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Montreal: a city of delightful contradictions. It feels French, but it’s in Canada. It’s a big city, but it’s got a neighbourhood feel. The winters are freezing, but the atmosphere’s warm. Throw out your expectations, and go tabula rasa into Quebec’s stylish, art-centric and cosmopolitan core.
Place des Arts is much more than a concert hall. Performances aside, the building alone is grand enough to attract a gaggle of artsy approval. Dubbed a “multipurpose cultural complex,” its mission is to grant more Montrealers access to the performing arts. Get cultured with a dose of ballet, opera or orchestra. Dress the part (tortoise-shells and wing-tips) and see what’s on.Accommodations near Place des Arts
Go down under. The many-tunnelled “RESO” is the largest below ground complex ever. Created to shield against Montreal’s frigid winters, the functionality of underground city is this: it keeps the locals defrosted during their coldest season. Shop, dine, and do 1001 things and never go above ground. Most Montrealers scurry about this tunnel-town daily.Accommodations near Underground City
One part’s a port, the other a sweeping outdoor area. This used to be the go-to spot for fur traders. But that was then, this is now. During summer, food trucks populate the area. Grab a bite of artisanal and organic street-eats, and then picnic your heart out by the Saint-Lawrence River. Afterward, walk off your moveable feast with a stroll to urban Clock Tower Beach.Accommodations near Old Port of Montreal
A street for the people! Farm to table food, organic coffee, and bougie boutiques – sound like a place you want to be? You and everyone else. Crescent Street is high quality with a touch of trendy. Above all, it knows how to throw a party. Grand Prix festival rolls into Crescent during the summer and revs the rue into a haven of free samples, food trucks, and luxury cars.Accommodations near Crescent Street
Stadiums or Arenas
Calling all ice hockey superfans! Bell Center (aka the holy church of hockey) is a living, breathing homage to the national sport. As the largest stadium of its kind in North America, it’s a happy-place for foam-fingered locals. Other performances happen here, too, but nothing compares to the sound of skaters whooshing by.Accommodations near Bell Centre
Escape the urban and soothe your need for nature. This park’s a mark of pride for Montrealers, a place to cross country ski in the winter and hike in the summer. Exercise junkies: you’ll encounter your tribe on these trails. Of course, Mount Royal is outfitted for more than joggers and vinyasa yoga circles. Pick a patch of grass and picnic to perfection on bagels, et al.Accommodations near Mount Royal Park
The Montreal Casino never closes. Seriously. Gamble the night away in this many-floored gargantuan gambling palace. If you meet the eighteen-plus cut, you’ll find more than just slot machines to scratch your entertainment itch. Dining options, sundry bars, breakfast joints and lounges abound - all prime places to observe the action unfold around you.Accommodations near Montreal Casino
Catholics and architecture fiends: prepare to be besotted. This Italian-Renaissance basilica brings people to their knees. Literally. Don’t be surprised if on the way up (it’s quite a walk to the top) you see people crouching down to pray on each step. The most famous church in Montreal also publishes its own magazine and hosts many special events.Accommodations near Saint Joseph's Oratory
St. Catherine is the cool kid of Montreal streets. Nine-to-fivers, McGill undergrads, Sunday-brunchers, the fashion-forward, you name it–this electrifying lane attracts all walks of life. It’s also a hub for commerce, commercialism and protestors hoping to garner attention for their newest cause. Eat your own heart out in the countless shops–or just eat.Accommodations near Rue Ste Catherine (St. Catherine Street)
Does your heart beat for botany? From heirloom to medicinal, plants of every phylum grow in these gardens. Amble for hours amidst 22,000 leafy species and 7,000 kinds of trees, and then take in some pretty “seedy” exhibitions (get it?). Part of the “Space for Life” initiative, this garden joins other institutions around the city to educate Montrealers on all things science.Accommodations near Montreal Botanical Garden
Home to business barons, power couples and traffic of the 9-5 kind. Museums, urban superstores, and skyscrapers as sleek-as-the-sun make for a dramatic central cityscape. When dashing through the district, find Deville Dinerbar. A scoop of their comfy mac & cheese is a crash course in what happens when diners go gourmet. Being “stuffed” is Québécois for happy!Accommodations in Downtown Montreal
Bonjour! You’ve just entered francophone Le Plateau. These tree-lined streets are notorious for being home to the prim and modish. Pretty as a picture, this residential area of affluent, French-speaking folk is best for a bite of brunch. The district’s gourmet nature woos the masses with its wacky menu items. Duck fois gras candy, anyone?Accommodations in Plateau Mont Royal
Old Montreal is one part storybook, one part city. The old-world architecture, horse-drawn carriages and cobbled streets give it a sophisticated feel. This walkable area is awash in galleries, ateliers, alleyways and hip, hidden gems. Cafes tempt your with their farm-sourced dishes. Follow the smell of poutine and try the city’s signature dish.Accommodations in Old Montreal
Creative types will feel at home in Quartier des Spectacles. This is the artistic heart of Montreal, where the galleries are tucked next to concert venues and there’s always a live show to find. No matter your age or artistic inclination, you’ll find something that strikes a chord.Accommodations in Quartier des Spectacles
Love knows no bounds in these accepting streets. Two-mom homes are as common as drag queens, and rainbow flags ripple in the wind. But this colourful village is more than flair and flamboyance. Hip students and young artists are moving on up into this trending Village.Accommodations in Gay Village
The name says it all, or does it? This epic network of tunnels, shops, metro-stops and 1001 eateries isn’t actually all “underground.” However, it’s all inside. In a city so cold that your eyelashes can freeze in sub-zero temperatures – that’s a pretty good deal. Celebrate being indoors with a Montreal-styled maple syrup gelato from Paysanne.Accommodations in The Underground City
HoMa is true-blue Montreal, with a tiny trickle of tourists. Tip your hat to dog walkers and Sunday strollers on your way to the Botanical Gardens. Marvel at the myriad of markets, and find somewhere to sit for a spread of fresh charcuteries and cheese platters. An affordable area to live, HoMa is both diverse and blessedly quiet.Accommodations in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Care for a coconut milk latte with a side of poetry? You won’t be the only one with quirky tastes in Quartier Latin. Browse this bohemian district’s thrift stores, attend literary readings, and dive into political debates with leftist-leaning postgrads. Ethnic eateries serve up dishes from all corners of all continents, and cheap brews abound. “Santé!”Accommodations in Quartier Latin
An avid baker, Myriam enjoys cooking classes and creating sweet treats for her co-workers.
Treat yourself to some cheeky sweets, a glass of wine (or both!) at Patrice Patissier. Take a group class with renowned pastry chef Patrice Demers, or simply sit back and indulge on the lunch or dinner menu, complete with a wine waiter to pair wines to your meal and dessert.Accommodations nearby
Nathaniel is a Montreal travel junkie and loves sharing hidden gems with tourists and locals alike.
The Ecomuseum Zoo is a great way to get outdoors and experience nature. Acting as a refuge for animals, the museum is home to over 115 indigenous animal species including the black bear and arctic fox. Your new furry friends are waiting!Accommodations nearby
Born in France, Sophie was pleasantly surprised by the fine French food on offer in Montreal.
Follow your nose to the scent of fresh baked bread and artisan cheese, to discover Jean-Talon Market. Open daily, the market is a colourful collection of stalls where you can sample fruits or listen to enthusiastic vendors sell their product with the typical Montreal "joie de vivre" (joy)!Accommodations nearby
Kim likes to spend her time satiating her passion for books, photography and delicious food.
For a classical experience that will be music to your ears, be sure to book tickets to hear the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) play their magic. Held in the stunning Place des Arts event venue, an OSM show is sure to make your jaw drop!Accommodations nearby
Born and bred Montrealer Luis lives for humour, and adores the city’s Just for Laughs Festival.
Silophone is a truly unique installation that combines sound and architecture, all within the realms of an abandoned grain elevator. Simply send a noise or message over the internet, and your sound will be captured by Silo #5’s microphones, and then echoed through the nearby streets.Accommodations nearby
A perfect night for Matt? Great friends, good drinks and some awesome board games!
Board game lovers unite! If you like a good game as much as you like beer, then you can’t go past Randolph Pub. On arrival you’ll be assigned a table, given a list of games to choose from, and offered game hosts to challenge your skills! Super fun with a bunch of friends.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Montreal.
The underground shopping mall was awesome! Especially because it was stifling hot when I was in Montreal so a welcome relief to do the 'underground' city for shopping and access to most of the department and other store types.See all 13 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
United States of America
L’Gros Luxe Plateau, Arepera du Plateau, Patati Patata, Bistro Tot ou Tard,See all 19 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Which fine art museums should a first-time visitor to Montreal start with?
the Holucost Museum and Library The Art Museum at the University.See all 15 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Montreal while avoiding the crowds?
Went in early September and on weekdaysSee all 11 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the secret to sampling all the diverse food Montreal has to offer?
Seek out food courts in malls...See all 15 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Montreal that makes history come to life?
the European stylistSee all 12 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Montreal than just brand-name stores?
United States of America
Definitely.See all 20 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What were the best places for wandering in Montreal's old town?
Old townSee all 13 answers
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the city’s main airport. The fastest connection to the city centre is a 20-minute taxi ride for a minimum cost of CAD 17. A cheaper option is the 747 shuttle bus, which runs 24/7 between the airport and central bus station. A trip will cost you CAD 10, with a travel time of 45-60 minutes. Car hire is also available at the airport.
The Métro system is the most convenient way to travel within the city, offering 4 lines. Operating hours are between 05:30 and 00:30, with services running every 3–10 minutes. A regular fare is CAD 3.25, however travellers staying in Montreal for a few days are advised to purchase an ‘Occasional card’ which grants you multiple trips. Metro stops are indicated by white and blue signs.
The bus system is useful for travelling to places either not serviced by the metro, or outside of metro operating hours. Services run every 10 minutes, and there is also an ‘all-night’ service that starts at midnight. Other bus options include a shared Taxibus and an express service line. Regular fares start at CAD 3.25.
Taxis in Montreal are safe and reliable, however can be expensive compared to public transport. They can also be slow due to traffic, especially during rush hour. Taxis are best used at night, or when far from public transport services. Taxis can be hailed off the street, however keep in mind they are just regular cars with a taxi sign on top. You can also dial #TAXI on your mobile phone to pre-book.
Cycling around Montreal is a fast, affordable and fun way to explore the city. BIXI is the public bike system, open from April–November 24/7. Fares start at CAD 5 for 24 hours or CAD 14 for 72 hours. There are many BIXI stations around the city, to hire a bike simply pay by credit card, unlock the bike from its dock and return it within the selected time frame to any BIXI station. All stations have a map of the bicycle path network.
While it is easy to rent a car at the airport and navigate within the city, driving is not necessary in Montreal due to the convenient and cheap public transport options. Traffic congestion can make driving frustrating, and parking is difficult to find and often expensive. If you are lucky enough to find street parking, remember to insert change or pay with a credit card on the parking meter.
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