The Best Time to Visit Montreal (And What to do Based on the Season)

best-time-to-visit-montreal-canada

Whether you're more of a summer or winter person, Montreal has something for everyone no matter what season it is. This is the best time to visit Montreal depending on what you want to experience in the city.

Whether it's your first time to Montreal and you want to take in all the sights, or you're more interested in attending one of the city's popular festivals, there's something for everyone when visiting Montreal. 

It's no secret that the winter months in Canada are not the most hospitable. That's why during the summer, Canadian cities like Montreal take advantage of the longer days and comfortable weather. If you're into much more temperate weather, this time of the year becomes the best time to visit Montreal. 

Montreal summers are known as festival season in the city, and locals and visitors spend a great deal of time outdoors in urban parks around Montreal. This French-inspired city feels like a little slice of Europe, especially when summer is in full swing. 

During the winter, much of Montreal retreats to its Underground City. Local residents and tourists can often spend the majority of their time in this underground web of shops, restaurants, businesses and public transportation. It is a sight to see on its own and a unique experience.

However, once summer comes around everyone wants to be outdoors and with good reason with Montreal's long winters. Not only is it a great time to visit Montreal, but summer is also arguably the best time to visit Canada. 

things to do in montreal in summer

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What’s my favorite time of the year to visit Montreal?

Summer!

Montreal in the summer means endless outdoor activities and exciting special events that you just can't experience as much at other times of the year. I think this is the best time of the year to visit Montreal because the weather isn't going to put a damper on any urban adventures.

Of course, I'm not the only one who thinks this. Summer is a busy time of the year in Montreal. Tourism reaches its peak during the summer months, which means that local attractions and festivals will be crowded.

Festivals are in full swing, outdoor parks and gardens bloom with nature, and the top sights in the city attract visitors from around the world. If you can brave the crowds, summer is a beautiful time to experience the city.

If summer isn't a perfect time for you to travel, or if you'd like to experience the city during less crowded months, Montreal is still a wonderful city to experience at any time of the year. Depending on the type of trip you're looking for, Montreal has something for everyone year round. 

Let's have a look at Montreal by the season to see which time of year is the best for your next vacation to this cultural hub of Canada.

best time of the year to visit montreal, canada

Montreal by the Season - The Best Time to Visit Montreal Based on What You Want to Experience

Montreal's tourism reaches its annual high during the summer, but visiting this French Canadian city is enjoyable any time of the year. 

It's important to consider what you want to get out of your trip Montreal. If you want to be outdoors and enjoy Montreal's lineup of annual festivals, summer is the best option.

On the other hand, if you want to see the city lit up with holiday decorations and enjoy winter activities in Quebec province, it might be best to visit in the winter.

If your main concern is weather, summer is your best bet.

best place to stay in montreal - mile end

Montreal summer weather stays relatively comfortable. The temperature hovers in the 70s and 80s, rarely getting too hot or unbearable to do some sightseeing.

The spring and fall seasons have temperatures that are cooler, averaging in the 50s and 40s. Montreal is cold in the winter, oftentimes below freezing, which is something to keep in mind if you want to travel in December, January, or February.

There's no way of getting around it, Montreal gets a lot of snow. The city averages around 82 inches of snow per year. June is the rainiest month in Montreal, which is something to keep in mind when deciding when to visit Montreal.

HIGH SEASON

montreal weather in may - montreal summer

May - September

This time of the year is ideal for those who want to experience the outdoors, along with the city's wide array of annual Montreal summer festivals.

Pros

  • Warmest time of the year
  • Montreal weather in May begins to truly warm up for the summer
  • Best time to take advantage of Montreal's summer festivals and special events
  • Best time to visit Montreal's outdoor areas and activities

Cons

  • There's no getting around this, it will be more crowded than any other time of the year
  • Hotels and accommodations reach peak prices
  • Accommodations may book up quickly because of festival goers

Events/Festivals

  • Festival TransAmériques (May - June )
  • St-Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival (May - June)
  • Montréal Chamber Music Festival (June)
  • Festival ELEKTRA (June)
  • Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June)
  • Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada (June)
  • L’International des Feux Loto-Québec (June - July)
  • Haiti on Fire! (July)
  • Heavy Montreal (July)
  • ZooFest of OFF JFL (July)
  • Montréal Comiccon (July)
  • Fantasia International Film Festival (July)
  • Just for Laughs Festival (July)
  • Montreal Completement Cirque (July)
  • îleSoniq Montreal (August)
  • Montréal First Peoples festival (August)
  • Montréal’s Italian Week Festival (August)
  • Montréal Pride (August)
  • Osheaga, Music and Arts Festival (August)
  • OSM Classical Spree (August)

Best places to visit in Montreal during summer: Take advantage of being outdoors during the summer in Montreal.

Visit famous Mount Royal Park, walk around Old Town, bike along Lachine Canal, and explore seasonal outdoor markets like Marché des Éclusiers. Summer can be considered the best time to visit Montreal for its outdoor markets.

Best time to visit if you're looking for: Festivals! It is truly the best time to go to Montreal if you are interested in attending all sorts of cultural festivals.

Pro tip: Make sure you book your hotel ahead of time because of an increase in visitors during the summer. 

Recommended Experience: Montreal Bike Tour: Hoods & Hidden Gems

SHOULDER SEASON - SPRING

when to visit montreal, canada - spring

March - April

The best time to visit Montreal for those who don't mind cold and sometimes unpredictable weather. On the plus side, the spring is when you can find good deals on accommodations. 

Pros

  • It's not as busy as the summer months, there are less crowds
  • It is still a good time to go skiing in nearby Mont Tremblant
  • Maple production is in full swing with the celebration of sugar shack season, taste some at favorite local restaurants

Cons

  • The weather can be a little unpredictable. Snow storms are still a possibility, especially in March
  • The temperate is not as warm as you'd expect, ranging from the 30s-50s
  • For one week in March, public schools are off for Montreal spring break. That means slightly more crowds during that week
  • April is the rainy season

Events

  • Saint Patrick's Day Parade (March)
  • Montreal High Lights Festival (March)
  • The International Festival Film on Arts (March)
  • Black and Blue Festival (April)
  • Montreal Salon des Pierres (April)
  • The Big Fashion Sale (April)

Best places to visit in Montreal during March and April: Old Town and the Underground City.

Since the weather is unpredictable during this time of year, you could easily spend a leisurely day outdoors walking around Old Town. On the other hand, snow and rain are still common, so you may have to retreat indoors to the mega complex of the Underground City.

Best time to visit if you're looking for: Maple syrup! Enjoy the celebration of sugar shack season by trying out maple treats at popular Montreal restaurants.

Pro tip: Even though it's technically not winter anymore, snow storms still occur. This may alter your sightseeing plans. 

Recommended Experience: Beyond the Market Food Tour in Montreal 

SHOULDER SEASON - FALL

things to do in montreal canada

October - November

The best time to visit Montreal for visitors who love fall foliage and with less crowds.

Pros

  • The weather is still pleasant and comfortable before the brunt of winter arrives
  • Fall foliage is at its peak
  • It's a great time to find deals on transportation to Montreal, as well as cheaper hotels
  • Montreal is gearing up for the holidays, especially in November, with holiday festivals beginning

Cons

  • October gets its fair share of rain and there will be snow in November
  • Montreal in November is considered a windy month
  • While October has more comfortable weather, it will feel much colder in November
  • Not as many festivals as the summer months

Events

  • Thanksgiving (October)
  • Montreal International Black Film Festival (October)
  • The Magic of Lanterns (October)
  • Garden of Lights (November)
  • MTLàTABLE (November)
  • Montreal Documentary Festival (November)
  • Santa Claus Parade (November)
  • La Grande Dégustation de Montréal (November)

Best places to visit in Montreal during fall: Mount Royal Park, Montreal Botanical Garden, Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Take advantage of being outdoors while the weather is still fair. The fall foliage in Montreal is on full display during October and November and it's stunning.

The weather in October is a little more reliable than November, making it the best time to visit Montreal in the fall. Check out some of Montreal's famous local parks and outdoor gardens to see the different hues of the season.  

Best time to visit if you're looking for: Cheaper transportation and accommodation options, while still having nice enough weather to explore the city comfortably outdoors.

Recommended Experience: Walking Tour of Old Montreal

LOW SEASON

things to do in montreal in winter

December - February

The best time to visit Montreal for those who can brave the cold Canadian winter. There are plenty of deals to find throughout Montreal at this time of the year.  

Pros

  • Cheapest time to visit Montreal for deals on hotels
  • Very limited amounts of tourists
  • You can have local attractions more to yourself
  • Take advantage of holiday festivals and celebrations
  • The Underground City makes it easy to see the city without being outside for too long

Cons:

  • Plain and simple: it's cold
  • Outdoor activities are limited
  • Snow storms are common, which can change or cancel travel plans
  • Driving conditions may be difficult during bad weather and snow storms
  • Not as many events and festivals compared to warmer months

Events

  • Joyeux Décembre! (December)
  • Marche de Noël aux flambeaux (December)
  • Fête des Neiges de Montréal (January - February)
  • Igloofest (January)
  • Montreal Restaurant Week (January)
  • Montreal en Lumière (February)

Best places to visit in Montreal in Winter: The Underground City, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, any of the great museums and cozy restaurants around the city. 

The Underground City of Montreal makes it completely possible to discover the city without stepping outside often. This complex of businesses, restaurants, and shopping makes up one of the largest underground systems in the world.

There are still plenty of things to do in Montreal in winter, such as seeing the famous Notre-Dame Basilica, checking out the many museums, and exploring the winter wonderland of Old Montreal.

Best time to visit if you're looking for: Accommodation prices that won't break your budget and a winter wonderland destination for the holidays. 

Montreal is a thriving city, no matter what season it is. With four distinct seasons and activities for each, it's important to know what kind of experience you'd like to have when choosing the best time to visit Montreal.

Recommended Experience: Montreal Downtown and Underground City Tour


What to Pack for Montreal

Sarah Mueller

My name is Sarah from Sarah and a Suitcase! I’m a habitual traveler and displaced Brooklyn native currently living in Northern Virginia. I provide The Atlas Heart readers with local travel tips and recommendations for where to stay in some of my favorite places around the world.
Sarah Mueller