Montréal is one my favourite places in the world. It's the best little taste of Europe in North America. The locals represent the chilled-out, life-loving Euro vibe and it's the perfect place for romantic getaway or a Bachelor/Bachelorette party. There is something for everyone on any kind of budget.
Having lived there for a couple of years and frequenting it on weekends, I've collected a couple of hidden gems and must dos if you're planning a visit.
The summer is the best time to visit - nothing like Sunday afternoons at Tam-Tams or Picnik Électronik
Montréal is named after Mount Royal, a small mountain in the heart of the city
The official language is French however everyone should be able to speak English and you will get around just fine with this
Highest amount of restaurants per capita in all of Canada
Referred to as the Vegas of Canada
Currency is in $CAD which makes it the perfect getaway for Americans given the dollar
Where to Stay:
1. W Montréal, 901 Rue du Square-Victoria, Montréal, QC H2Z 1R1
Beautiful, modern hotel centrally located in Old Montréal. Nights here average about $200 CAD for a King bed which is not bad at all for the W franchise and a Category 6 SPG hotel.
2. Hotel Y Montreal, 1355, Rene-Levesque Blvd. West, Montréal, Quebec H3G 1T3, Canada
If you’re looking for a cheap clean stay centrally located in Montréal and won’t be spending too much time in the hotel, this is the place for you. Nights here average about $70 CAD and it’s a perfect option for the student budget.
3. Airbnb, www.airbnb.com
There are some beautiful lofts and homes in Montréal available for rent at a reasonable price ($100-$300 CAD/night) via Airbnb. There is also Airbnb Plus for nicer homes for rent.
Where to EAT:
1. Imadake, 4006 Saint-Catherine St, Westmount, QC H3Z 1P2
A fun place for sake bombs and Japanese tapas. Try: Pork Belly Ramen with Miso Broth, Wasabi Octopus, Shrimp Tempura, Sake Bombs & Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
2. Milos, 5357 Park Ave, Montréal, QC H2V 4G9
Greek food in a beautiful setting. $25 CAD three course prix from 10pm - midnight, Thursday through Saturday. Try: Lobster Pasta, Tuna Burger & Zucchini Fries.
3. Kazu, 1862 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3H 1M1
A great place for a quick lunch (as long as there is no line). Try: Chirashi-Sushi & Tuna Salmon Salad Rice Bowl.
4. L'Avenue, 922 Mont-Royal Ave E, Montréal, QC H2J 1X1
Iconic Montréal brunch place; expect big lines and lots of tourists during weekend brunch. However, the food is undeniably good. Try: Steak Eggs Benedict.
5. Tiradito, 1076 Rue de Bleury, Montréal, QC H2Z 1N2
Delicious Nikkei cuisine (Peruvian Japanese) in a hip environment with a great cocktail list. Try: Crispy Shrimps, Ceviche, & Buttifara Sandwich.
6. Candide, 551 Rue Saint-Martin, Montréal, QC H3J 2L6
A $55 CAD pre-fixe with delicious farm to table food that is always on rotation.
7. Olive et Gourmando, 351 Saint-Paul St W, Montréal, QC H2Y 2A7
My favourite brunch place in the city for delicious sandwiches and pastries. Try: The Cubain & “Poached Egg on Your Face”.
8. Lov, 464 McGill St, Montréal, QC H2Y 2H2
Vegan food with an Instagram worthy setting. Try: Kale Mac and Cheese
9. Bouillon Bilk
Modern French Cuisine in a great atmosphere for date night. Try: the 8 course tasting menu.
Bonus: You can’t go to Montréal without having poutine. My personal favourite is just simply the basic poutine at Frite Alors - a fast food chain. For a classic experience, go to La Banquise - the most well known place for poutine in Montréal.
WHERE TO DRINK/Party:
1. Big in Japan, 4175 St Laurent Blvd, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y7
A beautiful whiskey & sake speakeasy that's perfect for date night.
2. Suwu, 3581 St Laurent Blvd, Montréal, QC H2X 2T6
The perfect mix between a bar and a club with great cheap drinks and hiphop. This place can get pretty rowdy later on in the night and also has a great brunch during the day ft. lobster rolls.
3. New City Gas, 950 Ottawa St, Montréal, QC H3C 1S4
Big industrial club in Old Montreal that features electronic DJ's. Come here if you want to have a big night while dancing the night away to EDM.
4. École Privée, 3500 St Laurent Blvd, Montréal, QC H2X 2V2
Imitate grungy club. Cheap drinks which lead into a good night.
5. Mme Lee, 151 Ontario St E, Montréal, QC H2X 1H5
A bigger version of Suwu.
6. Apt. 200, 3643 St Laurent Blvd, Montréal, QC H2X 2V5
The concept behind this bar lounge is to resemble somebody’s apartment. Great place to go to indulge yourself in the Montréal cool.
WHAT TO see AND Do:
1. Bota Bota, Old Port of Montréal, de la Commune West &, McGill St, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2E2
This is my favourite spa in the world which is a big statement from someone who has a mild spa addiction and visited 40+ spas around the world. Bota bota is a Scandinavian haven on a boat with the best hot-cold-relax spa sequence. The Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massages here are out of this world and it’s also super affordable.
2. Mount Royal
A great easy one hour hike/stroll in the summer for a great view of the city.
3. Shopping on St. Laurent
Boutique shopping is so fun in Montreal. Here are my favourites: Kooka, Le Petite Garcon, Boutique 1861 - and they are all right beside each other. St. Urbain & Mile End has some great boutiques as well (Ruse Boutique for vintage designer finds) and St. Catherine is also great for shopping around the usual stores (H&M, Zara etc.).
4. Piknic Électronik
A music festival every Sunday in the summer.
5. Old Montreal
Get lot in the cobblestones of Old Montreal and feel like you’re transported to Europe.
6. Jardin Botanique
A beautiful botanical garden just outside of the city easily accessible by subway.
Hope this blog post was helpful in planning your getaway. Comment below or contact me if you have any other suggestions/must-do's. Enjoy!