Montreal is a little piece of European goodness in North America. It’s full of so much old city charm, modern attractions, and incredible cuisine. Many of us don’t get enough time off work, and we all must squeeze as many memorable moments into one trip as possible. While the one-weekend visit will have you longing for more, here’s your weekend itinerary for your quick getaway to Montreal. Save some headaches and many hours of planning by stealing our travel guide and itinerary.
THE BEST PARTS OF MONTREAL
- The Montréal Botanical Gardens. They’re the second largest botanical garden in the world and simply stunning. Bring your walking shoes and a camera, and get ready to be wowed!
- Old Montréal feels like a tiny slice of France. With European-influenced architecture, Notre Dame, and french as the official language, you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped off in a friendly European city only hours away.
- Montréal’s Old Port is a mix of relaxing and exciting. With plenty to do and plenty of benches and green space, you can fly through the air on a zip line or simply sit with a lemonade and watch the boats go by. While most things labeled “family-friendly” tend to be child-oriented, Old Port is perfect for every type of traveler. If you’re into performing arts? Catch the Cirque Du Soleil show. Want to get your heart racing? Take a ride across the zip line. Want to take in the views of the city? Hop inside the grand Ferris wheel.
WOAH, THAT’S DIFFERENT!
- Did you know French is the official language of the province of Quebec? Brush up on your “please and thank you’s,” and your gesture will go a long way, even if you don’t know the language. We had no issues communicating in mostly English – it is still Canada, after all.
- You simply must try poutine when you visit! Poutine is like upgraded french fries – fries smothered in gravy and littered with squeaky, delicious cheese curds. You might never want plain fries again.
- The inside Notre Dame Basilica turns into a video projection light show in the evenings! Talk about a way to have fun in church – the Aura experience hits new levels of wow, wonder, and artistry as colors flood the walls while an enormous amount of sound fills the church. Get your tickets to the show here.
WHERE WE STAYED
- 4-star affordable luxury right in the middle of the city.
- The large hotel room had floor-to-ceiling windows that offered fantastic pool views. The bathroom had a wonderfully large walk-in shower and plenty of counter space, and the bed was cozy.
- The hotel is centrally located, offering opportunities to walk in opposite directions towards either Old Montreal or the Metro line in less than 10 minutes. There are also ample dining options within walking distance.
FRIDAY: FLY TO MONTREAL
- Fly from your home airport
- Depending on your work schedule and location, you might be able to catch a flight after the work day, otherwise, you might want to schedule time off to fly over.
- Arrive and check in to your stay
- Recommendation: Humaniti Hotel Montréal
- Enjoy a low-key romantic dinner
- Recommendation: Fiorellino for an authentic Italian experience where you’ll find yourself speaking English, your fellow patrons speaking french, and your menu totally in Italian. Welcome to the beauty of Montréal. You’ll grow to love it!
SATURDAY: OLD MONTREAL & GARDENS
- Start with a Slow Brunch
- Recommendation: Make reservations for brunch at Tommy or Tommy Café. Tommy offers well-crafted coffee and fresh or light fares with something for everyone. The café is so cool and relaxed without being pretentious. We loved the food, playlist, and service so much that we wanted to come back for dinner!
- Explore Old Montreal
- Recommendation: visit the Boho Lab for some serious home decor inspiration. Though Google says it’s a rug store, it’s so much more! Everything in the store is 100% handmade. We bought the most gorgeous gold mirror and had a lovely conversation with the shopkeeper while visiting.
- There is so much to explore here. From boutique shopping, art spotting, touring the Notre Dame Basilica, and much more, you can spend plenty of time enjoying this area that feels like a little piece of Europe.
- Walk Down to Old Port of Montreal to Play and Relax
- You’ll want to spend between 2-3 hours here strolling through all the booths, enjoying a fresh squeezed lemonade, and shopping for souvenirs. Take your time, enjoy the waterfront, and watch the paddle boats go by. Better yet, take one for yourself.
- If you want to see the city from a new perspective, we recommend taking a ride on La Grande Roue de Montréal. From the top, you get a 360-degree view of Montreal. We highly recommend skipping the line at the ticket booth and buying your tickets in advance before going through the Tiqets app.
- If you’re willing to forgo an afternoon nap, catch a show by Cirque du Soleil at the port. As the group started in Quebec, this is the perfect place to see them!
- Montréal Botanical Gardens
- Grander than you can imagine, a visit to the Montréal Botanical Gardens is a must. These are the second largest botanical gardens in the world and the grounds are immaculate. With the most precious ponds, fascinating First Nations gardens, and much more, this will quickly become your favorite part of the trip.
- Casual Dinner at a Local Pub, Bistro, or Restaurant
- Recommendation: Galaxie Brasserie for Steak Frites that are to die for.
SUNDAY: DOWNTOWN MONTRÉAL
- Seek out the Best Bagel in Town
- Here’s a little-known secret – Montreal’s bagels rival a New York City bagel! What!? Seriously! We would give specific recommendations, but our recommendation would be to ask around for the local favorite recommendations. (The St.Viateur Bagel is out of this world though.)
- Stroll the Streets and Get a Little Lost (on purpose)
- Recommendation: Depending on how much time you have before you need to head to the airport. If time allows, stop by La Banquise to enjoy a treat of Poutine – a Canadian specialty made of french fries, cheese curds, and salty brown gravy.
- Commute to the Montreal Airport, Check in and kiss Canada goodbye (for now!)
If you love Montréal, we know you’ll like Toronto! Check out our guide to a weekend Canada’s largest city.