This winter, I took a road trip up north with my travel partner in crime: my sister, as well as two of my closest friends. Haha, yes… I did another road trip. I must have been competing to fit as many road trips into one year. Anyway, we drove from NYC and spent two days in Montreal and one day in Quebec. Despite having only two days, we were able to fit in many of the sight-seeing attractions. If you are visiting Montreal with limited time, here are some tips and recommendations.
- Remember to bring your passport! It’s easy to forget that a trip to Canada is international travel.
- If you’re driving, be prepared for signs to be in French and kilometers/meters. Gas is measured in liters.
- French is the official language of the Quebec province so everything will be in French. Though, everyone we spoke to was bilingual. At restaurants, you may ask for an English menu if one isn’t given to you.
- You can mostly get by without exchanging American dollars for Canadian dollars since most places accept credit card. However, if your credit card does not have a chip, the credit card machines will not be able to read your card.
- Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal ($5 admission fee): The exterior is a spitting image of the Parisian Notre Dame, but the interior reveals a completely different and jaw-dropping design. This is one of the most beautiful churches that I’ve ever walked into.
- Old Montreal: Walk down Rue St. Paul, which has a bunch of tourist shops (like places to buy maple syrup) and an assortment of restaurants. The street is lit up at night, which gives it a romantic feel. The Old Port (Vieux-Port de Montréal) is nearby with an ice skating rink during winter and outdoor stands for vendors (it was closed when I was there, but I assume they’re open during warmer months). Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours) is also close by.
- Mount Royal: Montreal is named after this triple-peak hill, located in the heart of the city. Walk to the peak to get a pretty view.
- Montreal Botanical Garden: Known for their Japanese & Chinese Gardens as well as Insectarium. There are some good thrift shops nearby down on Ontario: Le Village des Valeurs, Renaissance and L’armée du Salut
- Lachine Canal: Better in summer to ride down the canal
- Contemporary Art Museum of Montreal ( M.A.C) in Place des Arts
- Jean-Talon Market is an indoor farmer’s market filled with many different merchants. My friends purchased maple syrup and desserts here to bring home to their friends as souvenirs. Première Moisson bakery is also next door if you want to stop by for bread, pastries, sandwiches and/or paté.
- Olympic Stadium & Montreal Biosphere: you can go up the Montreal Tower for a view of the city
- La Banquise: famous poutine restaurant
- Mamie Clafoutis: bakery known for their pistachio croissants
- Le Hoche Café: coffeehouse
- Bistro La Cervoise: brunch
- Bobby McGee: brunch
- Le Valois: fine dining for lunch/dinner
- Bistro In Vivo: fine dining with nice atmosphere, but food is not served after 9pm since they are usually a venue for jazz concerts
- Le Chasseur: restaurant/bar
- Gueule de Bois Chez M & Cartier: “gueule de bois” literally translates into “hangover” in English, which already reflects its casual vibe and bar selection with excellent french tapas — definitely get their sliders and duck