Student Guide to Montreal

There are few cities as old as Montreal in all of North America. The metropolitan area offers infinite creativity, a rich cultural tapestry, and unparalleled art of living that makes it easy to forget that it is home to more than four million people. If you’re heading to Montreal for your studies, check out this article for all the cool things to see and do in the fascinating city!

Montreal is the provincial capital of Québec, the French-speaking province of Canada. It’s like having a little bit of Europe in North America, with its unique and dynamic blend of old and new.

Montreal and its surrounding area have much more to offer than meets the eye. As a student in the city, you can delve into its fascinating past and enjoyable present as you pass through its outstanding academic institutions.

A park and buildings in Montreal, Canada
Montreal is one of the most interesting cities in Canada.

Things to do in Montreal

Montreal is known as a great winter destination due to its fun attractions and cold climate. There are many winter activities to partake in when you’re in the city. They include: 

Festival de Lumière de Montréal

This festival offers several exciting outdoor activities! Every foodie worth their salt should attend at least one of the fantastic activities and experiences offered at this festival.


It is a world-famous outdoor electronic music festival that takes place each year. You can find legendary DJs rocking the outdoors.

A ride on a horse-drawn sleigh

Keep warm with a blanket and thermos of hot chocolate as you take in the breathtaking sights of Mont Royal Park in the midst of a snowy winter.

A wintry street scene in Montreal
Montreal is a great place for spending time in winter (image credit: Wiki-asd-97 – Wikipedia)

Besides the winter activities, the following are also unique things to do in Montreal:

Sightseeing in Old Montreal

This neighbourhood is one of Montreal’s liveliest areas and spans many blocks near the Saint Lawrence River’s shoreline. It’s the perfect spot to learn about the city’s indigenous and colonial origins. Sites like Place d’Armes and Bonsecours Market date back to the 17th century. The neighbourhood is also great for getting a taste of the city’s culinary and artistic scenes.

Ride the mechanical bull at Chez Serge

You’ll find Chez Serge on Saint-Laurent boulevard. It is a cosy bar that welcomes everyone, and its mechanical bull is the main attraction. Everyone should attempt riding the bull and winning at Chez Serge.

Old Montreal with the Old Port of Montreal in the foreground
The neighbourhood of Old Montreal is located near the Old Port of Montreal (image credit: Gjm130 – Wikipedia)

Explore the Montreal Biodome and the Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens and the Montreal Biodome offer tranquillity away from the humdrum of everyday life. The imaginative designs and themes of the gardens make them a must-see. You may as well be in another country or transported to one of Jane Austen’s books. 

Consider the Montreal Biodome a low-cost, short-term alternative to travelling around the world. The Biodome is also your ticket to the stars, where you may explore the cosmos and learn about the origins of life.

Have fun at Piknic Électronik

When the weather is nice, everyone likes to let loose and have a good time. There’s no better way to have fun than dancing your stress away in the middle of Parc Jean Drapeau. At Piknic Électronik, you can do this and more every Sunday during the summer.

Take a spin on ​​La Grande Roue de Montréal ferris wheel

Experience Montreal in a new way by riding La Grande Roue de Montréal. It’s the tallest observation wheel in Canada and is open all year round. On a clear day, you can spot the tower’s vantage point, 60 metres above the Old Port, from up to 28 kilometres away as it completes a full circle every 20 minutes.

The Grande roue de Montréal ferris wheel at night
La Grande Roue de Montréal is a great way to see the city (image credit: Jon Kolbert – Wikipedia)

Universities in Montreal

There are roughly 35,000 international students within Montreal’s total student population of 200,000. All universities are eager to have non-native students enrol, and they all provide services to help with immigration, scholarships, housing, financial assistance, and legal concerns.

McGill University, Université de Montréal (University of Montreal), and Concordia University are three of Montreal’s 11 institutions. Some of the institutions in this city’s bilingual system primarily offer undergraduate programs in French, while others, like McGill, cater to an English-speaking student body.

McGill University

The QS World University Rankings 2024 ranks McGill University as the 30th-best university in the world. McGill is a prestigious institution with a long history and a reputation for excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, earning it the nickname “Harvard of Canada.” McGill’s alumni, staff and people otherwise affiliated with the university include 12 Nobel Prize winners, 18 billionaires and 147 Rhodes Scholars.

A building at the McGill University campus in Montreal
McGill University is one of the best universities in Canada and the entire world.

Université de Montréal 

According to the QS rankings, Université de Montréal is rated 141st worldwide. Its global reputation as a public research institution, prestigious engineering and management schools, and generous foreign student funding offerings contribute to its popularity with prospective students worldwide. Some of its most highly-rated programs are in the fields of Library and Information Management, Veterinary Science, and Statistics and Operational Research.

The University of Montreal campus
The Université de Montréal main campus, where most of the university’s facilities are located (image credit: Stanisom – Wikipedia)

Concordia University

Concordia University is also located in Montreal and is a prestigious international university ranked 387th in the world by QS. Its English language training sets it apart from its French-speaking counterparts. Concordia is a large university with an international atmosphere: almost one third of its students are from outside Canada. Concordia University offers more than 400 undergraduate and more than 100 graduate programs to this large student body, so whatever you want to study, there’s probably a degree for that at Concordia!

A building at the Loyola campus of Concordia University
A view of Concordia University’s Loyola campus (image credit: Adqproductions – Wikipedia)

Student Accommodation in Montreal

The cost of rent is typically a significant drain on student resources. This is often not such a big problem in Montreal though, as you can find some great student housing deals in the city.

It is easy for students to find a suitable place to live in Montreal due to the city’s abundant real estate supply. Greater Montreal has a wide variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own appeal. Various student housing options are available, so it should be easy to find something that suits your needs and preferences.

Young adults often choose to live in places like:

Mile End

Mile End is populated by artists and hipsters, with lots of places to visit and unique things to do in Montreal. You can find the offices of the video game company Ubisoft here. The area is typically thought to be trendy and artsy, and thus popular with young university students. It’s also one of the more multicultural areas of Montreal.

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal is a well-served, incredibly vibrant, park-surrounded region known for its commercial routes, Mont-Royal and Saint-Denis, and for the traditional architecture of its buildings. You can find lots of great cafés, restaurants and bars in the Plateau. If you want to get a dose of nature, the nearby Mount Royal Park has some great walking trails.

Quartier Latin

Some of Quartier Latin’s attractions include a variety of bars and restaurants where you can let loose and enjoy yourself. It’s among the best places to visit if you’re in the mood to party. The Latin district is close to the arts and entertainment district Quartier des Spectacles, and the University of Quebec in Montreal. It got its name from the Quartier Latin in Paris, and definitely has a similar vibe to its French namesake.

A wintry scene with colourful houses in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, Montreal
Colourful houses during winter in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal (image credit: Tetro Smog – Wikipedia)

If you’re interested to study in Montreal, check out some of our most popular student housing options in the city below:

evo Vieux-Montréal

A student bedroom at the evo Vieux-Montréal student housing property

evo Vieux-Montréal has a great location in downtown Montreal. It’s within walking distance of McGill University and Concordia University, and less than a 20-minute drive from Université de Montréal. The property was specifically designed for university students, and has great amenities, including an in-house gym, a cinema room, and an entertainment area. You can choose to live in a shared room with roommates, or in a private room with a private en-suite bathroom.

Flex Plus | Sherbrooke – Montreal – Harrington Housing

Exterior view of the Flex Plus Sherbrooke Montreal Harrington Housing property in Montreal, Canada

Flex Plus | Sherbrooke – Montreal – Harrington Housing offers private rooms with shared bathrooms in a central location near the Quartier des Spectacles, only about a 15-minute walk from McGill University. Université du Québec à Montréal is even closer. All rooms in the property are fully furnished, so you won’t have to worry about buying your own furniture. All bills are included in your rent.

Maison Duquette

A student bedroom in Maison Duquette student accommodation in Montreal

Maison Duquette has a great location in the borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It’s a central location, but despite this, Maison Duquette is one of the more affordable student housing options in Montreal. The area has a large student population, which means you’ll be living among lots of young people in an area with several good restaurants and cafés. You can get to the Université de Montréal in about half an hour with public transport. Maison Duquette offers private rooms with shared bathrooms.