Weekend Guide to Montreal

Just a quick 6 hour drive from New York City, Montreal is a cultural and culinary playground just across the Canadian border. Escape the muggy heat in NYC, and head to cooler pastures in our friendly neighbor to the north. We made our drive a little longer and drove through the scenic Adirondacks, rather than sticking to highway driving. Aside from eating late night poutine and feeling bad about yourself, reasons to escape to Montreal in the summer are (1) Everything is cheaper in Canada! (2) It’s been called a poor man’s Paris (3) You are a poor man and can’t take your girl to Paris… yet. (4) Everything is cheaper in Canada! and finally (5) There’s a rumor that Canadians are nicer than us.  Here’s a quick guide to exploring the city in a long weekend. Remember to bring your passport!

Day 1

Old Montreal

Start where the city itself began, exploring a mix of cobbled streets, cozy restaurants and boutiques that make Old Montreal a stroller’s paradise. Station Place-d’Armes is the closest metro station to the area; the district lies east and is focused around Place Jacques Cartier.

Old Montreal

Notre Dame

Built in 1656, this is Montreal’s oldest church and a key Old Montreal landmark. Inside, the blaze of carvings, sculptures and stained glass may be a little gaudy for some tastes, but they’re certainly impressive and unmissable. This Gothic Revival basilica is one of the Montreal’s most remarkable sights. It is decorated with beautiful wood carvings.

Notre Dame Montreal

Chateau Ramezay

It was a home of French governors in the 18th century. Nowadays it is a repository of Québec history, there are over 20 thousand pieces of art and furniture.

Montreal City Hall

This building is built in the Second Empire style. It is famous for Charles de Gaulle’s speech from its balcony. Admission is free!

Walk along Vieux Port

 The old port experienced the pinnacle of its glory days in the 19th century as one of the most important inland harbors in North America, but its importance declined throughout the 20th century. By the end of the 1980’s, however, it experienced a breath of new life as it was transformed into a recreational area. Now, whether it’s the cycling in the summer or skating on rinks in the winter, the old port’s 12.5 km of waterside walkways adds to the charm of this popular district of Montreal.

Day 2

Pointe-a-Calliere Archeology Museum

This has to be one of the most interesting museums that we have ever been to, and if we go back to Montreal, it would be worth checking out a second time! Built on top of excavated building foundations and water systems from the 17th century, this setting makes the perfect setting for learning about Montreal’s fascinating history and the role it has played in Canada’s history as a whole. Just don’t visit on Monday- they are closed.

Shopping and lunch at Underground Street

A glorified mall to some but a refuge from severe weather for many, Montreal’s Underground City is a 30 kilometer labyrinth of climate-controlled subterranean passages. They are replete with restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums and metro stations.

Parc du Mont Royal

This mountain park offers wonderful view of the city of Montreal. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park.

St. Joseph’s Oratory

This magnificent oratory is dedicated to St. Joseph who is Canada’s patron saint. It is built in the Italian Renaissance style.


Evening at Crescent Street

This busy street of pubs and restaurants intersects with Sainte-Catherine at the southern end of Downtown and is well worth a visit at the end of the day for food, drinks and people- watching. Unwind here before making the drive back to New York City!