Skate, snack and start it all over: our top picks for Montréal winter fun

L'Esplanade Tranquille Ice Rink
Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard

This article was updated on March 11, 2024.

Come wintertime, Montréal parks and public spaces are home a veritable treasure trove of ice rinks. Skaters young and old can stretch their legs and get a lungful of fresh air on frozen or refrigerated ponds or trails around the city. Once your cheeks are rosy and your tummy is growling, why not reward yourself with a gourmet bite to eat? Here are some great spots that are perfect for an après-skate snack. Ready, set, glide!

L'Esplanade Tranquille Ice Rink

 

Esplanade Tranquille skating rink – Quartier des spectacles

Inaugurated last year, this free refrigerated skating rink will quickly become your favourite place this winter. Open until April 7, 2024, this downtown Montréal marvel measures some 1,500 m2 of ice surface to comfortably welcome up to 400 skaters. What’s more, the ice is cleaned every 1.5 hours, making it one of the best outdoor ice surfaces in town!  Need equipment? The counter operated by Patin Patin (for a fee)at the Repaire in the pavilion offers rental services for skates, helmets, support frames and padlocks, and skate sharpening. 

Don't miss the interactive Luminothérapie experience Au bord du lac Tranquille that reveals the strikingly rich biodiversity of Northern marine flora and fauna. If you like to twirl to the beat of the music, head off every Friday evening to the Patins Platines evenings, where you show off your moves to a world beat spun by Montreal DJs. On Saturday night, it's time for Disco Fever, with a playlist of 70s music that's sure to get you going. On Sunday mornings, families can enjoy the Ice Garden, a fun place for children aged 2 to 10 to learn to skate. As for good places to eat, the Quartier des spectacles has put together a top ten list of nearby cafés where you can take a gourmet break. Here are our favourites, just a few minutes from the rink:

 

Old Port of Montréal ice skating rink

 

Old Port of Montréal ice skating rink – Old Montréal

Under the winter sun or stars, two magnificent ice skating rinks – one refrigerated, one natural – await you at the foot of the Grande Roue de Montréal. After paying to get in, you can merrily glide and spin in an enchanting ambiance of twinkling lights and music as you soak in panoramic views of historic Old Montréal buildings and the St. Lawrence River until March 10, 2024. DJ on Ice nights get the crowd moving every Thursday from January 11 until March 7, 2024, while music-themed evenings every Wednesday and Friday from December 20, 2023 until March 8, 2024 set the soundtrack to a perfect outing.  If your legs get tired and you’re ready to unlace, enjoy a gourmet treat that includes delicious pastries and superb coffees at one of these locations:

 

People ice skating in La Fontaine Park

 

Parc La Fontaine ice skating rink – Plateau Mont-Royal

Parc La Fontaine’s pond offers you an incredible fairy-tale setting of sparkling lights and soft music to enjoy absolutely free of charge. Not only this, but your festive and frosty outing includes skate rentals and sharpening services if you need it. There are tons of great spots in this lively corner of the Plateau Mont-Royal to grab a snack of olive or cheese ciabatta, honey raisin bread, viennoiseries, vanilla, pistachio or Nutella bombolini, vegan brownies and more. Here are our recommendations for your sweet stop-off:

 

Parc Maisonneuve

 

Parc Maisonneuve ice skating rink – Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie

Montréal’s east end is home to the city’s biggest free outdoor skating rink. Bring your blades and get ready to carve on this great oval surface, which is far away from the urban hustle and bustle. There’s even a designated area to help beginners build their courage, or kids to practice their twirls. If you’re feeling hungry after your skate, make your way down to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to these handpicked eateries, where you can warm up with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a delicious pastry.

 

Parc Jarry

 

Parc Jarry ice skating rink - Villeray

For gliding blithely along in wintry delight or zooming at top speed for the thrill of skating fast, Parc Jarry, which borders the Villeray and Parc-Extension neighbourhoods, has three skating rinks to satisfy every style of skating. It also offers cross-country ski trails and a toboggan hill for hours of sliding fun. An equipment rental counter is also open on winter weekends. As for snacks, head to these delicious spots to warm up with a good sweet or savoury snack.

 

Beaver Lake ice skating rink

 

Skating in superb natural settings

Head up the mountain to Mount Royal Park (Beaver Lake) skate to your heart’s content for free on a 2,500 m2 smooth, refrigerated ice surface that’s ideal for all skaters, from beginners to seasoned twirlers. Skate rentals are also available. Worked up an appetite from all that exercise? You can pick up some nibblies at Café des Amis in the Beaver Lake pavilion right next to the rink. 

For another outdoor escape, try the Skater's trail in Parc Jean-Drapeau, a magical 500-metre-long path only a few minutes from downtown Montréal. You can rent your equipment on site and reserve a locker to store your personal belongings while you skate. After dark, indulge in a new immersive experience with its Slide and Groove Nights! DJs drop a captivating beat to turn the skating path into a nighttime playground under the starry sky. Finally, enjoy a hot chocolate, coffee, meal or snack at Ste-Hélène Bistro-Terrasse in Espace 67.

 

Auditorium de Verdun

 

Indoor ice skating  

Recently restored and transformed, the Verdun Auditorium is a historic and iconic building in the same neighbourhood as the Scotty Bowman and Denis Savard rinks. Book your time and enjoy free skating and hockey in an incredible, award-winning space. Located a stone's throw from the trendy Promenade Wellington, there are plenty of delicious places to enjoy a good snack.

Atrium Le 1000

 

Located at the heart of downtown, the Atrium Le 1000 indoor skating rink is open all year round, inviting visitors to skate to a variety of music. Situated on the first floor of Montréal's tallest building, the rink boasts a massive glass dome ceiling that allows the sun's rays to shine through. It's an architectural and sporty experience that you can end with a sweet treat and a hot drink once you're done skating.

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard

Originally from Paris, Laure Juilliard made Montréal her home over 15 years ago and has never looked back. Won over by her new city's unique energy, cultural vibrancy and gastronomic effervescence, she loves exploring all the coolest spots. A writer and blogger specialising in lifestyle, culture, travel and gastronomy, she has lent her pen to Tourisme Montréal for more than 10 years, in addition to magazines such as ELLE Québec and Clin d'œil, as well as a variety of well-known companies and agencies. Always on the lookout for innovative concepts and the best addresses wherever she is in the world, she is also always planning her next trip.

See articles by Laure