As you might recall from Instagram, Adam and I met our friends in Montreal a few weekends ago. It was purely for fun (I didn’t even bring my camera!), but it’s such an awesome city, I felt compelled to do a recap for you!
We only had a little over 2 days in Montreal, but it was still 100% worth the trip. Ever since we went to Barcelona and Lisbon, we’ve had a major travel itch, so when our friends mentioned they were going to visit Montreal, we jumped on board. It’s the perfect place for a getaway that felt different, but is still in North America… in other words, it’s a little taste of Europe without the super long flight and hefty price tag!
We didn’t sign up for a walking tour, but we did cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Honestly, the best part of this city is the incredible restaurant scene. If you’re going to Montreal, get ready to eat and drink your way through this delicious city. Each place we went to was better than the last!
And before we dive in to everything we did, I will say that Old Town Montreal was my favorite area to walk around, and apparently ALL of Quebec City is like that. A bunch of people have said that it has a lot of history and that French charm that I loved about Saint Paul Street in Montreal. Definitely something to look into if you’re planning a trip to Canada!
Montreal Weekend Guide
Go to restaurants/bars in Griffintown
We stayed in an up and coming part of Montreal called Griffintown and I’m so glad we did, because the nightlife is right up my alley. Our AirBNB was about a block away from Notre-Dame Street, which had TONS of restaurants and bars with big open windows and patio seating. We especially loved Grinder – hilarious name, but AMAZING food and cocktails. After that we went to Perles et Paddock (pictured above) for oysters and another round of cocktails. We also went to Foxy (a reader recommendation!) the next night and enjoyed a lovely meal on their cute patio.
Get a Montreal Bagel
We went to Le Trou Bagels since it was close to where we were staying. St. Viateur Bagels was definitely the most recommended, but this place was way more convenient and honestly PERFECT for a slightly hungover morning. The bagels were fresh out of the oven and everything I wanted – and the entire staff couldn’t have been nicer. Big fan!
Walk around Old Montreal
While exploring Old Montreal, or Vieux Montreal, you’ll find all the French charm in this cute city! Narrow cobblestone streets, sweet cafes and shops with tons of greenery and flowers, and pastries galore! It’s located in between the water and downtown Montreal, but it feels like a little slice of Europe.
Go to Olive et Gourmando
Literally every single person who has been here told me to go add Olive et Gourmando to my Montreal itinerary. Turns out it’s not only a fan favorite with you guys, because we couldn’t get a table when we went there! Instead of waiting for hours, we picked up some pastries from their counter service and walked around the area. This was a scone with fresh plums… aka heaven. Adam also got a croissant that was worth every calorie 😉
Go to Notre Dame Basilica
It’s hard to miss the Notre Dame Basilica when you’re walking around Old Town Montreal, but it’s worth the visit inside. The interior is gorgeous – deep blue ceilings decorated with gold stars (made with real gold!) and tons of other colorful details that I haven’t seen in a lot of other churches. Also, their stained glass windows feature the religious history of Montreal instead of biblical scenes. So interesting! I believe they do a guided tour every half hour and it’s very quick and informative. I’m so glad we stayed for that!
*If you like churches, I’ve heard the Joseph S Oratory is also beautiful!
Get soft serve at Kem Coba
We took a cab to Kem Coba because Adam and our friend Dave never say no to ice cream. When we arrived, there was a huge line… but it was so worth the wait. The soft serve flavors were mango and passion fruit, so I got a swirl in a cone. I haven’t had soft serve in a while, let alone fruity soft serve… and hot damn, it was good. Why don’t more places make passion fruit soft serve? I’ve been craving it ever since! HIGHLY recommend. (Plus it’s in the other cute neighborhood you should explore!)
Walk around Le Plateau/Mont Royal Neighborhoods
After you get some ice cream, walk around the neighborhood! This is known as the “hip” part of the city, and it felt a lot like the kind of neighborhood we would live in if we lived there. I really wanted to find some of the streets with colorful houses that I was seeing all over Pinterest, so we honestly just wandered a bit, admiring all of the street art. We did end up finding colorful houses though – on Drolet Street between Mont Royal Ave and Marie Anne St! So glad I got my gram 😉
After that, we walked over to a bar called Darling for an afternoon drink. I only had an iced tea, but I’d go again just for all of the beautiful greenery everywhere!
Eat at SeaSalt & Ceviche
Not only does SeaSalt & Ceviche have a “rosé all day” sign inside, but they also have the most beautiful patio in Old Town right by the river. The 4 of us shared a pitcher of their crazy delicious rosé sangria, along with multiple ceviche dishes. Everything was super fresh and light – perfect for an al fresco lunch!
Hike Mount Royal
One really unique thing about Montreal is that they have a small mountain right in the middle of it called Mount Royal. Most people call it a hike, but it’s more of an uphill walk. The route we took had a LOT of stairs (definitely a booty burn, not going to lie!), but it only took us about 15 minutes to get to the top. Once you get up to Mount Royal Park, you can stop to take in a view of the whole city. You’ll pass through a pretty building with some refreshments and a gift shop – and once you walk through that, you’ll get to an expansive plaza with a view of the whole city. It was especially beautiful to see all of the changing leaves when we were there!
Because we were only there for a few days, we couldn’t hit everything, but here are some other recommendations that were on my list:
- La Banquise (Everyone says this place has the best poutine!)
- Tommy Cafe + Apero (we went to their other location on rue Notre Dame in Old Montreal and it was an adorable little spot. Pictured below!)
- Au Piedde Cochon (An Anthony Bourdain pick. It’s hard to get into, so if you really want to go – get a reservation beforehand!)
- Tiradito (Peruvian small plates.)
- Joe Beef
- Jean Talon Market (A Farmer’s Market in a hip part of the city!)
- The Coldroom (We didn’t make it to this speakeasy, but it sounds really cool.)
- El Pequeno Bar (Literally a little bar ?)
- Jardin Nelson (Get the crepes!)
- Arthur’s Nosh Bar (Go for brunch!)
- Botanical Gardens (This is a little bit outside the city, but I hear it’s gorgeous.)
- Montreal Food Tour
- Underground City
Also, I need to tell you about a pro travel tip I just learned! If you’re heading to Montreal, create a list (or use mine below) in Google Maps and save it on your phone. That way, when you’re exploring, you can just open Google Maps and see what’s close by! I don’t know why I’ve never thought of this before, but it’s genius – especially when I get tons of recommendations from you guys! I’m definitely going to test it out for my next trip, but it seems pretty simple to do. Do any of you do this before/during your vacations?