit majestic Quebec City
Quebec city is totally magical. It truly makes you understand and appreciate the rich cultural and historical significance of our province. In the winter, it also doubles as a beautiful winter wonderland. Take a weekend trip to Quebec city to keep the January blues at bay.
Enjoy an afternoon of Snowshoeing in Parc Nature Du Cap-Saint-Jaques
Just a 35-minute drive from downtown Montreal you find a beautiful nature get-away right on the island. Boasting over 20 KM of hiking trails, this park is perfect for mystical outdoor winter activities such as snowshoeing. Rentals available!
Visit and plan an overnight stay and rent a cabin at Parc National Du Mont Tremblant
Quebec boasts some of the most beautiful national parks in the country. The great part is that Parc Du Mont Tremblant offers beautiful accommodations at varying price ranges. All kinds of outdoor activities are offered during the winter season. Check out the Quebec National Parcs official site for all the info!
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Visit Mont-Royal for a day of Tobogganing or winter wonderland viewing
Mont-Royal is bursting with potential for those quintessential- and of course, free winter activities in Montreal. My personal favourite is to dust-off that old toboggan and hit up Parc Janne Meance for a afternoon of Tobogganing.
Visit the "Luminotherapie" installations at Places Des Festivales Downtown
Montreal is hosting yet another instalment of "light therapy" interactive instillations which will be set up around the Place Des Arts and running until January 28th. This is totally free and a great way to stave off the winter blues!
Spend some time in the underground city and escape the cold
No better way to escape the cold then to spend an afternoon roaming the underground city. You can walk from China Town to The Bay without feeling a twinge of cold air. This is one of the many reasons I love Montreal so much.
Visit Marche Aux Puces Saint Eustache, open all year round!
This is one of Quebec's largest flea markets, open all year round. Only 45 minutes outside of the city, it's a great way to hit the road and escape the city for an afternoon.
Go on an adventure to the Marche Aux Puces Saint Michel
You don't have to leave the island to visit this weekend flea market, this one is right in the city. Prepare to stay all day and bring a good dose of patience and your head phones because you can spend all day sifting through the goodies from the hundreds of vendors. I guarantee that you will always leave with at least one epic find. Every-time.
Visit the Biosphere of Montreal will be illuminated all winter!
The biosphere - which was built for the famous expo 67' - is now a museum located on Ile Saint-Helene, and is also an architectural marvel. To honour the 375 anniversary of Montreal and the 50th of expo 67', the city will be illuminating this beautiful and iconic structure. Check it out for free!
Go on a romantic winter walk and visit the unique art murales throughout the "Cartier Latin" of Montreal
You and your date can download a special app on your phone which will guide you throughout all the murales throughout the neighbourhood. visit the link below for more details on the app!
Escape winter this January and visit La Petite Floride in the Plateau
La Petite Floride’s assembles culinary culture, winter games, and art, all in one unique outdoor space. Get your holiday vibes on and visit this local space for food, drinks, art and more. Check out their Facebook page below!