Bursting with culture, rich history and architecture and cosmopolitan airs, Montréal will defy your expectations. For anyone who has visited the grand cities of Europe, Montreal will become your secret haven just to the north of New York.
Montréal has a carefree feel that wholeheartedly welcomes visitors. A little funky, quite cosmopolitan and definitely beautiful. This is a city to explore! The people, the food, the majestic architecture, the jazz clubs, the night owls. You may forget you’re in Canada. This is a French-speaking country so politely and plentifully offer Bon Jour and Merci. Pick up a phrase book to learn more and make friends! While it is primarily known for being French-settled, there are many other ethnic influences here, namely Jewish and Asian.
The downtown area boasts the Underground, a network that connects shopping centers, schools, businesses, metro stations and more. It was created with Montréal’s harsh winters in mind as a place for people to escape and be able to get around. It connects much more than the necessities and one could spend hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the 19-mile-long Underground. Above ground the city comes alive with its gorgeous Beaux-Arts influence and flower boxes, modern art installations, college students and late-night clubs.
Dating back to the 1967 World’s Fair and the 1976 Summer Olympics, Montréalers love their fêtes! Beginning in winter with Fête des neiges, a month long festival filled with winter sports, music and games. In summer the city comes alive with a number of fantastic festivals to sate everyone’s appetite: The L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, the International Fireworks Competition. The comedy festival, Just For Laughs, in its 31st year! The Grand Prix Montreal, that brings more tourists to Montreal than any other. And for the foodie, Fêtes Gourmandes Internationales. And perhaps the most famous, The Montreal International Jazz Festival.
Along the St Lawrence River, you’ll find the quaint Old Montréal district. With its narrow streets and cobblestone alleys you will think you’ve stumbled upon an old city in Europe. A stroll along Rue de la Commune parallel to the Old Port showcases the 18th-and-19th-century structures now filled with museums, cafés and clubs. And many of the quarter’s old warehouses have been turned into modern living spaces with glorious views, in all seasons, of the river. Enjoy great shopping, eating, strolling and people-watching here!
When you want to get off the city streets, plan a trip to Parc du Mont-Royal, designed by New York Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Head just north of downtown to where the 233m peak offers spectacular views of the city. Plan for a hike UP through the park’s staircases and hills for that bonus! And a trip to Jardin Botanique, Montréal’s Botanical Garden located near the former Olympic Park site is a must. (This is also the former home of baseball team, Montréal Expos.) Purchase the family pass to explore the Insectarium, the Biodome and the Planetarium. A day among the flowers and then a peek at the penguins and the constellations will please everyone.
You don’t need a car in the city of Montréal so fly in and take public transportation or a taxi to the hotel. A taxi will cost around $40. The Metro is a reliable and safe way to travel through the city.
The Montréal tourism site offers a lot of great deals for hotel packages.
Boulevard Saint-Laurent has the wildest nightlife with many pubs, restaurants and clubs.
Old Montreal has many chic indoor/outdoor bistros and Mile End is a vibrant spot for music and fun cafes.
Montrealers take their bagels and brunch seriously – you must try both! St. Viateur is thought to have the best bagel. You decide…
Poutine is a comfort-food style dish of French fries, gravy and cheese curds and it seems there are dozens of kinds all over the city. Which one looks good to you?
The Jean-Talon market in Little Italy is a MUST visit for anyone who eats. (That’s everyone!)