7 Reasons to Love Winter in Montreal

Winter Cocktails, Snowy Slopes, and Comfort Food

Montreal winter can be nothing short of enchanting for visitors. But many locals dread the colder, shorter days—the season can drag on for half of the year, from November to mid-April. Even so, that joie de vivre Montrealers are known for never quite extinguishes itself, leaving plenty who enjoy its seasonal sports, winter-themed cuisine and assorted comforts. Below are just a few of the season's finest perks.

Visiting Montreal in the Winter? These Hotels Are Tailor-Made for the Season
See Also: Is Winter in Montreal THAT Bad?

  • 01 of 07
    Montreal winter 2016-2017 events, activities, sports, weather guides and more.
    ••• Photo © Clint Lewis

    This city is on fire in the dead of 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 07
    Montreal winter 2016-2017 events, activities, sports, weather guides and more.
    ••• Photo by Flickr user Claude Robillard

    From ice skating to inner tubing, dog sledding to cross country skiing, Montreal serves as a 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 07

    Winter Cocktails

    Montreal winter 2016-2017 must-do activities include indulging in a few winter drinks.
    ••• Photo © Clint Lewis

    When nights dip below 0ºF (-18ºC), there's only one solution: warming and tasty cocktails.

    Mulled wine and hot toddies are classic thermos fillers, but Montreal lays claim to several other signature winter drinks.

    Sip on the Love Potion, a potent mix of creme de cassis, cranberry juice, amaretto, and tabasco sauce—it was invented at the city's once upon a time aphrodisiac restaurant, Atame. Tingles assured.

    Or, tuck into The Bunker, a combination of whiskey, triple sec, and chocolate bitters invented at local restaurant Auberge St. Gabriel

    There's also the Cocktail de Janvier, a clever blood orange concoction designed to lift those January blues created at Toqué, one of Canada's finest restaurants.

    And finally, the beloved, the spicy Bloody Caesar will do wonders for heating up that tongue. It might have been invented in Calgary, but a rim of Montreal steak seasoning gives it just the right local twist.

  • 04 of 07
    Montreal winter 2016-2017 events, activities and must-sees include downhill skiing.
    ••• Photo by Flickr user laszlo-photo

    Visitors from Europe, the U.S., 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 another 200 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails. 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. 

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    La Raclette

    Montreal winter 2015-2016 season events, activities and food.
    ••• Photo by Flickr user jespahjoy

    There is something irresistibly wintery about raclette, a firm and sort of stinky Swiss cheese that's typically served melted over potatoes, alongside baby gherkins, pickled onions and assorted sliced meats (and preferably paired with a glass of Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Gris). There are two ways to indulge in this Swiss delicacy in Montreal: make it at home, or spare oneself a little cooking grief and reserve a table at La Raclette, on the Plateau.

  • 06 of 07
    montreal winter 2014 tea rooms houses
    ••• Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

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

  • 07 of 07
    montreal winter 2014 maple syrup cabane a sucre sugar shack cabin sugaring off
    ••• Joe Raedle / Getty Images

    A whopping 71 percent of the world's maple syrup is tapped in Quebec. That means February through April, the Québécois indulge in the sweet stuff fresh from the tree. One of the best ways to sample the sugar is also the simplest: drizzled over snow and twirled onto a popsicle stick. Consider it nature's lollipop.