Answers from Our Experts (1)
A better question might be "when isn't the best time to visit Montreal?" We have four very distinct seasons, summer, fall, winter and slush. The only time I might recommend staying away is the at the end of March and beginning of April when the snow melts away revealing all the dirt and grime that has been accumulating over the winter. But that's also Cabane-a-Sucre season, when the sap is collected from the trees and the sugar shacks crank out sweet maple syrup and treat visitors to sugar-laden feasts. Be sure to book well ahead of time if you want to go to chef Martin Picard's famous Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack. They start taking reservations in the fall.
We are, of course, famous for our winters. Come to ski in the nearby Laurentian mountains or Eastern Townships, go cross-country skiing on Mont Royal, or lace up your skates at one of the city's many outdoor rinks. Enjoy some of the amazing winter festivals and events, including the Highlights Festival and the Snow Village. To prevent hibernation, Montreal's restaurant scene offers some terrific three-course meal deals. Just make sure to bring a warm coat and some mitts. It can get really cold here in the winter.
Montreal comes alive in the summer. After months of hibernation, Montrealers are ready to party. And we do, with festivals like Just for Laughs, the Jazz Festival, International Fireworks competition and Osheaga. Beyond that, you'll find Montrealers revelling in the sunshine with a picnic basket in the park, hiking the mountain, or biking along the Lachine canal. Some refer to summer as terasse season. We spend so much of our winters indoors that we don't want to waste even a second of our summer, so we'll dine and drink on the city's numerous al fresco options.
Though I adore summer in the city, my favourite season might just be fall. The air is crisp and scented with falling leaves. Make sure to head out apple picking and enjoy the comfort food appearing on most menus. And now is the perfect time to walk around the city with a light jacket and plenty of stops for warm beverages along the way.