Tell me about Montreal!

posted 7 months ago in Travel
Post # 2
7678 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

DrAtkins :  we stay with friends when we go up, but we always make a trip to Icehouse for fried chicken and bourbon lemonade – it’s one of our favorites. Brunch at l’universel and poutine at la banquise also top our lists. Tam tams at Mount Royal Park on Sundays has some amazing people watching and is a nice relaxing day. I wish I could help with real touristy stuff – we’re always too busy catching up with our friends to really sightsee. I never even made it to Old Port for years until one of our friends’ weddings was down there lol. 

Post # 3
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

DrAtkins :  

Montreal is my favorite, favorite city! I was thankful to go 5 times in a period of about 5 years. But unfortunately have not been in about 5 years now. ๐Ÿ™ It’s a tiny slice of Europe. So clean, and honestly everyone was very friendly. I speak basic, basic French, but almost everyone speaks both languages.

I stayed at the Residence Inn on Rue Peel the first time and that was fine. The times after I stayed at the Sheraton downtown, across from Centre Belle. I’d say anything in the downtown area is great, because you can really walk everywhere. That’s what I love about Montreal – you can walk everywhere! I’m sure there are other areas to stay as well, I just can’t speak to them.

There are lots of bars/restaurants in the downtown. Definitely walk down to Old Port – you can walk above ground or underground, there are connections throughout the city. It’s beautiful to walk by the water and on the cobblestone streets and see the sights, shops, and the Notre-Dame Basilica. Also across from the Sheraton, downtown, there is another lovely church – one of my other favorites. 

There is the crepe place – Chez Suzette in old Montreal – that I love. I’d recommend. It’s tiny and there may be a wait but I have been there multiple times. I’m sure other bees can contribute ideas on restaurants, but if you want a good bar experience, Hurley’s Irish Pub is big and had good food/beer selection, that’s in downtown near Crescent street.

Have a great time!!

Post # 4
455 posts
Helper bee

There’s a big art festival in June! You should check it out if you’re interested in art. We didn’t get time to do this, but the modern art museum is supposed to be really great. Many of the galleries in Old Port are wonderful as well!

Post # 6
232 posts
Helper bee

I’m not religious in any sense, but the Notre-Dame Basilica is a must. It’s so incredibly beautiful, gothic, ornate… it’s swoony!

Definitely need to indulge in a classic poutine (I agree with La Banquise), and a good smoked meat sandwich. 

If you have a bad weather day, the Bio-dome is a great way to fill it. Basically you can “experience” all of the Canadian eco-systems. Obviously kids love it, but as an adult I can honestly say I enjoy it (I’m, hi… penguins)!

Mostly though, when I go to Montreal I just love to wander around and take in the city. Like any city there are some scummy areas, but there are also beautiful neighborhoods, classic architecture, and just a really cool/chilled out vibe. Old Montreal is where we always focus our time. In the summer there are some great outdoor markets as well. You can also wander around the Mount Royal park, as PP mentioned, and head up the to Mont Royal Summit for some good views of the city. Three to five days is more than enough time to really enjoy it! We actually did a 5 day trip a few years ago (we live in Ontario) and did Montreal AND Quebec City (around 3 hours away), and while we could have easily spent more time in each place, we also didn’t feel rushed around whatsoever. It’s a good trip for relaxed people who don’t feel the need to have every second planned out, and just enjoy visiting and immersing themselves in new cities. We actually got engaged in MTL 7 years ago!

Post # 7
1365 posts
Bumble bee

It’s fun to wander around the Jean-Talon market. We stayed nearby in a nice airbnb and the neighborhood was lovely. The Bio-dome and observation wheel are fun too. 

One thing to note in the summer if you are bringing your car: Be prepared for crazy road construction and detours. Make a plan for where you will park your car and then use public transportation for the week. 

Post # 8
3259 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

DrAtkins :  I was just there in September and it was awesome!

I’d recommend staying somewhere along St. Denis street. There are lots of restaurants and bars along that street and it is walking distance from all the best stuff! St. Catherines shoppping district, Old Montreal, Gay Village, the Arts District… all easily walkable in 30 minutes or less. 

Good food is everywhere and easy to find.

As for what to do and see? I thoroughly enjoyed just wandering around Old Montreal and along the harbour as well as the Arts District. 

I did do the hop on hop off bus tour because my parents wanted to, but honestly I didn’t find it to be worthwhile. You learn a bit more about what you are seeing, but the vast majority of the sites are within walking distance of St. Denis Street so we could have just gone to see them ourselves. The only stops that weren’t are the St. Joseph’s Oratory and Mont-Royal Park.

I didn’t get a chance to go to the botanical gardens, but am told they are very nice. I also didn’t go inside St. Jospe’s Oratory or walk around there, which I would have liked to do. 

I highly recommend walking around in the Arts District. That whole area is full of public art and a lot of it is very interesting and you able to interact with it. Obviously, it’ll be all different when you go from when I went, but I’m sure that whatever is there will be super cool! 

Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal was nice but not really anything extraordinary. A guided tour is only like $15 a person or something like that though so it’s worthwhile. 

Walk down Rue St. Paul, it’s very nice. It was under construction when I was there so hopefully that is done when you go. Place Jacques Cartier is a really nice street as wel with great restaurants and street vendors. 

I’d recommend perhaps doing a walking tour if you are interested in learning more about the history of the area. That was the one thing I really got out of the hop on hop off tour that made it worthwhile, but if you are anything like me (and maybe you’re not), walking tours are much more my jam. There are a few options, including an Old Montreal Food Tour, which I thought would be cool. If we hadn’t spent a bunch of money on the hop on hop off tour, I would have definitely done that one.

Post # 9
166 posts
Blushing bee

I just went a few weeks ago! We got an Airbnb in the Le Plateau/Mont Royal neighborhood, which was nice. Had its own shops/restaraunts plus was in walking distance on public transportation.

We do a food tour of Old Montreal which I really enjoyed – some history, some walking and some food all at once!

If you want a really idulgent meal you have to go to Au Pied de Cochon – SO good! Be sure to make reservations super in advance though!

Montreal bagels are delicious, make sure you try those too! We ended up bringing some home they were so good.

I got to saber a champagne bottle at La Champagnerie which was cool!

Post # 10
738 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

I second the bagels, amazing! Also, if you don’t speak any French I wouldn’t suggest going too far away from the tourist area, because most people there speak pretty good English, but the further out you go the less English you will find.

Are you going to Quebec City as well? I totally prefer it over Montreal, but that’s just my opinion!

Post # 11
226 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I’ve lived in montreal all my life. It’s a great city to explore especially during the summer months! The downtown area is definetely the best area to stay in. There are a lot of nice hotels to stay at. I would not rent a car as driving downtown is honestly nobodies cup of tea. Public transportation especially the metro (subway) is an easy way to get around. There is always festivals going on during the summer months so definetely look up what’s going on. There are so many things to do! A few things I would recommend is to go to the old port, walk down st Catherine street, eat poutine at la banquise or montreal poutine. Grab a bagel at st viateur or Fairmount and eat a smoke meat sandwich at schwartz. Feel free to ask me any other questions through pm if needed. Have fun!

Post # 14
3410 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

DrAtkins :  I honestly enjoyed Quebec City more than Montreal! Go there if you can. If I could go back in time I’d probably skip Montreal altogether, except for how beautiful Notre Dame is. I’d say the churches were my favorite part, actually. The Biodome wasn’t worth it to me, but the botanical garden was beautiful. I enjoyed Mont Royal, and I loved Old Montreal (but I loved old Quebec City much more).

Post # 15
1364 posts
Bumble bee

DrAtkins :  I love Montreal!  And I love this Airbnb We really liked this neighborhood.

Renting a bike & tooling around (on a nice day) is so enjoyable. Great parks, cafes, shops, etc.  Street festivals & great dining. 

I concur with the poster above, if you have 5 days then do both Quebec City & Montreal.  If you’re flying, fly to QC for 2 nights, then train to Montreal for 3 nights, fly home. (Or switch the 2/3 ratio)  

Montrealers (? Not sure what people of Montreal go by) are some of the nicest, friendliest people we’ve come across in our travels.

We loved a little wine/cocktail bar near our Airbnb for pre dinner drinks/nightcaps – can’t think of the name right now.  I’ll go see if I can find it in my notes. It was delightful. Stylish, good music, so friendly, just good vibes.  It stood out among others. 

ETA: Also agreeing with bagels, great public transit & a walking tour.

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