Canada’s second largest city, Montreal, is a hub of culture and heritage, and truly lives up to its reputations as one of North America’s liveliest cities, with a wonderful mix of vibrant districts and historic landmarks.
6 hours in... Montreal
Montreal is a truly beautiful city with many charming districts to explore. During a short stay here, the best place to start is Old Montreal, as it’s filled with a host of historic landmarks, including the spectacular Notre-Dame Basilica and Vieux-Port – or Old Port – which features a large green area and many stunning attractions, such as the Montreal Science Centre, the Labyrinth, the Clock Tower and an impressive stage where many local events take place. Also within Old Montreal is a wide pedestrianised street known as Place Jacques-Cartier, where you’ll find many wonderful street artists and musicians, alongside a wealth of shops, bars and restaurants.
Montreal’s charm however, isn’t just limited to its Old Town. The Le Plateau district is brimming with trendy shopping and dining experiences, while downtown you’ll discover many impressive skyscrapers, fascinating museums and historic churches.
Parc Jean-Drapeau is also a joy to explore, and is home to a wide range of amazing attractions, including a man-made beach, a massive swimming pool complex, the Montreal Casino and the Gilles Villeneuve racing track where the Montreal Formula One Grand Prix takes place each year.
Montreal is renowned for its beautiful parks and gardens, and on a pleasant day, a walk through the city’s green spaces offers the perfect escape. You’ll be spoiled for choice though when it comes to finding parks in Montreal as the city offers a seemingly endless supply. Some of the most popular however include Square Saint-Louis, Parc Jean-Drapeau (as mentioned above), Parc Lafontaine and Parc Maisonneuve, which features Jardin Botanique de Montreal – one of the world’s biggest botanical gardens with a total of 16 themed areas to uncover.
One of Montreal’s most famous parks is Parc du Mont-Royal, which overlooks Montreal from its perch atop of 200 metre high hill. The park boasts a scenic trail for hikers and explorers, while those with less mobility can simply relax and enjoy the views.
Can’t keep away?
Anyone with an interest in the history of Montreal and rich Canadian heritage will love the city’s extensive collection of museums, offering an insight into a range of wide-ranging and niche subjects. You’ll find a concentration of excellent museums across Old Montreal, including the Montréal Science Centre, Centre d'histoire de Montréal, Château Ramezay Museum and the Montréal Museum of Archeology and History – also known as Pointe-à-Callière, the name of the region’s first settlement over which the museum is built.
Don’t even bother!
Old Montreal is the centre of the city’s tourist industry, but when you’re feeling peckish and start looking to sample to authentic local cuisine, don’t simply walk into the first restaurant you see. Many of the dining venues around Old Montreal are far from authentic and may overcharge you for substandard food. If you’re planning to eat out in Old Montreal, make sure to do some research online beforehand, read reviews and only settle for the best quality cuisine.