Exploring the city without going outdoors? That sounds like the dream to many of us – especially during a Montreal winter.
Luckily, thanks to montreal’s well-developed underground city, this dream really is possible.
From a gourmet restaurant overlooking the city to a wax museum and a contemporary art gallery, there are severals things you can partake in without having to step outside in Montreal.
Check out 11 things you can do in Montreal’s underground city.
Taking art out of artistic institutions and integrating them into daily life, Art Souterrain is hands down one of the coolest art festivals Montreal has ever hosted. Art Souterrain is a non-profit organized founded in 2009 that is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art, artists, and the “cultural heritage of Montreal’s underground city.” Thus, we can expect art installations to centre on concepts of pleasure, relaxation, sharing, and leisure. Specific forms of play mentioned include video games, theme parks, game rooms, sports, television, and the internet. The best part? Each installation will be set in a different underground tunnel in Montreal.
When: March 4-26, 2017
In Centre Eaton lies Montreal’s resident wax museum: Musee Grevin. Walk through the museum’s variety of exhibits, ranging from sports stars to the royal family to musicians. Remember to bring your camera and snap a few pics with your fave celebrities!
When: Monday to Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm
Where: Centre Eaton de Montreal
See Montreal like you’ve never seen it before. The Place Ville Marie Observatory opened late last year and currently boasts one of the most beautiful views in the city. Even better? The Observatory can only be accessed through Place Ville Marie, meaning if you play your cards right, you won’t even have to go outdoors to get there. Admission is $19 for adults and $14 for students.
When: Monday to Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm
Where: Place Ville Marie Observatory
One of the nicest and newest malls in the entire underground city, Centre Eaton has five floors of shops, cafes, and eateries. They house over 100 commercial retailers including Aldo, Aritzia, Gap, Old Navy, Le Chateau, and Payless Shoes. They also have a giant food court on the first floor and host events and activities for people of all ages throughout the year. Attached to the McGill Metro, Centre Eaton is ideal for shopping in the winter.
When: Monday to Friday 10 am-9 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm
Where: 705 Saint-Catherine St W
Cinema du Parc is an underground indie theatre in Montreal. Known for playing foreign films and independent films, Cinema du Parc is conveniently located in Les Galeries du Parc. Films screened change weekly, however they often include Academy Award contenders such as Moonlight, My Life As A Zucchini, and Toni Erdmann. Cinema du Parc also hosts film festivals throughout the year such as their annual Latin American Film Festival and their Oscar Short Film Festival.
Where: 3575 Park Ave
Between Place Ville Marie and Centre Eaton lies one of Montreal’s hippest coffee shops, Tunnel Espresso Bar. This simple, counter-serve operation boasts some of the best espresso and filtered coffee from all over the world. It also has a small assortment of baked goods and coffee beans available for purchase.
When: Monday to Friday 7:30 am-4:45 pm
Where: 1253 McGill College Ave
In case you hadn’t heard, Montreal is currently home to the Barbie Expo, the largest permanent collection of Barbie dolls in the world. Taking over Les Cours de Mont Royal (off of Rue Peel), Montrealers have the chance to see and Instagram over 1,000 one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls. The Barbie dolls on display are not your average Barbie dolls, however. Rather, Barbie Expo is an exhibition of haute couture with Barbie as the model. As the website states, “This is Barbie seen at her fashionable best, a stunningly beautiful collection chicly modeled by the 11½-inch fashion icon.”
When: Open Monday to Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays from noon to 5 pm.
Where: 1455 Rue Peel
When it’s too warm to skate outdoors, be sure to head to Atrium 1000. Attached to Station Bonaventure and the Montreal train station, Atrium 1000 offers year round skating. If you don’t have your own equipment, they also have skates, helmets, and lockers available for rent.
When: Monday 11:30 am-6 pm, Tuesday to Friday 11:30 am-9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12:30 pm-9 pm.
Where: Le 1000, 1000 Rue de la Gauchetière O
The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art lies within Place des Arts and is one of the best art galleries in the entire city. Exhibitions include works of contemporary art, such as sculptures, paintings, and photography, with exhibits rotating every few months. Be sure to attend one of their Friday after-hours Nocturnes events and their homage to Leonard Cohen opening later this year.
When: Closed Mondays, Tuesday 11 am-6 pm, Wednesday to Friday 11 am-9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-6 pm
Where: 185 Saint-Catherine St W
There’s nothing quite as mesmerizing as the fountain in the centre of Complexe Desjardins’ main floor. As part of Montreal’s underground city, the atrium at Complexe Desjardins can easily be reached without stepping outside. Whether you like the calm sound of the water rushing up and down, or you’d rather grab a bite to eat at one of the centre’s cafes, it is a great spot to spend the afternoon. In addition, there are often events taking place around the fountain such as last week’s free cheese festival and this weekend’s cider festival.
When: Monday to Friday 9:30 am-6 pm, Saturday 9:30 am-5 pm, Sunday 12-5 pm
Where: 150 Saint-Catherine St W
Situated on the 44th floor of Place Ville Marie (a mere two floors below the Place Ville Marie Observatory), Les Enfants Terribles offers a dining experience like no other in the city. Using local products to serve up gourmet twists on comfort classics, guests can indulge in dishes like braised beef cheek shepherd’s pie and mac and cheese au gratin as they look down at the city beneath them.
When: Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am-10 pm, Thursday and Friday 11:30 am-11 pm, Saturday 10 am-11 pm, Sunday 10 am-9:30 pm
Where: Place Ville Marie, 1 Place Ville Marie