Located downtown, just off René-Lévesque Boulevard, the provincially owned contemporary art museum promotes contemporary Quebec art through its many temporary exhibitions. These exhibits often feature works from the museum’s extensive collection, including musical instruments.
Must-see exhibit: Manifesto by German artist Julian Rosefeldt (on October 20, 2018, to January 20, 2019) is a 13-screen immersive video installation featuring actress Cate Blanchett reciting monologues from various manifestos published over the last 150 years.
Culture: McCord Museum
The McCord Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of life in Montreal with exhibits that focus on prominent Montrealers including Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin and the clothing of the area’s Indigenous people. The museum has been open for nearly 100 years and is conveniently located across from McGill University in the shadow of Mount Royal.
Must-see exhibit: In the Studio With Notman (on until Feburary 10, 2019) is the temporary exhibit by the museum’s artist-in-residence, photographer Marisa Portolese. It features colourful, large-format portraits of women taken from a feminist perspective.
Science: Montréal Science Centre
Did the kids tag along on your trip to Montreal? No worries. Take them to the Montréal Science Centre in the heart of the city’s Old Port. They’ll learn about the human body and evolution at the interactive and permanent exhibit, Human. Afterwards, catch the film Pandas 3D on the big screen at the IMAX theatre. Fun and educational.
Must-see exhibit: Visit Indigenous Ingenuity (on October 18, 2018, to March 10, 2019) to learn about pow wows, build an igloo and even take part in a virtual-reality canoe race.
History: Stewart Museum
In Parc Jean-Drapeau on Saint Helen’s Island, the Stewart Museum promotes Quebec heritage in its permanent exhibit, History and Memory. The exhibit showcases the history of New France and the influence of European civilization on what would eventually become known as North America. Artifacts such as rare books and navigation tools take visitors back over five centuries to the first settlement on Saint Helen’s Island.
Must-see exhibit: Check out Paris On Display: 18th-Century Boutiques (on until March 24, 2019) to experience a busy shopping district in the City of Lights at this time through virtual reality.
Nature: Montréal Biodôme
Editor’s note: Montréal Biodôme is currently closed for renovations until the end of summer 2019.
The Biodôme (meaning “house of life”) houses five ecosystems including Sub-Antarctic Islands and Tropical Rainforest. It’s also home to animals such as penguins, piranhas and anacondas that typically unhabit these climate zones. When it opened in Olympic Park in 1992, the repurposed indoor cycling and judo venue was the first museum of its kind anywhere in the world.
[This story was originally published in May 2017 and has since been updated.]
10 Reasons to Visit Montreal for its 375th Birthday
Montreal turns 375 on May 17, but the celebration lasts all year long. See the In Search of Expo 67 exhibition (it's the 50th anniversary) at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, attend the country's first national Pride festival, visit a kilometre-long open-air museum and more.