Montreal's chilly winter temperatures are enough to scare most tourists away during December, January and February. Unfortunately for them, writing off this romantic city during the winter is a major mistake. Visitors who bundle up and brave the cold will find significant discounts and tons of winter activities in this eclectic Canadian city.
McGill College Avenue / Downtown — Photo courtesy of Tourisme Montreal, Stephan Poulin
Snow, Snow, Snow
Temperatures may average below zero during the winter months, but all that cold weather means lots of snow, and Montreal is one of those cities that transforms into a winter wonderland when blanketed in white. Ski enthusiasts have their pick of several resorts within a two-hour drive of Montreal, including upscale Mont-Tremblant and the more laid-back Bromont, a resort with more lit nighttime trails than anywhere else in North America.
Mount Royal Park — Photo courtesy of Tourisme Montreal, Stephan Poulin
Skiing certainly isn't the only winter sport on offer in Montreal. You don't even have to leave the city to participate in ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and tobogganing. Some of the best outdoor skating rinks include Mont Royal Park, Bonsecours Market and the Quays of the Old Port.
Festivals & Events
Winter time is festival time in Montreal. During the last two weekends in January and the first weekend in February, the city hosts Montreal Snow Festival, featuring an entire village made from snow and ice and more than 25 winter activities. For four weekends in January and February, you can attend the electronic music festival known as Igloofest at the Quays of the Old Port of Montreal. Finally, the annual Montreal High Lights Festival takes place from the end of February through early March, bringing ten days of culinary events, performing arts, city-wide light displays and lots of free activities.
Skating at Bonsecours Market — Photo courtesy of MTTQ, Pictures Canada
Bad Weather Alternatives
On those days when you just can't brave the cold anymore, you'll find you're in a city that knows how to stay cozy and warm. You can easily spend an entire day in Montreal's Underground City, a complex of shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment venues tucked beneath Downtown Montreal. Catch a movie, enjoy a meal and get some post-holiday shopping done without ever stepping foot outside.