What to see and do in Montreal over the holiday season

Most of Montreal's major attractions offer special holiday programming and events. We've tracked down some of the more interesting venues to help you and your family and friends enjoy the holiday season in Montreal. Since the holiday season includes time off school, many of the attractions listed here offer free or reduced admission for kids too. Special holiday programs are suited to all family members and include such diverse activities as watching the animals at the Montreal Biosphere open their gifts, a look at first Canadian artifacts at the Mc Cord Museum and free entry to the Stewart Museum's Santa show.

Christmas concerts abound at such important Montreal venues as the Notre Dame Basilica. Since Montreal is the city of festivals, you're sure to find evening entertainment in Montreal's large music halls in the downtown core. While visiting Saint Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal, take advantage of the skiing and skating opportunities there too. For more seasonal outdoor activities, be sure and visit Montreal parks such as Parc-nature de l'Ile -de- la-Visitation on the northern edge of the city where you can skate, ski and sled - all accessible by public transportation. Equipment rentals are available at select locations throughout the holiday season.

Montreal's Biodome is the only one of its kind in the world with over 4,500 animals from 250 different species and 500 plant species, all under one roof. The Biodome features four distinct ecosystems recreated in the former 1976 Olympic Games...  Read More

This nature park is also historically significant. Located along the riviere des Prairies, at the very heart of the history of Sault-au-Recollet, the park offers historical elements, such as the site des Moulins ruins, the maison du Pressoir and...  Read More

A 15-acre swath of the Montreal Botanical Gardens incorporates Japanese themes including cherry blossoms, koi ponds and zen gardens. A visit to the Japanese Garden requires an open mind and spirit. Visitors should go right to its heart; to...  Read More

L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission. Photo by Pierre St-Jacques

Built in 1904, this is one of the world's most popular Catholic shrines. The Renaissance-style dome was the world's largest when completed in 1955. The shrine now holds a museum, a tomb, monuments, a 56-bell carillon and Stations of the Cross in...  Read More

This nature preserve in the northwestern section of the Island of Montreal offers visitors a peaceful look at local plants and wildlife. The parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, with its majestic hardwood forest, is a unique conservation park in an...  Read More

The McCord Museum houses historic artifacts and visual art from the 18th and 19th centuries. Fun exhibitions like the toy collection allow older visitors to revisit their favorites from childhood while younger visitors can enjoy special school...  Read More

Housed in the cultural complex, Montreal's Place des Arts on Sainte-Catherine St West downtown, the museum is home to both permanent and traveling contemporary art exhibitions, with a strong focus on Quebec art post 1940's. The permanent...  Read More

Stewart Museum

Annual Holiday programming at the Stewart Museum includes a Christmas bell workshop, a display of handmade Santa dolls, part of the "Santas Are Taking Over the Stewart Museum" (free admission for those under 12) and especially for the children,...  Read More

The Musee des Beaux-Arts, founded in 1860, is Canada's oldest museum and boasts some of the finest paintings in the country. Among its permanent holdings are artworks from Canadian artists and those created by European masters. The museum also...  Read More

Built in 1829, the neo-Gothic Basilique Notre-Dame is built in the scale and manner of Europe's great churches. It's said that the protestant architect James O'Donnell, who designed the basilica, was so taken with the project that he converted...  Read More


Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best, About.com, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel