Come and explore Montréal solo this winter!

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

It takes more than a little bit of cold to keep Montréal down, and the city comes alive to party and thrive all winter long. Under a soft blanket of snow, Montréal sparkles through the winter months as locals cross-country ski through the parks, ice skate in rinks throughout the city and sled down stately Mount Royal, while museums, cinemas and shops keep visitors toasty and entertained. And where other cities may go into hibernation mode, Montréal grabs its hats and gloves and heads out into the city streets for limitless frosty fun, perfect for solo visitors on a getaway break. Here’s just a few of our suggestions for an unforgettable solo winter sojourn!

Getting here and there

Montréal is the definition of an accessible city, ranked as one of the most walkable cities in Canada and linked by an easy to navigate underground Métro system. And with the winter streets punctuated by installations and surprise performances, there’s few finer ways to city the city than on two feet. If taking things in on wheels is more your speed, you’ll love the local bus system’s iconic routes that traverse Montréal’s most well-known and touristed quartiers. And next to showcasing your creativity in rolling your own snowman, sliding down the mountain or a neighbourhood hill on a slide or skis is a de rigeur way of putting snow to good use.

Make the scene in Downtown Montréal and the Village

More than just hustle and bustle and skyscraper architecture, Downtown Montréal is filled to the brim with shopping, museums and wide open park spaces like Dorchester Square and Place du Canada. Wander through the Golden Square Mile, Quartier des Spectacles and the Gay Village for some of the city’s best people watching and must-see locales. And lace on some skates for a spin or two around the new Esplanade Tranquille!

EVERYONE LOVES TO SHOP:

WHO’S HUNGRY?:

LET’S GET CULTURAL:

Old Montréal, all shiny and bright

A picturesque beauty all year long, Old Montréal looks particularly good on a winter’s eve, lit by hanging lights, decorated storefronts and 20 ft luminous stars in front of Notre-Dame Basilica. And you can soak in some of the neighbourhood’s most iconic sights from atop skates at the Old Port Skating Rink under the shared glow of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and La Grande Roue de Montréal! You also won’t want to miss the sights and sounds of Cité Mémoire, telling the stories of some of Montréal’s most infamous residents throughout history. During the day, Old Montréal is one of the city’s most bustling sectors, stuffed with gourmet restaurants and trend-setting galleries and exhibition spaces. Grab a warming beverage at one of the cafés below and stroll through local history.

NOSH + SIPS:

CULTURAL HOT SPOTS:

#YOLO in the Plateau, Mile End and Outremont

Experience Montréal like a Montréalaise in the neighbouring neighbourhoods Outremont, the Plateau and Mile End. Stuffed with mainstay cafés, restaurants and shops, and decorated with vibrant murals thanks to the annual MURAL Festival, these hoods are also the perfect spot to make friendly with the locals.

WALK AND WANDER:

CLASSIC EATS:

Keep it authentic in Villeray and Little Italy

The traditional home of Montréal’s Italian community, Little Italy and Villeray are two of the tastiest boroughs in the city perfect for a wintery walk with a hot drink in hand. With food this good, you won’t even remember what a doggy bag is.

BELT-BREAKING FOOD STOPS:

POST-MEAL SHOPPING AND CINEMA:

Feel the flow in Les Quartiers du Canal

The postcard-pretty Lachine Canal National Historic Site runs through the neighbourhoods of Griffintown, Little Burgundy and Saint-Henri, home to Montréal’s trendsetting startup community. But while local business is looking ahead, the city’s Antique District keeps the past alive.

BON APPETIT !:

Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is ready for its closeup

Home to friendly locals, a proud working class history and some of the city’s biggest park spaces, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is the perfect meeting point of hipster hangouts and old school Montréal charm. The definition of up-and-coming, a surprise awaits around every corner.

MEET US IN THE PARK:

  • Join the cross-country skiers, skaters and snowmen in mammoth Parc Maisonneuve
  • Photograph the blossoms in the Botanical Garden's greenhouses
  • Dip a toe into the tropics at the renovated and reopened Biodôme

MEAL TIME:

An island getaway

Built from the land removed to make way for Montréal’s Métro, Parc Jean-Drapeau promises a winter wonderland smack dab in the waters of the St-Lawrence River. After hosting Expo67 (remnants of which are still visible in some pavilions and Habitat 67), these twin islands are also home to the Casino de Montréal. Take a walk through the forested areas and watch for local animal life, and don’t forget that final #mtlmoments selfie with the glittering backdrop of Montréal’s skyline across the water.

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

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