Every city has some spots that are off-the-beaten path where locals love to hang out. Sometimes, these may feature a beautiful scenic place with beautiful trails, where people go to soak their souls in the landscape. Other times, these places are fun, thrilling spaces, full of music, street art, and quaint coffee shops where you can lose yourself in the vibe and have the time of your life.
Montreal is a city with every leisure activity you can think of. From small eateries tucked in the corners to picture-perfect parks and lakes, this city steals the hearts of everyone who comes here for the first time. We all love to dig up hidden places and flaunt them on Instagram but finding them right away isn’t always possible. This is either because the local population doesn’t consider them worth mentioning, or they aren’t popular enough. In this article, you will discover the best hidden gems in Montreal.
11 unique things to do in Montreal
1. Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel
The Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is symbolic of the old city of Montreal. It was constructed in 1771 over the remains of a chapel. It can be found off the path of the Old Port and has been known to grab the attention of onlookers with its majestic beauty. It isn’t as famous as the other chapels in the city but you will be unable to drive it from your mind after seeing it.
It is also known as “The Sailors’ Church” because of its historical past. The mini ship votives that hang from the ceiling add to the mystic vibe of this chapel. The rich history of the place, coupled with its unique construction, makes it a place worth visiting.
This is a neighborhood store and a lunch counter. It is one of the best spots for brunch, where the locals love to hang out with their friends. We recommend trying their fresh herb pancake with salmon. The residents of Villeray highly praise this small cafe in the food market.
Café Larue & Fils
The quietest part of this café is located on Saint-Zotique Street. This is a place with distinct coffee and a good place if you wish to seclude yourself from the hustle-and-bustle of the city. This is a good spot to work at. The peace of the surrounding area and the coffee can contribute to taking your creativity to the next level.
Café Dei Campi
This café is one of the most beautiful hidden gems of Montreal. The quiet, lavish interior, and the great coffee are what people yearn for at the end of the day. After you are done with the day’s crazy affairs, you can end your day here with a delicious coffee. Their great pastries are the sweetener you need to revitalize you after a tiring day. You can toss out all your concerns for the next day!
3. Lachine Canal
The Lachine Canal is the perfect spot for an afternoon bike ride. You can rent a bike from near the canal from My Bicyclette across from the Atwater Market. The path runs through Montreal and along the Saint Lawrence River, allowing you to enjoy the scenic and urban beauty of the city. People who take this track lose themselves in nature’s wonders!
Learn more about Le Livart’s art day camps
4. Festival Fun
Montreal has a big range of festivals dedicated to music, from jazz to classical music and even tango. Internationally renowned festivals like the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Osheaga also celebrate the city’s culture and food, allowing people to roam around and indulge their senses, while enjoying the best live music acts.
5. River Fun
A city with rivers can do a great deal to enhance the pleasure of every visitor. In this respect, Montreal has utilized its rivers to the utmost capacity, allowing locals and visitors to indulge in thrilling and peaceful activities:
Not many rivers in the world allow for safe rafting if you’re a thrill-seeking geek. Montreal has been blessed with water waves that are friendly enough to enable the locals to surf on them. The Saint Lawrence River near Habitat 67 allows visitors to surf or look at the surfers and admire their skills. They also offer different surfing lessons available for visitors.
Buckle up for an exciting adventure on the Lachine Rapids with a jet boat or a raft. The river rafting scene in Montreal is quite developed and seems to grow with increasing local interest. River rafting stands out as unique experience for travelers. Although some locals are pros at it, others wish to just watch from the sidelines. Rafting Montreal offers multiple excursion options, each one promising a truly thrilling experience.
6. Bota Bota
Bota Bota is a spa on the Saint Lawrence River. The floating spa offers some incredible relaxing treatments, including a water circuit spa. It is located in the Old Port, which means you can take in some beautiful scenery while sitting inside.
Check out Le Livart’s upcoming activities
7. Parc Morgan
This is a beautiful park located in a hidden spot in Montreal. It seems to be a place that accommodates adults and children well. There are multiple activities for the kids while the adults roam around and appreciate the natural beauty of the place.
8. Little Italy
As the name suggests, this is a market featuring Italian culture. It is a large market of fruits and vegetables that is a magnet for Montreal foodies. The market is open all year round in Montreal’s Italian neighborhood. What makes it unique is its distinct Italian vibe.
9. Le Livart
Le Livart is a multidisciplinary art center located in Montreal whose mission is to democratize access to art and culture. The space features a gallery, artists’ studios, a school, an event room and a shop. It’s a place of creativity and sharing where you can visit exhibitions, participate in events as well as sign your kids up for creative workshops or day camps.
Through its location in an old presbytery in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, it evokes Montreal’s ancient spirit and through its encouragement of creativity in the community, it embodies the progressive values that underlie contemporary Montreal.
10. 4493 Ave Papineau
Are you a dog person? If you are, you should definitely check out 4493 Avenue Papineau. Unlike many coffee shops and restaurants, this place allows visitors to bring their pets. It is a perfect hang-out for dog lovers, and your little canine friend may make some new mates here. Who knows, they might convince you to come here more often!
11. La Banquise
Some people call it a crime to leave the city without trying poutine. Many restaurants serve poutine in Montreal but there is no better place than La Banquise to try this Quebec delicacy. The restaurant is open 24 hours and offers 28 different variations of poutine. If you’re vegan, you’ll be happy to know they have a vegan poutine option too. This local favorite is popular among groups of friends on a night out!