6 Reasons to Visit Montreal in the Winter

Winter Festivals, Snowy Slopes, and Comfort Food

Winter in Montreal can be nothing short of enchanting for visitors, even if locals tend to dread the colder and shorter days. It's true, the season can drag on for half of the year, from November to mid-April, and winter blues can set in if you don't take a few precautions.

Luckily, that joie de vivre Montrealers are known for never entirely extinguishes. There are many ways to enjoy seasonal sports, winter-themed cuisine, and the season's finest perks.

01 of 06

Festivals, Raves, and Restaurant Deals

People watching fireworks at Fire on Ice Festival, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Preserved Light Photography / Getty Images

In Montreal, things can get hotter than you think in the winter. From outdoor raves in subzero temperatures to restaurant deals to festivals honoring snow, lights, or whatever else organizers can pinpoint as a celebratory fixation, this is not the season to stay home and sulk—Au contraire.

02 of 06

Outdoor Sports

People skating on ice rink in Old port of Montreal

Linda Raymond / Getty Images

From ice skating to inner tubing, dog sledding to cross country skiing, Montreal serves as an Insta-worthy backdrop for several winter sports that can be practiced at an assortment of parks across the city.

Many of these locations also rent out equipment that even tight budgets can afford.

03 of 06

Alpine Skiing Outside of Montreal

Ski in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Nino H. Photography / Getty Images

Visitors from Europe, the US, and the rest of Canada flock to Quebec for winter skiing, and it's no wonder why. The province claims 80-some alpine ski hills and roughly 200 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails in Montreal alone.

Add to that a climate that would freeze hell over six months out of the year, and you have an ideal excuse to embrace the ski bum lifestyle. 

The only thing is there is no downhill skiing in Montreal. Any article claiming otherwise is click-baiting you with the title.

For a downhill ski day trip, you can try one of the ski hills outside of Montreal. All are open in the evening too so you won't have to wake up at four in the morning to get in a decent day's worth of trails.

For more of a weekend getaway, try these amazing Quebec ski resorts.

04 of 06

A Hot Cuppa

Cups of black tea and green tea

Kaushik Ghosh /  Getty Images

Tea is good. Sipping carefully brewed oolong picked from the Phoenix Mountain in the Fujian Province of China on a bitter cold Montreal winter's day? Bliss.

Several area tea shops specialize in exotic and rare brews—pick up some loose leaves to brew at home, or enjoy them in store. Favor a more classic experience? Visit one of the city's many high tea salons, which serve British-style afternoon teas, complete with scones, macarons, and other delicate pastries. 

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Maple Syrup and the Lure of the Sugar Shack

Maple syrup sap buckets in Montreal

Marianna Armata / Getty Images

Did you know that over 70 percent of the world's maple syrup supply originates from Quebec? And though it's exported to 53 countries around the world, no region feasts quite so liberally on the gooey tree nectar as Quebec itself. 

From February through April, sugar shack meals expand bellies across the province. 

Visiting a sugar shack is the quintessential late winter experience in Quebec.

And perhaps the best part of the seasonal tradition is also the simplest: sampling sweet maple taffy drizzled over snow and twirled onto a popsicle stick. Consider it nature's lollipop. But if you're not careful, it can turn into a virus-swapping bacterial breeding ground. 

06 of 06

The Food

Montreal smoked meat poutine

Patrick Donovan / Getty Images

Montreal's food scene is out of control at any time of the year. 

But there's no better season to indulge in the city's ridiculous amount of comfort grub, from its poutines, bagels, and smoked meat to multi-course meals in Old Montreal's finest restaurants. Why? It's all in the wardrobe.

Overate? Bloated beyond repair? Bah. Wear a huge sweater. Or hide in your parka. Can't do that in summer clothes.

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