Ride La Grande Roue de Montreal
The views from this huge Ferris wheel are dramatic, and it operates even in deep winter, keeping you warm inside your glass pod high above the river and downtown. Rides last 20 minutes and cost about $20 U.S. (There’s also a zip-line nearby for people who really love heights.)
362 Rue de la Commune Est, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 0B4
Paddleboats on the St. Lawrence River
The waterfront’s appeal goes beyond its romantic cobblestones. After all, Montreal still has one of the busiest harbors in Canada, even if most of the port facilities are east of the Old Port. Rent a paddleboat so you can take in the views and remind yourself that this is, indeed, an island.
Écorécréo — Old Port of Montreal, Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 2E2
Walk north a few blocks on Saint-Laurent to visit the city’s small but vibrant Chinatown, the center of which lies along tiny, cobblestoned De la Gauchetière Street. Stop into some of the bakeries and small storefronts for dumplings or cake.
20 Rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Z 1B9
This Gothic Revival cathedral, built in the 1820s, is breathtaking on its own. But there are extra draws, too, such as choir or orchestral performances, chances to play the organ, and nighttime light shows.
110 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1T2
Shop indigenous-made crafts at Ashukan
Most Montrealers cringe at one aspect of the Old Port: the fake “native” crafts for sale and the gift-shop greeters wearing faux headdresses. If you’re interested in indigenous culture, much better to head to the Ashukan Cultural Space, a gallery and shop full of carefully curated paintings, photography, jewelry, and other art and handicrafts made by indigenous artists from across Canada. The gallery is run by a nonprofit and holds frequent special events.
431 Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 3B1
Experience the weird at PHI Center
This arts center gets rave reviews for its creative, unpredictable exhibits, but art is also made on the premises. Aside from its gallery, it has a cinema and a theater hosting everything from musical performances to storytelling nights, plus a recording studio and editing suites. The goal is for artists and audiences to meet.
407 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 2M3