10 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Montreal, Canada - Updated 2024

non touristy things to do in montreal
| 5 min read

The city of Montreal is the most populous and largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is the second most crowded city in Canada. Montreal is named after the Mount Royal which means a small mountain in the heart of the city. This beautiful city is the cultural capital of Canada, where you can experience the amazing street festival celebrated in Quebec. Travelers can also witness a cultural celebration of arts with several art exhibitions along with a fascinating medley of the neighboring places. The grand buildings and contemporary design of the city have a touch of European flavor. The capital city offers a perfect blend of great scenic views, rich cultural heritage, exquisite cuisines and diverse neighborhoods making it a city of diverse wonders. With incredible attractions and host of activities, the city of Montreal has way more than it meets the eye. Let’s take a look at those popular gems that will help you have a closer encounter with this cultural capital of Canada. Here’s a list of the best non-touristy things to do in Montreal, Canada.

1. Explore the Museum of Mc Pherson and Rutherford

Posted by McPherson Arts Alliance Gallery on Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Located in the heart of the city, the museum of Mc. Pherson and Ernest Rutherford contain a massive collection of the original physics apparatus and instruments of the 19th to the 20th century. All the apparatus in the display were mostly created for teaching and display purpose. The two museums of these two scholars portray a striking contrast between history and aesthetics. You can explore this interesting place by appointment, to have a closer look at those displayed items.

Museum of Mc Pherson and Rutherford

Address: 845 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada

Website: Museum of Mc Pherson and Rutherford

Opening hours: 11am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 119 USD

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2. Explore the unique architecture of Habitat 67

Habitat 67 - Montreal, QC
Source: Photo by user chrisinphilly5448 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This classic building was designed by an Israeli Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. These housing units were an experimental solution in dense urban localities. The ‘three-dimensional modular Building system’ was created for the purpose to reduce the housing cost and with a vision to integrate the qualities of a suburban home in an urban setup. These prefabricated boxes are placed in different combinations and are connected through steel cables. This unique architecture has been a successful housing complex and continues to influence architectures over the decades.

Habitat 67

Address:2600 Av Pierre-Dupuy, Montréal, QC H3C 3R6, Canada

Website: Habitat 67

Opening hours: 9.30am - 3pm (daily)

Price: 22 USD

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3. Tour to the Montreal Biosphere

Montreal Biosphere
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Faris used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Montreal Biosphere is a popular landmark of the city with its shell sphere-like structure. Inside the house, you can witness a series of exhibitions focussing on environmental issues such as sustainable development, effects of global warming, renewable energy, etc. This biosphere remains open throughout the year except for Christmas and during New Year.

Montreal Biosphere

Address: 160 Chemin du Tour de l'isle, Montréal, QC H3C 4G8, Canada

Website: Biosphere Environmental Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 15 USD

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4. Explore the music scene at La Sala Rossa

non touristy things to do in montreal | explore the music scene at la sala rossa
Source: instagram

Located in the heart of the city, this historic landmark has been in existence since 1932. This place has been a recreational center built by the Jewish community but, over the course of time, this community center was transferred to a Spanish community in Montreal. The La Sala Rossa in recent years is used as a cultural hotspot and hosts many talk shows, concerts, and music and dance nights. This historic place has evolved as a popular music spot in Montreal.

La Sala Rossa

Address: 4848 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2T 1R5, Canada

Website: La Sala Rossa

Opening hours: 5pm - 1.30am (daily)

Price: 44 USD

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5. Savor the quick snacks at St-Viateur Bagel

St-Viateur Bagel
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bohemian Baltimore used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The fascinating city of Montreal is also the food capital of the country, serving diverse delicacies with a variety of flavors to satisfy your taste buds. One such place is the St-Viateur Bagel shop which is known for serving a diverse variety of Bagels with a variety of flavors and tastes. These baked bagels are a great snack for a late night bite that can even save your breakfast the next day.

St-Viateur Bagel

Address: 263 Rue Saint Viateur O, Montréal, QC H2V 1Y1, Canada

Website: St-Viateur Bagel

Opening hours: 24 hours

Price: 10 - 15 USD

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6. Hike your way to the top of Mount Royal

The hilltop of the Mount Royal offers an alluring view of this amazing city of Montreal. Mont Royal lies in the Ville-Marie Borough of Montreal. Climbing to the hilltop includes several stops along the way. The way to the hill is full of paved roads, footpaths with dirt and multiple stairs. Mountain biking is also a possible way to travel up the mountain. Hiking is best during winters and gives more stamina to walk up the hill.

Mount Royal

Address: Ave des Pins Ouest, Plateau du Mont-Royal, Montreal H3H 1A2, Canada

Website: Mount Royal

Opening hours: 6am - 12am (daily)

Price: 19 USD

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7. Enjoy a cruise on Le Bateau Mouche (from USD 24.72)

non touristy things to do in montreal | enjoy a cruise on le bateau mouche

Explore the panoramic view of this charming city of Montreal as you sail through the Canadian waterways. The cruise sets off from the Jacques-Cartier pier from the old city port of old Montreal. The one-and-a-half-hour city tour offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding places as you pass through the famous landmarks including the Montreal Science Centre, Montreal Olympic stadium, clock tower, Habitat 67 and many more. The beautiful floating terrace on the cruise, known as the salon prestige, will make you feel like a king.

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Montreal: Le Bateau-Mouche St. Lawrence Sightseeing Cruise

Duration: 1 hour

275 reviews

8. Enjoy a whale watching day tour along the St. Lawrence River (from USD 181.0)

While exploring this beautiful city of Quebec, the three-hour tour along the St. Lawrence River is the most fascinating one, as you can witness several species of whales that come for feeding at different times of the year. The fresh water from Lake Ontario meets the salty water of the Atlantic Ocean, creating a perfect feeding ground for whales. While feeding, these giant whales hold on to their breath and can remain submerged in water for almost 30 minutes. You can enjoy a close encounter with the different species all at a time, including whales, seals, and belugas.

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Full-Day Whale Watching Cruise from Quebec City

Duration: 11 hours

350 reviews

9. Take a tour on a snowmobile from Montreal (from USD 191.0)

Riding on a snowmobile from Montreal is a unique experience in itself. The beautiful Mauricie region of Quebec offers a spectacular view of the snow-capped mountains, frozen plains, and snow-clad forests. If you want to experience the real wilderness of the place, then going on a snowmobile safari is the best way to have a closer encounter with the beauty of nature. You can zip through the snowy plains with your guide and enjoy the spectacular site of the frozen lakes and mountains during winter.

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3h30 Snowmobile Guided Tour/Rental All inclusive 1 hour drive from Montreal

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

4 reviews

10. Enjoy spectacular views from the Montreal Tower Observatory and the Botanical Gardens (from USD 20.0)

The Montreal Tower offers spectacular views of this magnificent city from a height of 540 feet (164 meters). You can ride to the top of the tower in a funicular that can hold up to 50 passengers at a time, the one of its kind in the world. Then visit the Botanical garden in downtown, known as a museum of living species. The gardens have 22,000 plant species with 10 exhibition greenhouses and other thematic gardens which are spread out over an area of 75 hectares (185 acres) of land.

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Montreal Tower Observatory Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 hour

10 reviews

The culturally rich city of Montreal

Montreal Biosphère
Source: Photo by user A. Duarte used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The largest and the second populous city in the province of Quebec, Montreal is the cultural capital of Canada because of its remarkable street festivals, the eclectic boutiques, fabulous art galleries, diverse cuisines and unique architecture, making it a special in itself. However, a tour to Montreal is incomplete without paying a visit to those undiscovered gems and non-touristy places, to witness real cultural diversity of the city.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Sudarsana, a freelance writer, has an affinity for traveling to diverse destinations and exploring various cultures.

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