11 Unforgettable Things To Do in Montreal in January

The very best things to do in Montreal in January: free activities, Igloofest, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and more!

When visiting Montreal in January, here are our favourite things to do, including family activities, free attractions and January events.

Montreal in January is a magical time. The New Year has just begun, and everyone is ready to enjoy the many Montreal winter activities. The province of Quebec is known for its winter delights, and we worked on this list of unforgettable things to do in Montreal in January with just that in mind. 

Keep reading to see what we think are the must-do activities in Montreal in January. 

Events in Montreal in January

1. Dance All Night at Igloofest 

Igloofest event in Montreal in January
Igloofest Festival (Photo by Miguel Legault ©)
  • January 18 to February 10, 2024

Igloofest is undoubtedly the most special event in Montreal in January. Thousands of people wear their most colourful snowsuits and dance in the festive atmosphere yearly. World-class DJs come to the event, and it's one of the best winter activities in Montreal to create unforgettable memories. 

2. Luminotherapie

Experience Luminotherapie with family in Montreal in January
Luminothérapie at Quartier des Spectacles (Photo by Eva Blue ©)
  • November 30, 2023 to March 10, 2024

This has to be one of the most magical evens in Montreal in January. To compensate for the shortening daylight hours, the area around the Quartier des Spectacles becomes a massive playground of colourful displays. The enormous art playground gives residents the light they crave.

Every year, Luminotherapie is different, so look at their website to discover the theme. This year’s setup features a massive 10-metre-high flower.

What To Do in Montreal in January

3. Cross-Country Skiing 

Try Cross-country Skiing activity in Montreal in January
Mount Royal Park (Photo by Freddy Arciniegas ©)

By the time January rolls around, Montreal is usually covered with snow. Many cross-country skiing trails open up around this time. The mix of relaxation and physical exercise from practicing this sport makes for the perfect Montreal winter activity. 

The best trails (that offer rentals) are at Mont-Royal Park, Maisonneuve Park and Jean-Drapeau Park

4. Ice Skating

Enjoy family skating activities in Montreal in January
Ice skating at La Fontaine Park (Photo by Susan Moss ©)

One of our winter activities in Montreal is ice skating. Although not specific to January, this month is definitely one of the best times to enjoy this Montreal activity.

Almost every borough has its own ice rink. But the most popular (and beautifully illuminated ones) are:

  • Esplanade Tranquille (Quartier des Spectacles)
  • Park Lafontaine (Plateau)
  • Old Port Ice Rink (Old Montreal, right by the Ferris Wheel)
  • Atrium Le 1000 (Indoors, Downtown)  

If you don’t have your own pair of skates, don’t worry. Most of these places offer skate, helmet and support rentals. If you’re new to this, remember a pair of skates is more comfortable with thick and long socks, so don’t show up with gym socks.

5. Winter Fun at Mont-Royal 

Walk along Mont-Royal and experience the weather in Montreal in January
Mount Royal Parc (Photo by Alison Slattery ©)

Lovingly called ‘’The Mountain’’ by locals, this massive park inside the city turns into a winter wonderland of Montreal winter activities come January. I love the diversity of free activities you can enjoy here.

If you’re looking for free things to do in Montreal in January, you can build a snowman, make snow angels, take a romantic walk in the forest, go for a jog, hike up to the cross, look over the city, slide down the hill facing Park Avenue and more. 

6. Visit Old Montreal in January

Notre-Dame Basilica is a place to visit in Montreal in January
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal (Photo by Madore – Maude Chauvin ©)

Old Montreal in January has a magical atmosphere. This is a very child-free thing to do in Montreal in January, and it’s best enjoyed on a romantic getaway. The historic cobblestone streets, the stunning architecture of Notre-Dame Basilica and Marche Bonaventure, and the unique shops and restaurants make this an excellent choice for people of all ages looking for enjoyable Montreal winter activities.  

Check out my one day in Old Montreal itinerary if you’d like to know what’s worth seeing in Old Montreal.

7. Fat Bike in Montreal

Biking is a fun thing to do in Montreal in January
Parc Jean-Drapeau (Photo by Eva Blue ©)

Riding a fat bike around Jean-Drapeau Park is a fun activity in Montreal in January. I find it to be a mix of fun times and thrilling challenges. These bikes have oversized tires, which facilitates traction on snow.

There is a ‘’practice trail’’ for beginners right next to the rental centre so you can get your bearings. After that, it’s off to the races. You’re free to explore the beautiful Saint Helen’s Island.

8. Espace Pour la Vie 

Espace Pour la Vie is a good place to visit in Montreal in January
Biosphère – Montréal Space for Life (Photo by jfsavaria ©)

If you’re looking for one of the most fun indoor things to do in Montreal in January, why not visit Espace Pour la Vie?

This complex of interactive museums (located at Pie-IX metro station) features a planetarium, an insectarium, a biodome and Montreal Botanical Gardens (with a cozy greenhouse). This is a great choice when it’s too cold to enjoy the outdoors.  

The Best Day Trips and Weekend Getaways From Montreal in January

9. Dog Sledding at Kinadapt 

Enjoy dog sledding activities near Montreal in January
  • Distance: 1.5 hour drive from Montreal

Dog sledding is a unique Montreal winter activity that can be done at Kinadapt. We like this centre because it offers training sessions, various sledding styles, and courses. It’s also located in Rawdon, only 1.5 hours from the city. 

10. A Stay at Kabania 

Kabania offers magical winter getaways only a short dive from Montreal in January
A winter getaway at Kabania, where tree houses and stilt cabins create a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature and the snow. (Photo by Kabania ©)
  • Distance: 1.5 hour drive from Montreal

A weekend getaway at Kabania is perfect for disconnecting from city life. The cabins on stilts offer a unique experience, featuring large windows that showcase Quebec's enchanting winter forests.

During your stay, enjoy a variety of activities like skating, sliding, snowshoeing, and relaxing in the community center, which is equipped with board games and hammocks.

11. Quebec Winter Carnival 

Have fun on the winter carnival in Quebec in January
Bonhomme Carnaval (Photo by TQ / F. Gagnon ©)
  • Distance: 3 hours drive from Montreal

This massive winter festival in Quebec City has been going on for decades. It offers many different winter games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. It’s the perfect idea if you’re looking for what to do elsewhere in Quebec in January. The Carnival is a celebration of all things winter, so you won’t want to miss it.

Interested in a getaway to Quebec City? Check our our Quebec City in January article for more ideas of things to do there.

Weather in Montreal in January

The weather in Montreal in January is really cold

Montreal in January definitely gets cold. That means you’ll be most comfortable enjoying these Montreal winter attractions while wearing long johns, snow pants, warm boots, a neck warmer, a scarf, warm gloves and a toque. One-use heating pads for your boots and gloves are also recommended for colder days.  

Montreal in January may be cold, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. From the fantastic Igloofest to winter activities like cross-country skiing and ice skating, you’re bound to have a magical time while visiting Montreal this winter.

Related: If you want more indoor things to do in Montreal in the winter, check out our favourite Montreal live music venues.

Joshua Marc Seguin Quebec Wonders

About the Author

Joshua is our Montreal expert. He has been living in Montreal for over 15 years. He is passionate about sharing his love for Montreal and some local tips with our readers.

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