Montreal, the vibrant city nestled in the French-speaking province of Quebec, is a destination that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity. With its charming neighborhoods, stunning architecture, and renowned culinary scene, Montreal is a city that begs to be explored. If you’re planning a trip to this Canadian gem and wondering how to make the most of your time, look no further.
In this blog post, we will present you with a comprehensive 4-day itinerary that covers the must-see attractions, hidden gems, and delicious food experiences that will leave you with lasting memories of your time in Montreal. Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant energy of this captivating city as we guide you through the perfect four days in Montreal.
Getting Around Montreal
Here are the means of getting around in Montreal that will make your 4-day itinerary amazing:
- Public Transit: The STM (Société de Transport de Montréal) operates an extensive network of buses and metro lines. Grab a reloadable OPUS card and enjoy efficient and affordable transportation throughout the city.
- BIXI Bikes: Montreal is known for its bike-friendly infrastructure, and BIXI bikes are a great way to explore the city on two wheels. Grab a bike from one of the many docking stations and enjoy the freedom of cycling around town.
- Ride-sharing: Popular ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available in Montreal, providing a convenient and flexible option for getting around, especially during late-night hours or when public transit is less frequent.
- Taxis: Traditional taxis are also readily available, with designated taxi stands throughout the city. Just hail one on the street or use a taxi-hailing app for quick and reliable transportation.
- Walking: Montreal is a walkable city, especially in the downtown core. Take advantage of the pedestrian-friendly streets, charming neighborhoods, and vibrant atmosphere by exploring on foot.
First Day: Old Montreal
On the first day of your 4-day itinerary, begin with a visit to Old Montreal, the city’s historic neighborhood. Walking is one of the finest methods to explore the area and learn about the city’s origins.
You can look into the walking tours in Montreal, which all come with the benefit of a qualified guide to provide you with the most educational and unique experience during your trip.
Also, stop for lunch at the Taverne Gaspar after exploring the Old Town. Taverne Gaspar, located inside a 19th-century warehouse on rue de la Commune, serves French-inspired pub food with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
If you want to try the iconic Quebecois dish poutine during your visit to Montreal, go to Montreal Poutine on rue Saint-Paul.
Montreal Poutine, in Old Montreal, specializes in classic French Canadian cuisine, replete with cheese curds and gravy, and offers several variations to suit everyone. Along with poutine, this eatery serves basic burgers and hot dogs, all of which are very average by Canadian standards.
After lunch, visit the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology and History to learn much more about Montreal’s beginnings and foundations. Not only is the museum a terrific resource for learning about Montreal’s history, but it is also located in the place where the city was founded, making it an extremely important historical site.
Modavie, a jazz bar and bistro in Old Montreal, serves French and European food, with a focus on lamb and vegetarian options. The Coldroom, a prohibition-style speakeasy in the historic quarter, offers gourmet cocktails hidden behind a black door, making legal drinks feel illegal.
Second Day: Plateau Mont-Royal and the City Center
Day 2 of your 4-day Montreal itinerary will begin with a visit to Mount Royal, a famous summit overlooking downtown Montreal. In winter, ice skating on Beaver Lake is a must-see activity, with free entry and skate rentals starting at $10 for 2 hours. Children aged 4 and up can enjoy snow tubing down the hill. In summer, Beaver Lake is a must-see, with nearby parks offering picnics, morning reads, and rowboat rentals for $12 per half hour.
Lunch on the mountain is available at various restaurants and cafes, such as Mont-Royal Chalet, Pavillion du Lac-aux-Castors, and Maison Smith. Restaurant L’Avenue on Plateau Mont-Royal offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free alternatives, while La Banquise and PoutineVille are great places to enjoy poutine.
After lunch, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada’s largest art museum, which hosts special exhibitions on the Egyptians, Napoleon, Pompeii, and Chihuly glassworks. For dinner, dine at Restaurant Zibo on Robert Bourassa Boulevard, which offers a wide menu of Californian-inspired Canadian food and an extensive beer, wine, and cocktail menu.
For a final stop, visit the 3 Brasseurs microbrewery on Saint-Catherine Street, which serves wine, cocktails, and a cuisine menu that mixes beers with specific meals and flavors. The Downtown Montreal location also offers outdoor seating for enjoying a perfectly made beer in the fresh air during the summer.
Third-Day: Explore Rosemont
On the third day of your Montreal itinerary, drive to Rosemont to visit the Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique), part of the Montreal Space for Life research complex. The gardens offer guided tours of exhibition greenhouses and a collection of plant species, such as the Japanese Garden, which features a live exhibition of Chinese landscape design using plants, water, stones, and buildings. The First Nations Garden encourages knowledge exchange between native and non-native Quebeckers.
More so, in Little Italy, visit the Jean-Talon Market, one of Montreal’s oldest public markets dating back to 1933. The market offers unique produce shopping experiences and is home to Cafe Saint-Henri, which serves coffee and sweet treats.
Rosemont is also home to Montreal’s Olympic Village, a must-see for sports fans. The Montreal Tower Observatory, open most of the year, provides a panoramic view of the city from the world’s tallest inclined tower. Guided tours of the tower and the Since 1976 display depict the park’s history.
Dinner at Il Bazzali, an Italian restaurant that offers European and Mediterranean cuisine, is bring your own bottle (BYOB). The Marche des Saveurs du Quebec in Jean-Talon Market offers a variety of wines to select from. In the evening, head to La Succursale in Rue Masson, which specializes in specialty beers and ciders in a contemporary setting. It also has an outdoor terrace for pleasant nights during the summer.
Fourth Day: Chinatown and Quartier des Spectacles
On the final day of your 4-day itinerary in Montreal, explore the Quartier des Spectacles (the Entertainment District) and Chinatown. Head into the Quarter and along Saint-Catherine Street to locate the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum (Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal), Canada’s first museum exclusively dedicated to contemporary art.
Moreover, inside, you’ll find approximately 7,000 modern works of art by Quebecois, Canadian, and worldwide artists. Unique exhibitions are always on display, including works by Arthur Jafa, Ron Moppett, and Kathleen Graham. The museum’s admission fee is $10 for adults, $4 for youths, and free for children under the age of 12.
After a morning of cultural exploration, stroll along Saint Catherine West to Eggspectation Complexe Desjardins for lunch or brunch. Eggspectation, as the name implies, focuses on eggs and breakfast dishes, but there is something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed with inventive takes on traditional breakfast, brunch, and non-breakfast fare.
In the afternoon, go exploring around Chinatown, a little enclave within the Quartier des Spectacles. Montreal’s Chinatown, one of the oldest Asian enclaves in North America, began to grow around the 1890s and was first recognized as a tourist attraction in the late 1960s.
Chinatown’s main draws are its numerous shops and food vendors (try the bubble tea!). Visit one of the many souvenir shops or go inside one of the Asian grocery stores for some authentic things.
If karaoke isn’t your thing, visit the Theatre Sainte-Catherine Cafe-Bar in the Quartier. This one-of-a-kind pub also functions as an independent theater, hosting musical acts, film screenings, and comedy shows throughout the week. What better way to unwind than with some indie theater in Montreal’s famous Entertainment District?