The history of Montreal began nearly 8,000 years ago, although it was only discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535 and was first established as the Ville Marie city in 1642. Montreal is the largest of the Hochelaga Archipelago islands as well as the second biggest city in the whole country of Canada. The city stands as one of the world's largest French speaking cities on the globe although much of the population is bilingual. Even though the city has preserved some of its bygone buildings in the Old Montreal or Old Port area, it also has some modern structures which have earned it the title of UNESCO City of Design.
Lots of people like to come to Montreal to experience the food scene or to attend some of the many annual festivals and celebrations. From summer music festivals to winter sports like hockey, skiing and ice skating, locals and tourists try to spend as much time as possible outdoors. It can be a real bummer when the rain (or maybe a snowstorm) foils your outdoor plans and you have no choice but to stay inside.
Don't worry because we will introduce you to some of the best things to do in this city on a rainy day. Have the skies opened, releasing the wet weather? Keep your luggage safe and dry at a Montreal suitcase locker and then get started with any of the fun activities below.
Indoor Sightseeing at the Notre Dame Basilica
The grand and gothic Notre Dame Basilica is somewhere that you should visit whether it is raining or not. Quickly admire the building's exterior before heading inside and out of the rain, because that is where the real excitement begins anyway! It is one of the most impressive cathedrals in North America and there is lots to see inside. Consider booking a tour if you want to learn all about it.
Inside the church, you will find all sorts of things worth looking at including stained glass windows, ornately designed archways, and lots of carved stone statues. There is a small fee to get in but it will be well worth it since the structure is truly breathtaking.
Win a Couple of Rounds of Laser Tag
Chances are that you have played laser tag before, and everyone knows how much of a blast it can be. Laser guns, an arena and teammates are all that you need, and the rain can stay outside! The best place for this activity in Montreal is Laser Quest.
This activity is definitely not reserved for kids and can be enjoyable for people of all ages. Even if you think you aren't a pro at this game, this is a great way to stay dry and out of the cold. If you can't go to Laser Quest there are some other places that offer the same services, like SkyTag which also has trampolines and other fun activities.
Go Shopping in the Underground City
Did you know that Montreal has its very own Underground City located beneath the streets of the downtown area? There is so much more to discover once you make your way underground, and the best part is that you will be out of the rain! The extensive network of shopping malls, restaurants, art galleries and businesses is easy to navigate thanks to the huge metro system.
Retail therapy is always a great way to get rid of the rainy day blues. Overall you will have about 20 miles worth of tunnels and underground buildings to explore and by the end of it, you will forget that it was ever raining in the first place.
Test Your Strength at Indoor Rock Climbing
There are lots of amusing ways to spend a rainy day in Montreal, so don't let the bad weather get you down. Why don't you head to the nearest rock climbing gym and see how well you do? It is also a great way to get a small workout in.
This activity is often harder than it looks and you need a surprising amount of grip strength if you want to climb all the way to the top of the wall. Like all things, this activity requires practice and there is no better time to do it than when the sun is gone and you need to stay inside.
Learn About Different Animals at the Biodome
Montreal's Biodome is quite a unique place and one of the best things to do in Montreal on a rainy day. If you are an animal lover, you will absolutely love it here. It is a fun activity for the entire family and you will definitely learn something new while you are here.
From the tropical rainforest to rivers and sub-Antarctic ecosystems, the Biodome is home to several different exhibits housing creatures from around the world, all living in realistic replicas of their very own habitats. You will feel like a kid strolling through these unique ecosystems and meeting all kinds of new species.
Head to Randolph for Board Games
Have you ever been to a bar that has board games? If your answer is no then this is your chance, and Montreal's very own Randolph bar is exactly the place that you need. It is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon or evening when the weather is not so great in Montreal.
Currently, the bar has over 1,500 board games for you to play and every month they get more. Whether you want to play a competitive game of chess, Monopoly, or another of your favorite childhood games, sitting down and playing with friends over a beer is the way to go.
Learn Something New at the Montreal Science Centre
A fantastic way to spend a gloomy day in Montreal is at the Montreal Science Centre. You are sure to be entertained by the great permanent exhibits and thanks to the traveling exhibits there is always something new to learn, even if you have been there before. They offer new information and interactive displays on all sorts of topics which is why it is the perfect activity for rainy days.
After you are done learning at the Science Centre you can catch a movie at the on-site IMAX theatre! Watching a film is always a great way to stay warm and dry during those stormy days in Montreal.
Try Axe Throwing
This is a super fun way to forget about the rainy weather. Grab a couple of friends or take the family on an outing to one of the axe throwing places in Montreal! There are two places in the city that offer this activity; Rage and TNT which stands for Thrill and Throw.
As long as you follow the guidelines and are responsible, this is a safe and super entertaining activity to try. Don't worry if you don't have any experience, all it takes is a bit of practice and you will be hitting the target in no time. It is also a great way to get your adrenaline pumping since it can be quite a thrill!
Go to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
There are quite a few nice museums in Montreal that are worth stopping by, and this one houses the largest art collection in the entire city. This activity is highly recommended whether rain or shine, especially because the permanent collections are open to the public free of charge!
There are lots of great artworks made by talented Canadian artists but if you don't mind paying for entry you can explore some fantastic temporary exhibits as well. Since you will be indoors you can stay warm and dry while experiencing the culture of the city.
Explore the Rest of the Olympic Park
The Montreal Biodome mentioned above is not the only fun indoor activity in the area. Situated just next door are the Planetarium, the Insectarium and the Botanical Gardens. Although the latter is best suited for a day without rain, the other two are great options for a gloomy day in Montreal.
If you have an interest in bugs of all kinds then the Insectarium is the place for you. Walk through different exhibitions explaining the busy lives of all kinds of insects and see some really cool ones in person. The Planetarium can show you all sorts of things about our world and the other planets around us, and you can discover how the Earth was in the past compared to today.
Play a Few Games of Mini Putt
Once you see those dark clouds rolling in start making your way to Putting Edge for some standard mini-putting fun. This activity is more enjoyable with friends, so get a small group together if you can. If you have never tried it before then you can expect an activity like golf, but it is much faster paced and it is also played indoors.
Try to navigate your ball through the different courses and obstacles to see who can do it best. The fun part about Putting Edge is that the course is black-lit with neon patterns and designs so it will almost feel like you are in another world.
Go on a Food Tour
It is no secret that Montreal has some of the best selections of restaurants, so why not take advantage of the incredible food scene to try some of the local dishes? If you are new to the city then there are some Montreal staples that you just have to try. Find somewhere to grab a smoked meat sandwich, the famous poutine and iconic Montreal bagels.
You can easily make your own food tour or sign up for a legitimate one offered in the city. If you like drinking, you can include some of the city's top bars as well. If you want to take it easy just relax over a coffee or go for afternoon tea! Bar a Beurre in the Old Port is a great place to go for tea.
Explore Montreal's Own Wax Museum
Have you ever been to a Madame Tussaud's location in another city around the world? Montreal doesn't quite have one of those, but the Musée Grévin is very similar. Here you can see all of your favorite celebrities brought to life in wax and it is one of the best indoor activities in the city.
Come meet the royal family, Angelina Jolie, Michael Jackson or George Clooney, for example. If you bring a camera you can even snap some photos of yourself with some of the world's top actors, singers or performers. It is a great way to forget about the rain and have a bit of fun on your trip to Montreal.
Buy Fresh Local Ingredients and Cook
If you would rather make your own meals instead of buying food, then the Jean Talon Market is where you should head to. This is the best place to buy all the produce and ingredients that you will need to make a delicious meal.
Cooking can be fun any day of the week, and what better time to spend an evening in the kitchen than when it is cold, dark and rainy out? Warm yourself up with a tasty meal baked fresh using ingredients coming from right here in the city, and then eat it safe from the rain inside your cozy hotel room or apartment. If you feel like going out and think you might need some guidance you can sign up for a cooking class instead!
Try to Solve an Escape Room
Escape rooms are becoming more popular as time goes on, and now it is a highly recommended activity to do with a group of your best and most trusted friends. This adventure involves you all being locked inside a room filled with puzzles and trying to find your way out.
You will be racing the clock so don't waste any time! You will have to use your head and work together if you want to earn your freedom. There are several places that have escape rooms in Montreal like A/Maze, Trapped or Ezkapaz. You can usually choose a room based on a theme which can be super fun.
Finding New Ways to Have Fun in Montreal Indoors
Although you won't be able to experience some of the city's top attractions like a walk in Mont Royal Park, you can still have a blast in Montreal even if the weather isn't great. There are lots of hidden gems that most people never get to experience.
When you are stuck inside the Montreal museums and indoor malls where you can shop always pull through to help you have a good time. Don't let the rainy days get you down and make the most of your time in Montreal, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.
Looking for even more things to do in Montreal on a rainy day? Check out these other guides: