Is Montreal safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Montreal, Quebec was named after Mount Royal, the hill that is found in its heart and is the second most populous city in Canada. It has a vibrant history and culture with a strong French influence. Some defining characteristics of Montreal include its architectural parks, summer festivals like the Montreal Fireworks Festival, as well as fantastic restaurants, and theaters. Interesting fact; it is also home to 50 National Historic Sites of Canada.
Nicknamed Canada's Culture Capital, there is no need to wonder why so many people like to travel here. Just like other cities in Canada, it can get cold in Montreal, which is why the most popular time to travel is in June and throughout the rest of the summertime, although international flights are common year round. The city received an estimated 8 million visitors back in 2022 but the most that it has ever received in a year was around 11 million. On top of that, the city of Montreal has a population of about 1.7 million.
We encourage everyone to visit Montreal, and as one of the major cities in Canada it will definitely be a trip to remember. Although it is a very safe city, it is not Canada's safest city and you should read up on it before planning your vacation.
We'll give you tips to help prepare you for your journey to this exciting locale, and our first Montreal safety tip is to check out Bounce luggage storage. Keep your belongings safe in Montreal with the BounceShield guarantee and an easy-to-use mobile app. Store your bags to be hands free as you see all this pretty destination has to boast about.
Is Montreal safe to visit right now?
Most cities in Canada are safe to visit as the country ranks 10th on the Global Peace Index. There are also no travel restrictions or advisories right now and as long as you exercise normal precautions there is nothing serious to worry about. You should still check the guidelines put in place by the government in your home country before you book any trips, whether you have previous experience traveling or not.
Montreal does not have high crime rates, although some small offenses do still happen. The most common crime in this city is petty theft, and you'll also need to watch out for certain natural disasters, depending on what time of year you choose to visit. We'll do everything to prepare you for a safe trip to Montreal, but there is no such thing as a perfect safety guide and we suggest you do some additional research as well.
Top petty crimes and scams in Montreal affecting tourists
Montreal is a fairly safe city but you should know about any potential crimes that could affect you, just in case. Here are a few things that tourists should keep an eye out for.
Bad weather conditions
Canada, and more specifically Montreal, is not at risk of major earthquakes, tornadoes or other big natural disasters. However, what the city does experience is lots of snow and occasionally ice storms during the wintertime. This can make driving dangerous with whiteouts and black ice, and you'll have to be extra careful if you're driving yourself around during one of these storms.
As well, there are some neighborhoods impacted by flooding in the springtime which can create road closures and delays. The best way to be safe in Montreal is to take your time on the roads or just avoid going out during blizzards and periods of intense and lengthy rainfall.
Petty thievery is not very common in Montreal but it can happen. Reports of pickpocketing usually happen in cafes and restaurants where skilled thieves might grab money or items from your purse without you noticing. The good news is that you can easily protect yourself from this by investing in a secure bag or leaving them with Bounce. Although it probably won't happen, you should also be aware of your surroundings in crowded places and while using public transportation since that is where other major cities usually have pickpockets.
Mugging is not common in Montreal, but it is a good idea to protect yourself. There are just a few neighborhoods that you might want to avoid to lower your chances of encountering any crime, although most of the city is generally safe. Our safety tips include not wearing any expensive clothing or accessories in areas with a bad reputation, especially if you're exploring the city at night.
Stay away from narrow alleyways or unlit streets, and try to stick to areas where there are other people walking so you aren't alone. As the currency in this city is the Canadian dollar you'll most likely need to use ATMs to grab cash, and you should try to use a machine in a bank or mall where it is safe.
Is Montreal safe to travel alone
Sometimes you can't find people to travel with, but that shouldn't stop you from visiting Montreal. Because it is a very safe city it is a good place to go alone and there is so much that you can enjoy even if you aren't traveling with a group. Be responsible when you're out enjoying the bars and don't leave your drink unattended. As well, stay away from dangerous neighborhoods. Keep reading to find out where those are.
Because it is listed in 8th place on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index, Canada is also a suitable destination for solo female travelers. It is just as safe, if not safer than any other major city and women can feel comfortable enjoying all that Montreal has to offer even if they are alone.
If you ever feel unsafe while taking public buses at night you should know that bus drivers offer a "between stops" service for women who are alone. You can get dropped off between two stops if it will bring you closer to where you need to go so you aren't walking on your own for as long.
Safest neighborhoods in Montreal
There aren't many Montreal neighborhoods that are unsafe, but there are definitely some that are better than others, like Ville Marie which encompasses marvelous spots like Old Montreal and the underground city. Listed below are more of the safest places.
Found on the west side of the city, this residential area boasts low crime rates and is very safe. You can take your time wandering its streets to discover some of the best food in the city. Rotisserie chicken is NDG's foodie claim to fame.
Le Plateau Mont Royal
This is one of the most popular areas in the city and it has lots for you to do, from shopping to dining. Parc La Fontaine and Jeanne-Mance Park are wonderful for walking.
The South Shore of Montreal is a lovely, quiet place and it is safe, too. Consider staying here or at least visiting it during your trip for excursions to Quartier Dix30 and Gault Nature Reserve.
Montreal, just like every other city, has safe and popular neighborhoods as well as a couple of potentially dangerous neighborhoods. We suggest skipping the red light district, which spans from St. Laurent Boulevard to St. Catherine Street, along with the following streets of Montreal Nord, Notre Dame Ouest and Wellington St. If you do check out these streets, be extra careful at night.
Is Montreal public transportation safe?
Montreal is a big city that has an extensive public transport network, and it is quite safe, too. The STM offers services all over the city through the underground metro, aboveground buses and railways. They are all properly connected making it easy to get from one spot to another and it is easy to navigate, so you can go from the Old Port to Downtown Montreal and anywhere else that you want to explore.
That being said, it can be daunting traveling through the tunnels at night and there is a significant amount of homeless people who enter the subway to keep warm. In most cases, they are harmless and will only ask you for money, but to avoid any unpleasant situations you should keep your distance. We also suggest keeping your valuables close when using the tunnels or while waiting at train stations, just to be safe. Other than that you're free to explore Montreal's city center without worry.
Important emergency numbers in Montreal
Montreal is the second largest city in Quebec and, although safe, crimes are not unheard of. If you ever find yourself in need of help you just have to call one of the numbers listed below. Know your embassy number anytime you travel to another country as well.
- Police, Fire and Ambulance: 911
- Info Sante: 811
- Montreal Police: 514-280-2222
- Quebec Security: 514-310-4141
How to be safe in Montreal
Overall, Montreal is a very safe city and crime does not happen often here, which is just one of the reasons that it is such a great place to go on vacation. As soon as you enter Canada you'll have a blast exploring the history of Old Montreal, watching hockey games or tasting poutine, and we guarantee that it is a trip that you'll remember. To become familiar with the city before your visit, read our informative guides on How to Get Around Montreal and Where to Stay in Montreal: The Ultimate Guide.