When is the Best Time to Visit Montreal?
The best time to visit Montreal is during the summer when the city comes alive with street festivals, open-air markets, and outdoor concerts.
However, Montreal is a beautiful city to visit any time of year, and every season has its own charms.
In this guide, you will find the best times to visit Montreal – based on what you are looking to experience during your trip.
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Why visit Montreal
Montreal is a truly vibrant, multicultural, and unique city.
From its French history to its modern cosmopolitan flair, there is something for everyone in Montreal.
The city is home to many world-renowned museums and galleries, as well as a lively music and nightlife scene.
There is also no shortage of things to do outdoors, with countless parks and green spaces to explore. And of course, Montreal is famous for its food. There is something for every taste, from traditional Quebecois dishes to global cuisine.
But what really makes Montreal special is its people. The locals are warm and welcoming, and there’s a real sense of community here.
When is the best time of year to visit Montreal?
The answer to this question depends on what you want to experience during your trip.
Best time to enjoy festivals
Montreal is a city that knows how to party, and there are festivals happening throughout the year to suit every taste.
For music lovers, there’s the Montreal International Jazz Festival in June, featuring over 3,000 artists from around the world. Or, if you’re into electronic music, the Igloofest in January is not to be missed.
For foodies, there’s the Montreal Food Truck Festival in August, where you can sample dishes from some of the city’s best mobile kitchens. And of course, no visit to Montreal would be complete without attending at least one of the many festivals that take place during the summer months, including Just for Laughs, the Laurentians’ Festival of Lights, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, and Montreal’s Pride Parade.
Best time to book Montreal hotels
If you plan to visit during peak season, booking your accommodation in advance is advisable. Booking.com is the website I use for finding hotels, and I love it.
The summer months (June to August) are the busiest times, followed by winter (December to February).
Best time to ski
With prime conditions for snow and a wide range of challenging slopes with excellent views, Montreal is known throughout the world as a top destination for skiers.
The best time to plan your ski trip is mid-late winter, between January and April. This is when the weather conditions are at their peak, with plenty of fresh powder on the slopes and plenty of sun out in the rest of the city.
Best time for shopping
There is no single best time to visit Montreal for shopping. Whether you are looking for major retailers or local boutiques, many factors can influence your experience and success.
For example, if you plan on buying high-end designer items, the holiday season or special events such as Black Friday may be the best time to visit Montreal, as this is when many stores offer significant discounts or promotions.
However, if you are primarily interested in finding unique finds from local artisans and vendors, visiting during festivals or other events is often the best way to go.
Best time for ideal weather
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Montreal for ideal weather.
From mid-May to late June, Montreal experiences pleasant weather with average temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celsius. This is a great time to explore the city’s many outdoor attractions, including Mount Royal Park, the botanical gardens, and the old port.
In autumn, the leaves of the trees change color, creating a beautiful backdrop for walks through the city. The temperatures are also cooler at this time of year, averaging around 15 degrees Celsius.
Best time to enjoy extraordinary food
Montreal is a food lover’s paradise, with a tempting array of restaurants and cafes to suit every taste.
While there’s no wrong time to visit the city in terms of its culinary offerings, there are certain times of the year when certain dishes are at their peak.
For example, summer is the ideal time to enjoy Montreal’s famed smoked meat sandwiches, as the warm weather brings out the meat’s full flavor.
Similarly, fall is the perfect season for enjoying maple syrup-based desserts, as the trees are heavy with syrup at this time of year.
Best time for Christmas activities
In December, the city comes alive with holiday cheer, and there’s no shortage of Christmas activities to enjoy.
Take a stroll down Rue Saint-Denis to see the dazzling lights and decorations, or visit Citadelle de Quebec, which is beautifully illuminated for the holidays.
If you’re feeling festive, join in the caroling at Place Jacques-Cartier, or go ice skating at one of the many outdoor rinks.
And, of course, no trip to Montreal would be complete without sampling some of the delicious Christmas food on offers, like gingerbread cookies or maple taffy.
Cheapest time to visit Montreal
There is no definitive answer to when is the cheapest time to visit Montreal, as this will depend on various factors.
One key consideration is the weather, as travel costs tend to be lower during the winter months when temperatures are colder, and snowfall is more common.
Certain holidays and events can also impact prices, as these periods may see higher demand.
Ultimately, the best way to determine when is the cheapest time to visit Montreal is to do some research in advance and compare travel deals available at different times of the year.
Month by month guide
Here is a month by month guide with further information on what it is like to visit Montreal during each month of the year:
Average temperature: From -4° to -12°
January may not be the most popular time to visit Montreal, but it can actually be a great time to enjoy the city.
The weather is cold, but the streets are still lively, and there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy. Plus, hotel prices are often lower in January than during peak tourist season.
Average temperature: From -3° to -11°
In February, the cold weather continues in Montreal, but the city comes alive with exciting events and festivals.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy some winter sports or attend a cultural festival, February is excellent to visit Montreal.
Average temperature: From -6° to 2°
While the weather starts to warm up in March, plenty of winter activities – like ice skating and sledding – are available.
And, of course, March is also the month of St. Patrick’s Day, so be sure to celebrate with a pint of Guinness!
Average temperature: From 3° to 11°
April was actually the month when I moved to Montreal!
In April, the weather is pleasant. Also, this month is when sunny days are each day more frequent, although you can still have the occasional cold day or rain.
Average temperature: From 8° to 19°
There are some special reasons to plan a trip in May.
For starters, the weather is lovely at this time of year, with temperatures averaging around 22 degrees Celsius.
May is also a great time to enjoy the city’s many outdoor cafes and restaurants and its numerous parks and green spaces.
Average temperature: From 15° to 24°
June is the perfect time to explore Montreal.
The weather is warm and sunny, the days are long, and there’s plenty to see and do. From festivals to outdoor concerts, there are so many fun things to do this time of the year.
Average temperature: From 18° to 26°
July is the height of summer in Montreal, and the city comes alive with even more festivals and events since the weather is absolutely perfect for spending time outdoors.
Average temperature: From 17° to 26°
August is another great month to visit Montreal, as the city is still full of energy and the weather is warm and sunny.
Average temperature: From 12° to 19°
In September, the weather in Montreal starts to cool down, but the city is still full of life.
There’s still plenty to see and do with its numerous events. Plus, the cooler weather makes it the perfect time for outdoor cafes and restaurants.
Average temperature: From 6° to 12°
Montreal in October is a beautiful sight. The leaves on the trees are turning red and orange, and the air is crisp and cool.
Several Halloween-themed events take place in Montreal in October, making it the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for a fright. From haunted houses to ghost tours, there’s plenty to keep you entertained during your stay.
Average temperature: From 0° to 6°
November is the start of the winter season in Montreal, so you’ll want to pack a coat and some warm clothes.
The leaves have all fallen from the trees, and the city takes on a whole new look.
The days are shorter, but that just means that you can enjoy the festive lights even more. And, of course, there’s always the chance of a snowfall, which adds to the magical atmosphere.
Average temperature: From -1° to -8°
Montreal in December is a magical time.
The city is covered in a blanket of snow, and the holiday lights add a touch of sparkle. Ice skating is a popular pastime, and there are plenty of charming cafes where you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.
If you’re looking for festive activities, you can check out the annual Santa Claus Parade or visit one of the many Christmas markets.
Best tours to take in Montreal
Going on a tour is a fantastic way of getting to know more about the history of the city.
You can find detailed information on the best Montreal tours in this post.
These are some of my faves:
Quebec City and Montmorency Falls Day Trip from Montreal
Explore Québec City and the surrounding region on this guided, full-day sightseeing tour from Montreal.
Hop aboard your coach to visit Québec City’s top attractions, including the UNESCO-listed Old Québec, Place Royale, and the Plains of Abraham, before venturing into the scenic countryside to see Montmorency Falls.
Hear commentary from your guide along the way, and enjoy convenient hotel pickup and drop-off from downtown Montreal.
Montreal City Sightseeing Tour with Live Commentary
Experience an overview of Montreal on this guided sightseeing tour of the city.
Visit many of Montreal’s top attractions and historical sites like Notre Dame Basilica, Chinatown, Mount Royal Park, Olympic Stadium, Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Old Port, and Old Montreal, to name a few.
Hop aboard a comfortable motorcoach and get to know the largest city in Quebec province with live commentary from a professional tour conductor. Montreal hotel pickup and drop-off included.
Guided Scooter Sightseeing Tour in Montreal
Explore the city of Montreal on this scooter tour that takes travelers through back streets and past top attractions. Learn about exciting neighborhoods as you cruise along on an electric scooter.
What to pack for Montreal
The city experiences all four seasons, so you’ll need to pack accordingly.
In the winter, temperatures can dip below freezing, so be sure to pack a heavy coat and scarf. It would help if you also packed a hat and gloves to protect your hands and head from the cold.
The weather is much warmer in the summer, but it can still be cool at night. Be sure to pack a light jacket or sweater for evenings out. Montreal is a city of contrast, so you’ll also want to pack clothing that can be dressed up or down.
A nice pair of jeans is always a good choice and a few more formal items if you plan on doing any sightseeing. And don’t forget comfortable shoes! You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes are up to the task.
Best places to stay in Montreal
If you’re looking for the best neighborhood to stay in, I would recommend the Plateau.
The Plateau is centrally located and is within walking distance of many of the city’s best attractions, including Mount Royal Park, the Montreal Botanical Garden, and the Museum of Fine Arts.
The Plateau is also home to a lively arts scene and has plenty of great restaurants, cafes, and bars.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, I recommend Old Montreal.
Old Montreal is a charming neighborhood with cobblestone streets and historic buildings. It’s also close to the waterfront, so you can enjoy stunning views of the St. Lawrence River.
Travel tips for Montreal
Here are a few travel tips to help you make the most of your trip:
Be sure to pack comfortable shoes
Montreal is a very walkable city, and you’ll want to be able to explore all of its charming streets and neighborhoods.
Take advantage of the city’s excellent public transportation system
Montreal has an extensive network of buses and subways, making getting around a breeze.
Sample some of the city’s delicious food
Montreal is known for its cuisine, so be sure to try some of the local dishes. Poutine, bagels, and smoked meat are just a few of the city’s specialties.
Enjoy the city’s many cultural attractions.
Montreal is home to numerous museums, galleries, and historic sites.
Get around by bike or on foot
Montreal is very pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, so take advantage of that! Not only is it great exercise, but you’ll also get to see a lot more of the city up close.
Wrap-up: The best time to visit Montreal
That’s a wrap! Now that you know the best time to visit Montreal, you are ready to start planning your trip to this beautiful city.
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