Getting to Montreal
If you live in New York City or anywhere in the North East, a weekend in Montreal is a great idea. The flight to Montreal is just over an hour and a half. However it is also six hour drive from New York City. When you add up the time it takes to fly (getting to the airport, security, the flight and then getting to your destination) it is almost the same thing.
Since we were going for a long weekend driving made the most sense for us. We had a plan to make a few stops on our way back. This included a trip into the mountains for wine and hiking as well which was a log of fun. We also loved having our car so we could explore outside of Montreal.
Things to do in a weekend in Montreal
1. Eat all the Poutine
We arrived around noon after a six hour drive from NYC. After dropping off our stuff at our AirBnB we went for lunch. First stop was Patati Patata for poutine. It was so yummy. Now if you google places for poutine a million will come up. This is how I found this place (and it was right around the corner from our AirBnb). I would suggest checking in to your place and then doing a search “around me” in google. I have found it is usually better than blindly googling places to eat. Some other places that were recommended by friends for Poutine are Poutineville and La Banquise.
2. Hike Mont Royal
It was raining when were arrived but that didn’t stop us from hiking Mont Royal in the rain. You can’t spend a weekend in Montreal and not hike Mont Royal. It was a little damp but it was still a fun hike. I would definitely recommend doing it on a cool dry day and not in the rain like we did. The good news is that when we got to the top, the rain stopped, it cleared up and we were rewarded with amazing views of Montreal. I can’t wait to visit again.
I will also recommend doing the hike early in the morning or early evening. These are the best time to avoid the crowds and get great pictures. When it started to clear up a ton of people started to arrive and it got crowded. We made it just in time.
3. Go to Jazz Fest
After our hike we got a bottle of wine and some snacks and headed back to our place to get ready for Jazz Fest. Now if you ever get an opportunity to visit Montreal during Jazz Fest you MUST go. It was soo much fun. They have a ton of free concerts all over and it was an amazing night (so amazing we forgot to eat dinner oops!!). I have no pictures to show for it but trust me if you like music, food, wine and/or beer make sure you go.
My tip for you is the plan ahead. Get there early and grab a seat at one of the cafe’s. I would highly recommend checking out one of the many SAQ Bistros that are available through out. We found one near the main stage, ordered a bottle of wine or two or three, cheese and had the perfect view once the concerts started. It was really one big party.
4. Try a Bagel
Being from New York City the idea of eating a bagel anywhere else is just crazy. But we were told we had to try the Bagels so we listened and we did. After our crazy night out and since we were only in Montreal for two days we decided to wake up early and start our day with breakfast at Bagel Etc. I would definitely recommend this place. It is very popular and you may have to wait but we really enjoyed it. I thought it was just a bagel place but it definitely isn’t. They have a little bit of everything. So it is definitely the place to go if you are looking for a filling breakfast.
Other bagel shops that come highly recommended are St. Viateur Bagels and Fairmont Bagels. There are like nothing you ever had before. And this is coming from a die hard New York bagel lover.
5. Go on a Walking Tour of Old Montreal
After breakfast we headed to Old Montreal where we did a Self-Guided Tour. I found this one on Frommers and it was perfect. It hits all the spots, you can do it at your own pace, and it is free (except for any admissions fees). I am a budget traveler so I am a huge fan of DIY tours. I usually will look for pod casts or self guided tours like what is on Frommer’s.
If you have the time you can also make your own by combining a few different tours into one. I have done this in cities all over the world including Paris, Rome and Boston just to name a few. I am heading to Havana in a few weeks and I haven’t found my perfect DIY tour yet so I am working on my own. I’ll make sure to share with everyone.
For my day of sightseeing in Old Montreal I wore a Romper, Flat Sandals and a Jean Jacket. It was chilly in the morning but by early afternoon it was nice and warm. I linked the details of my outfit are below.
I love Montreal and cannot wait to visit again. I am actually dreaming of Poutine right now. Have you been to Montreal? What did you love about it? Tell me about your experience because I am planning on going again and would love some recommendations.