The most famous and picturesque cathedral in Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica is sure to leave an impression. Walk through the nave, across the dark blue floor, watched over by the large statues, to reach the impressive altar. The Basilica is a breathtaking sight, one that will most likely put you in a meditative state.
Step off the busy streets of Montreal and into nature to take in city life from up above. Mount Royal is a perfect viewpoint to see the entire city in all its glory. The way up is a bit of a hike so wear good shoes, but, once you're there, take a deep breath and let the clean, fresh air fill your lungs. Do not miss Saint Joseph's Oratory.
After a tour of the Montreal History Centre, walk through various areas of Old Montreal, from Champ de Mars to Place d'Youville. Along the way you will have access to museums and attractions, such as the City Hall and the Bonsecours Market, as well as several beautiful public spaces. Don't forget your camera!
The Montreal Botanical Gardens offer a welcome breath of fresh air in the busy city. Whether you visit the Biodôme, Botanical Garden, Insectarium, or the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, every single one will be a unique and memorable experience. All locations are conveniently close to each other, but make sure to take at least a couple of hours to explore each.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal is praised by the overwhelming majority of its visitors, and for a reason: it has the largest collection of fine art in Canada, as well as a continuous rotation of exhibitions. Just like the city itself, the museum showcases two sides to art: historical and modern.
Leave the urban sprawl behind and admire Canadian natural beauty. Hop on the bus and travel through the beautiful landscapes all the way to the Laurentian Mountains. Get your camera ready to capture the steep mountain sides, adorned with bright red trees in autumn or flourishing greens in spring. Dotted with pretty little towns and impressive rock formations, the Laurentian Mountains are a great day trip.
The noteworthy Formula One Canadian Grand Prix is held on this impressive circuit, located on Notre-Dame island. Stand on the tarmac and experience the feeling of engines roaring past as racers battle each other for pole position. To experience the entire track, it is possible to use your own vehicle or even roller blade along it.
Pointe-à-Callière is a national historical and archaeological site that allows visitors to see how old Montreal came to life. It features both historical and contemporary pieces, and takes you from day one to what the city has become now. Witness more than a 1000 years of human progress.
There is always something going on at Bell Centre, whether sporting events or concerts; this same 21,000-seat venue hosts the Cirque du Soleil. Alternatively, you can take one of the guided tours that will take you all the way to the locker rooms. Taking pictures is allowed and encouraged.
This museum benefits from a great location in a green environment on St Helen Island. The Biosphere Museum is dedicated to preserving the environment and sustainability. Natural environments are recreated indoors. It is a great activity for families, and the sphere is very photogenic from the outside.
See Montreal from the top! Offering stunning views of Montreal, the 360° Observation Deck Place Ville Marie enables visitors to discover a new and unique view of the city’s main landmarks and cultural pillars. Observe the Saint Lawrence River, Mount Royal, Old Montreal, Quartier des spectacles, and the Olympic Stadium – to name only a few of the attractions visible 185 meters above ground.
Do you have some stress or anger you would like to get rid off? Say no more, Rage is the activity for you. This very special place will teach you how to throw axes in eleven different throwing corridors. Whether you are here for a celebration or to release negative energy, be prepared to discover your inner warrior.
This inspired restaurant has its roots in French cuisine. The choice of dishes is limited, with a selection from 2 options only: the tasting menu, or the vegetarian tasting menu. This limitation is however a guarantee of quality, and everything here is in season and beautifully prepared. It is a culinary experience like no other.
Bistro 1843 stands out among good restaurants in and around Montreal. Located on Bizard Island, it is surely worth the small trip out of the city. The price is not in the lower-range, but the chef is a true artists and every bite is pure excellence, from meats and fish to even the sauces. This restaurant is great if you want to celebrate or treat yourself to something special.
Europea might make you think the best French cuisine is not in Paris or anywhere in France, but right here in Montreal! Chef Jérôme Ferrer, who learned to cook by his grandmother's side, has never since left the kitchen and now shares his talent and passion with anyone who wishes to dine at his restaurant. Spanish, Italian and Catalan influences enhance the French flavours, for a truly extraordinary experience.
Damas offers a beautiful culinary experience with recipes originating from Damas and Alep, prepared with the finest ingredients. A number of hot and cold mezze (small plates) as well as main dishes are available. Worry not about making the right choice, all of them are top notch.
Arepera du Plateau offers an appetizing cuisine, deeply rooted in Venezuelan culinary tradition. Experience the taste of an arepa, a corn based Venezuelan bread, together with a memorable guacamole sauce. Arepera will please meat lovers (but also offers numerous vegetarian and vegan options) and is 100% gluten-free.
With a mix of French gourmet cuisine and Canadian specials, Le Club Chasse et Pêche knows how to please its crowd. From oysters to deer and all the way to red velvet cake and other desserts, you are in for a treat. The wine and the service match the quality of the food: a great dining experience awaits!
This Swiss restaurant helps locals and visitors through the harsh winters of Montreal. With warm and hearty dishes such as the Swiss fondue or gluten-free röstis (a Swiss specialty you simply must try) and an extensive wine list, you may feel catapulted to other mounts, in another French speaking country.
La Banquise is without doubt the most famous Poutine joint in Montreal, and most locals will tell you it simply is the best. With over 30 varieties of Poutine, (extra large if you go for the T-Rex), it is a local institution. It is also open 24/7, so you simply have no excuse to miss out on the place.
Join the Mile End Montreal Food tour for another kind of lunch: stroll in Mile End and discover local specialties ranging from fresh homemade tomato sauce to rich chocolates. The tour will take you to six different locations where you can taste local gastronomy. There are also other tours to choose from.
The Moleskine's cuisine is eclectic, imaginative and offers a wide range of gastronomic experiences, just like its baroque decor, which combines elegant modernity with rough-draping. For lunch or dinner, you can sit down on the ground floor for a sandwich, a salad or a cheesy pizza. Or you may prefer going up to the mezzanine and enjoy more elaborate dishes, in a cozy and intimate atmosphere. On weekends, don't miss out on brunch.
The concept of Brasserie T! is accessible, contemporary cuisine. The dishes are perfectly crafted with fresh produce (varies by season), and include, to name a few, home-made sausages, tartar, sea food plates and other delicacies typical of a French Brasserie, with a fancier twist. You can also come in later for a night cap.
Grumman'78 is a Mexican-inspired restaurant. Creating its very own mixes and specialty dishes, Grumman'78 offers inventive tastes and is overall a very merry place. It was at the forefront of the initiative to make street food legal in Montreal, and following their success in 2013 they now have, in addition to the restaurant, a taco truck serving food all around the city.
At Cafe Castel, coffees come in different colors, which often makes a cup resemble a true work of art. All kinds of brewing techniques are in use here, and you can also opt for another drink such as an iced tea or a milkshake. For the hungry ones, you can also eat a quick sandwich or a full breakfast or meal. Certainly one of the best cafes in Montreal.
Le Cagibi is a vegetarian restaurant, cafe, bar and showroom in the heart of Montreal's Mile End. It hosts local musicians and performing artists, as well as coffee addicts and picky eaters. Breakfast, lunch and brunches are on offer with a vegetarian menu including several vegan and gluten-free options. Le Cagibi prioritizes the use of organic, fair, local ingredients.
Kafein is a cafe that is also open later at night, offering live entertainment and hosting DJ's, live jazz performers, and other events. Cold drinks are a specialty, but a wide selection of coffees is on offer as well. Add some yummy food to the mix, and happiness within arm's reach.
Dispatch Coffee sest the bar high on its products, the roasting, the brewing and the talent of its baristas - and you can taste it at the first sip! Dispatch places special emphasis on keeping coffee production and trade sustainable and beneficial to both the producer and consumer.
The friendliest vinyl shop in Montreal is also one of its coolest coffee shops: welcome to 180g cafe-disquaire! This place gets involved in the city's cultural events, promoting street art and local artists. You will be received like an old friend and have a great time.
Moustache Cafe offers a merry experience, with large common tables where, if you like, you can meet new people, all the while sipping on coffee, fresh juices or vegan smoothies. You can also opt for gluten-free eats and other sweets. The cafe fosters a true community spirit.
This popular Persian cafe boasts, perhaps, the cosiest atmosphere in town. With its seating area a little below ground level, clients can enjoy soft lighting and people-watch while retaining their privacy. In Cafe Aunja one can also find superb teas and coffees, sweets, live music and art on the walls.
Cafe Melbourne is a taste of Australia right in the heart of Montreal. If you feel like some Australian warmth could help you through the tough Canadian winter, step in for some vegemite avocado toast or jaffle. The inside room is comfortable, but the best part of Cafe Melbourne is its patio filled with potted plants.
Whether you own a dog, or are simply a dog lover, this place should make you happy. This is the only restaurant-cafe in the whole city that lets you not only bring your canine friend around, but also unleash him so he can walk around and make friend with his peers. While your dog is having the time of his life, you can enjoy a nice latte and a vegetarian snack.
Both bar and brewery, Dieu du Ciel offers some of the best locally brewed beers one can find in Montreal and (some may dare say) all of Canada. You can sit in the comfy room inside or in the outside patio, but its best to sit at the bar and get all the best recommendations directly from the bartender.
A jazz bar/club at its best. With live music all year long, a classic and elegant interior with stone walls and wood panels, and a good offering of meals and snacks, Upstairs takes the lead on Montreal's music scene. It is a place to come for inspiration or to make friends.
If you want a unique experience, head to this peculiar speakeasy-style bar, inspired by the prohibition years. You will be served very special cocktails mixed by talented and passionate bartenders - creations far more elaborate than those available during the 1920, which somehow do not compromise the establishment's style.
The compact (yet incredibly popular) Bistro a Jojo is guaranteed to let you have an incredibly fun evening out. Grab a drink, sit back and enjoy the live music while the bartender sets the bar on fire. If you're looking for an explosive night out, make your way to the Quartier des Spectacles where the bar is located.
Freshly brewed beer and good food are only a couple of Brutopia's perks. The waiters are knowledgeable and can recommend which beers will best suit your taste. The menu includes vegetarian options. Several events also take place here, ranging from open mic nights and live music to quizzes.
A mix of house, electro, metal, and punk music is played in this club; genres vary by day. What might just be the city's best alternative bar and club, Foufounes Electriques frequently hosts concerts and has a well-stocked bar to keep you going all night long, as well as pool tables and foosball.
The Pullman is dedicated to the pleasures of wine-drinking. In a sophisticated and subtly eccentric setting (the chandelier is made of drink glasses), where a relaxed atmosphere prevails, the noble beverage is enjoyed with simple bites or mouth-watering dishes. Lodged in a three-story town house, it truly is a place like no other.
Apt. 200 is a very peculiar and eclectic place, where you are sure to have a great time. The management team values its clients and makes sure it does not get crowded so everyone can dance, chat and generally enjoy themselves (so if you want to make it inside, arrive early). The place is styled as an apartment with a bedroom, living room, etc., and has old arcade games and a pool table.
The Flyjin is a chic Asian brasserie located in the heart of Old Montreal. Sophisticated and mysterious, the place offers a unique concept, bringing together a restaurant with Asian influences and a vibrant bar, where one can discover a vast selection of Japanese whiskey, sake, wines and exclusive Japanese beers, as well as carefully crafted cocktails.
The Burgundy Lion brings England to Montreal with its full-on British pub atmosphere. The pub is pretty laid-back and serves British pub grub foods (as one may well expect), along with offering a large selection of beers, whiskeys and wines. The vibe is laid-back and everyone is welcome.
La Champagnerie is the first and only "bubble bar" in Montreal, created as a love declaration to the precious drink. The champagne list is so long you can find bottles from all across the world and to suit different budgets. You can accompany your glass of bubbly with some delicious food, or opt for the Bloody Caesar: a Canadian specialty that gives a twist to the Bloody Mary and turns it into a drink-and-snack.
Buying chocolate in the supermarket is one thing, having it personally prepared by one of the most dedicated chocolatiers in Canada is another. Among the busy streets of Montreal lies a small boutique called the Divine Chocolatier. Richard Zwierzynski opened his store after being inspired by Willy Wonka and makes sure his customers experience a memorable visit.
A beautiful shopping center and a part of what locals call the "Underground City" of Montreal: an extensive network of malls, shops, hotels and even office buildings connected under the ground, used a lot in the winter. The multi-storey Eaton Centre has multiple stores and boutiques and large food court.
Jean-Talon Market is a colorful fruit and vegetable market in Montreal. Take a stroll through the different aisles and take in the smell fresh fruit, all ready to be taken home. If you're looking to keep to a healthy lifestyle while on vacation, this is the place to visit.
Why should December be the only Christmas month? Noel Eternel makes sure to give you that Christmas feeling every day of the week and all year round, whether or not snow is falling. Offering a large variety of Christmas items such as little villages, elves, nativity scenes, tree decorations (and much more), at Noel Eternel it's Christmas every day.
A very appreciated optician in the city of Montreal, offering many different frames and with a staff that treats you like a VIP. When looking for new glasses or inspiration, the staff will listen to your needs and wants and offer a selection based on your choices.
A traditional mall/shopping center offering various shops, hair salons, a food court and individual cafes. Connected directly to a metro station and the Underground City, it is very easily accessible by public transport and offers a wide selection of fashion boutiques.
Don't be discouraged by the post-apocalyptic looking front of the store and dare to enter this Ali Baba's cave. Vintage clothes and accessories, odd objects and art pieces are gathered here in a seemingly chaotic manner, but you can also stop here for some coffee or snacks. Eva B is eclectic and fabulous.
The Complexe Desjardins is a sight to behold, with a futuristic architecture and lights as well as a large lit-up fountain. On the inside it is a classic mall with an assortment of food, clothing, and sundries. It is so huge that it feels at times like a city within the city.
If you have been clothes shopping all day, you might want to accessorize your newly found pieces. If that is the case and you are in search of something shiny or pretty, head to this jewelry shop run by a mother and daughter (who gave their names to the shop). They offer a lot of different styles and great advice. All the creations are designed by Laura and Aline.
This book shop has, since its creation in the 1960's, always focused more on providing quality and personalized services than making a big profit. Montreal's oldest English language bookshop offers all kinds of books, including works of local authors, and hosts an open mic night once a month for writers, comedians and musicians.
Harricana designs and manufactures clothing and accessories made from recycled materials. Fur, silk, leather, men's shirts, and even wedding dresses: in Harricana, everything is good to recycle! Everything is also eco-friendly. You can visit the boutique in the city center or the workshop a bit outside of town.
There is an active bus service between the airport and the central bus station: the 747 bus line, which runs 24/7. The average travel time is between 45 to 60 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The fare allows for unlimited travel for 24 hours. The ticket can be acquired through dispensers on the international arrivals level at the airport. Apart from buses, it is possible to hire a cab to downtown or a limousine. Additionally, most hotels offer shuttle services which can be ordered via their own website, or at the airport. You can also check the services of a car rental company for more flexibility. Trains also service the airport with Canada's national passenger rail service called VIA Rail Canada. They offer intercity connections, and a free minibus service to travel to Dorval and the Montreal-Trudeau Airport. You can also check out the regional bus shuttles for other cities.
Société de transport runs most of the bus and metro lines within the city of Montreal. The metro system website has a trip planner and various maps that can assist with your daily planning. The first metro train usually starts around 5:30 in the morning, the last one is between 00:30 and 01:00 on Friday and Saturdays, and earlier the other days. Metro lines are color coded and directions are indicated using the name of the last stop on the line. Buses are also available all over the city. A one-way ticket is the only ticket type that can be bought on board the buses, if you have exact change. If you continue a single ride from the metro onto a bus, the same ticket is valid. When switching from bus to metro or from one bus to another, ask the driver for a free slip. Several types of tickets exist and can be purchased at vending machines or stations. If you are staying for an extended period of time, purchase a rechargeable Opus card for convenient fare payment.
Pharmacies are relatively easy to locate and some operate 24/7. Two addresses that work on a 24-hour basis are: Jean Coutu 305 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal +1 514-285-2646 www.jeancoutu.com Pharmaprix (Shoppers Drug Mart) 5122 Côte-des-Neiges Rd, Montreal +1 514-738-8464 www1.pharmaprix.ca