Montréal is a busy, vibrant city that is very walkable and bikeable. There is plenty to see and do in every neighborhood, and it’s fairly easy to get from one side of the city to another by bike or public transit. This Montréal itinerary assumes that you won’t be traveling by car. If you’d like to get more exercise, substitute cycling by Bixi for public transit. If you or a traveling partner has mobility issues, skip the Métro (it’s often not accessible) in favor of the bus or a cab.
While you’re traveling, keep an eye out for street festivals, especially in the Quartier Latin and the Plateau—they’re everywhere in the summer.
Day 1: Vieux-Montréal
Arrive in Montréal and head to your hotel in Vieux-Montréal. Drop your bags and head out to grab a coffee and a light bite at Olive & Gourmando. Then stroll down rue St-Paul, the oldest street in the city, and do a little browsing.
Head to the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, Montréal’s beloved landmark and the site of much of the city’s early history. Right in front of the church you’ll find Place d’Armes, a bustling tourist spot home to public art, four centuries of architecture, and, often, talented buskers. Next, walk down to the Vieux-Port, stroll along the waterside promenade, and check out Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, the oldest church in the city, as well as Habitat 67 and Silo #5.
In the late afternoon head out onto Jacques-Cartier Quay to Terrasses Bonsecours for a drink on the patio and a great view of the skyline as the sun begins to dip down. Head past the artists and street vendors on Place Jacques-Cartier and up to Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal for the nightly light show.
Try local French favorite Le Club Chasse et Pêche for dinner. After the meal, head to Place d’Armes Hôtel and Suites for a nightcap and a view of the city’s twinkling lights at rooftop bar Terrasse Place d’Armes. If you’re not ready to head back to your hotel, there’s always a chance to make a few late-night dance moves at dance club Wunderbar.
Day 2: Petite-Italie, Mont-Royal, and Centre-Ville
Take the Métro to Marché Jean-Talon for breakfast—La Crêperie du Marché is a perfect choice—and stroll around enjoying the sights and sounds and gathering snacks for later. Then rent a Bixi from the closest stand and head south along the bike paths toward Parc du Mont-Royal. Grab a coffee to go at Café Santropol and hike up the mountain to one of its four belvederes—Belvedere Kondiaronk near the Chalet du Mont-Royal is a favorite.
For lunch, try Aux Vivres, close to the eastern edge of the park—the healthy vegetarian food will be welcome after all that exercise. Next, hop back on a Bixi or catch bus 435 to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. Spend the afternoon soaking up art.
When you get peckish, grab dinner and a drink at Kazu. Then catch bus 165 up the west side of the mountain and end your evening by walking to Saint Joseph’s Oratory and climbing the steps for an amazing sunset view.
Day 3: Quartier Latin, Mile End, and Plateau Mont-Royal
Take the Métro to rue Sherbrooke and walk north on rue St-Denis, taking as many side streets and alleyways as possible to explore the true character of Plateau Mont-Royal. Grab breakfast at French bistro L’Express and keep your eyes peeled for the cobblestone avenue Duluth and, farther north, avenue Marie Anne, Leonard Cohen’s old haunt. Explore a bit of the French side of avenue Mont-Royal before heading west and north.
Make your way to St-Viateur Bagel Shop and eat your hot-from-the-oven treat with a coffee from Café Olimpico for lunch. Check out the vintage stores on rue St-Viateur and avenue Bernard. Comic fans should hit up Drawn & Quarterly.
Head for boulevard St-Laurent. Browse the shops and take in the street’s history as you head south. Stop in at Kitsch ’n’ Swell and La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse. Have a beer or cider at Else’s and get a thick, smoked-meat sandwich at Schwartz’s. Catch an up-and-coming band or dance the night away to the city’s most eclectic DJs at Casa del Popolo.
Day 4: The Village and Greater Montréal
Head to the Village, get goodies to go from Le Mie Matinale, rent a Bixi, and make your way to the Pont Jacques-Cartier. Built over the St-Lawrence River, the bridge has spectacular panoramic views of the city, and it’s a unique way to get to Parc Jean-Drapeau. Once on the island, you can drop your bike off and head off for a day of rides at La Ronde or just ogle the awe-inspiring wonder that is Buckminster Fuller’s Biosphère.
Have a picnic on the shores of the river—take advantage of Montréal’s picnic law and enjoy a beer with your meal—wander the gardens, then hop the Métro back for an unparalleled dining experience at Toqué! and an evening performance at Cirque du Soleil.
Day 5: Mont-Tremblant
Throw your hiking boots in a bag and leave Montréal on the first bus to Mont-Tremblant National Park for a day in the rugged outdoors. At the largest and oldest park in the province, you can hike, swim, canoe, and kayak to your heart’s content. For something a little less taxing, head to Mont-Tremblant Resort for some alpine luging and pedal-boating. Spend the night in Mont-Tremblant’s Auberge la Porte Rouge and have dinner at Seb l’Artisan Culinaire.
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