Montréal is a feast of choices, able to satisfy the desires of physically active and culturally curious visitors. Hike up the city’s mountain, Mont Royal, in the middle of the city; cycle for miles beside 19th-century warehouses and locks on the Lachine Canal; take in artworks and ephemera at more than 30 museums and as many historic buildings; attend a Canadiens hockey match; party until dawn on rue Crescent, the Main, or in Vieux-Montréal; or soak up the history of 400 years of conquest and immigration. It’s all here for the taking.
Getting from hotels to attractions is easy. Montréal has an efficient Métro system, a popular bike-share program, a logical street grid, and wide boulevards that all aid in the largely uncomplicated movement of people from place to place.
If you’re planning to check out several museums, consider buying the Montréal Museums Pass. Tip: Some museums have good restaurants or cafes. Remember, too, that most museums—though not all—are closed on Mondays.
A 20-minute drive east on rue Sherbrooke or an easy Métro ride from downtown is Olympic Park, located in a neighborhood called Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. It has four attractions: Stade Olympique (Olympic Stadium), Biodôme de Montréal, Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden), and Insectarium de Montréal. All are walking distance from each other. You could spend a day touring all four sites, and kids will especially love the Biodôme and Insectarium. Combination ticket packages are available, and the Biodôme, Jardin, and Insectarium are all included in the Montréal Museum Pass. Underground parking at the Olympic Stadium is C$12 per day, with additional parking at the Jardin Botanique and Insectarium.
Look for the Montréal Museums Pass. This pass grants entry to some three dozen museums and attractions, including most of those mentioned in this chapter. The C$80 pass is good for 3 consecutive days plus unlimited access to public transportation (including the airport shuttle, bus no. 747) along with the museums. Look for the pass at museums or the tourist office at 1255 rue Peel (downtown). Info is online at www.montrealmuseums.org.
Visit La Vitrine in person or online for last-minute ticket deals. Regular priced and same-day discount tickets for a huge variety of cultural events are available at La Vitrine’s high-tech ticketing center at 2 Ste-Catherine est (tel 866/924-5538 or 514/285-4545). Its website, www.lavitrine.com, lists all events, with last-minute deals indicated by a distinctive red dot.
Flash your AAA card. Members of the American Automobile Association (AAA) get the same discounts as members of its Canadian sister organization, the CAA. That includes reduced rates at many museums, hotels, and restaurants.
Visit during Montréal Museums Day. On the last Sunday in May, more than 35 museums welcome visitors for free in a citywide open house. Free shuttle buses run between the venues. Visit www.montrealmuseums.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.