08/31/2016 11:08 EDT | Updated 08/31/2016 11:59 EDT

5 Things You Can Only Do In Montreal During Autumn

Montreal sunrise viewed from Mont Royal with city skyline in the morning
Songquan Deng via Getty Images
Montreal sunrise viewed from Mont Royal with city skyline in the morning


Photo credit: Artur Staszewski

Montreal wows its visitors in all seasons, but the French-speaking city is more colourful than ever in fall. In addition to the brightly-colored leaves of the city's trees in autumn, Montreal comes to life with fall festivals, vibrant nightlife, bountiful public markets and so much more. There are some things you can only do in the cobblestoned island city in fall, and these five are the best of the best.

Attend the Chinese Lanterns Festival

Montreal is known for its European charm, but many visitors don't know the city is home to one of the most vibrant Chinese celebrations. The annual Gardens of Light festival at the Montreal Botanical Garden closely follows the ancient traditions of the Chinese Lantern Festival. The Chinese festival is traditionally held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunisolar Chinese calendar.

Instead, Montreal's edition of the festival coincides with China's Moon Festival, taking place from early September to the end of October. The Botanical Gardens shine brighter than ever with more than 700 lanterns surrounding the Chinese garden during the evening hours. The traditional Chinese music and relaxing atmosphere create a colorful oasis in the heart of the city.

Walk on Mount Royal


Photo credit: Manuel@Montreal

Just west of downtown Montreal fall visitors will find Mount Royal dressed in its most picture-perfect reds, oranges and yellows for the fall season. The small mountain is more scenic than ever during autumn, when visitors can hike or jog from Parc Avenue to the top of the mountain to admire the city from surroundings that feel more like a painting than real life. The fall colors are brightest from the tail end of September to mid-November.

Sip on Sinful Hot Chocolate at Juliette et Chocolat

Hot chocolate may not be the reason you travel to Montreal, but it'll become one of many reasons why you return. Juliette et Chocolat is open in all seasons, but nothing beats the first taste of their signature vintage hot chocolate on a cool fall day. Grab a hot chocolate to go and window shop along St-Denis Street to take in the sights, sounds and flavors of Montreal in autumn.

Peruse the City's Largest Outdoor Markets


Photo credit: Mike

Montreal is known for its abundance of public markets, offering fresh, local produce, handmade souvenirs, flowers, fish, cheeses and other locally farmed and crafted goods every day of the week. There's no better time to peruse the stalls at the Jean-Talon, Atwater, Maisonneuve and Lachine markets than during the fall harvest seasons. Choose the freshest pumpkins, stock up on fall spices and do some early holiday shopping before the crisp winter temperatures arrive.

Pick Apples Straight from the Source

The only fall shopping excursion that is better than browsing the stalls of Montreal's largest public markets is picking your produce straight from the source. The City of Saints is known for its nearby apple orchards, and apple picking is a must-do fall activity when visiting the city. Head to the Cidrerie-Verger Leo Boutin orchard to explore the cider factory, pick apples and take part in a number of other family-friendly fall activities. This orchard and the family-run Verger Au Coeur de la Pomme are located just 15 minutes from downtown Montreal, and they encourage visitors to come take part in the fall fun, which begins in early September.

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