I recently went to Canada for a week and 2 days out of those week were spent in the beautiful city of Montreal. To do Montreal in just two days you’re going to be rushed but there are definitely a few places that you can’t miss. When I first started researching Montreal I was intrigued by how often I saw it get called a “foodie” city and how many people mentioned the food – so I had pretty high expectations. Those expectations were not only met but actually exceeded as the food in Montreal was truly exceptional. Another thing to note about Montreal is the art – there are gorgeous murals all over the city and so much art everywhere you look. We saw street artists spray painting new murals multiple times throughout our trip and their effortlessness never ceased to amaze me because of how intricate their work turned out to be in the end.
So if you are looking for some recommendations on what to do in Montreal, look no further.
We used Airbnb again for Montreal and chose to stay in an area of town called Le Plateu de Mont Royal on Avenue de Pins. This turned out to be a great decision as there was a festival that was happening on our street during our stay. The festival was called Festival D’Art Public and there were food vendors, shops and street performers that made walking through our street really entertaining during our entire stay. The street on which the festival ran is filled with amazing little restaurants, cafes, coffee and ice cream shops and just really authentic businesses that truly made us fall in love with Montreal. This part of town is also where you are going to see the most murals so definitely make sure you stop by.
So, as I mentioned earlier the food in Montreal was amazing and I wish we got to spend more days there just so I could eat more. My diet went to hell on this vacation, that’s for sure. Some particular places that I can recommend were actually right by where we stayed. One is a little Tex-Mex joint that we picked for dinner one night called Icehouse and I am not lying when I say this – I have never seen my fiancé that excited about a meal in my whole life and that boy likes to eat. He got a steak burrito with potatoes and peppers and other delicious ingredients and I got mahi mahi fish tacos that were equally as amazing. The place has an adorable outside patio that is covered in lights and the staff was very fun and very willing to explain the menu and answer all our questions.
Another place that I have to give a shout out to is an ice cream shop called La Diperie. This place lets you choose what type of soft serve ice cream you want, then takes it and dips it into one of 16 types of melted chocolate that they have and then covers your chocolate dipped soft serve in your choice of pistachios, pretzels, Oreos or whatever your heart desires. This was the best ice cream I’ve ever had and I would go back to Montreal just for that alone.
As a coffee addict, I also have to mention a coffee place called Code Noir (French for Code Black). Code Black in health care terms means that someone died, in our case here in Montreal it meant that someone just got an amazing cup of coffee, or a vanilla latte for me, and some great pastries. The coffee shop itself has a great set up and is definitely Instagram worthy – whether you’re one for the latte art pictures or for interior design. The reason we chose to go to this place was because before going to Canada I looked up on Pinterest (where I get most of my travel ideas) for coffee shops to try in Montreal and this one made the Top 10 list and luckily happened to be only 5 minutes walking distance from the apartment where we stayed.
Gay Village in Montreal is also known for its food and has many restaurants along the street but what we noticed when we were trying to find a place to eat there is that a lot of places that look like outside restaurants are actually just bars. So maybe save Gay Village for when you’re hoping to get a drink but definitely check out Gay Village aka St.Catherine’s street because it is like nothing else. The entire “village” or the part of the street that is considered to be part of the village has little pink balloon like decorations hanging above the street. Definitely something to check out.
This was one of my favorite things about the city. When you go to Old Montreal (and you have to go there) you have to make a stop at the Notre Dame church and go inside ($5 to go inside with a tour) because it’s absolutely stunning. Also, fun fact – Celine Dion got married at this church. Then after you go inside the church you should go to the plaza (a part of Old Port) that is filled with restaurants, live music, beautiful flowers and artists. This is by far the most European looking part of North America that I’ve ever seen. The buildings remind me of old castles and the cobble stone walkways also take me back to Europe. You should also walk towards the water from the plaza and check out the little shops and artists that are sitting by the St. Lawrence River.
Park Mont Royal
This is a must see if you are in Montreal. This park has an outlook of the city that is gorgeous and is worth the hike (or if you don’t want to hike there’s another way of entering the park but that is not the way we went). I would recommend going there earlier in the day (if you’re visiting Montreal in the summer) when it’s a bit cooler. I mean, it’s Canada so I’m pretty sure it’s cool most of the year but we just happened to go when it was 85 degrees ( +30ish Celsius) and were pretty sweaty by the time we got there which is not cute for pictures.
If you have an extra day to spend in Montreal, I would recommend going to the Olympic Park where the 1976 Olympics were held. You can buy a daily pass that will get you into the stadium with a tour and observation deck, the biodome and the botanical gardens which are all located in the Olympic Park area. The structure of the Olympic stadium itself is very original and definitely worth checking out. The biodome is a zoo and aquarium that is located right next to the stadium as well. We did not have time to visit the biodome unfortunately, but if we had more time, we definitely would have made the stop.
The Olympic Park area is pretty far outside the city but it is very accessible via the subway. The subway system in Montreal will easily get you to most of the city’s main attractions so if you are not able to or do not want to walk to most destinations, I would recommend getting a daily subway pass.
Montreal was a great time and I definitely recommend everyone to visit. I hope to go back one day and eat some more of the delicious food and hang out at the Old Port while listening to the street performers.
Some things we didn’t get to do but would have if we had more time in Montreal:
-Jean Talon Market
-The biodome and botanical gardens
If you have any recommendations on what else to check out in Montreal, leave a comment below! I hope this inspires some people to visit this beautiful city!