A weekend to remember in Montréal
This article was updated on April 2, 2019.
Montréal is great for long trips, but even a weekend getaway here can turn into the trip of a lifetime. It’s such a unique mix of new metropolitan buzz, cultural overload and gastronomic extravagance! Carve out three days off and come have a ball in this stunning city that’s a mere hop, skip and jump away from home.
Start off exploring
The best way to get a sense of the city is to hit the streets as soon as you arrive. Explore two of its most renowned natural features on the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne: this 3.8 km pathway will take you on a walk from Mount Royal to the St. Lawrence River, showcasing the city’s history, heritage, panoramas and cultural uniqueness along the way.
Go out to dinner…
Montréal’s food scene is world famous and always expanding, and we’re here to make sure you hear about the exciting developments first. So jump right into your trip and get the skinny on the latest, greatest options out there with our list of brand new restaurants. Whether you’re hungry for French bistro classics, modern Moroccan or Cambodian-Mexican fusion, it’s all here.
… And a show
The best place to start? The unparalleled Vitrine, the cultural hub right in Montréal’s downtown core, where all the shows and happenings are listed and tickets can be bought. It’s right next to the Place des Arts, home to the city’s ballet scene, opera, classical music performances and more, as well as the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and outdoor performances on the Place des Festivals year round.
Have brunch on a boat
Start at the breathtaking Old Port and head off aboard the AML Cavalier Maxim to see the city from another vantage point as you enjoy a delicious brunch. The views on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Habitat 67, the Farine Five Roses building, and many more defining sites make this original outing a family favourite. Bateau-Mouche also offers amazing tours, not for brunch but rather for dinner, a beautiful time to gaze at the illuminated Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Prefer land? We’ve got you covered.
Stroll through a garden
After that feast, time to stretch your legs a little in the Jardin des Origines: shaped like a turtle, the Maison Saint-Gabriel, Museum and Historic Site’s new garden was inspired by crops grown by First Nations peoples from the 17th century. The garden focuses on themes such as medicine, nutrition, basketry and embroidery. If you’ve got more time on your hands, there’s nothing like the Montréal Botanical Garden—miles of beautiful flora both indoors and out.
Get your shop on
The best way to remember Montréal is through the makings of its artists and artisans, which you’ll find in spades at these cool (no, really) souvenir shops. Otherwise, fashion mavens will find their bliss in Old Montréal, in Mile End and the Plateau and on Laurier Avenue West, while designer and big-brand lovers will love the Golden Square Mile and the downtown core. Rainy day? The Underground Pedestrian Network is here to serve!
Dine in style
Treat yourself to one of the fine tables that have helped put Montréal on the international food map. From Joe Beef to Au Pied de Cochon to Restaurant Toqué! and beyond, our five-star dining experiences abound! In the mood for something more casual? These recommendations are sure to get your mouth watering, with new options being posted every week.
Dance till dawn
Get a taste of some of Montréal’s nightlife! Pub crawl on either Crescent Street or Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Whatever the time of year, you might well be able to dance the night away outside – yes, even in winter! Or if you’re more indie than EDM, search out one of these clubs to hear some premium live music any day of the week.
Soak up next-level culture
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace houses the Hornsteins’ personal collection plus some 600 works from the MMFA’s collection ranging from Rembrandt to Rodin and Monet to Matisse. The museum’s fifth pavilion uses 2 of its 4 floors for education, social and community programs, as well as art therapy and wellness activities.
Sightsee from up high
Get a stunning view of the city year-round from one of these patios, or our many toasty four-season rooftop terrasses. Of course there’s also the Grande Roue de Montréal, a giant Ferris wheel right in the heart of the Old Port. It’s open and heated year-round, so ready your cameras!
Devour a poutine
You can’t leave the city without indulging in one of our signature dishes, be it bagels, smoked meat or the most decadent of all, poutine. Picture it: golden French fries topped with melty cheese curds smothered in hot brown gravy… okay, now we want one too.
Walk through history
Virtually an open-air museum in Old Montréal, Cité Mémoire is an installation work in the city streets that unites two-dozen video projections on trees, walls, the ground, you name it, telling the story of Montréal. Download the free app, Montréal en Histoires, and follow along as you stroll after nightfall. Of course, that’s not the only cool installation you’ll find in the neighbourhood – check out AURA at the Notre-Dame Basilica. It’s a stunner.
See the lights
Bid farewell to the city (until next time!) with a look at Living Connections. This artful animation of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge bathes the iconic gateway to Montréal in pulsing, interactive lights that directly reflects the changing energy of the city in real time every night.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an arts and lifestyle writer based out of Parc Ex. When she isn't dragging her one-eyed pug around the neighbourhood, she's busy scoping out art shows, shopping for vintage finds, hiking urban trails or designing jewelry for her brand Gré.