Beneath the skyscrapers, this neighborhood offers grand civic spaces, high-end shopping, 30 concert halls and the world’s largest underground complex.
Downtown is the home of Montreal’s beautiful skyline and vast subterranean center. Come to Downtown for shopping, a mix of modern and heritage architecture and world-class concert halls and museums.
Spend daylight hours on the long stretch of Saint-Catherine Street which features blocks of high-end boutiques and shopping malls, plus access to the Underground City. After sunset, head to Crescent Street to spend the evening hopping between the many pubs and restaurants set amid classic Montreal townhouses.
The Underground City is one of the largest subsurface complexes in the world. A total 20.5 miles (33 kilometers) of pedestrian walkways run under Downtown, connecting metro stations, concert halls and shopping malls. Shop in the Promenades Cathédrale, an underground mall built to support the once-sinking Christ Church Cathedral above.
Take a walk through the Golden Square Mile on the west side of Downtown, which features the exquisite Victorian mansions of Montreal’s old upper class. This section is also home to McGill University, one of Canada’s top schools.
Downtown is the location of Montreal’s world-class annual festivals. The Montreal International Jazz Festival takes place in Downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles. These 250 acres (one square kilometer) of the city contain over 30 concert halls, including the Montreal Symphony House. Visit during a festival to see this part of Downtown come alive. The Montreal International Jazz Festival alone consists of about 800 concerts, and tens of thousands of people attend.
Spend a few hours in Montreal’s best fine arts institutions, also located in Downtown. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the largest museum in the city. It features a wide range of painting and sculpture from around the world, plus an exhibition dedicated exclusively to Québecois and Canadian art.
Most of the metro stops in Downtown are along Maisonneuve Boulevard, which is just one block away from Saint-Catherine Street. Bus stops are abundant throughout the area. Downtown covers a very large space, so it is a good idea to use public transportation. Paid parking is available in garages throughout Downtown. Look for southeast garages which tend to cost less than others.