Best Times to Visit Montreal
The best times to visit Montreal are from March to May and from September to November, when the weather is milder and hotel vacancies run amok. But aside from fluctuating rates, you'll discover that there really isn't a bad time to vacation here. Warm summer temperatures make exploring on foot much more enjoyable, while the heated Underground City passages provide refuge during the winter. If you are drawn to the temperate summer, make sure to book in advance: Montreal hosts numerous popular festivals during this season.
As temperatures begin to rise (in this sweet spot between hockey and tourist seasons), hotel rates begin to fall. From March to May, average highs range from the upper 30s to the mid-60s; although it's still a bit chilly, walking around shouldn't be too much of an issue. However, you may want to bring a sturdy pair of boots for lingering snow.
Summer marks peak tourist season, with travelers from across the globe flocking to the city to sightsee and participate in the numerous festivals. This is a great time to walk around: High average temperatures hover in the mid to high 70s. However, it can be a bit chilly after dark, and the city's perch on the banks of the St. Lawrence River can lead to high levels of humidity, which can make the weather feel warmer than it is. Pack layers just in case. Also, be prepared for heavy crowds. If you're visiting during this season, it's in your best interest to book at least several weeks early to ensure hotel availability and decent room rates.
Fall is another great time to visit Montreal. Summery weather holds out into September as the vacation months come to a close, freeing the city of throngs of warm-weather tourists. You can expect temperatures to steadily drop, ranging from the upper 40s to upper 60s in September to the upper 20s and lower 40s in November, so make sure to pack a few extra layers. Also, autumn sees a rise in hotel availability; you're sure to find some great deals. But you might want to book a few weeks in advance, just in case.
Winters are pretty brutal: Temperatures average between the single digits the 20s, and the ground is covered in snow and ice. But you should know that this is a city that knows how to stay warm. When the weather gets too chilly to bear, head below ground to Underground City, a series of shopping malls, restaurants and even movie theaters bound together by an expansive maze of passageways. The Underground City stretches out beneath most of Downtown Montreal, so it's easy to get around without having to set foot outside. You still might want to participate in the many winter activities, including ice skating, skiing and sleigh rides. And because of the popular winter sports, rooms may be a little trickier to find. Book early.