Montreal may be a major Canadian city, but it morphs into a cozy, warm winter wonderland when snow blankets the land. Yeah, the words cozy, warm, and winter may not mesh, but as you meander a Christmas market, sip mulled wine, and munch on maple-fused treats, you’ll get why we chose those words to describe Montreal. Other than typical Christmasy-things and charming endeavours, you’ll find a lot of exciting Montreal winter activities. If you’re an outdoor lover, you’ll fit right in with most of the locals!
Read on to find out active things to do in Montreal in winter, what to wear to keep the cold at bay (this is a Canadian city, after all), and learn about some special offers on accommodations, activities, and ski resorts.
*Keep in mind that some places may be closed due to COVID-19*
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Best Outdoor Winter Activities in and around Montreal
Quebec’s largest city is active, making it easy to find a neverending list of activities. Some Montreal winter activities are more tailored for extreme outdoor enthusiasts, some for families, and others for those in the mood to chill but get some movement in. Take a look at the best outdoor winter activities in and around Montreal:
Skiing and snowboarding near Montreal
You don’t have to travel very far to reach incredible ski resorts flanking Montreal. The best part is that every level of skier or snowboarder will find a hill or slopes suited for them. Here are some mountains near Montreal that you may want to try:
Mont Saint-Bruno: Get your family and gear in your car and travel just 30 minutes to the beginner-friendly Mont Saint-Bruno. This hill is great for families and newbies! A day pass for an adult costs $45.25.
Mont Bromont: Go night skiing at the second closest hill to Montreal: Mont Bromont. A lift ticket is more expensive on the weekends—an adult day pass for Saturday, Sunday, or holidays costs $69.70 (e-ticket price), and a pass for after 3 pm on these days will have adults dishing out $50.15. It takes around an hour to reach Bromont.
Mont Blanc: Just under 1.5 hours from Montreal sits the once-secretive Mont Blanc. Families or friend groups with a range of experience will want to hit up this hill. It boasts every type of slope, from bunny hills to double diamonds. An adult day ticket costs $59.
Mont Tremblant: Located near Mont Blanc, Mont Tremblant is the best ski area near Montreal for advanced skiers and boarders. Almost half of their trails are conditioned for experienced riders. There is a collection of beginner and intermediate slopes here, too. An adult day ticket varies from $79-$119 depending on when you go.
Skating in Montreal
Grab poutine, go ice skating, and feel like a local! Those needing to rent skates will enjoy skating at Beaver Lake, situated in the active, family-friendly Mount Royal Park. Warm-up after with sips of hot chocolate at Pavillion’s restaurant.
Families, couples, and friends also flock to Parc La Fontaine for a fun, relaxing skate. You can rent skates here too.
Naturally, a trip to Montreal will also include a stroll in Old Montreal, so why not bring your skates along and meander the cobblestone streets to Old Port of Montreal ice skating rink.
When the cold air bites at your skin, head to the Atrium Le 1000 for an indoor skating session.
Cross country skiing near Montreal
Explore the winter wonders winding in and around Montreal by cross country skiing. In the thick of the city, you’ll find a network of trails sweeping Mount Royal Park. You can reach this park by car, walking, or public transportation. You’ll have to pay fees to park in the city, but access to the trails is totally free. Another noteworthy cross-country-skiing park in the city is the Botanical Gardens. The trails here connect with Parc Maisonneuve, extending your cross country endeavours (if you wish to). Expect to pay for parking here, too, but there’s no fee for cross country skiing.
For an eerie, mystical cross country skiing adventure, go to Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard. Ski across vast open land and through canopies of trees. It’s a 40-minute drive from Montreal, costs a little less to park here than in the city, and park access is free. The drive is worth it.
Admire the snow-laden trees lining Bois-de-Liesse, situated just 30 minutes outside of the city. Enjoy an apres ski at one of the chalets in this incredible, charming park. You also have to pay for parking, but park access is free.
Snowshoeing in Montreal
The places mentioned above—Mount Royal, Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard, Bois-de-Liesse, Parc Maisonneuve—also offer phenomenal snowshoeing trails. Another fantastic option to consider is Cap St. Jacques Nature Park, which is actually larger than Mount Royal! You’ll find 32.0km of snowy bliss, tailored for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. If you’re here between January and April, head to the sugar shack for some tasty delights. Parking at the park for the day costs $9.
Hiking near Montreal
Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities in Montreal for those without cross country skis or snowshoes. For a nearby excursion, feel free to walk around Mount Royal, but for more epic views, you’ll want to hop in your car and head out of town.
Mont Tremblant National Park offers a wonderful, adventurous escape from the city. You’ll find some hiking and snowshoeing trails here. For more long-winded hikes, go to Parc National du Mont Orford. This stunning park is just under 1.5 hours from Montreal.
Sledding in Montreal
Sledding is one of the most fun things to do with kids in Montreal—and anywhere in Canada, in general. There’s nothing like feeling the biting cold air with the thrill of rushing down a hill on a sled!
Can you guess where a great sledding hill is located in Montreal? The one and only: Mount Royal. Seriously. You can find everything at this activity-loaded park. If you don’t own a sled, Beaver Lake Pavilion will rent you one for $9 (adults).
Another great sledding location is Parc Jarry (best for those near the Villeray-Parc Ex area). You’ll find a skating rink here too. When your kids get bored with sledding, go to the skating rink!
Tubing in Montreal
Upgrade from crazy carpet rides to fast-spinning tubes! Sledding may be one of the best things to do with kids in Montreal, but tubing is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Montreal in winter for all ages. Some places to try out this fun winter activity are:
Ice fishing in Montreal
Just seconds away from downtown Montreal sits Old Montreal’s Ice Fishing Village. There are even heated shelters to escape to if the winter air becomes too much! If you’re looking for a new Montreal winter activity, ice fishing is definitely worth trying out.
Watch an NHL game in Montreal
Watching a hockey game is a great way to experience Canadian culture! If you can’t afford a ticket to an actual game, head to a bar and watch it there. If you’re around when Montreal is playing Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, or the Boston Bruins, you’re in for a real treat.
Montreal Canadiens’ fans are hardcore. They love their team and will never let you forget that they’ve won the Stanley Cup 24 times.
Festivals in Montreal
One of the most popular Montreal winter activities is to check out the many festivals peppering the snowy season! Igloofest is one of the more popular events (Jan 14 to Feb 16, 2021). One of the best free events is Montreal En Lumiere. This event usually takes place from late February to early March. For a more festive experience, explore the shows, fairs, and markets at Le Village de Noel de Montreal from Nov 21 to Dec 24, 2020.
Best Winter Deals In And Around Montreal
Presenting: the best winter deals in and around Montreal! Hopefully, the following special offers on accommodations, winter activities, and ski deals will help you save some money on your trip to this stunning Canadian city.
Best Accommodation Deals around Montreal
Take a look at the best accommodation deals around Montreal—maybe one will suit your vacation style:
Hotel Bonaventure: Take advantage of the Bed & Breakfast package offered at Hotel Bonaventure. The offer includes accommodation for two guests, breakfast served à la carte (each guest can choose their food), and access to the heated pool. This packaged deal is available from Dec 20 to Jan 3.
Hotel Faubourg Montreal: This hotel offers a Stay & Park deal! The parking is included per night per vehicle, making it ideal for guests with a car who don’t want to worry about paying for parking or heating their vehicle before driving somewhere. It costs around $114 per night.
Hotel Zero1: This hotel offers an array of sweet deals: Stay three nights and receive 50% off the third night, stay five nights and get the fifth night free, stay two nights and get 15% off.
Best Ski Deals around Montreal
Check out the best ski deals around Montreal:
Saint-Bruno: Get a season pass at a discounted rate! If you buy a 5-day pass, you save $50 or save $16 on a one-day custom pass.
Mont Blanc: The Week Pass at this ski resort gives you a chance to ski from Monday to Friday, but it’s also valid on the Saturday and Sunday of two select weekends: Dec 5 and 6, and Dec 12 and 13. If you want to ski on weekends, you’ll receive a 20% discount. Your friends can also get 20%. To top it off, you’ll receive 10% off the Boutique.
Best Outdoor Deals around Montreal
Igloofest: You can choose from an array of awesome packaged deals if you decide to buy an Igloofest ticket. Some include hotels, such as the Hi Montreal – Private Bedroom Package, which gives you a private double bedroom, breakfast, and a ticket to Igloofest, starting at $56.60 per person. You don’t want to miss out on one of the best Montreal winter attractions, do you?
Winter Weather in Montreal
A typical Montreal winter lasts from December until April! Winter weather in Montreal often sees temperatures dip between -1°C and -12°C on average, but the cold spells help create an enchanting feel, thanks to the snow covering the city! Most years, Montreal gets around 209 cm of snow.
What to Wear during Winter in Montreal
Bundle up! When it comes to what to wear during winter in Montreal, you’ll need all the cold-blocking essentials: winter coat, long-sleeved shirt, fleece, wool socks, boots, mittens, toque. For walking around downtown, jeans are fine, but bring waterproof pants or snow pants to wear atop long johns for when you’re out adventuring.
Fun Winter Facts about Montreal
Take a look at these fun winter facts about Montreal, memorize them, and share them with friends and family:
- McGill University Hockey Club became the first organized hockey team in the world in 1879.
- The first recorded indoor hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875.
- Non-winter fact: Montreal ranks as one of the top five French-speaking cities in the world.
Jack Frost may nip at your nose during winter in Montreal, but the numerous outdoor activities will help you stay warm!