January in Montreal: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

People ice-skating at Parc du Bassin Bonsecours. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, North America
Brian D Cruickshank/Getty Images

January in Canada may be cold, but with lots of post-holiday sales and bargains, plus fewer crowds, it can be an excellent time to visit the eastern city of Montreal. Especially if you're the kind of person who loves the snow, Montreal offers plenty to do to make the most of the winter season.

If you're looking for events, Montreal in January has it all, from outdoor dance parties and post-holiday sales where you can start your year off right with a great bargain. If you're ready to make the best of the wind chill, consider Montreal's weather and events when you're packing and planning.

Montreal Weather in January

Located in the northeastern corner of North America, Montreal has cold, snowy winters. The overall average temperature is 21 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius), but the sub-zero temperatures feel colder because of the wind chill factor.

  • Average high: 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius)

The temperatures are not necessarily unpleasant if you are prepared with the correct cold weather attire. The irony of January in Montreal is that the city's crisp, sunny days aren't all they're cracked up to be. A sunny day in Montreal means bone-chilling cold and often winds on top of it, whereas a cloudy day can sometimes seem much warmer.

What to Pack

Pack clothing that can be layered and that is also warm and waterproof. The outside is cold, but stores, museums, and restaurants are usually toasty warm, so you'll want to shed a few layers as soon as you go indoors. A good starter packing list will include:

  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatshirts
  • A heavy winter jacket
  • A winter vest
  • Hat, scarf, and gloves
  • Umbrella
  • Waterproof boots

January Events in Montreal

Once the New Year's festivities are over, Montreal does not entirely shut down afterward. Sure, it may be cold, but there are plenty of things to do in January.

  • You can plan a day at Fête des Neiges de Montréal, a spectacular outdoor winter festival at Parc Jean-Drapeau, spanning four weekends from January 18, 2020, to February 9, 2020.
  • If you are the mood for checking the latest models of new cars to hit the market, The Montreal International Auto Show is an annual auto show held for 10 days from January 17 to 26, 2020 in Montreal at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal Convention Center.
  • Igloofest is a nine-day outdoor rave held on Montreal's coldest, darkest nights from January 16 to February 8, 2020. Sound appealing? It is for the thousands of techno fans, producers, and DJs who flock to the event each year.

January Travel Tips

  • Montreal is a great shopping city at any time, but January offers exceptional sales as retailers try to unload all their Christmas-time wares. Plus, Montreal has a 20-mile network of connected, underground tunnels that lead to shopping, dining, offices, hotels, and condos, which can keep you out of the cold.
  • Be mindful of the days that Montreal usually shuts down. January 1, New Year's Day, is a statutory holiday in Canada where pretty much everything is closed. Also, Old Montreal, which is the city's biggest attraction, slows down in the winter months, with some restaurants and shops closing for several months. 
  • Within an hour or two of Montreal, you can find some of the best ski resorts that eastern Canada has to offer, like Mont Tremblant. If you are willing to head out of town, these Montreal day trips are an excellent way to round out your visit to the Montreal area. Quebec City, the capital of the province, is about three hours from Montreal but is worth the trek.
  • If you plan to stay put in Montreal, then there are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks that are open in January, including one at the former Olympic Village and the Bonsecours Basin near Old Montreal.