Ten Fun Diversions While Studying In Montreal

by Kayla Patterson

Studying abroad in Montreal is sure to provide a culturally enriching experience and leave you with unforgettable memories. During a break in your studies, go down this list of 10 fun things to do in this magnificent city.

Biodome de Montreal

Biodome de Montreal

1. Take A Hop-on Hop-off City Tour.

Explore Montreal on your own terms. With a ticket for the Montreal City Hop-on Hop-off Tour, you can enter and exit a double-decker bus at any of their 10 stops throughout the city. Each stop is conveniently located near many of Montreal's top attractions, including Mount Royal Park, Chinatown, and the Notre-Dame Basilica.

2. Take A Ghost Tour of Quebec.

For 90 minutes you'll walk around Old Quebec, led by local storytellers and actors who recount the darker episodes that took place in the buildings and streets — and the hauntings said to have sprung from them. This tour is a bit spooky, a lot of fun, and is a great way to get some of Montreal's history from a unique perspective.

3. Pedal A Boat Down The Canal De Lachine.

Spend an afternoon cruising down the Canal de Lachine by renting a pedalboat from one of the many watersports outlets like H2O Adventures. Take a training course, or set out on your own across the serene waters as you float by the beautiful cityscape of Montreal.

4. Visit The Biodome.

This amazing museum features Ecosystems of the Americas, where visitors can walk through replicas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a tropical rainforest, the Laurentian maple forest, and sub-Antarctic islands. Exhibits include a variety of interesting subjects like ancient fossils. There's also the Insectarium, the Jardin Botanique, and the Planetarium Rio Tinto Alcan.

The Basilique Notre-Dame

The Basilique Notre-Dame

5. Stare In Awe At The Basilique Notre-Dame.

This magnificent neo-Gothic church is a must-see in Montreal — if not for the religious aspects, then for the architecture and history. The Notre Dame Basilica is wondrous work of art that is full of ornate wood carvings, gilt stars, and unbelievable stained glass windows. The atmosphere is so grand that couples must wait more than two years to be married in this church.

6. Explore A Historic Prison With A Twist.

The Trois-Rivieres prison was built in 1822 and, before it closed in 1986, was Canada's oldest operating penitentiary. Now, tours of the Old Prison of Trois-Rivieres give accounts of life in this Quebec prison throughout the ages. The tours attract tons of visitors with one unique characteristic: the tour guides were past inmates! Groups of visitors can even arrange to “spend the night in jail” and sleep in prison cells.

7. Indulge In Poutine At La Banquise.

\The patio of this legendary Montreal restaurant might be the best place in the city to try poutine, a traditional French-Canadian comfort food made with French fries, gravy, cheese curds, and other toppings. La Banquise offers many varieties of poutine, including the original recipe; there's a great selection of beer, and it is open 24 hours.

8. Cheer On The Montreal Canadiens At The Bell Centre.

When studying abroad in Canada, watch ice hockey, of course! The Montreal Canadiens are sure to entertain after winning the Stanley Cup more than 20 times. Games often sell out, providing for an electric atmosphere inside the Bell Centre. Snag a ticket from a scalper to save a few bucks and enjoy one of the most popular pastimes in all of Canada.

Montreal Bridge

Montreal Bridge

9. Hike Around Mount Royal Park.

This sprawling park is part of Mount Royal, the grand mountain for which Montreal is named. It also includes the highest point in Montreal and is a great place to soak in the views of the beautiful city. Take a hike, or go biking or even horseback riding in this famous park.

10. Catch a Movie or Shop 'Til You Drop.

The Centre Eaton is the perfect place to get lost in five stories of nearly 200 shops, eateries, and shops. It also home to a six-screen movie theatre. Find some cool souvenirs or just enjoy people-watching in this busy shopping mall.