5 Best Spots to Shoot the Montreal Skyline from Local Photographer
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Montreal is a unique city with a vibrant culture and great food. It is smaller than other cities, but its buildings still offer a unique and amazing view perfect for Skyline Photography.
If you are a photographer or an Instagrammer traveling to Montreal, you will not want to miss these amazing locations ripe for photographic opportunities.
I have shot in many locations around Montreal and have found these five locations to be the best places to shoot amazing Skyline shots:
1. Mount Royal
2. Old Port
3. Au Sommet Place Ville Marie
4. Parc Jean-Drapeau
5. Parc Marie-Victorin
Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash
Whether you're traveling to Montreal for photography or not the Montreal Observatory is a must go spot. What you will find here is an overhead view of the Montreal City. There is no higher building than the top of Mount Royal as the city law prevents contractors from building anything that is higher than the mountain. This makes for some amazing views as you will have a full 180-degree view of the city skyline. You are also quite close in perspective to the downtown buildings which makes this one of the top places for skyline photography in Montreal. The best time to come here would be during a sunrise as the sun will be directly behind the city, otherwise during a sunset you will have a very nice hue that will make for some great shots as well.
To get to the Mount Royal observatory you will have to go to the parking that is near the top of the mountain and from there you will have to walk 5 to 10 minutes to the top of the mountain. It is a rather easy walk and mostly anybody can do it.
If you want to avoid crowds, I recommend coming here during the week or anytime other than summertime weekends.
Here is the Google Maps location for the parking. Parking isn't free, it is $0.25 per 15 minutes.
Photo by Walid Amghar on Unsplash
Old Port of Montreal
In and of itself the Old Port is a great place for anybody traveling to Montreal as you will find so many cool spots to take pictures of in the Old Port and it is probably the top location to take pictures in Montreal whether for your business or for Instagram. There is a cool spot for a nice skyline picture of the Old Port which you can find by heading to the ferris-wheel. All you must do is cross the bridge and head to the other side where you can get a nice reflection with the water and take a shot of the Old Port skyline from across the bridge. I would recommend coming here during a sunset as the sun should be nicely positioned for a great picture.
Crowds here shouldn’t be an issue as the spot you will need to be in for the picture is off the main walkways.
This is the exact location you will need to go to. It is only accessible by foot but you can get to the old port by car, by metro, or by uber.
Photo by EMILE SÉGUIN 🇨🇦 on Unsplash
Au Sommet Place Ville Marie
This is an observation deck inside the Ville Marie building in the core of Montreal downtown. You will have a full 360-degree view of Montreal which can make for some very nice pictures. Depending on the type of pictures you want to take it might be very hard for you to get a long exposure here as the observatory is rotating. However, it can be a great place for lifestyle shots or for close-up pictures of the Montreal buildings. After your visit to the observation deck, I would also recommend visiting the restaurant underneath called Les Enfants Terribles which is a 360-degree rotating restaurant that offer the same views as the observation deck. It is pricey but quite delicious. When in Rome!
Tickets to the observatory are about $20. You can easily get here by metro. The google maps location is here.
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
To get the classic skyline shot which you can find in a lot of Montreal skyline pictures, Parc Jean-Drapeau is the perfect place to go. Here you can catch a nice view of the Montreal skyline with water reflections as you will be on a small island across from Montreal. If you are a long exposure photographer this would be the place to go for the best Montreal skyline pictures. To get here it would probably require a car or at least an Uber as public transportation to the Jean-Drapeau Island can be done via Metro, but getting to this particular spot might be hard with public transit. It is also quite near Habitat 67 which is a unique architectural building originally built for the 1967 Olympic Games. During your visit to the Jean-Drapeau Island I would also consider visiting La Ronde or the Montreal Casino for some quality entertainment experiences unique to Montreal.
The best time to come to Parc Jean-Drapeau for a skyline shot is during a sunset as the sun should be setting in a good position for a really cool picture.
Now you wouldn't find this spot on any other travel list as it is quite under the radar. It is further away from Montreal in the city next to it called Longueuil. You would need a car to go to this place or at least an Uber. I would recommend a telephoto lens for this place because the skyline is quite far away. However, if you're ready to make the journey you will be rewarded with a unique perspective on the city of Montreal. The main subject of this Skyline is the Jacques Cartier Bridge which is in the foreground from the view of this Skyline. The Jacques Cartier Bridge illuminates at night and therefore I would recommend coming to the spot during the sunset and staying until a bit after the sunset when the bridge lights up as you will have some very good pictures. You can also get some great views of La Ronde.
You can find the parking here and just walk out to the edge of the parking for the spectacular view.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Notable mention: The Montreal Tower
This spot can be found on a lot of other travel lists and it does offer quite a nice view of the Montreal City. However, from a photography perspective you will not get very good photos here as you are quite far away from the city and the windows are known for being quite dirty which will get in the way of your crisp, nice shots. However, I still recommend coming to this part of the city as you will find some great entertainment attractions such as the Biodome (where you can get some cool animal pictures), the Planetarium (my personal favorite), the botanical gardens (great place for photography) and the Insectarium.
The Montreal Tower is part of the Olympic stadium and can be found here.