New to Montreal? We’ve compiled a list of the best Montreal attractions to check out while visiting this great city! From great restaurants, fun activities and cool neighbourhoods to explore, there’s never a dull moment!
Mile End – Montreal’s #1 Food Tour Neighbourhood
Montreal Attractions you Won’t Want to Miss
By Mia Pearson
So, you’ve arrived on the island of Montreal. You’ve taken the first step to having a great time! Montreal’s a city with so much to do that even the locals have a hard time keeping track. It’s a hub for great restaurants, bars, festivals and events that’ll keep any visitor gloriously entertained. We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate through the city’s best attractions. So without further ado, let’s jump into this exciting city!
A Party for Your Palate!
Let’s start with where to eat. Montreal’s got a thriving foodie scene with some of the best chefs and restaurants in Canada. Whatever you’re craving, Montreal’s got it. We’ve got authentic food from almost every country around the globe. Looking for Moroccan food? Montreal can hook you up with some tagine. Peckish for some foie gras? We can definitely make that happen; this city is filled to the brim with French bistros. So what food is Montreal known for? The simple answer is bagels, smoked meat, and, of course, poutine!
Bagels: You might think that New York City is known for having the best bagels and smoked meat, but you’ll quickly eschew that notion once you’ve tried Montreal’s. The best bagels can be found in Montreal’s Mile End. There’s a rivalry between Saint-Viateur bagels on Saint-Viateur street, and Fairmount bagels on Fairmount street. Just a few blocks away from each other, these bagel shops both bake their bagels in a wood burning oven and use the same bagel-making technique that they’ve been using in Montreal since the early 20th century. So, go get yourself a warm bagel and definitely have a taste of both!
Saint-Viateur bagels 158 Rue Saint Viateur O
Fairmount bagel 74 Avenue Fairmount O,
Smoked meat: Schwartz’s. You may have already heard of Schwartz’s deli, but if you haven’t tried their smoked meat yet, you’re missing out on a heavenly, hearty experience. Even the Rolling Stones once requested that Schwartz’s be delivered to the venue they were playing at in Montreal. Be prepared to wait in line for a sandwich, but it’s all worth it for a bite of delicious meat that’s been cured for 12 days with that special blend of secret spices. Oh, and one more thing, Schwartz’s is partially owned by Céline Dion, to make it even more interesting.
Schwartz’s Deli 3895 St Laurent Blvd
Lester’s Deli (there is no line at Lester’s in beautiful Outremont neighbourhood) 1057 Bernard Ave
Poutine: Here’s a dish you won’t be able to get anywhere else! Other cities have tried to replicate poutine, but their attempts never come close to what you’ll find in Montreal. For those who don’t know, poutine has three main ingredients: gravy, cheese curds, and fries. We’ll begin with La Banquise; another place where you’ll wait in line, but their poutines are especially delicious. They’re also open 24/7, and a classic Montreal night spent partying should usually end at La Banquise at 4AM. Next, we’ve got Patati Patata, a tiny eatery with quality ingredients. Their poutines are always topped with an olive and lathered in their homemade gravy. Try the Patatine which adds roasted peppers, mushrooms, and onion to the dish. You can’t really go wrong with poutine around Montreal, but these two places take the cake!
La Banquise 994 Rue Rachel E
Patati Patata 4177 St Laurent Blvd
Now, let’s move to where to go for dinner. Check out these lists of great Montreal restaurants:
Montrealers love their fresh produce. Markets are a great way to experience the city like the locals do. It’s a great option for a casual lunch surrounded by a bustling scene of locals getting food and goodies for their week ahead.
Jean Talon Market: In the heart of Montreal’s Little Italy is the Jean Talon Market which is actually one of the oldest markets in Montreal, established in 1933. It’s like a little village of families picking out their fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also explore their flowers, meats, fish, and artisanal pastries if you have a sweet tooth!
7070 Henri Julien Ave
Atwater Market: Located right beside the Lachine Canal, this beautiful building has an art deco architecture that’s worth checking out. Find produce from local farmers who joyfully display their goods at their outdoor kiosks during the warmer months. It’s also a great location to grab some ice cream and stroll along the canal!
Rain or shine, there’s always an array of fun things to do in Montreal. The city boasts an impressive collection of museums with world-class exhibits. There’re also many art galleries, graced by the work of local and international artists. Whatever your preference–classical or contemporary–Montreal has a museum or gallery worth mentioning at your next fancy cocktail party.
How about taking a food tour? In only a few hours, you can explore the cultural history of a neighbourhood and taste the best food it has to offer. Local Montreal Food Tours offers a number of exciting tours of Montreal’s most talked-about neighbourhoods. There’s the Mile End,Old Montreal, and the brand new Plateau Mont-Royal “The Main” food tours! It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, learn about the city you’re visiting without burying your face into a Wikipedia page, and satisfy your belly. Click here for more information, click here!
Participate in one of These Activities
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra: Spend a magical evening in the company of the enchanting Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The hall itself is a state of the art venue built in 2009 with over 2,000 seats. Conducted by Kent Nagano, the world-class musicians masterfully play classical and innovative pieces for an audience of enthusiastic music-lovers. Tickets for this show are going fast, so be sure to check out their website here.
Treat Your Mind and Body:
In the Old Port on the Saint-Lawrence river is a former cargo ship that’s been converted into a luxurious spa. Bota Bota on the Saint-Lawrence river is the place to go for a day spent relaxing on the water with a beautiful view of the Old Port. Spend the day in their two saunas, their eucalyptus steam bath, outdoor whirlpool baths, relaxation areas, an upscale restaurant, and even a garden. Check out their website here.
Head out on an Urban Adventure: The Urban Discovery tours offered by L’Autre Montréal explores the secrets and forgotten places of Montreal. The walking tour highlights Montreal’s urban issues and looks at Montreal’s architecture and urban planning. It’s a great way to get to know the parts of the city you would have never noticed! For more information, click here.
Explore Montreal’s Underground: If you’re visiting Montreal in the colder months, you’ll be happy to know that you can get almost anywhere in the downtown area by a series of connecting underground tunnels. There’s also a lot to do and see underground: cool cafes, great shopping and even some art sprinkled in for good measure. Check out this article of Montreal’s underground attractions: http://localmontrealtours.com/underground-city-montreal-destinations/
A Few Guides to Montreal’s Cool Neighbourhoods
The Mile End: This hipster haven is an exciting place for a few reasons. It’s home to the best Montreal bagels, the best artisanal soft ice cream at Kem CoBa, and some awesome brunch and dinner places. From cute shops, vintage stores, and streets filled with families and artists going about their day, the Mile End is a pretty little neighbourhood to visit during your Montreal stay. Check out this list of things to do in the Mile End:
The Plateau Mont-Royal: Former home of the late Leonard Cohen, the Plateau is a vibrant area full of bars, cafes, and delicious restaurants. Beautiful old buildings line the streets of this Portuguese neighbourhood. It also houses Schwartz’s, many Portuguese rotisseries, and it’s right next to Mount-Royal where you can find locals picnicking and basking in the summer sun. See a list of things to do in the Plateau here:
Old Montreal: There’s a piece of history attached to every building and cobblestone in Old Montreal. The neighbourhood is the closest thing to a European town in North America with its narrow streets and heritage buildings at every corner. See the glorious Notre Dame church, inspired by the one in Paris. It’s also to place to go for a fine dining experience for the foodies out there. Check out a list of attractions here:
Montreal 375: Montreal is turning 375 years old! To celebrate, the city has put together activities that are happening all year long. From projections of notable Montreal figures on Old Montreal’s buildings to lighting up the Jacques Cartier bridge, there’s sure to be a lot to do in 2017! See their website for more information on activities: http://www.375mtl.com/en/