The Best Time to Visit Montreal 2023: The Ultimate Guide
Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and also the world's second biggest French-speaking city, although many of the citizens are bilingual. It is a diverse place that is home to people of all kinds of ethnicities and welcomes visitors from all around the world. It serves as the best host city for events in North America, with regular festivals and celebrations happening year round.
If you have come for entertainment then you are all set, since Montreal hosts the famous Cirque du Soleil and is also home to the second largest amusement park in all of Canada. Visitors who like to try new foods are in for a real sweet treat since Quebec produces over 85% of the world's maple syrup. Try some of the local delicacies like maple candy, maple butter, or maple cookies. This city also has the most restaurants per capita in the country!
Are you planning a vacation to Montreal? If so then you will need to do some research. This city has four distinct seasons and the weather and climate can change drastically between them. Some activities and events can only be done during specific times in the year, and certain festivals are also seasonal.
Keep reading to learn all about the city to decide when the best time to visit Montreal is for you. Whenever you arrive, you'll find you are constantly on the go moving from one attraction to another. Do you have shopping bags or backpacks slowing you down? Stop by a Montreal luggage storage facility where you can keep your bags safe as you explore.
Summer in Montreal - June to August
Summer in Montreal is wonderful and a great time to visit the city. The summer months bring warm temperatures, with an average range of 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 26 degrees Celsius). Although this doesn't seem that hot, summer days in Montreal can get very humid and will feel a lot warmer than they actually are. While you are here you can enjoy lots of outdoor events, dine on the patios and take advantage of all the summertime festivals. If you are someone who likes to go biking then you will love this season, and you can easily explore much of the city by bike or by foot if you wanted to.
Weather can sometimes be unpredictable in the summer, so make sure that you have an umbrella with you especially if you are visiting Montreal in August. Showers can sometimes last all day, or just come in bursts that don't last too long. Make sure that you pack some shorts and tank tops for the hotter days, as well as a light pair of pants and maybe a sweater for the colder days or evenings. One thing to keep in mind about summertime in Montreal is that there will be more people in the streets as tourists flock to all of the summer festivals. This also means that hotel prices and flights could increase.
This season is when you should take advantage of outdoor activities, and the city has quite a few to offer. Try going hiking in the beautiful Plateau Mont Royal Park, take a bike ride along the Lachine Canal or St Lawrence River, eat at a sidewalk café or go visit a market. One of the places that you definitely want to visit is the LaRonde theme park and the Old Port in Downtown Montreal, which has lots of things to see and do.
June brings the Montreal International Jazz Festival as well as the 11-day long MURAL Festival. If you are a fan of car racing you will absolutely want to grab tickets to the Formula One Grand Prix. June 24th is Saint Jean Baptiste Day and a few weeks later, July 1st is Canada Day, and both events bring all sorts of celebrations with parties and fireworks. Check out the Just For Laughs Festival in July or the Montreal Pride Festival and Osheaga music festival happening between late July and early August.
Fall in Montreal - September to November
Fall in Montreal lasts from September to November, and the average temperatures begin at 34 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree to 21 degrees Celsius) throughout the day. The later in the season that you visit Montreal the colder that it will get, so you might want to aim for a visit in early autumn as opposed to later. Late fall can even experience flurries, so you will need to prepare for that with the proper clothing.
One of the best parts about autumn in Montreal is that the trees begin to change and the colorful leaves on the maple trees are quite a beautiful sight. The days will start to get a bit chillier so you can leave the shorts at home, although you might experience a hot day or two in early September. Pack some pants and long sleeve shirts as well as a light jacket for the early mornings or evenings. You can expect a drop in hotel prices as the cooler temperatures set in, so it is a good time to save money.
These months can actually be a nice time to take a brisk walk around the city and admire the fall foliage. Some of the places that we recommend include the Montreal Botanical Gardens, Parc Angrignon, Parc Jean Drapeau or the Morgan Arboretum. There are also lots of great seasonal events happening in autumn.
In mid-September, cycling enthusiasts will enjoy the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, and the POP Montreal International Music Festival is fun for everyone. This month also brings the World Film Festival and the Garden of Lights event held at the Botanical Gardens mentioned above which goes on for most of the month and ends in late October or early November. The exciting Restaurant Week follows shortly so make sure you bring an appetite. Get ready for the beginning of the holiday season in November, which brings all sorts of events including the Santa Claus Parade.
Winter in Montreal - December to February
The months from December to February turn the city into a winter wonderland, so expect to see lots of snow and the occasional blizzard. The weather sometimes shuts down the city and driving can be hazardous with whiteouts and black ice, so keep that in mind if you are not used to bad road conditions and are planning to be traveling around a lot. Thankfully, the Underground City of Montreal is made up of an extensive system of shops and restaurants that are all connected by a metro system which can bring you almost anywhere in the downtown area without even having to go outside. Overall, temperatures remain between 0 degrees and 34 degrees Fahrenheit (about -17 to 1 degree Celsius). It can feel much colder with the wind chill so make sure to bring layers!
This may not be the best time to visit Montreal, especially if you aren't used to the temperatures since these are the coldest months of the year. You will absolutely want to pack warm clothes for the winter season and you will definitely need winter boots as well. A warm jacket is a must in order to stay comfortable during those chilly cold snaps since frostbite can be a real threat if you aren't dressed properly for the weather. Less people tend to visit the city at this time of year so you can take advantage of the low season to find travel deals.
Despite the bitter cold, there is still much to do in Montreal during this season, especially with all of the winter activities available. Have you ever tried dog sledding or visited a sugar shack? Or maybe you will want to play some winter sports, and this is the perfect time since the hockey season is in full swing. Go ice skating, skiing, sledding or snowshoeing with a loved one or some friends, and when you get cold you can warm up with some hot cocoa and then cuddle up with a blanket by the fireplace.
With the arrival of the Christmas season, Montreal comes alive, and the city streets are decorated with lights and holiday décor. Throughout all of December, you can browse the various Christmas markets situated around the city and in early January you have the New Year's Eve parties with fireworks happening throughout the town. Check out the Merry Montreal event for New Year's Day. Later on in the month is Igloofest, one of the popular events that help the locals get through the coldest month of the year. It won't feel too cold when you are gathered with tens of thousands of people listening to live music in the snow! All sorts of activities go on at the Fête Des Neiges which spans from late January into February, and both the Montreal en Lumière and Nuit Blanche events follow not too far behind.
Spring in Montreal - March to May
Spring in Montreal is the much awaited departure of snow and ice as the weather slowly warms up. One thing that all locals know is that the weather during this season can be very unpredictable, and whenever you think that springtime has finally arrived for good the cold weather and snow return. The common showers and rainy days in mid-April help the snow to finally disappear, and by May you can expect the good weather to come back for good. The average temperature remains between 40 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 26 degrees Celsius), depending on where you are in the season.
As the warm days return so do the tourists, so you can expect air travel prices to rise again, especially towards the end of the season. If you are thinking of visiting Montreal in the spring then you will need to prepare for basically all of the seasons, since the weather is hit or miss. If you are here in the late season then a pair of shorts will be useful alongside some pants, sweaters, and a jacket to help you stay warm if the city hasn't quite thawed out yet. A good pair of boots will also be helpful to keep your feet dry from the rest of the snow and slush. The days can really change drastically from one to another and you never know what you might get, so bringing a few types of clothing can come in handy.
If you are hoping to see some wildlife on your vacation then this is a great time to visit, as all of the birds are finally migrating back south and often rest in ponds or parks to enjoy the perfect weather. One of the favorite events for the citizens of Montreal is the Saint Patrick's Day parade which happens in March. Take advantage of your last chance for winter sports and activities as most of the ski slopes and outdoor rinks close up for the season in April. The long weekend between Good Friday and Easter Monday is always a bit busier around the city as the locals enjoy a day off of work and many businesses are closed. If you want to get cultural, keep an eye out for Museum Day, which is an annual event where all of the local museums offer free entry and it usually happens in May.
Enjoying All Four Seasons in Montreal
A fun part about visiting Montreal is just how different each season is from the others. There are activities and popular events that are reserved for certain months of the year which is why Montreal is always a great place to visit. You can vacation here several times and have a completely different experience depending on when you are in town.
However, sometimes you have a specific plan for your vacation that just won't work during the winter or summer in Montreal. This is why it is important to do some research and find travel tips to help you decide when the optimal season is for you to vacation, although you will have a lovely time no matter when you stop by.
Know what you want to do during your trip to Montreal? Check out these guides for inspiration!