When in Montreal

Montreal, Canada's vibrant and culturally rich city, offers a plethora of exciting activities to fill your day with fun and memorable experiences. Whether you're a foodie, an art enthusiast, or a nature lover, Montreal has something for everyone. If you have just one day to explore this beautiful city, fear not!

We've curated a delightful one-day itinerary for you to make the most of your time in Montreal. Let's dive in!

1. Morning Stroll in Old Montreal: Start your day by immersing yourself in the historic charm of Old Montreal. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, and quaint cafes. Marvel at the stunning architecture, including the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica. Don't forget to snap some Instagram-worthy shots of Place Jacques-Cartier, a lively square brimming with street performers and artists.

2. Breakfast at Tim Hortons: In the US, America runs on Dunkin. In Canada, Always Fresh. Always Tim Hortons.

3. Explore Mount Royal Park: After breakfast, make your way to Mount Royal Park, the city's namesake and a stunning urban green space. Enjoy a leisurely hike to the Mount Royal Chalet for breathtaking panoramic views of Montreal's skyline. We didn't actually hike up the mountain for fear of being bitten by mosquitos. If you're visiting in the warmer months, consider a picnic on the sprawling lawns or rent a rowboat on Beaver Lake.

the hike to mount royal montreal

Mount royal

4. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: For art enthusiasts, a trip to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a must. Explore an extensive collection of artwork, ranging from ancient to contemporary pieces. The museum showcases works by renowned artists like Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh, as well as Canadian and Indigenous art.

5. Indulge in a Poutine Lunch: No visit to Montreal is complete without trying its most famous culinary creation—poutine! Head to a local eatery and savor this delectable dish of crispy fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in rich gravy. It's the ultimate comfort food that will leave you wanting more.

6. Explore the Underground City: Beat the heat or cold (depending on the season) by venturing into Montreal's Underground City, a vast network of interconnected tunnels and shopping complexes. Enjoy some retail therapy, explore unique boutiques, and grab a cup of coffee at one of the cozy cafes. We weren't there to shop, so we skipped this one. 

7. Take a Stroll through Plateau Mont-Royal: Experience the hip and artistic vibe of Plateau Mont-Royal. This neighborhood is known for its colorful murals, trendy shops, and vibrant street life. Take a leisurely stroll, stop for a gelato or a fresh smoothie, and soak in the bohemian atmosphere.

8. Visit the Montreal Botanical Garden and the Olympic Park: Escape to the serene Montreal Botanical Garden and immerse yourself in a world of natural beauty. Explore themed gardens, such as the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden, each offering a unique and enchanting experience. The Garden's Biodome, a replica of four ecosystems found in the Americas, is also a must-visit. This was definitely one of our favorites

Montreal Botanical Gardens


The Olympic Park in Montreal, Canada, is an iconic site that hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics. It features the famous Montreal Tower, the tallest inclined tower in the world, offering breathtaking views of the city. The park's distinctive architecture, including the Olympic Stadium with its unique retractable roof, continues to be a major attraction for visitors and locals alike.

Olympic Park Montreal

9. Afternoon Coffee and Pastries: Take a break and recharge with a cup of coffee and some delightful pastries at a local café. Montreal boasts a thriving café culture, so indulge in some people-watching while savoring your treats.

10. Experience Montreal's Nightlife: As the sun sets, dive into Montreal's vibrant nightlife scene. Head to the Quartier des Spectacles, a hub for live performances and cultural events. Catch a show at one of the theaters or enjoy a concert or festival if one is happening during your visit. Or take in the Ferris Wheel or Biosphere or both. We did!

Below we carefully planned two-day itinerary so you can make the most of your time in Montreal and experience the city's diverse offerings. 

Day 1: Unveiling the Old and the Artistic


  1.  Breakfast at a Local Café: Fuel up for your day of adventure with a scrumptious Montreal-style breakfast. Head to a local café and try a classic Montreal bagel, known for its slightly sweet and chewy texture. Pair it with a smear of cream cheese and lox for the ultimate breakfast treat.

    Cafe Castel Montreal

  2. Old Montreal Exploration: Head to Old Montreal and stroll along the picturesque cobblestone streets. Marvel at the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica and visit Place Jacques-Cartier to witness lively street performances and pick up souvenirs from local artisans.

Late Morning:

3. Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History: Immerse yourself in Montreal's history at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum. Unearth the city's past through captivating exhibits and archaeological discoveries.


4. Lunch with a View: Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a restaurant with a view of the Old Port or the St. Lawrence River. Savor some local delicacies and take in the scenic surroundings.

  1. Explore the Montreal Science Centre: Engage your curious mind at the Montreal Science Centre, an interactive museum that offers fun and educational exhibits for all ages.


6. Visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spend your evening at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, exploring an extensive collection of art from various periods and cultures. Don't miss the contemporary art section for a glimpse of modern creativity.

  1. Dinner in the Latin Quarter: Head to the Latin Quarter for dinner, where you'll find a myriad of dining options. Choose from international cuisines or indulge in some traditional Quebecois dishes.

Day 2: Nature, Gardens, and Cuisine


  1. Breakfast at a Local Bakery: Start your day with a delightful breakfast at a local bakery, where you can enjoy fresh croissants, pastries, or even some traditional maple treats.

  2. Mount Royal Park: Embark on a morning adventure to Mount Royal Park. Hike to the Mount Royal Chalet for stunning city views, or simply enjoy a peaceful walk through the park's lush greenery.

Late Morning:

3. Montreal Botanical Garden: Spend your late morning at the Montreal Botanical Garden, a haven of natural beauty and serenity. Explore the themed gardens and don't miss the impressive Biodome. 


4. Lunch in Little Italy: Head to the vibrant Little Italy neighborhood for a delectable lunch. Treat yourself to some authentic Italian cuisine or sample a variety of dishes at a local market.

  1. Explore Plateau Mont-Royal: After lunch, wander through the artistic and bohemian neighborhood of Plateau Mont-Royal. Admire the colorful murals, visit trendy shops, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. Leonard Cohen 

    In honor of a beloved figure in Montréal, a magnificent mural pays tribute to the legendary singer, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen, as it gracefully overlooks Crescent Street. The impressive artwork portrays Cohen, donning his iconic fedora, with his hand placed gently over his heart, while the backdrop showcases his profoundly meaningful Unified Heart symbol. This awe-inspiring masterpiece, known as "Tower of Songs," was brought to life through the collaborative efforts of Montréal artist Gene Pendon and the internationally acclaimed American street portrait artist El Mac. Recreating a photograph captured by Cohen's daughter, Lorca Cohen, the project involved the dedicated work of two muralists, along with the assistance of 13 other artists, and required a staggering 240 cans of paint and countless hours of labor.


6. Coffee Break and Shopping: Take a leisurely coffee break at a cozy cafe, and if you're interested in shopping, explore the eclectic boutiques and designer stores on Sainte-Catherine Street.

  1. Dinner at a Local Bistro: For your last evening in Montreal, indulge in a delicious dinner at a local bistro. Try some classic Quebecois dishes or opt for international flavors like All you can eat sushi.  


8. Montreal's Nightlife: End your two-day adventure by experiencing Montreal's vibrant nightlife. Head to the Quartier des Spectacles for live performances, or find a cozy bar to enjoy some local beers or cocktails.


Enjoy your weekend in Montreal and please check out our books, Olivia Travels and Olivia Lauren's Guide to Habitats.

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