By Megan Renaud
Montreal is a picturesque city diverse in culture, history, Instagram envy and great food. With many different “quarters” there is never a shortage of things to do-making a short trip or a long trip packed full of activities. A trip to Montreal, albeit expensive for us Canadians, is a great way to experience many different cultures on home soil.
With so much to see and do, you want to be central to everything. This can be done by staying right downtown Montreal, or in the heart of the history in Old Montreal. In downtown Montreal, you can stay at any of the large chain hotels, or smaller boutique hotels, such as Le Nouvelle Hotel and Spa and of course, Airbnb is abundant with options. However, no matter where you stay, the public transit is so accessible, and Uber is available so that you can get around easily, a luxury us Vancouverites don’t yet have. It’s super easy (and way cheaper than a cab) to make your way from one side of the city to the next.
If you want the full taste of Montreal, you need to try a lunch at Schwartz’s. Don’t let the huge line outside intimidate you, the food is that good, and it is worth the wait. Rain, shine, snow, it doesn’t matter: you’ll find a of hungry sandwich seekers down the block. Once you have stood in the line, for a relatively short time, the only thing you should order here is the smoked meat sandwich. The bread is made fresh, soft and carb heaven and the meat is smoked in-house. Mixed with mustard, the saltiness of the smoked meat makes your tastebuds explode with flavour. Just remember to have cash handy as it is a cash-only restaurant.
For dinner, try Reuben’s Deli. Here you should order, you guessed it, a Reuben sandwich. With sauerkraut, rye bread and a mountain of smoked meat, be ready to get a little bit messy.
If you still have room, make sure to order the homemade strawberry cheesecake, even if it is just to go. #Noregets.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, you have to stop in at Juliette Et Chocolat. You can sit in to eat, but there is also an option for take-out. There are many options from milkshakes, hot chocolate, pastries and crepes. Anything on the menu will not disappoint.
The perfect place to find craft beer is Bier Markt. Here you can get a flight of 10 beers so you can taste your way through the local craft brews. Whether you like lagers or ales, they have everything for you. Beer isn’t your thing? The bar is fully stocked. Not only can you get beer flights, but you can get wine flights too. Pair your drinks with great food options.
For those die-hard Harry Potter fans, you have to try The Lockheart. Here you’ll find potions from the books, as well as food and drinks named after some of your favourite characters. One downside, if you want to drink, you have to eat as well.
You must explore old Montreal. This is where the heart of the city started. You’ll find the first BMO is here, cobblestone streets, the old port and so much more. You need more than a day in this part of the city to really see it all.
The city is full of museums, with topics to please everyone. By far the best though is the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It has permanent exhibits of paintings and artifacts. As well as featured exhibits that are only around for a limited amount of time. For $15-$20 you can see it all, and it is well worth it.
Montreal really is called the city of 1000 steeples for a reason. It seems like at every block there is another church to explore. If you’re pressed for time, put Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal on your list.
. Walking through McGill University is like being transported somewhere like Oxford in England. The vast buildings and quirky architecture are reminiscent of Europe, once again, making Montreal feel a little more exotic.
End your trip on a high, literally. The best place to view the city is from the top in Mount Royal Park. You can get your workout in and take the many flights of stairs to the top, or you can skip leg day and opt for transit. Whichever mode of transportation you decide on, the view from the top is incredible. After taking in the view, you can go on a leisurely walk throughout the grounds.
This city has so much to offer to anyone. Whether you’d like a foodie trip, a sightseeing tour, a journey rich in history or even just a shopping trip, Montreal is the place for you.
Megan has a love for fashion, travel, and cocktails (along with most everyone else). She has an obsession with shopping, and regularly updates her personal fashion and travel blog.