Montreal — our neighbor to the north. A city brimming with culture, history, and a youthful vibe. We are enamored with Montreal. It’s definitely at the top of our list of cities to live in for a few months (preferably during spring and summer).
Not only is it an easy drive from Boston and many cities in New England, it’s also full of delicious restaurants, resolute history, and gorgeous street art.
We drove to Montreal from Boston for an extended weekend in May. We departed on a Wednesday and enjoyed the city by day and night until that Saturday when we headed farther north to Quebec City.
We stayed in an Airbnb apartment, which was in an excellent location between Plateau-Mont-Royal, Downtown, and Old Montreal, so we were able to walk everywhere. Best of all, it was in the same building as the Hilton Garden Inn and we had access to its gorgeous indoor pool and hot tub!
Since we were able to walk just about everywhere in this guide and the weather was gorgeous during our trip, we didn’t use the metro — we hear it is excellent, though! We used Uber a few times, but rumor on our rides is that the city is pushing to shut down ride-sharing services.
Here are our recommendations on what to eat and explore when you have 72 hours in Montreal, Canada!
One of the best things about Montreal is that you can eat brunch any day of the week! Our brunch at Universel was spectacular. David had the fettucini special (which he adored) and I had the omelet with spinach, feta, tomatoes, and bacon. The fresh fruit, bread + home fries were all included! Can you brunch-lieve that? Drool over their menu here.
Our last morning, we enjoyed another brunch at Eggspectation. This is a chain restaurant, but the portions were huge, prices were reasonable, and the service was fantastic! David enjoyed the Mushroom Melt Burger and I ordered the Eggstravaganza (both pictured below). Their menu is huge, so even the pickiest of eaters would be hard pressed to not find something to eat.
Arepera Du Plateau
After admiring the architecture & street art in Plateau-Mont-Royal, we stopped into this small Venezuelan restaurant for lunch. Nestled on the corner of Avenue Duluth East & Rue de Builion, Arepera serves up delicious arepas and fresh-squeezed juices. We both had the Carne Mechada Arepas and shared the yuca sticks with avocado sauce. Bonus: The staff speaks Spanish, French, and English! It looks like their website it down, but you can view the menu on Yelp.
We weren’t wowed by the food here, but the vibe and drinks were pretty good. The food is really cheap though (think: $5 for a burger), so if you’re on a tight budget, this is a good option! CINKO is located on Rue Saint-Denis which has tons of bars + restaurants. It was happening on a Wednesday night when we went there, so the street alone is definitely worth checking out!
Creperie Chez Suzette
This place is a tourist trap since it is located in Old Montreal, but hunger overcame us and we were craving something sweet & savory. Massive cups of hot chocolate and a savory cheese & asparagus crepe were the perfect remedy. View more photos of their food on Yelp.
We weren’t as impressed with Montreal’s old city as we were with the one in Quebec City. Many of the old buildings are occupied by tacky souvenir shops and overpriced cafes. Nonetheless, its cobblestone sidewalks led us to some of the most famous sites in Quebec.
Don’t miss spots in + around Old Montreal: Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de ville de Montreal), the garden of the Chàteau Ramezay Museum, Place Jacques Cartier, Marché Bonsecours (indoor market), Notre Dame de Bon Secours, Old Port + St. Lawrence River, and the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal.
After wandering through Plateau-Mont-Royal, we made our way up to Mont Royal. Montreal received its name from this large hill that towers over the city. Through our research, we discovered that we could take the #11 bus to the top of the hill. We waited about half an hour for the bus, but it never showed, so we walked to the top.
The winding path through the side of Mont Royal is paved and full of pedestrians, dog walkers, runners, and bikers.
The path from McGill University is shorter to the top. However, in order to snap a photo like this one below, you will need to climb many, many stairs to the top no matter which walking route you take.
Plateau-Mont-Royal + Boulevard Saint-Laurent
We LOVED this neighborhood. The architecture is incredible with gorgeous French influences, the streets are clean, and the street art is breath-taking. Boulevard Saint-Laurent is one of the major avenues in Montreal and is nicknamed “The Main.” Most of Montreal’s most popular restaurants & cafés are located in Plateau-Mont-Royal and on Boulevard Saint-Laurent. It’s a cultural hub you won’t want to miss during your visit.
McGill University is set at the bottom of Mont Royal in downtown Montreal. You couldn’t ask for a better location as a college student. Envy aside, the campus is gorgeous and is definitely worth a walk around after taking in the views from the top of Mont Royal.
Montreal’s Street Art
The street art in Montreal is gorgeous and it reminded us of Valparaíso, Chile. The pictures alone should convince you. The photos below were all taken in Plateau-Mont-Royal.
We will return to explore more of the city’s culture, history, and restaurants. Have you been to Montreal? What are you favorites places?
Let us know in the comments so we can check them out on our next trip!