Montreal in Winter? Vous Devez Be Crazy

There is the off season, and then there is the off season.

Montreal in January or February is motherf#*&ing off season.

Still, panecott is curious as to whether the weather should categorically prevent someone from visiting this beautiful city. Or, given Montreal is a city that has developed an extensive underground city largely in response to the extreme cold, perhaps a visit in the thick of winter is the best way to get a feel for the place and its people.

Some contend that a winter visit to Montreal is certainly worth considering:

Montreal/Quebec City will be frozen solid in winter, and everyone will be inside hibernating. By hibernating, I mean, people will be in the cafes, the lounges, the restaurants, the bars, etc. snuggling up and keeping cozy and warm. It’s an experience, and a lovely one, but you do need to bring the right clothing to enjoy yourself. ~BC_Robyn

I think you would enjoy a winter holiday in Montréal more in January or February then say at the end of March if you want to see it in its”winter glory”. … there’s lots going on in Montréal in the winter. Just dress warmly if you are going to be outside for long. However, if it gets too cold for you, with the “underground city” you can shop, visit restaurants and bars and other attractions all without going outside. ~laverendrye

Daniel_Williams, on the other hand, isn’t so sure.

We do occasionally have lovely days in winter with a beautiful fresh snowfall where one can go ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc… which can be fun! However, there’s too much of a chance you could get miserably cold weather where it’s inadvisable and unpleasant to be outside for more than a few minutes, OR horrible slush (March) where you can’t do any winter sport activity and the the city looks grey from dirty snow smattered with dog pee and trash revealed from the somewhat-melting snow, OR slippery icy conditions– which is again not enjoyable for exploring a city.


My recommendation– come see Montreal at its best, June through September!

As an avowed off-season traveler I can honestly say that the inconvenience of poor weather has never in my experience offset the benefits of lower costs and fewer tourists.

Then again, I have never traveled to Montreal in January or February.

What do other off-season travelers think? Would you visit a frigidly arctic city in the dead of winter?

Read the thread in its entirety: Crazy to Go to Montreal in Winter?


  1. As someone who lives in Montréal (yes, even in winter) I’d say come on up! Some days, like today, can be a cold -23C, but others are a mild -5 or so and they are often sunny and bright.

    There is lots going on in Montréal in the winter, such as the Fête des Neiges and the Montréal en Lumière culinary festival. Also, where else in the world can you snow shoe and cross-country ski in the city parks?

    Dressing right is definitely key – I’ve seen too many tourists in a windbreaker and leather gloves being miserable. Bring or buy real winter stuff.

    And consider a side-trip to Québec for the winter carnival!

  2. I have no desire to visit Montreal in any season. Had a bad experience many years ago and will not go back.

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