If you’re looking for a weekend getaway or even a mid-week escape, good ol’ Montreal is one of my favourite cities to visit due to its vibrancy, culture and plethora of things to do.
My recent visit in July 2019 spurred this article for you.
Day 1 – Morning
Head over to the quaint Café Sat for a fresh-brewed coffee and equally fresh and delicious baked treats.
It’s easy to find on the ground floor of the Société des arts technologies complex in the popular Quartier des Spectacles.
They keep things fresh by sifting through different coffee roasts monthly and actively support artists and designers via various pop-up events.
Now that you’re energized, take a walk around neighbouring Chinatown. Each of the four entrances are clearly marked by paifang gates, ornamental archways that mark the entrances. It’s one of the oldest Asian communities in North America and there’s oh-so many shops and restaurants to experience as you take in the rich culture.
Day 1 – Afternoon
Now that you’ve walked off your breakfast, refuel with a delicious lunch at 3 Brasseurs McGill.
It doubles as a microbrewery; beer is brewed in-house by professionals who understand that brewing is a magical combination of art, science, and dedication. They’ve got delicious food and beer pairings or you can go your own way by creating your own pairings.
After lunch, head to the Old Port and experience Montreal from a unique vantage point through their La Grande Roue de Montréal, also known as The Montreal Observation Wheel.
You’ll be up as high as 60 meters, all 42 cabins have ultra-clear tempered glass windows and are heated/cooled. Interestingly, on a clear day, you can see up to 28 km away. It’s open year round from 10 am to 11 pm so you can grab clear day shots and or stunning night images of the city.
Afterward, spend some time walking around the historic Old Port to soak in this beautiful part of Montreal.
Day 1 – Evening
While Schwartz's Deli has a huge following and good smoked meat, my favourite spot for superb Montreal smoked meat is at Main Deli, which is across the street.
After making numerous visits to Montreal, I can say quite confidently that Main Deli has the absolute best smoked meat sandwiches in town. The sandwiches are piled high, the sides are delectable and the prices are surprisingly low for their high quality of food.
After dinner, seeing as my tastes are probably different than yours for nightlife…I’m happy to wander the city and photograph it and soak in the culture…head here to see a big ol’ list of things that can keep you happy and entertained at night.
Day 1 – After hours
Bar Pamplemousse is a new hotspot in Montreal and I’m using their website description as it’s succinct:
“A new craft beer venue a mere stone's throw from St. Laurent Metro and le Quartier des Spectacles stemming out from the same people behind Le Mal Nécessaire and chef Pelo Tsavoussis. 20 draught lines are featured from Quebec's finest craft producers and food from a wood burning oven.”
It’s got a cool, approachable vibe and their drink menu is simply outstanding.
Day 2 – Morning
No need to wake up early..sleep in a bit and then head over to the popular Atwater Market. They’ve been open since 1933, and offer a diverse range of merchants, caterers and specialty shops selling numerous varieties of vegetables, meats and baked goods year round.
Since you’re at a local market, it’s also a great place to grab some breakfast/brunch/lunch depending on where your hunger cycle sits.
Cross the nearby bridge into Canal Lachine Park and stroll the grounds if you’re looking for a change of scenery while in the same area.
Day 2 – Afternoon
The incredibly talented and friendly team over at Le Petit Navire will expertly navigate you through 3 locks and explore the Lachine Canal’s 150 years of history.
A huge plus is that it’s all done aboard a zero-pollution boat. At approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, there are several photo ops all around as you see parts of Montreal from a unique view upon the water.
Pro-tip: take a time-lapse video of the locks in action.
After your adventure on the water, experience a true piece of Montreal history via the Notre-Dame Basilica. The interior is beyond stunning for Montreal's oldest Catholic church, built in 1656.
Day 2 – Evening
Here are four very different dining options for dinner – yes, I realize that Pamplemousse has already made an appearance in this article but their food is just as great as their drinks.
Here’s a huge list of things going on in Montreal that’s updated frequently. There’s something for nearly everyone’s varying preferences here!
Day 2 – After Hours
It’s a bit cliché but since you’re in Montreal, you’ve gotta drop by the Montreal Pool Room. I go every time I’m there and get a poutine and a steamie. This 24 hour spot takes cash only so make sure you have some!
Got anything to add to this list?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!