What's the best time to visit Montreal?
The best time to visit Montreal is during the summer (June–August) when temperatures range from 54°F to 81°F. During this time, the city is bustling with outdoor activities, festivals like the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Formula One: Grand Prix of Canada, and lively local gatherings.
Montreal is a favorite destination for many. Although some visitors think it’s best to head there in summer and enjoy the mild temperatures, others believe visiting in winter and facing the harsh weather conditions is the travel challenge they need.
While both groups have their subjective reasons and are right in their own way, in the end, the best time to visit Montreal depends on your budget, travel companion(s), and weather preferences.
Start reading our guide to plan a trip to the city you’ll never wish to leave once you arrive.
Overall Best Time to Visit Montreal
The overall best time to visit Montreal is in summer (June–August). It’s the absolute peak season, with both locals and tourists flocking to different places in the city to enjoy the warm weather, recreational activities, and summer festivals.
Temperatures vary between lows of 54°F and highs of 81°F. Note that thanks to humidity, the weather may feel warmer than it actually is, but sightseeing is still great at this time.
The Old Port is full of joggers, skaters, and cyclists, so feel free to join the group that resonates with you the most. Also, summer sees locals and visitors head to nearby lakes and beaches to cool off.
In terms of festivals, brace yourselves, as summer is the busiest and most dynamic period. June hosts the Formula One: Grand Prix of Canada event, the biggest sporting event in the entire country.
There’s also MURAL Fest, a public art festival.
Jazz lovers will definitely be happy to attend the Montreal International Jazz Festival (June-July), 2SLGTBQIA+ supporters may join the Montreal Pride (August) celebrations, and avid dancers can take advantage of the Montreal International Tango Festival (August).
Finally, if you visit Montreal in summer, make sure to book your stay in advance, as accommodation gets scarce around this time and prices skyrocket thanks to high demand.
Cheapest Time to Visit Montreal
The cheapest time to head to Montreal is in the fall (September–November). It’s the best time to look for reduced accommodation rates and attractive airfare ticket prices.
The fall foliage is also a huge bonus for travelers appreciating nature’s beauty and Montreal’s fall vibe. The best spots for enjoying the fall landscape include Beaver Lake, Montreal Botanical Garden, and Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Temperatures at this time fluctuate between 28°F and 73°F. Events worth attending around this time are the World performFilm Festival (September), uniting all movie buffs.
Then, there’s POP Montreal (September/October), taking place across more than 50 venues and having over 400 bands perform. October sees the well-known Montreal Burlesque Festival, offering plenty of champagne, cabaret moments, and Prohibition Era vibes.
A gay-benefit dancing festival, the Black & Blue Festival (October) is a yearly festival raising money for the gay community.
Finally, if the cheapest time to visit Montreal doesn’t work for you, try going easy on your wallet by making other decisions, such as taking advantage of the fact that most museums offer free entrance on the first Sunday of the month.
Certain attractions, such as Vieux-Montréal, St. Joseph’s Oratory, and Parc du Mont-Royal, don’t charge admission at all.
Least Busy Time to Visit Montreal
The least busy time to visit Montreal is in spring (March–May). It’s ideal for visitors who don’t want to deal with the peak season crowds and avoid the harsh winter conditions.
That said, note that the spring months in Montreal are still quite chilly — there could be lingering snow at times, too, especially at the beginning of spring. The temperatures during these three months vary between 21°F and 66°F.
May is arguably the rainiest month in the entire year, hence why not many tourists flock to the city around this time. Once spring sets in, you can enjoy wildlife at Parc du Mont-Royal, and birdwatchers can observe migratory birds.
Cycling is on the table as well, so be on the lookout for rental stations and bike lanes with cyclists. Note that just because this is the least busy period to head to Montreal, that doesn’t mean there’s little to do.
In fact, the spring season abounds with some of the most spectacular cultural events Montreal hosts each year.
First and foremost, consider the Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade (March) and prepare for floats, live performances, and marching bands. In April, there’s the Festival Vue sur la Relève, an event devoted to multidisciplinary works of art such as music, dancing, and theater.
Encouraging visitors to cherish their love for writing and reading, the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival is a must for anyone wanting to nourish their inner artist.
A punk rock festival that gets its name from “poutine and pizza,” Pouzza Fest sees more than 175 bands perform across different venues in Montreal, all in close proximity to one another.
Finally, those on the lookout to do some museum hopping should mark their calendars for the yearly Montreal Museums Day (May). A popular event, Montreal Museums Day provides visitors with free admission to their permanent and temporary exhibits from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Worst Time to Visit Montreal
And the worst time to find yourself in Montreal? Definitely in winter (December–February), and we hate to break it to you — no matter how prepared you think you are, you can never be ready enough for Montreal’s winters.
They’re highly uncomfortable, and if you aren’t used to harsh winters, chances are you won’t find your stay in Montreal as enjoyable as you should.
Winter temperatures in Montreal get as low as 7°F and as high as 32°F, with January being hands down the coldest and the snowiest month in the entire year. With 90% relative humidity, January and February are also the most humid months.
Snow and ice rule the season, but if you decide to take a risk and still head to Montreal, there are ways to make your stay there more bearable. For starters, Montreal is a city prepared for winter and knows how to keep its residents warm.
Namely, if you go to Underground City, you’ll find plenty of shopping malls, movie theaters, and restaurants, all interconnected by a maze of passageways, allowing people to stay warm and not have to go outside to move from one place to another.
That said, if you wish to make the most of the cold weather, you can always engage in winter activities such as skiing, sleigh riding, snowshoeing, and ice skating.
Winters are also ideal for trying maple taffy on snow at sugar shacks. Winter has plenty of events worth attending, too, such as Old Montreal’s Extravaganza (December), full of sculptures, lights, and holiday vibes.
There’s also Merry Montreal (December–January), the ultimate Christmas festival in the city.
As the coldest music festival in the world, Igloofest (January–February) provides electronic music and invites the bravest winter enthusiasts to face the harsh winter conditions by having fun and taking outdoor festivals to the next level.
January and February also see the well-known Montreal Snow Festival take place. Finally, don’t forget Montréal en Lumière, starting in February, which is frequently described as the gastronomic event of the year.
Things to Consider
Care to make the most out of your stay in Montreal? Here are some additional things to consider before you embark on your Canadian adventure:
- If you wish to visit Montreal, note that Canada provides visa-free entry to 51 countries, including EU member states, the US, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia, for stays of up to six months. Citizens from other countries are required to apply for a TRV (Temporary Resident Visa) to visit Canada.
- Montreal is generally a safe city, but basic precautions still apply, as in any destination you visit for the first time. Avoid wandering alone at night, and leave your valuables in a safe place.
- The tap water in Montreal is safe to drink, so we recommend that you bring a reusable water bottle.
- Biking is quite popular, especially during warmer months. If you wish to rent one, consider BIXI or Montreal on Wheels. If you rent a car, note that while parking is relatively cheap, gas is expensive.
- You can save money by purchasing passes such as the Montréal Museums Pass and Passeport MTL.
- Get acquainted with the “Apportez-votre-vin” situation. Many restaurants in the city have such a sign in the front suggesting that guests can bring their own wine and eat in their restaurant. Perfect for those on a budget!
- The city hosts a plethora of free events, especially during the summer months. Even major festivals, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the largest of its kind worldwide, provide visitors with free shows and concerts on the street. You can also find theater performances or stand-up comedies — check out Mtl.org, where all events are listed.
- The country’s currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).
- Servers expect large tips, the standard being 15-20%.
- Get travel insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions to know before visiting Montreal:
How many days do you need in Montreal?
We recommend spending at least four to five days in Montreal to see most major attractions, attend a local event, check out a festival, sample some delicacies, and simply explore the city at your own pace. If you decide to use Montreal as a base to check out other places, you may need to book a longer stay.
Is Montreal a better city than Toronto?
Both Montreal and Toronto are special cities, so it’s impossible to say which one is better. That said, Montreal is said to have a more European vibe as opposed to Toronto. Also, it has plenty of historical buildings and an old town, which makes one feel as though they’ve traveled back in time.
More importantly, it’s cheaper than Toronto!
Is Montreal cheap or expensive?
The average price for a three-day getaway in Montreal is $880 if you’re going solo, $1500 if you’re with a partner, and $1940 if you’re going as a family of four. Hotel prices in the city center vary between $350 and $870 (on average, $440 per night).
It’s recommended that you set aside $75 per day per person for eating out and public transportation.
Finally, understand that your total expenses will vary based on where you come from, the accommodation you book, and what you spend your money on in Montreal. The travel data we shared comes from previous visitors’ expenses, so they’re meant to serve as an estimate and aren’t a general rule for anyone coming to Montreal.
Is Montreal a walkable city?
Yes, Montreal is a highly walkable city, but the city also has a very effective public transportation system.
Can I speak English in Montreal?
Yes, most of Montreal’s population can communicate in English and, in fact, speaks English as their first language. Knowing a few phrases in French can help you in many situations, but it’s far from necessary.
Book Your Trip to Montreal Today!
|👍 Best Time to Visit
|June to August
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit
|September to November
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit
|March to May
|👎 Worst Time to Visit
|December to February
On the whole, Montreal is one of the liveliest and most dynamic Canadian cities you can visit. There’s fun on every corner, entertainment in every venue, delicacies to sample, festivals to attend, and memories to be made.
What are you waiting for then? Begin planning your Canadian itinerary right now!