Your 2-day journey in Montreal will either start at the airport or the train station if you come via bus or train. Luckily, it’s easy to get around from whichever entry port. From the airport, simply jump on the 747 bus shuttles that take you directly to various spots downtown for only $10 cash. Trust me, before they offered this shuttle service, it was way more complicated getting to and from the airport. Plus, your $10 bus ticket actually becomes a 24-hour pass for the entire metro and bus system. So hang on to that thing.
Out of the train or bus, you land directly downtown at Bonaventure Metro station, sort of the financial district of the city. From there, the city is your oyster. Google Maps is helpful to find how to get to the various spots listed below.
Need a place to stay? Aim for these neighborhoods: Old Montreal, Quartier Latin, Downtown or Chinatown. In those neighborhoods, you’ll find more to explore outside your door.
Need a quick bite? Try these addresses :
– Olive et Gourmando (351 Rue Saint Paul Ouest – sadly closed on Mondays): delicious sandwiches and brownies
– Green Spot (3041 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest): cheap classic dinner open since the 40s
– Boustan (2020 Rue Crescent): Lebanese fast food open 24/7
Want to shop?
Head to McGill metro and explore the extensive underground mall. Or find your way up to the surface to shop. The stores are typical to what you may find anywhere in North America, but it’s interesting nonetheless to walk through the entire mall.
Want to be in the action?
– Bar Furco (425 rue Mayor): Downtown restaurant & bar
– Big in Japan Bar (4175 Boulevard Saint-Laurent): Blink and you might miss the red door leading to this hidden lounge. Not to be confused with the restaurant, although with good food
– Grinder (1708 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest): Griffintown restaurant & Bar (tons of other bars around there too)
– Le Richmond (377 Rue Richmond): Hidden Griffintown restaurant & bar
– Buvette chez Simone (4869 Avenue du Parc): Mile-End staple
– Quartier des spectacles (pictured below): during the summer, this spot is host to all the major festivals
Want to try poutine? Just head to La Banquise (994 Rue Rachel Est). You’ll find a huge variety of poutines. Open 24/7
Want to try local beers?
– Dieu du Ciel (29, rue Laurier ouest)
– Benelux (245, rue Sherbrooke Ouest)
– Brutopia (1219, rue Crescent)
– HELM (273, rue Bernard Ouest)
Want the clubbing scene?
Head to the Main (St-Laurent metro) or Crescent Street (Guy metro). Interesting fact, St-Laurent street basically divides the city into East and West. And since Crescent street is close to Concordia University, you’ll find lots of student pubs as well.
Want to find a park?
Hike up the mountain, walk through Mount Royal Park or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, head North towards Jarry Park
Want a good meal?
Montreal’s a major food destination. So I suggest you spend some time researching Yelp, Urbanspoon, and RestoMontreal according to your taste and budget. My personal picks:
– Taverne F (1485, rue Jeanne Mance)
– Vallier (425 Rue McGill)
– Pintxo (256 Rue Roy East): Great Spanish tapas
– Resto Robin des Bois (4653, boul. Saint-Laurent): What’s interesting about this spot is that it’s non-profit restaurant. Food is delicious, staffed almost exclusively by volunteers.
Want to wander off the beaten path?
Explore Mile-End, Little Burgundy, Griffintown, Little Italy, and the Plateau. You’ll find tons of little local gems.