Soon enough, your lawn will be sprinkled with sugar-white snow and those trusty skates will be back on the ice. Whether you live in Montreal or crave a wintery getaway, the grand old city is one of the best places to visit. We love evenings filled with hot chocolate and twinkling lights, which is why we’ve partnered with Montreal Visitors Guide to present you the top five Montreal winter activities.
Festival Montreal en Lumiere
Picture your ideal winter fairyland, and then double its extravagance. This is what you can expect with the 10-day Festival Montreal en Lumiere. Sip on bubbling hot cider from a wax paper cup as you gaze at giant lights of blues and pinks glowing amongst the ice. Or follow the music of the high-octane concerts and stand in the thick beanie-wearing crowd. To see it all from a unique point of view, fly across the vibrant lights on the towering zipline.
Once you’re there, you’ll have no doubt why one million people participate in the festival each year. Everything from live music performances to culinary masterpieces are available to experience. If you want to be there for the highlight of the festival, arrive on the last weekend for Nuit Blanche, the all-night event of free activities, which spans until the morning’s light. And don’t think that you’ll be alone all evening. Roughly 350,000 people participated last year.
Mount Royal Park Ice Skating
Some traditions are meant to be passed down through the generations, and ice skating in the outdoors is right there on the list. Make a trip to Mount Royal Park for a day on the skates. Let those metal blades cut into the surface as you do tricks and speed on the curves at Beaver Lake (also called Lac aux Castors). Here you’ll find families teaching their little ones the tradition of gliding across the ice. Whether you’re a newbie or a champion, this is a perfect way to spend a winter day.
Montreal Restaurant Week
If you think that Julia Child is the only chef who knows a good French dish, just wait until you hit Montreal Restaurant Week—also called Le Happening Gourmand. Some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Montreal offer fixed-price menus ranging from $21-29. These fixed lunch and dinner menus are made with the freshest meats and thickest broths to warm your bones on a cold winter day.
What do you get when you pair ice with glow sticks? An igloo rave. Yes, those Montrealers know how to keep things lively even through the coldest of nights. Igloofest brings together over 70,000 electronic music lovers each winter. The idea is simple: When it’s bone chilling outside, rebel against Jack Frost and dance in the snow instead. DJs from all over the country join in the festivities, sending out vibrations of music to warm those chilly toes. With a view like the romantic Old Port of Montreal just beyond the stage, it’s a festival you have to experience at least once.
Whether you want to enjoy the frosty eves of winter at a rave, a festival, or a white-linen restaurant, Montreal has you covered. This is a town that doesn’t run away from winter. It owns it.