In the mood for romance this winter? Here’s how to light up your love life in Montréal

© Tourisme Montréal - Madore - Maude Chauvin
© Tourisme Montréal - Madore - Maude Chauvin

With its breathtaking views, old-world charm, and luminous nights, Montréal is an ideal spot for a romantic escape. And while the city’s perfect for romance year-round, it’s even more special during the winter months, when the twinkling snow and twinkling lights combine for a truly irresistible atmosphere.

Want to experience the wonders of this magical city for yourself? Here are our top tips for planning a romantic trip for two to Montréal this winter.

What to do during the day

Couple sharing a kiss while they take a selfie outside Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal during the winter
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal

Spend your days exploring Montréal’s vibrant neighbourhoods and welcoming streets. There’s something new to discover around every corner.

Love a good museum? You’ve come to the right place. See what’s on at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the McCord Stewart Museum or the Musée d’art contemporain, and enjoy a day soaking up world-class culture.

After a morning at the museum, spend the afternoon being pampered at one of Montréal's many spas. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, head to Bota Bota, a historic river ferry transformed into a chic floating spa right on the St. Lawrence River. After partaking in the invigorating water circuits, enjoy a meal and a magnificent view of the downtown skyline in the floating dining room at La Traversée. For spa options back on land, book a service at Moment Spa Le Reine Elizabeth, Spa William Gray, or Spa St. James at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal.

Or, enjoy the fresh winter air and walk hand-in-hand up to the summit of Mount Royal Park for a postcard view of the city. If you still have energy left to burn, there’s snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and skating close by. And don’t forget to warm up with a tasty hot chocolate or coffee if you’re in need of a mid-afternoon boost after all that activity.

Can’t get enough of the skyline views? Hop inside a temperature-controlled gondola on La Grande Roue de Montréal, Canada’s tallest observation wheel. On clear days, you’ll be treated to an unbeatable 28-kilometre vista. Tip: Plan to visit during the magic hour. As the sun sets, La Grande Roue comes alive with colourful lights, turning the romantic ambiance up another notch.

What to do at night

© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal

Experience Montréal in all its romantic splendor at nightfall. Crunch through the snow as you walk down the picturesque streets of Old Montréal and admire the dreamlike projections of Cité Mémoire—one of the largest outdoor video-projection installations in the world.

Journey over to the famed Notre-Dame Basilica for The AURA Experience, an enthralling spectacle of projections, shadows, lights, and music that will have you seeing one of the city’s top attractions in a whole new light. Then keep your eyes peeled for another project from the same award-winning Montréal studio, as the Jacques Cartier Bridge lights up each night at dusk with pulsing LED lights that change according to the season.

Cheers! A smiling couple clink cocktails together at SuWu in Montreal
© Alison Slattery - Two Food Photographers - Tourisme Montréal

For a more intimate romantic setting, head to one of the city’s numerous speakeasies for a drink, like The Coldroom in Old Montréal or the nearby Clandestino, where you can enjoy tequila and mezcal cocktails inside a seductive secret bar. Prefer something slightly more low-key? You can't go wrong with these cozy neighbourhood favourites.

Back outside, the magic of Montréal’s endless nights is on display at Esplanade Tranquille where you can enjoy an evening skating session with a live DJ providing the soundtrack. For even more winter magic, check out the fantastic installations at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE from February 16th through March 5th, pull an all-nighter during Nuit Blanche on February 25, or dance under the stars at Igloofest from January 19 to February 11.

Need a nosh before turning in for the night? Treat yourself to a bagel straight from the oven at Fairmount Bagel Bakery, open 24 hours. These world-famous bagels make the perfect midnight snack. Bon appétit!

Where to eat

Following a night on the town, don’t rush your morning meal. Linger over all-day breakfast at Olive et Gourmando, or if the line seems daunting, grab any of their delectable pastries to go. Other spots that are sure to satisfy your brunch cravings? Try Arthurs Nosh Bar, Perles et Paddock, or Crew Collective & Café. If you’re after a slightly more swanky setting, brunch among the posh at Bar George or Marcus—both great choices for couples celebrating a special occasion.

A view of patrons at the bar at Bar George in downtown Montreal
© Mike Casali

Speaking of special occasions, don’t forget to make a reservation at Restaurant Toqué!, Pastel Restaurant, or Restaurant La Chronique for a wonderfully romantic dinner. Le Club Chasse et Pêche is another excellent date spot, with its mood lighting, leather chairs, and refined Québécois dishes. And for an iconic Montréal bistro experience, you won’t want to miss L’Express, which remains a timeless staple for good reason.

Where to stay

A view of the Penthouse Room at Hôtel Nelligan in Old Montreal
© Chloé Crane Leroux

After a packed day of activities, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as laying down in a pillowy soft bed in a beautiful hotel room.

For an upscale experience, try Hôtel William Gray, where local artwork surrounds you in a warm and welcoming environment. If sleeping on lavish linens is your thing, book a stay at Hôtel Gault, and enjoy added luxuries like bathrooms with heated floors, robes, Molton Brown toiletries, and walk-in showers—all nestled within a charming 19th-century greystone.

You’ll also love Le Petit Hôtel, a conveniently-located boutique hotel that boasts original stonework and specialized concierge services. (Gamer couples will love staying in the XL room, complete with its own Nintendo Wii.) Or, if you’re a poetry-obsessed duo, stay at Hôtel Nelligan, which offers rooms and suites inspired by verses from Émile Nelligan, Québec’s most celebrated poet.

© MU, Ville-Marie, ElMac Gene Pendon (2017) - Photo : Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
© MU, Ville-Marie, ElMac Gene Pendon (2017) - Photo : Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal

Feeling fancy? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more sophisticated stay than at The Ritz-Carlton, Québec’s only Five Diamond property. For truly refined romance, enjoy sipping champagne in the hotel’s iconic Palm Court, renowned as Montréal’s most glamorous lobby. And don’t forget to reserve a table at Maison Boulud, where legendary chef Daniel Boulud’s spin on French classics is sure to leave a lasting impression long after you’ve returned back home.

Montréal comes alive during winter, offering endless lights and endless moments waiting to be discovered. Visit Tourisme Montréal to plan your trip, and light up your winter this year.