Fun Things to Do in Montreal in Winter

Looking for fun things to do in Montreal in winter? I think I can safely say that I’ve got you covered. Below I’ve suggested 10 things to do – from dogsledding to outdoor music festivals to a romantic skate at the top of Mont Royal.

If you’re looking for a good time – and you dress for the outdoors, you’ll find Montreal delivers in spades. It’s one of Canada’s great winter cities! Enjoy this selection of fun things to do in Montreal.

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Check out Mont Royal in Montreal

The standout in the Montreal winter fun category is Mont Royal, the hill immediately west of downtown. Once you make it to Mont Royal then you have five options. There is a bus that will take you there in no time from downtown.

Go skating on Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors)

For a magical experience go skating on Lac aux Castors – Beaver Lake in English. Some of the ice is man-made so whatever the temperature, it’s in amazing shape.

At the pavilion you can rent skates and lockers. With music playing in the background, and snow gently falling, this is also a very romantic place to visit at night.

Fun things to do in Montreal - go skating to music on Beaver Lake
Skating to music on Beaver Lake in Mont Royal Park

Go tubing at Mont Royal – one of the very fun things to do in Montreal in winter

Just a short walk away from the skating rink is a hill for tubing. I’d never tried it before and what a thrill it turns out to be. Choose a tube based on the colour at the bottom. The one pictured below has a white bottom – which is the best for speed.

Hold on, smile, scream and you’ll be down in seconds and ready for more. Guaranteed! 

The tubing hill at Mont Royal
The tubing hill at Mont Royal
Fun things to do in Montreal - go tubing at Mont Royal Park
Tubing at Mont Royal Park

Electric fat tire biking – one of the super fun things to do in Montreal

For something new, how about an electric fat tire bike ride on Mont Royal? I tried this in Waterton Lakes National Park recently.

Although I felt like I was cheating because I didn’t have to work very hard, I had one heck of a lot of fun. It was akin to riding a motorbike. You can book this brand new activity online here.

Go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Montreal

Mont Royal is also a fantastic place, providing it’s a good snow year – for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

There are 33 km of cross country ski trails – and 3 km of marked snowshoe trails. I think cross country skiing is a fun way to get through winter – and Montreal has a lot of winter.

Another 8.3 km of snowshoeing is possible if you want to do it along Olmstead Road. I’m amazed that this is all available so close to downtown Montreal. (All equipment can be rented in the skating pavilion.)

It’s also easy and very lovely to walk from the top of Mont Royal down to the city. What a great way to get a dose of nature and solitude.

 The view of downtown Montreal from a walk in Mont Royal Park
The view of downtown Montreal from a walk in Mont Royal Park
Squirrels are everywhere in Montreal
Squirrels are everywhere in the park

Invite yourself to a game of pick-up hockey in Montreal

If you have skates or can rent them, then there are any number of outdoor rinks scattered around the city that offer opportunities for either skating and/or hockey. Its a great way to meet some locals. 

Lots of local outdoor hockey rinks for skating and hockey
Lots of local outdoor hockey rinks for skating and hockey

Try dogsledding in Jean Drapeau Park – one of the fun winter things to do in Montreal with your partner

Just one stop away from Old Montreal via a subway ride is Jean Drapeau Park, the site of Expo 67. Now its home to the Biosphere Environmental Museum.

And it’s a superb place for snowshoeing along with skating and dogsledding. Yes there is dogsledding right in the city. Go either during the day or at night. It’s a great introduction to the sport.

 My host with two of the affectionate dogs
My host with two of the affectionate dogs

Take a night time snowshoeing tour

On one night in Montreal I did a snowshoe tour with Jonathon Talbot from Ecorecreo.

Normally I’m not the type for tours but this one was a lot of fun – even on a cold winter night in Montreal. Make an exception and do the night tour. It’s THE ONLY WAY you can access Levi Tower and have the chance to get a downtown city view that few ever see. And as I’m finding out, you learn a lot of history and facts on these tours that you would otherwise miss.

Night time snowshoeing to the Levi Tower in Jean Drapeau Park
Night time snowshoeing to the Levi Tower in Jean Drapeau Park
Fantastic night time view of downtown Montreal from the top of the Levi Tower
Fantastic night time view of downtown Montreal from the top of the Levi Tower
10 Things to do in Montreal in Winter
Snowshoe past the Biosphere on the night tour

Go ice-fishing in Old Montreal

Another believe it or not winter outing that is quite literally steps from Old Montreal is ice fishing, offered by a company called Fishing Old Montreal. Chalk up another new experience for me. It’s one of the fun things to do in winter in Montreal – but mostly if you’re into fishing and perhaps drinking.

You must buy a fishing license and get set up with some rods. Then slip slide your way onto the ice and over to your assigned spot. A fellow comes and drills out a new hole and then after baiting your rod and letting the bait sink about 25 feet you sit back and wait. Then wait some more.

If you’re lucky like everyone around us you’ll catch something. Hugo and I spent 90 minutes checking our three lines and came up empty. I hope you have better luck than we did.

My host for the night Hugo - comes up empty-handed
My host for the night Hugo – comes up empty-handed
Ice fishing within sight of Old Montreal
Ice fishing within sight of Old Montreal
Our ice fishing neighbour landed a yellow perch
Our ice fishing neighbour landed a yellow perch

Check out Igloofest in January – one of the fun things to do in Montreal if you love dancing in the cold

Called the coldest outdoor music festival, Igloofest takes place in the Old Port of Montreal from mid to late January. It started in 2007 and has become a Montreal winter tradition, drawing crowds of 65,000 people in 2019, even though temperatures were some of the coldest since the festival began. On one night the temperature plummeted to -31°C with the windchill – and yet 4,000 people came to dance the night away.

Read: A First Timers Guide to Montreal’s Igloofest

A behind the scenes look at the dancing crowd at Igloofest
A behind the scenes look at the dancing crowd at Igloofest

Approximate location map of fun things to do in Montreal in winter


Where to stay in Montreal

You are spoiled for choice in Montreal when it comes to accommodation options. Remember that the subway system is excellent so it’s easy to get around without a car.

For a never fail high end experience book into theFairmont Queen Elizabeth.

For a chic hotel experience in Old Montreal I have enjoyedHotel Nelligan.

And if it’s a hostel you’d rather stay in check outAuberge HI Montreal Hostel.

More reading about Montreal and Quebec

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

Fun things to do in Montreal, Quebec in winter

  1. I’m a Montrealer and even I appreciated this post! Had never heard of the Levi tower but just looked it up; closed weekends but open weekdays 8:30-4:30. Funny schedule but will make sure to go to check out the views.
    You’ve got to love winter to sit there 90 min staring at a hole in the ice! Bravo to you!
    Good job on the post!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. @Frank High praise from a Montrealer – and thank you. I was glad to be visiting Montreal the week I was there as the temperatures weren’t too bad. The next week with -20C temperatures would have been brutal for ice fishing.

  2. It all sounds like fun, but I’m especially interested in the night time snowshoeing – sign me up. Beautiful shots of Montreal, Leigh. I haven’t been in Montreal since high school. Ha! More than a few years ago.

  3. I love that squirrel picture 🙂 Sorry, had to get one off right away. I’m a sucker for adorable animal pictures. I’m not a very big fan of the cold but these activities look so fun and how neat that they’re in the city. Ice fishing and, dog sledding and snow shoeing sound awesome. Those night shots are just beautiful, Leigh. I’ve never been to Montreal but have always wanted to go and now winter looks like a good option too. Glad you had a great trip.

    1. @Mary The squirrels were obviously well fed and they made great subjects. Montreal is a very happening, European feeling city and there is enough English spoken that it’s easy to get by. I highly recommend a visit & in the summer it’s famous for its’ festivals.

  4. Hi Leigh, Montreal is such a fun and active city that I can see you living there. Great to know about this list of winter activities that city offer. The one thing I’d really love to do is snow shoeing at night! I think it’s so cool and that get to see an awesome view of the city. Your night shot of downtown is fantastic!

    1. @Marisol Montreal is a city made for winter and one that embraces winter. I loved it – though I am thankful I was there last week when the temperatures were mild. Very few people have seen the view from the Levi Tower. Weddings and functions are held there but if alcohol is consumed you can’t climb up to the roof.

  5. I have always wanted to visit Montreal but never considered going there in the winter. This post makes it look so fun, though. I would definitely be interested in that night snowshoeing tour as the views do indeed look spectacular.

  6. I’ve only been in Montreal briefly – for one day. It was many years ago and in summer. This winter portrait sounds – and looks – like Oslo, only Montreal looks to be a bit bigger. Fabulous winter cities, both 🙂

  7. A great list of winter activities, Leigh. Personally, I prefer Momtreal in the spring or autumn. You know me, not a winter person. The snowshoeing does sound good, and I’d love to see the view from Levi Tower. For years Montreal was part of my sales territory. I really miss going there, and like you, would love to call the city home (for at least a little while). 🙂

  8. I love this post Leigh. We were in Montreal in Spring and I always thought it would be too cold for us in Winter. We saw Mont Royal of course – but now I want to see it in winter. Such a lot of different things on your list I would like to try. Definitely the ice fishing. Love it!

    1. @Jan Winter can be brutal in Montreal but it wasn’t the week I was there. I hardly even had my gloves on. Fortunately all the activities I mentioned aren’t far from cafes, restaurants are even hotels.

  9. I still would prefer warm weather getaways but have to admit that the nighttime snowshoeing looks like amazing fun. Most interesting post, Leigh.

  10. You must have been in heaven Leigh with so many fun things to do! The only time we have headed to the snow is to ski. I know wish we had gone somewhere like Montreal where we could try all these fabulous activities!

    1. @Jenny The great thing about Montreal is that you don’t have to drive if you don’t want to – and in even a half a day you can do an incredible number of outdoor activities. Then of course you can go and have an amazing meal or walk to one of the interesting museums.

  11. I love it when I travel and feel that I could live somewhere! It makes the place all the more special, so I totally relate to how you feel about Montreal. Wow, the snow, how lovely – says she sweltering in a heat wave in Western Australia!

  12. You really have me tempted to move to Montreal. It would be great to have 33 km of cross-country skiing within the city limits. I love it that you can also ice fish. Can you bring beer out on to the lake with you? Gorgeous shot of Montreal from the Levi Tower.

  13. As an ex-Montrealer I was just thinking of the Biosphere from Expo 67 as I had just read “The World is a Book” post on the biosphere in Tuscon.
    And here it is!

    1. @Jackie It seems on TPThursday there are often similarities in posts on one day.I would like to actually visit the inside of the Biosphere. I remember it as the US pavilion with a monorail running through it.

  14. I didn’t realize that there was so much to do in Montreal in the winter! My kids have never been and I was thinking that we should definitely visit this year but thought they would prefer summer – looks like winter can be fun too!

    1. @Lisa Winter in Montreal is outstanding – and hot chocolate never tasted better after time spent in the cold. I have been to Montreal many times but I have never explored it and truly I was blown away by how much there is to do. Park yourself at a hotel in Old Montreal and you don’t have to get in your car again.

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