Things to Do in and Around Montreal's Olympic Park
A family-friendly destination known for its nature museums, open-air events, and winter activities, visitor favorites include the following 10 things to do in Montreal's Olympic Park.
Attend an Event at the Olympic Park Esplanade
The Montreal Olympic Park Esplanade features outdoor events and activities year round, like First Fridays, a monthly food truck event replete with haute comfort foodie finds and live music scheduled on the first Friday of every month May through October.
Check the Esplanade schedule to find out what's next on the schedule. Olympic Esplanade events and activities are often free.
Explore the Montreal Biodome
After hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics, much of Montreal's Olympic Park was repurposed. Easily the most dramatic transformation was turning the Olympic Velodrome into an indoor zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden wrapped into one. The Montreal Biodome recreates five ecosystems, from the Amazon rainforest to the South Pole, complete with temperature control, indigenous plants, and wildlife native to each featured region.
Catch a Sporting Event at the Olympic Stadium
Designed by French architect Roger Taillibert, the Montreal Olympic Stadium, aka the Big O, used to be home to the Montreal Expos, a major league baseball team which relocated to Washington D.C. after the 2004 season, renamed the Washington Nationals.
Today, with a seating capacity exceeding 56,000, the covered ampitheatre still hosts major league baseball games, typically Toronto Blue Jays games, as well as auto shows, home shows, monster truck spectaculars, and assorted sports championships, from the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2016 to the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in October 2017. Consult the Montreal Olympic Stadium schedule to find out what's featured next.
Ascend the Montreal Tower
Attached to the Olympic Stadium at 165 meters (541 feet) high with a 45-degree tilt, the Montreal Tower is the tallest inclined tower in the world. By comparison, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is 65 meters (213 feet) high with a 5-degree tilt.
The reason the 8,000-tonne (8819-ton) tower remains standing at all is courtesy of whopping 145,000-tonne (159,835-ton) mass attached to its base as deep as 10 meters (33 feet) below ground.
Visitors can reach the top of the tower via its glass funicular for a choice view of the Montreal skyline. Montreal Tower schedule and admission rates vary by season and age group.
Swim in the Olympic Pools
Bring your bathing suit. Some of the best indoor swimming facilities in Canada—and the bulk of Canada's best divers—are in Montreal courtesy of its Olympic past. For a modest admission fee, the public can access one or several of the Olympic Park's six pools, depending on the schedule of the day.
Swim options include a competition pool, training pool, synchronized swimming and water polo pool, an underwater deep-diving pool used for scuba lessons, and a diving pool with six diving boards ranging from 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) to 10 meters (62 feet). A 33°C (91°F) relaxation pool ideal and wading pool ideal for babies, toddlers, workout warm-ups, and physiotherapy as well as an inflatable water obstacle course are also on site.
Learn About Space at the Montreal Planetarium
Located on the grounds of the Olympic Park, the Montreal Planetarium proposes a permanent exhibit on life in the universe as well as multimedia astronomy film presentations projected on its two dome theatres.
Wander the Montreal Botanical Garden
Across the street from the Montreal Olympic Park is the Montreal Botanical Garden and its 34 themed gardens spread across ten greenhouses open year round and 75 hectares (185 acres) of outdoor green space.
One of Montreal's most popular attractions, both tourists and locals flock to its summer blooms and annual events, like the fall season's Gardens of Light and winter and spring's Butterflies Go Free.
10 Things to Do in Montreal's Olympic Park: Montreal Insectarium
Watch Soccer at the Saputo Stadium
The home of soccer/association football team the Montreal Impact, Saputo Stadium seats over 20,000 spectators and first opened in 2008, erected on what was originally the Olympic Park's track and field facilities.
Watch, or Skate, at the Big O
The Big O isn't just the Olympic Stadium's nickname. A concrete tunnel in the shape of a flattened letter O built as a passageway for 1976 Summer Olympics athletes has been used by the skateboarding community as a skate pipe for years. It was moved 30 meters (98 feet) from its original location to make way for Saputo Stadium expansion in 2013.
On topic, skaters love the Olympic Park in general for its lines, curves, ramps, and railings, the perfect obstacle course for a budding skater aching to practice tricks and technique. The area is so favored by skaters that a state-of-the-art competitive skate park is in the works, to the tune of $750 million. Extreme sports events at the Olympic Park like Jackalope are expected to multiply in turn.
The Big O can be used at any time. Just head to 3200 Viau Street, in between Sherbrooke and Pierre-De Coubertin and you'll spot it soon enough.