Coming to Montreal for one week-end and not sure where to go and what to do? There’s so many things to do in Montreal that just choosing activities can be tough. Here’s a list of suggestions for an exciting week-end in Quebec’s largest and most vibrant city.
Eat Poutine at Poutineville
You’re in Montreal so, of course, you must eat poutine! Among the zillion restaurants that serves it, you should try Poutineville: There, you’ll make your own poutine, according to your tastes. You’ll chose your potatoes (sweet potatoes, shoestring cut, regular, etc.), your cheese (cheese curds, obviously, but also cheddar, brie, blue cheese and more), your vegetable toppings (if you want any), you meet toppings (again, if you want any) and your sauce (traditional, red wine, etc.). All their product are fresh and delicious – a great way to discover Quebec’s most famous dish!
Go Watch a Live Music Concert
Montreal is known for the quality of its music scene. Put that reputation to the test and go see a live music concert. Of course there’s the big downtown venues such as the Metropolis or the Club Soda. But go ahead and try out the small venues of the Plateau Mont-Royal, Montreal’s most hip neighborhood. Local and foreign Indie Bands play weekly at the Quai des Brumes, the Divan Orange, the Casa del Popolo or the Sala Rossa.
Get Fresh Bagels for Breakfast
Montreal has top-quality bagel shops. Go to Bagel St-Viateur or Fairmount Bagels in Mile-End and order a dozen of fresh, warm, delicious bagels.
Take a Walk on the Mount Royal
The Mount-Royal Park, the “lung of the city”, is a beautiful, green, peaceful and relaxing park, ideal for a walk. You can hike up to the iconic Mont-Royal Cross or stop at the Belvedere and catch a great view on Montreal’s downtown.
Have Lunch at Schwartz’s
This legendary smoked-meat restaurant is a Montreal landmark. It is a must-do for every visitor. Their meat is simply delicious. Be prepared to stand in line for a little while before you’re actually seated, cause Schartz’s is pretty popular.
Pamper Yourself and Spend a Few Hours at the Spa
Because, after all, a vacation is also an occasion to relax and take some time off, you should visit Montreal’s Bota Bota, a spa that is located in a boat on the St-Lawrence River. The boat is moored to a dock and you won’t take an actual cruise on the river, but the view on Montreal from the various steam rooms, pools, saunas and showers is amazing.
Dine at Montreal’s Infamous Au Pied de Cochon
After relaxing at Bota Bota, go back up to the Plateau and treat yourself with a copious meal at Montreal’s most famous restaurant Au pied de cochon. Do not expect to eat a light meal: That restaurant serves rich, heavy, amazingly delicious meals, some of them almost legendary like the foie gras poutine, the foie gras hamburger or the duck in a can.
Dance Your Meal Off at the Velvet Nightclub
You’ll be rolling out of Au pied de cochon with a belly so full that you’ll need to sweat it off somehow. Go and dance your meal off at Montreal’s mysterious, exclusive, trendy, underground and fashion Velvet Nightclub. A well kept secret even among Montrealers, the Velvet is located in the basement of the Auberge St-Gabriel in Old Montreal. DJs play there every night of the week-end, drinks are amazing and unique, and the décor, designed by guest artists, changes every month.
Have Brunch in Little Italy
After your night out, sleep in and don’t come out for brunch until at least 11am, like many Montrealers do. While the city is packed with good quality breakfast and brunch restaurants, try and pick one in Little Italy or nearby, such as Le Vieux Vélo on Beaubien or Deli Joe on St-Dominique.
Walk Around the Jean-Talon Market
Largest open-air market in North America, the Jean-Talon market is swarming with activity on week-ends. Local farmers come to sell their fruits and vegetables – some of which you can taste for free! –, and you can also find all kinds of rare and fine products from Quebec and elsewhere.
Push Your Walk a Bit Further West and Discover the Mile-Ex
Like most cities, Montreal is ruled by various urbanism laws preventing people from modifying the aspect of its buildings. A group of various architects obtained a special permit and were allowed to go against this law in a little part of town called the Mile-Ex by some, Alexandra Marconi by others. The buildings of this neighborhood, just North-West of Little Italy, are a unique blend of fancy, original, modern architects houses, traditional Montreal apartment buildings and industries. Take a few hours to discover this well-kept secret!
Mireille is a travel, music and theater enthusiast. She wrote for the stage and television, and is now working as a freelance blogger for Via Rail, a leading Canadian railroad transporter offering many unique packages of things to do in Montreal.