If you’re staying in Montreal for longer than a few days and want to take a trip outside of the Plateau, several places compete for top of the to-do list, one of them being Montreal’s own Botanical Garden. It was founded in 1931 and became a National Historic Site of Canada in 2008. It features a large green space, several separate gardens (Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, First Nations Garden and Alpine Garden) as well as a row of greenhouses all designed to preserve and showcase a variety of plants, trees and flowers and serve both as a recreational and educational space for young and old alike. In the summer, it is a beautiful, blossoming space that makes for a wonderful day out of doors, but you’ll be surprised to hear that most people visit it primarily in the fall, when it is at its most festive and beautiful.

Every September, the Botanical Garden dons its autumnal garb as part of the Garden’s seasonal events and becomes illuminated with hundreds of lantern sculptures for the yearly lantern festival. The lanterns are made following the traditional Chinese technique to create all kinds of fantastical scenes for a completely enchanting effect. Starting from the entrance of the botanical gardens, the whole walk takes about an hour to an hour and a half, going through part of the Botanical Garden as well as the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden. Locals come back year after year, never tired of visiting this exceptional Montreal attraction. If your travels take you here in the fall, make sure not to miss out on this iconic experience!

Where: Botanical Gardens (4101 Rue Sherbrooke Est).
When: September 2 to October 31, 9 am to 9 pm (but best viewed after nightfall).

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