Montréal for women travelling solo

Béatrice Bernard-Poulin

Getting away to Montréal with your BFF called YOU? This city is friendly, full of surprises and, of course, safe, which means it’s ideal for a female on a solo getaway.

Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of your trip built for one, whether you want to navigate it alone or make some brand-new besties.

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Where to eat

It all boils down to your interests and your budget, but Montréal has something for foodies big and small. There are, however, a few places to eat that you absolutely can’t miss, and we’re here to steer you in the right direction.

Start by wandering through one of our public markets, like the Jean-Talon Market, Maisonneuve Market or Atwater Market. You can chat with local producers, pick up things for a lunch and snack away on your yummy finds on site.

There are some great restaurants for solo dining in Montréal that include Cadet, Manitoba and Agrikol.

Where to shop

Can’t get enough of boutique-browsing? You’re in luck—we’ve got a bounty.

In fact, you can find unique items in each neighbourhood. Go downtown for chock-a-block shops above ground and below, and tons of major labels. On the Plateau, get a feel for our many independent boutiques as well as Québec chains at a wide range of price points. And in Mile End, unleash your inner deal finder in excellent second-hand stores or get your hands on some of the city’s trendiest designer fashions.

Of course, you can heat up the plastic in Old Montréal’s numerous art galleries and restaurants. For beautiful, original and locally-made souvenirs, be sure to pop by the Boutique Bonjour Montréal at Place Jacques-Cartier before you leave.

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Where to commune with nature

If you’re craving greenery and fresh air, don’t miss going for a walk on Mount Royal. You can while away an hour or the entire day soaking up its impressive flora and fauna. The cityscape is also dotted with plenty of other parks that are perfect for relaxing, reading or picnicking, including Parc Maisonneuve, Parc La Fontaine, Parc Jarry and Parc Jean-Drapeau.

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Where to go out

Summer in Montréal is all about sunshine, fun and free events. From the Village au Pied-du-Courant to the Quartier des spectacles, follow your feet and discover new artists while taking in some rays (and, maybe, a beer). Plus, this is a fail-proof plan for meeting new people: they’re pretty much everywhere.

The Francos de Montréal and the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal are two free-concert musts. Piknic Électronik in Parc Jean-Drapeau and the Tam-tams du mont Royal, for their part, offer you typical Montréal music gatherings.

Our 5 à 7 (happy hour) is also an excellent way to make new friends. Sidle up to the bar (the top spot when travelling solo) and ask the people working about the city’s hottest spots. The House of Jazz, Brasserie Harricana, The Burgundy Lion, BENELUX brewpub and Bartizen are among the many venues to keep on your radar.

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Where to chill

Silence is golden and spas get that, which means they are sublime spaces if you are looking to just peace out. Among the detour-worthy many are Bota Bota, spa-sur-l'eau, which is housed in a former ferryboat, and the architecturally-acclaimed Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal, located in a stone basement in Old Montréal. Different atmospheres, but great go-tos for R&R.

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Where to meet people

Okay, not having to consult anyone every two minutes while traveling is great, but getting a teeny bit lonely? You have options. Like a cooking or dance class that lets you immerse yourself in an authentic Montréal experience while mingling with locals and other wayfarers.

If you want to watch the pros at work and meet new people, why not go on a guided tour? Discover Little Italy, Old Montréal and the Mile End with a guide or take a themed tour to scout out authentic Montréal breweries. Go local with a Spade & Palacio tour, which gives you the inside scoop on the city.

How to get around

Public transit, hands down, is the best way to get around the city for longer distances. The bus and metro networks are reliable, secure and affordable (don’t you just love that?).

Good to know: in addition to giving access to tourist attractions, the Passeport MTL, which comes in 2-day ($93) and 3-day ($113) passes gives you unlimited access to the public transit network.

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Where to stay

If you feel like meeting other like-minded travelers, youth hostels could just be your thing. But if the idea of sharing sleeping space with complete strangers makes you skittish, they also offer private rooms, which still give you access to common areas that are perfect for socializing. Among the many to check out is the Auberge de jeunesse HI Montréal at the heart of downtown.

If hotels make your heart sing, the choices are ubiquitous, no matter what your budget or the neighbourhood you want to explore. Looking for something luxe? Try the Hôtel William Gray, Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites or Hôtel Nelligan, three upscale properties in Old Montréal.

If you’re on a budget, the Hôtel de l’ITHQ is an excellent choice: the four-star teaching hotel is operated by students and features two restaurants facing the magnificent Square Saint-Louis.

Can’t decide? The MTL Sweet Deal features accommodations you’ll love and ensures that you get the best hotel room rate.

And giftwrapping all this Montréal fun is the My official Montréal city guide app, which gives you personalized recommendations based on what you like, where you are and what the time of day it is.

So, whether you’re zipping in for a 24-hour stay or stretching it out to a weekend or week, you’ll have a plethora of picks to discover in Montréal. And who knows? You might just meet a few new mates.

Béatrice Bernard-Poulin

Béatrice Bernard-Poulin, blogger

Béatrice Bernard-Poulin is always on the lookout for ideas on how to get more for less. She loves free events, public markets and taking long walks through Old Montréal. As an avid traveller, she always finds a way to stretch a dollar, peso, euro or yuan. In addition to writing for her eponymous blog, Béatrice is the author of Vivez mieux pour moins [Live Better on Less], published in 2018.

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