Montreal is a city of contrasts. It’s a mix of towering concrete and old cobblestones, calm nature surrounded by bustling city life, and cute touches — the little details — that give the city what visitors describe as a Europe-in-North-America feel. Everywhere you walk there’s some mix of old and new that begs for an Instagram post at multiple angles. Here are five must-see and must-Insta spots.
A visit to the observation deck atop Mount Royal is a must-do — it’s the go-to skyline shot for much of the city’s own promo material and a breathtaking view for first-timers. From there, it’s also a quick walk along Olmsted Trail to the mountain’s metal cross, another iconic Montreal sight.
Instagram Tip: It really depends on time of day and how gray the sky is. Opt for Instagram’s Kelvin filter if it’s bright out, while Ginza has a knack for punching up the scenery in a natural way.
Leonard Cohen Murals
The newest entry on this list is not one, but two, murals painted in honor of famed songwriter Leonard Cohen following his passing in 2016. Everyone in the city has an opinion on which one they like more, as well as which spot is more appropriate to pay tribute to Cohen, but both are worth checking out: The first is located just off St-Laurent Boulevard on Rue Napoleon, while the second is easily visible on lively Crescent Street if you’re walking south.
Instagram Tip: The Amaro filter will put the stars of the show front and center without completely ignoring the buildings that surround them. Both murals offer a nice balance of artsy and urban.
Notre-Dame Basilica and Place D’Armes Square
No stroll in the centuries-old and remarkably preserved neighborhood of Old Montreal would be complete without a visit to historic Notre-Dame Basilica. The striking gothic revival church was built in the 1820s, and famously hosted Celine Dion’s 1994 wedding and the 2000 state funeral of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Go inside and admire the ornate interior, or take a few steps back onto Place D’Armes Square and capture Montreal’s past and present sitting side by side. Extra points for snapping a pic while a horse-drawn carriage is moving by.
Instagram Tip: The Brannan filter is a bit serious but captures the historical divide of this quintessential Montreal square with autumnal vibes. Inside the church, you’ll want something that brightens and adds boldness, like Hefe. It’s a visually stimulating space, so have fun with it.
There are two ways to get the best photo of this famed housing complex, which consists of 354 identical concrete apartments built up like a Lego tower. The first is from across the water in the Old Port, which allows you to get a complete shot with a professional zoom. Otherwise, get as close as possible and capture all the improbable angles of this architectural marvel coming together.
Instagram Tip: Any filter that gives a wistful, nostalgic feel will work, since Habitat 67 looks like something out of a vintage sci-fi movie. Try the Crema filter for a softer, aged feel.
Nothing says Montreal in summer quite like a blend of vibrant greenery and ostentatious architecture. The massive geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller is another throwback to Expo 67, smack dab in the middle of scenic Jean Drapeau Park.
You can walk around it, so try to get an outside shot surrounded by trees: The green mixed with the blue sky will really make the dome pop.
Instagram Tip: Hudson will help keep things sharp and crisp. Increase sharpness as needed to capture the lines of the structure.