Best Activities to Share with Your Significant Other in Montreal and Beyond

Montreal, that most romantic of cities offers the perfect vacation for lovers of all stripes. The activities listed here include romantic walks through beautiful urban parks and stylish gardens found within Montreal's Jardin Botanique. A visit to the site of famous weddings, including that of Celine Dion inside Montreal's prettiest churches and peaceful architectural spaces allows you to be alone with your special someone - or feel like you are. Share some quiet time alone in one of the many Montreal parks and green spaces or take in the private walking trails of Mont Royal. Stare into starry skies at the Planetarium under cover of darkness or take a romantic cruise aboard a quiet and environmentally sensitive vessel from the Old Port area of Montreal, near the cobble-stoned streets of Old Montreal - itself a good location for romantic bistros and restaurants. The recommendations listed here provide a variety of activities for all interests and in all seasons with a special focus on quality time shared with a loved one. All of these venues are perfect for first dates or marriage proposals and all romantic encounters in between. Book a romantic vacation for two to the Lac Carling Hotel and Ayers restaurant in the scenic Mont Tremblant region an hour away. 


An hour's drive north of Montreal,the Ayers Restaurant at the Lac Carling Hotel has been completely renovated to insure the perfect romantic dining experience. Book early to secure a window table by the large fireplace for the ultimate romantic dining experience overlooking the hotel's signature lake. Choose from a wide assortment of freshly prepared entrees and some of the best soup including a perfectly-spiced roasted red pepper and tomato soup followed by the quintessential comfort food, Osso Buco. Other mains include perfectly prepared fish, and deer and roast lamb.The terrior menu focuses on local products and fresh herbs from the property. While fine wines are available from the regular wine list, splurge for a carefully curated item from the wine cellar's reserve. Units adjacent the Hotel Lac Carling can also be purchased for year-round enjoyment in a scenic location within easy commute of Montreal.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Tremblant region is truly beautiful and the Lac Carling hotel offers a scenic four-season romantic getaway.

Sherel's expert tip: Book early for the best table by the window near the fireplace

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Basilique Notre-Dame
Photo courtesy of Paul Shio

Built in 1829, the neo-Gothic Basilique Notre-Dame is constructed 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 to Catholicism. Fine woodwork, rose ceiling windows, blue vaulted ceilings and a massive church bell make this a great place to visit. A small, on-site museum displays various religious artifacts, paintings and vestments.The paintings, sculptures, and stained-glass windows that adorn the structure illustrate biblical passages as well as 350 years of parish history. Catch the Notre-Dame Basilica in the evening, when a sound and light show, AURA presents the founding of the city and its basilica.The luminous experience begins with a path of lights, revealing the Basilica's rich interior. The creative use of light, orchestral music combined with the architecture combine to create a unique, three-act multimedia spectacle.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: It's the site of "Aura", one of the multi-media shows detailing the history of the Basilica, Celine Dion's wedding and Pierre Elliott Trudeau's funeral.

Sherel's expert tip: Try to visit in the evening to see "Aura"- the multimedia display. .

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Place Ville Marie Observatory
Photo courtesy of Tourisme Montreal

The Place Ville Marie Observatory offers everything from moonlight yoga sessions to wine tastings and specialty photography workshops all offering a 360 degree view of Montreal 185 meters above the city. The Observatory is a truly romantic destination especially on moonlit nights or other clear evenings where couples can watch the sunset from the beautiful, spacious four-sided terrace over Montreal. No visit to the Observatory is complete without a stop into Les Enfants Terrible for lunch or dinner where the reasonably-priced fare offers local twists on favorite comfort foods incorporating local products from interesting new chefs in a scenic setting just below the Observatory.

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Old Montreal
La Grande Roue
Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell

La Grande Roue de Montreal is the tallest observation wheel in Canada - the equivalent of a 20-story building from where visitors can enjoy great views of Montreal and beyond, four seasons of the year. On a clear day, it's possible to see 28 kilometers or 17 miles away. Set on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, La Grande Roue de Montreal's 42 gondolas are specially equipped with climate controlled, tempered glass windows for better views of old Montreal and beyond. This state-of-the-art Ferris wheel from the Netherlands with its glass floors is to Montreal what "The Eye" is to London,England.

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The Quays of the Old Port offer a romantic setting steeped in history. The first colonists arrived here on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, and it was thanks to the port that old Ville-Marie grew into the thriving international metropolis of modern-day Montreal. The beautiful area offers romantic riverside walks, boat tours and even a Nordic spa aboard a re-converted ship at Bota Bota. An intimate, silent and non-polluting boat tour offers an environmentally-friendly ride along the Old Port and Lachine Canal. Along the water couples can discover the Old Port's marine life and historical heritage, as well as the simple pleasure of navigating the river on a beautiful summer day and experiencing Montreal from a totally new perspective.

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Enjoy picnicking, hiking or bike riding with your special someone in this nature park that's also a true historical gem. 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 the Maison du Meunier. Don't forget to visit the overflow dam waterfall of the Riviere-des-Prairies. Above all, bring your binoculars to observe the shore birds, among others. Fishing buffs can enjoy their favourite sport in specially-designated areas. In winter, make the most of the toboggan hill and the marked hiking or cross-country ski trails.

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Planétarium de Montréal
Photo courtesy of Mikayla Taylor

The Montreal Planetarium brings astronomy to Montrealers and visitors alike who appreciate the clear, light-pollution-free skies and the chance to handle samples of meteorites. The regular show is comprised of three events: the main exhibition, The Sky this Month and the feature show. The exhibit focuses on new events and discoveries from the past 40 years, especially in Quebec skies. The Sky this Month is a 15-minute presentation where an astronomer points out all the major visible constellations. Highlights include the "Extinctions" show that focuses on how astronomical phenomena may be responsible for the disappearance of some species, raising pertinent questions such as: Could we disappear? Will life continue to survive on Earth? Multimedia shows, take on the Milky Way as an adventurous mission and allows participants to explore the sun, planets, star clusters, star nurseries and gas clouds.

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A 15-acre swath of the Montreal Botanical Garden with Japanese touches including cherry blossoms, koi ponds and zen gardens. A visit to the Japanese Garden is best done with an open mind and spirit. Visitors should go right to its heart; to meditate, to collect their thoughts, to feel and touch the beauty of the stone, water, plants and various architectural elements which make up the garden. It is a place where the slow-moving carp or "Koi" float in the shade of broad-leaved water lilies as if contemplating the sun's reflection or the rain on the multicoloured stones or even, as if they were listening to the gurgling waters spill over artfully arranged cascades. Early-risers may encounter great blue Heron as well as red-winged blackbirds.

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Angrignon Park sits on a 97-hectare of land in the west end of Montreal, near Angrignon, the last stop westward on the Metro's green line. It's an easy walk to Angrignon Park. Angrignon Park is a tranquil stretch of green space modelled on romantic English gardens, with a long pond in the middle. The park has six miles of walking trails and seven miles of cross-country skiing trails, and is home to a large community garden area with more than a hundred plots. There are picnic tables along des Trinitaires. The heart of the park was re-landscaped in 2000 and the overall impression is that of an idyllic refuge from the stresses of the adjacent city.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: It's a beautiful and tranquil park easily accessible by subway.

Sherel's expert tip: Try to avoid visiting on weekends when it gets quite busy.

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Jardin Botanique

Montreal's Botanical Gardens are a beautiful spot to visit with your sweetheart year round. When the weather is warm, you can jump on board the small train that takes you deep into the gardens where there are ponds with ducks, Montreal-Shanghai Dream Lake Garden and plenty of green spaces in which to frolic. Inside there are ten greenhouses filled with plants and flowers from around the world. Hands-on exhibits introduce visitors to the natural world. Montréal's Jardin Botanique is the third-largest in the world, after London's Kew Gardens and Berlin's Botanischer Garten. Each season, like each time of day, has moments of intense beauty which wait only to be captured by lovers of art and nature.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: It's one of the most impressive collection of gardens in the world.

Sherel's expert tip: If you plan on visiting the nearby Insectarium, buy a special money-saving pass for entrance to both locations.

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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,, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel