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Montreal, Canada - Top Things to Do and See in Montreal | Wanderlist Travel

Montreal, Canada Travel Guide: Top Things to Do and See in Montreal

In partnership with Booking.com

Discover this Canadian city with old-school European charm and an abundance of amazing restaurants and hidden speakeasies.

ACCOMMODATION

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WHAT TO SEE AND DO

  • Mount Royal - beautiful lookout of downtown Montreal

  • Old Montreal - Wander the charming cobblestone streets of Montreal’s old city

    • Basilique Notre-Dame-De-Montreal - a stunningly beautiful church built in the 17th century combining characteristics of both Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic styles

    • Saint-Paul Street - one of Montreal’s oldest streets lined with cafes, restaurants and tourist shops

    • Bonsecours Market - oldest and largest public market in Montreal

    • Bota Bota - an old boat converted into a spa with a beautiful view of the port. Tip: Don’t forget your bather and flip flops

  • Mile End - This artsy neighbourhood is home to many amazing restaurants and cute boutiques

  • Parc Jean-Drapeau - two islands packed with an amusement park, water sports, Biosphere and more

  • Jardin Botanique - the botanical garden is full of specialty gardens and greenhouses

  • Explore the Underground City - the tunnel is 32 km long

  • Hop on a pedal boat in St-Lawrence river- relive your childhood by pedaling around the St-Lawrence river in a pedal boat

  • Join in on the festival fun! There is always some festival going on whether it’s music, art or other quirky ones. A couple of festivals:

    • Zoofest in July features actors, comedians, musicians, magicians and any other talented performers

    • Just For Laughs in July boasts an impressive list of local and international comedians

    • Fantasia International Film Festival from July to August - catch a move that wouldn’t normally be screened at your average movie theatre

    • Shakespeare-in-the-park from July to August - watch a Shakespearean play in various parks around Montreal, hosted by the Repercussion Theatre

    • Osheaga in August - spend three days at parc Jean-Drapeau listening to renowned and emerging artists

    • Mutek in August featuring innovative electronic music and imaginative visual art

WHERE TO SHOP

  • Mile End for small boutiques and vintage shops

    • Ruse Boutique - Vintage store with amazing designer finds. Designers I saw included: Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Flippa K, Helmut Lang. I purchased a Theory trench for $110 and Aquascutum trench for $110

    • Annex Vintage - large stock of vintage clothing

    • La Petite Garçonne - a boutique that’s rooted in simplicity.

    • Betina Lou - easy-to-wear timeless and feminine pieces

  • Boulevard Saint-Laurent for vintage shops

  • Sainte-Catherine Street - most famous shopping area home to hundreds of high-street chains and high-end boutiques alike.

WHERE TO EAT

Casual Eats

  • For smoked meat, try Schwartz Deli or Ruebens

  • For Montreal Bagels: Montreal is known as one of the the global bagel capitals alongside New York City. Find the best Montreal bagels at St-Viateur or Fairmont. Montreal bagels are boiled in honey-infused water before they are baked, making them much sweeter than normal doughnuts

  • For the best cheap poutine, go to La Banquise

  • For delicious soup dumplings, go to Qing Hua Dumpling (worth the wait!)

    • Tip: an order has 15 dumplings - for $1 more, you can split an order to have 2 different types

    • Try: Steamed beef and coriander or pork with leek and shrimp ($9.99 per order)

  • For the best pho, check out Pho Bang New York

  • For $5 gnocchi to go, stop by Drogheria Fine

Brunch:

  • Olive et Gourmando - trendy atmosphere serving simple and healthy brunch options

    • Try: Almond Croissant, Poached Egg on your Face Panini

  • Le Cartet - A cozy, rustic brunch restaurant featuring a gourmet shop at the entrance (perfect place to browse while you wait!)

    • Try: Le Sante

  • Régine Café - beautiful vintage Parisian / retro chic decor - perfect spot to grab brunch with your closest girlfriends

    • Tip: make a reservation for a weekday or prepare to line up on the weeknd!

    • Try: Sucré Salé or The Champi

  • The Sparrow - cool rustic atmosphere with exposed brick and wooden chair decor

    • Try: Shakshuka and smoked trout

  • L’Avenue - Try: Carrot cake pancake or chorizo eggs benedict

  • Cafe Tommy - Try: Avocado toast and grilled cheese

Restaurants:

  • Bouillon Bilk - Modern French cuisine focused on reinventing classic dishes. My favourite restaurant in Montreal.

    • Try: Tasting Menu or these dishes a-la-carte options Foie Gras, Scallops, Duck

  • Au Pied De Cochon - Martin Picard’s cult restaurant features incredibly rich, and unapologetically gluttonous menu items that made its reputation. Try: Duck in a can and foie gras cromesquis

  • Joe Beef - one of the top three best restaurants in Canada and one of Anthony Bourdain’s favourite spots

  • Le Robin Square (no reso) - Laid back atmosphere with located in Old Montreal

    • Try: Pork Belly and Mac and Cheese

  • Ibéricos for cured ham, spanish aps and tomato bread

  • Toqué - ranked the number 2 restaurant in Canada perfect for those seeking a creative, innovative and a gastronomic experience

  • Europea - Would not recommend; not worth the money in my opinion

  • Lov for vegan food - botanical garden theme with crisp white and green decor

    • Try: kale mac and cheese or burger with one of their organic wines or beers

  • Impasto - Try: roasted piglet shoulder and porchetta

  • Le Quartier General - Try: Foie Gras, Duck. Tip: You can bring your own wine

  • L'Original - Try: Bison tartare, boar shoulder

  • Le Local - Try: beet salad, salmon tartare

  • Holder - Try: Salmon tartare, braised beef cheek

WHERE TO DRINK AND GO OUT

  • Big in Japan Bar - hidden cocktail spot with amazing drinks, intimate and upscale ambiance, great date spot, and charming and unobtrusive service; more in-depth review on Yelp

    • Tip: look for a black door covered in graffiti next to Patati Patata

  • Le Lab - order one of the uniquely craft drinks and watch the fire juggling act every hour

    • Tip: make a reservation - it’s a small space and can get pretty busy

  • Le Mal Nécessaire - fun tiki style bar in Chinatown

  • Clandestino (436 St-Francois-Xavier) - plush refined underground bar with a focus on tequila and mezcal

  • Cloakroom - hidden in a high-end menswear shop with intimate environment, seating only 25 people

  • Other speakeasy bars:

    • Cold Room

    • Flyjin

    • Nhau Bar

    • Le 4e Mur

    • Dieu du Ciel - taste local beers

    • Amère à boire - great micro brewed beers, both local and international

    • Candi Bar on Mont-Royal Avenue, and have one of their amazingly sweet drinks in their girly, quirky décor.

USEFUL INFORMATION

  • Language: French and English

  • Currency: Canadian $

  • Tipping:15 - 20%

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Montreal is named after Mount Royal, the triple peaked hill in the middle of the city

  • Highest amount of restaurants per capita in all of Canada

  • No building is allowed to be taller than the Mount Royal cross

  • The underground tunnel system is over 32 kilometers long

  • 85% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec

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