Montreal is a wonderful city to visit.
From the moment you arrive, you can feel its rich history and vibrant culture. The streets are lined with beautiful Victorian-era buildings, and the cafes and shops reflect the city’s French heritage.
In this guide, we’re sharing 14 essential tips that will make your trip to Montreal even more special.
What Is Montreal Known For?
There are many things that make Montreal worth visiting.
The city has a history dating back to the founding of New France in the 17th century, and its architecture is a mix of French, British, and modern styles.
Montreal is also home to a vibrant cultural scene, with countless festivals and events taking place throughout the year.
From the world-renowned Jazz Fest to the lively Oktoberfest celebrations, there is always something to enjoy in Montreal.
And of course, no visit to the city would be complete without trying some of its famous food, from poutine to Montreal-style bagels.
How To Get to Montreal
Montreal is easily accessible by plane, train, or car.
If you are flying into the city, you will likely arrive at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. From there, you can take a taxi, Uber, or public bus to get into the city center.
If you are coming by train, the main station is Gare Centrale. From there, you can take a taxi or the metro to your final destination.
And if you are driving, Montreal is just a few hours from major cities like Boston, New York City, and Toronto – which makes it perfect for a weekend trip!
What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Montreal?
The best time of year to visit Montreal depends on what you want to see and do while you’re in the city.
If you’re interested in outdoor activities, summer is the best time to visit, with warm weather and long days. Spring and fall are also good times to visit, as the weather is still pleasant and there are fewer crowds.
Winter can be a great time to visit Montreal if you’re interested in winter sports or festive holiday events.
Getting Around Montreal
Montreal is a very walkable city, and walking is often the best way to get around. But if you want to cover more ground, there are a few other options to consider.
The metro is an efficient way to get around Montreal, and it’s especially useful if you’re going to be spending time in the city center. If you’re planning to do some sightseeing, consider buying a day pass, which allows you unlimited travel on the metro and bus system and costs 10 dollars.
You can also take the bus, which is a good option if you’re staying outside of the city center. And of course, there are always taxis and Uber if you need them.
Best Tips for Visiting Montreal
Here are, without further ado, my tips for visiting Montreal:
1. Get a Passeport MTL
This city pass gives you access to many of Montreal’s top attractions, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Biodome, and the Botanical Gardens.
2. French is the first language in Montreal, but almost everyone speaks English as well.
That being said, it’s always appreciated when visitors make an effort to speak French.
Learn a few key phrases before you go, and you’ll be sure to make a good impression.
3. Bring your own wine to restaurants
In Montreal, it is not unusual to see restaurants with a sign that says “Apportez-votre vin”, which means “Bring your own wine”.
Bringing your own wine to restaurants is a great way to save money, as most restaurants charge high prices for alcohol.
4. Spend at least two days in the city
There is a lot to see in Montreal!
For the most complete experience, plan to spend at least two complete days in the city – this 2 day Montreal itinerary is great!
5. Get bagels from St Viateur Bagel Shop
St Viateur Bagel Shop has been a Montreal institution since 1957, and it’s easy to see why.
The bagels here are made the old-fashioned way, boiled in honey-sweetened water and then baked in a wood-fired oven.
As a result, they have a crispy crust and a chewy interior that is simply irresistible.
6. If you visit during winter, prepare for the cold
Montreal has one of the most severe winters in the continent, so if you’re visiting during this time of year, be sure to pack your warmest clothes.
Temperatures can dip well below freezing, and it’s not uncommon for snow to fall in the city.
But don’t let the cold weather discourage you from visiting! There are still plenty of great things to do in Montreal during winter, from skating on one of the city’s many outdoor rinks to enjoying a hot chocolate at one of its cozy cafes.
7. Stay in Plateau Mont-Royal
Plateau Mont-Royal is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in when visiting Montreal.
It’s centrally located, so you’ll be close to all of the city’s main attractions. And it’s a great place to experience the city’s unique character, with its lively nightlife and abundance of adorable independent shops and cafes.
If you’re looking for a place to stay that is both comfortable and convenient, Plateau Mont-Royal is a perfect choice.
8. Use BIXI for renting a bike in Montreal
BIXI is a Montreal-based company that operates a citywide network of bike-sharing stations.
If you’re looking for a fun and efficient way to get around, BIXI is definitely worth checking out.
You can either rent a bike for a day or an entire week and with several stations located throughout the city, it’s easy to find one near your hotel or rental apartment.
9. Explore Old Montreal
Old Montreal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, and it’s easy to see why.
This historic district is full of charming cobblestone streets and beautiful 18th-century architecture.
There are also plenty of great restaurants and cafes to enjoy, as well as a variety of shops and boutiques.
10. To learn more about the history of Quebec, take a historic tour
Quebec is a province with a rich history, and there are plenty of ways to learn about it when you visit.
One of the best ways is to take a historic tour, which will introduce you to some of the key events and figures that have shaped the province.
There are a variety of different tours to choose from, so you can find one that covers the topics that you’re most interested in.
You can check out the best tours to take in the city here.
11. If you have the time, go on a day trip to Quebec City
Montreal is a great base for exploring the province of Quebec.
And if you have the time, we highly recommend taking a day trip to Quebec City, which is about three hours away by car.
This historic city is full of beautiful buildings and is home to the famous Chateau Frontenac, one of the most photographed hotels in the world.
12. La Banquise is the best place for poutine
No trip to Montreal would be complete without a stop at La Banquise, which is widely considered to be the best place in the city for poutine.
This Quebecois dish consists of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy, and it’s absolutely delicious.
La Banquise offers a wide variety of poutine toppings, from classic ingredients like bacon and sausage to more unusual options like smoked meat and foie gras.
Whether you’re a poutine lover or just looking to try something new, La Banquise is definitely worth a visit.
13. The Museum of Fine Arts is open till late on Wednesdays
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest and most popular museums in the city.
And if you’re looking for something to do on a Wednesday night, we recommend checking out its late-night opening hours.
From 10am until 9:00pm, the museum is open to visitors, and you can explore its many galleries at your own pace.
It’s a great way to experience the museum without having to deal with the crowds, and it’s also a perfect activity for a date night.
14. Use the app Eventbrite to find cool events in the city
If you’re looking for something to do in Montreal, the Eventbrite app is a great resource.
This app allows you to search for and buy tickets to a variety of different events, from concerts and comedy shows to art exhibitions and food festivals.
And if you’re not sure what you want to do, you can browse the app’s “Discover” section, which features a curated list of events based on your interests.
So there you have it! These are our essential tips for your next trip to Montreal.
I hope you enjoy your time in this amazing city. Personally, I can’t wait to go back!