Montreal is one of the largest metropolitan cities in North America. The city is full of things to do during the day and has a life of its own at night. But is Montreal safe at night?
The short answer is yes; overall, Montreal is a safe city day and night and it’s safer than Canada’s most famous city, Toronto.
But with that being said, Montreal is still a large city, so you should follow a few safety tips at night when visiting.
Regardless of how safe Montreal is during the day or night, understand that you’re visiting a large city, and like any large city with a high population, things happen from time to time, and more so at night than during the day!
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While pickpocketing doesn’t happen often in Montreal, it does here as many places in the city offer perfect opportunities for pickpocketers to take advantage of tourists visiting the city.
There’s no need to be on constant high alert for pickpocketing, as in some places in the world, like Barcelona, known as the pickpocket capital of the world.
But places like the metro/subway, busy cafes/restaurants, and dense areas full of tourists walking like Old Montreal keep a watchful eye.
Other places to watch for pickpocketing are Montreal’s many tourist attractions like Notre-Dame Basilica, Jean-Talon Market, Casino de Montreal, and others!
Here are a few tips to avoid pickpocketing on any public transportation: make sure your bags are closed and preferably place your bag front facing rather than on your back unattended.
Another important tip is if you’re wearing shorts/pants with looser pockets, you could be pickpocketed without feeling it. Consider bringing a bag or doing the tissue trick: grab a few tissues and place them in your pocket over your wallet/phone your pocket.
A stolen wallet is one of the last things you want to happen during your visit. So be alert of your surroundings, and when needed, be cautious of your items.
Believe it or not, the weather in Montreal has got to be one of the most dangerous aspects of the city, especially at night during the winter!
The winter weather in Montreal can be harsh, especially during the months of December, January, and February, when freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall set in the city.
With such cold weather, walking when there’s freezing in the city can become a safety hazard with ice all over the roads/sidewalks. After such cold conditions or a snowstorm, the city usually needs a day to recover and clean roads.
Temperatures in Montreal during the winter can average from -15 to -20 Celcius (5 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit). Wind chill factors can affect it, making it feel even colder than actual temperatures.
Montreal is a popular destination in the winter because of the city’s charm, plenty of festivals, and many things to do outdoors/indoors. Understand that the winter weather, as well as storms, can affect your plans at times.
Like any city, Montreal has a few neighborhoods considered less safe due to higher crime rates or socio-economic challenges. These specific neighborhoods in Montreal are places you shouldn’t consider staying in or visiting after dark.
Some of these neighborhoods include Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Saint-Michel, and Parc-Extension.
Saint-Michel is known for its gang activity and has been a historically disadvantaged area. The area is known as Montreal’s most dangerous neighborhood; most violent crimes in Montreal are reported out of Saint-Michel. There’s no reason to visit it day or night.
Pointe-Saint-Charles is another area known for its crime in Montreal, and a lot of drug activity happens here. There isn’t much in the area anyways, so there’s no motivation to visit.
Parc-Extension is another neighborhood facing challenges due to poverty and a diverse new immigrant population.
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has a higher crime rate and socio-economic issues but has undergone big changes in the last few years. So if you’d like to visit this area, you’re fine walking around the main roads during the day. But it’s not advised to visit after dark.
It is important to note that while these neighborhoods may have higher crime rates or socio-economic challenges, they also have vibrant communities and positive aspects. A fine example of this is Parc-Extension, located next to Parc Jarry, a beautiful park that’s perfectly fine to visit during the day. The area is also near the famous Jean Talen Market.
Metro at Night
Overall, Montreal’s main transportation, Le Metro (subway) and public buses are perfectly safe at all times during the day and night, but at night, a few extra precautions should be considered.
Walking downwards and around the tunnels where the metro is at night can seem dodgy at night.
You expect to find quite a few homeless people hanging around in the subways and around the tunnels, and it would make sense, especially when Montreal experiences its harsh winter weather.
For the most part, the homeless population in Montreal is completely harmless, but it’s advised to keep your distance and be on alert.
For female solo travelers, you may not feel comfortable using public transportation during the middle of the night; taking a UBER/Taxi is always a better idea.
10:00 PM City Rule
The rule known as the 10:00 PM rule should implemented in major cities around the world. It advises individuals, particularly tourists less familiar with their surroundings, to exercise caution and be mindful of their destination and route after 10:00 PM.
Suppose you are a solo female traveler or someone who may not possess extensive street smarts.
In that case, it is still possible to venture out at night by sticking to well-populated tourist areas such as downtown Montreal, Old Montreal, Mile End, and other popular areas. These areas tend to have more pedestrians and are well-lit during nighttime hours.
It’s important to note that this rule does not imply that going out past 10 PM isn’t recommended, I mean Montreal has an exceptional nightlife that you must experience.
The 10:00 PM rule emphasizes the need for increased awareness of one’s surroundings and consideration for personal safety while navigating the city at night.
Muggings, unfortunately, can occur in any big city, including Montreal. While it is essential to maintain a sense of personal safety and take precautions, muggings in Montreal aren’t common at all.
When they do happen, most of the time, it’s likely to occur in the few neighborhoods I’ve mentioned above to steer clear from, especially at night.
To minimize the risk of muggings, it is advisable to stay alert, especially when walking on empty streets at night. Stick to well-lit populated streets and keep your belongings secure; don’t be flashy with jewelry, etc.
In most popular tourist areas in Montreal, like downtown Montreal, Old Montreal, Mile End, and others, you don’t have anything to worry about. But again, keep aware of your surroundings.
Scams in Montreal
Like any big city, scams are likely to occur occasionally. Montreal isn’t known for scams, but it happens.
Some prevalent scams in Montreal include taxi overcharge scams, street performance scams, and the classic picture scam.
The taxi scam is known all around the world. You get in a taxi, ask the driver to take you somewhere, and notice there’s no meter, but instead, they give you a price. This is a clear indication of overcharging you. Another example of this scam is as you’re on your way, the driver is taking a longer route to your destination so they can overcharge you.
Picture scam is another popular scam in Montreal, a local will ask you to take their picture with their phone, once you’ve done so, as you’re handing back their phone, they drop it and excuse you of causing damages to their phone. At which point they begin demanding money from you.
Street performers can be honest or dodgy; some will demand payment if you take a video of them. Others engage in game scams, like the guessing game scam with 3 cups and a ball. It’s a classic game scam done worldwide, you’ll never win the “big prize”.
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Where to Stay in Montreal
Budget Hotels in Montreal
Budget-friendly hostels in Montreal can be found all over the city, and many of them have excellent accommodation standards and great communal spaces.
All three top-rated hostels I’ve listed below are in great locations in the city, close to restaurants, bars, and a subway line for transportation.
Samesun Montreal Central: A great simple hostel that offers private and dorm-style rooms steps away from the subway. The hostel is very close to the popular Saint Laurent Blvd and Old Montreal
Auberge Saintlo Montreal: Located in the middle of downtown Montreal and directly next to the subway
M Montreal: Located in The Village neighborhood, this hostel has the best amenities on this list, with an amazing rooftop. Perfect for meeting others
Mid-Range Hotels in Montreal
There are mid-range priced hotels in Montreal all over the city. If you’re looking for a boutique-style hotel, consider LHotel or any others in the Old Montreal area. Otherwise, others are primarily in downtown Montreal.
LHotel: Located in the heart of Old Montreal, close to bars, restaurants, galleries, and more, LHotel is a great-priced mid-range hotel
Hilton Garden Inn: Ideally located in downtown Montreal, the Hilton Garden is conveniently located between downtown Montreal and the famous Mount Royal Park
Hotel Monville: A modern, sleek hotel between Downtown Montreal and Old Montreal, with an exceptional bar and rooftop
Luxury Hotels in Montreal
Montreal has no shortage of luxurious hotels to consider for your visit. These are the three highest-rated luxury hotels to consider for your stay!
Hotel Birks Montreal: Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Montreal, facing the beautifully newly renovated Phillips Square Park
Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile: A modern hotel famous for its exceptional dining, located between downtown Montreal and Mount Royal Park
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal: Steps away from downtown Montreal on a quiet street near several great restaurants
Is Montreal Safe at Night? — Final Thoughts
So, is Montreal safe at night? Yes, Montreal is perfectly safe at night, assuming you aren’t visiting any dodgy neighborhoods at night and just wandering around.
There’s nothing to worry about safety-wise at night in Montreal; consider the following tips shared above and be alert of your surroundings, and things should just be fine!
Are you currently in Toronto and looking to visit Montreal? Here’s a helpful transportation guide!
If something does happen, contact the police by dialing 911 on your phone.
Having been to Montreal many times and spent months there, I know the city well. Personally, I’ve never run into trouble or felt unsafe walking around at night in well-populated areas.
Is it safe to walk in Montreal at night?
Yes, it is, especially when walking around tourist-populated areas that are well-lit and frequent many visitors.
What not to do when visiting Montreal?
Don’t assume everyone speaks English, but most do. Don’t visit neighborhoods not recommended by safety guides. Don’t assume all places accept credit cards because some only take cash.
Is it ok to speak English in Montreal?
Yes it’s perfectly fine to speak English in Montreal, in fact most locals speak both English and French, especially the newer generations.
Is Montreal Downtown safe?
Yes, Downtown Montreal is safe, the only thing not advised is walking down random alleyways at night. But that can be said about any city in the world.
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