Explore the island of Montréal with your sweetheart

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard has been written for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes as much for the media as for companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and good addresses, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.

Like a busy beehive, the city buzzes with thousands of attractions that you can enjoy with your sweetheart. Just be sure to reserve plenty of time ahead and respect public health measures. Now, read on for where to find your next adventure.

Old Port and Old Montréal

Strolling the picturesque streets of Old Montréal and the beautiful shores of the St. Lawrence River is bonafide mood-booster. Set off with a coffee and croissant from Tommy (and admire the historic architecture), or sink your teeth into a scrumptious pastry from the very popular Maison Christian Faure.

From there, head to Saint-Paul Street and weave your way among its plentiful boutiques and art galleries. A must is the amazing Maison Pepin, a kind of creative lab/boutique bubbling with home decor and wellness ideas, Le Petit Dep, a sweet corner store that overflows with local foods and goodies and the Galerie d'art Images Boréales, which showcases traditional and contemporary Inuit artists.

Next, set your sights on new horizons and climb into a Grande Roue de Montréal gondola, which promises panoramic views (28 kilometres in clear skies!). Back on land, go to the ever-germane Phi Centre which is currently showing Trois mouvements and Carne y Arena. Need some “me” time? Unwind with the soothing ministrations offered at the Bota-Bota spa on water anchored in the St. Lawrence River. Lush gardens, stunning water views and a sublime setting are all yours.  

For gorgeous sunsets with that cocktail you’re craving, make your way up to these rooftop terraces and soak up water views or sleek skyscrapers in the distance. Clink glasses on the roofs of the Auberge du Vieux-Port, Hôtel Nelligan, Perché, William Gray, Bonsecours or Place d’Armes. On ground level, kick back in the lush garden patios of the Marché des Éclusiers, Lov, Boris Bistro, Jardin Nelson, L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel and the garden terrace of the Vieux-Port Steakhouse, all excellent drink and dinner options.

When night falls, relax in the cool luxury of the Hôtel William GrayHôtel GaultHôtel Place d’Armes or Le Petit Hôtel. Spoil yourself with aperitifs, dinner and breakfast in your room, spa treatments and other pamperings—you deserve it!

Downtown and the Village

This summer, for the first time ever, the Quartier des spectacles Partnership, downtown Montréal and Tourisme Montréal are proud to team up with 200 partners to offer Les aventures du cœur de l'île: public urban design “oases” where you can safely gather, coupled with a diverse program of artists. Starting this June, enjoy fun and safe installations, cultural entertainment, outdoor terraces, pedestrian-only streets, green spaces and special activities. Don’t miss it!

More great news? The Ville de Montréal has extended free weekend parking to designated spots in the borough of Ville-Marie’s streets until September 6. Culture lovers, now is the time to book your tickets to see Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the new collections at the Musée d’art contemporain in a special exhibition entitled Des horizons d’attente, or dive into fashion with the Christian Dior exhibition at the McCord Museum. Over at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, you can soak up stunning sound and visuals with the OASIS immersion.

Above ground or below, shoppers will love downtown’s endless choices. In the underground pedestrian network, you can roam from the Centre Eaton to Place Montréal Trust to the Cours Mont-Royal to Place Ville Marie to Complexe Desjardins. Prefer outdoor scouting? Head to Sainte-Catherine Street, celebrated for its miles and miles of boutiques. Add a little luxury to your day with a visit to the recently renovated Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, a must on everyone’s shopping list.

Getting hungry or thirsty? Get a seat on any one of these plentiful terrasses: Renoir, Labo culinaire - Foodlab, Bar George, Pois Penché, Jatoba, Nacarat, Marcus, Les Enfants Terribles (Au sommet de la Place Ville-Marie) and AIR.

Quartiers du Canal and Pôle des Rapides

Another day, another adventure! This time, you’re heading to Montréal’s dynamic southwest borough to soak up the fun just steps away from the St. Lawrence River. Window shop on Promenade Wellington, a charming street in the borough of Verdun, that is packed with hot spots and best-kept secrets (less and less, however!). You’ll love the seaside ambiance of Verdun Beach and the little restaurant bars that set that oh-so summery mood. Check out the Verdun Beach Guinguette where you can sip organic wines and seasonal dishes,  Palco and Bénélux microbrewery, just a few of the neighbourhood go-tos.

How about surfing on the St. Lawrence? Hook up with KSF, a team with a passion for water adventures that offers not only surfing lessons, but gentle or more challenging kayak or SUP (stand up paddleboard) outings.

 

Next, head to the Lachine Canal for a leisurely stroll, kayak ride or pleasure boat ride along the water. Book your trip with Aventures H2O and check out our ideas on water fun across the island.

Be sure to stop by the Atwater Market for a take-out lunch in a bustling, bohemian ambiance, then make your way to Notre-Dame Street West, which is crammed with crave-worthy eateries. Enjoy a meal on the terrasses of Vin Papillon, Liverpool House, Joe Beef, La Bête à pain Griffintown designer bakery, Marché Le Richmond, Patrice Pâtissier, Nora Gray, Candide or Perles et Paddock. Wrap up your day with a relaxing drink on the Terrasse St-Ambroise or Riverside St-Henri in industrial chic surroundings alongside the canal. What could be more Montréal than this?

Plateau, Mile-End and Outremont

Charming houses, green back alleys and that extra special vibe: this is why these Montréal neighbourhoods are worth the detour. Linking all three is Mount Royal or the  “lungs” of the city, where you can go to soak up stunning city views and fill up on fresh air. Love urban art? Book a guided tour with Spade & Palacio and discover the Plateau’s bounty of urban visuals. You’ll be smitten with their colourful and history-rich tour along Saint-Laurent Boulevard. For brunch, lunch, supper or even coffee on the go, the list of options is long. Start with the sweet outdoor patios at Alma, Bloomfield, Rumi, , Rouge Gorge, Santropol, Olimpico or Buvette chez Simone. Let us know how it was!

Little Italy and Villeray

Without a doubt, the star of this neighbourhood is the magnificent Jean-Talon Market. Grab a coffee and wander dreamily among colourful stands that will make you want to scoop up everything in sight. Next, check out the recently revamped Plaza St-Hubert for its refreshing mix of on-trend and traditional boutiques that changes up the shopping experience. Be sure to stop by the Montreal Restaurant Plaza, a typically trend-setting Montréal brewery that offers delicious dinners for two. Those in the know know that Little Italy and Villeray has a bounty of culinary delights on tucked-away terraces. You’ll love restaurants like Vin Mon LapinImpastoPastagaLou (Gus), ManitobaTandemMesón and Tapeo. Next climb to the tony perch of Taverne Atlantic, Vices&Versa’s hidden outdoor patio or relax in the lush greenery and scenery of Bar Cicchetti. Call it a night with a leisurely stroll around the lovely pond at Parc Jarry to digest your delicious meal.

Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Est de l’Île

Go to the Space for Life’s newly renovated Biodôme for an mesmerizing trip through the ecosystems of the Americas that includes the tropical forest, Laurentian sugarbush, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador coasts and the subantarctic islands. For a soul-soothing, open-air experience, the Botanical Garden offers a country-like romantic oasis of greenery. Discover a superb collection of 22,000 species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses and some 30 gorgeous theme gardens. Once you’ve had your green fix, take a break at a neighbourhood restaurant like Les Canailles, Hélicoptère, Le Flamant, the Heirloom pizzeria or the brand-new, dog-friendly Café Élice.

Parc Jean-Drapeau

Straddling two islands in the St. Lawrence River, this verdant park becomes a beachy escape in sunny weather. Just a five-minute jaunt from downtown, the Jean-Doré Beach has a pretty sand beach where you can work on your tan, splash about or play volleyball. With its big, beautiful outdoor pools, the park’s aquatic complex is also discovery-worthy. The park also provides sports lovers, walkers and nature lovers  25 kilometres of multipurpose trails to explore. Wander to your heart’s content along paths dotted with some of the city’s most celebrated artworks, including Calder’s Man stabile. Download free podcast documentaries on the mobile app Portrait Sonore to learn more about 15 public artworks around Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame.

Whichever neighborhood you decide to visit with your sweetheart, don’t forget that you can take advantage of MTLàTABLE Off-trail edition until October 11 to explore the culinary scene and discover new flavours!

Happy discoveries à deux!

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard has been written for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes as much for the media as for companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and good addresses, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.

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