48 Hours In Montreal

Above: Old Montreal (Photo: ProDesign studio/Shutterstock)

Montreal is often seen as the quickest way to experience a European lifestyle without flying over the ocean. While this may not be exactly true, Montreal is a city that embraces many aspects of French culture: Art, Design, Food and Fashion. Montreal has a joie de vie that everyone should experience at least once. But Montreal is a large enough city with lots of things to do and places to eat that trying to do it all in 48 hours. Here’s the trick, don’t try to do it all.  The Old Port/ Old Montreal has recently become the new ‘it’ arrondisement in Montreal.

What to see?

Few other North American cities have as many festivals as Montreal: everything from Jazz fest, Just for Laughs, Osheaga and Piknik Electronique in the summer months to Igloo Fest and Nuit Blanche in the Winter. Be sure to check out which festivals are happening when you are there.  

What to do?

Old Montreal/ Downtown Montreal is easily walk able, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.Montreal is foremost a culture and design centre, venture outside the Old Port and discover two world class art galleries – the Musée des Beaux Arts and MACM (Museum of Contemporary Art Montreal). Additionally, if you are a music lover, this is the city to discover some great acts before they hit it big. Remember, Leonard Cohen and bands like Arcade Fire or Stars all started in Montreal. Be sure to check out what’s going on at Metropolis, Club Soda or the S.A.T. For theatre, wander over to the Quartier Des Spectacles.

Where to eat?

Brunch: Le Cartet in Old Montreal is a great go to for Brunch – it’s where the locals go. Try one of the skillets. Lunch: Olives et Gourmandois known for great sandwiches (and you can take them to go) just be ready for the wait.  Also check out Bello. Dinner:  There are so many great places in Old Montreal for dinner, everything from celebrity chef Chuck Hughes’ Garde Manger and Le Bremner to l’Orignal, Jatoba and new favourite Harlowe.

Going out:

This is the city that practically invented the 5@7, that’s right great drink and food deals weekdays from 5pm to 7pm. The rooftop of the Hotel Nelligan does a great job at this or check out Taverne Gaspar. Montreal also has a very active nightlife with bars staying open and serving alcohol until 3am. Be sure to check out fashion forward nightclubs like Flyjin, Velvet Speakeasy or Therapy (DJ JoJo Flores club). If you want something more laidback, check out le confessional or some of the swank hotel lobby bars – the lobby bar at Hotel Gault is a favourite.

Where to shop?

Montreal has always been known as a great place to shop, downtown Montreal offers the usual suspect of international brands and such local favourites as Simons and Ogilvy. But if you stick close to the Old Port, you will discover more independent stores offering unique options. Be sure to check out, Rooney, a hipsters paradise filled with Our Legacy and Barbour. Or wander down the street to Michel Brisson which stocks such notables as Dries Van Noten and Zegna.  Wander across the street and check out the latest from unisex designer Rad Hourani. Don’t forget to stop by the brick and mortar outpost of online designer mecca SSENSE.

Where to stay?

W Hotel offers a modern hotel in the centre Quartier Internationale, steps away from the metro and the train station. Treat this hotel as a great home base between Old Port and Downtown Montreal. This modern hotel offers spacious rooms, oversized showers and great soaker tubs. It is also equipped with a gym, spa, restaurant and 3 (yes, 3) bars.

Tags: Montreal, Travel Guide

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