In July, my fiancé and I took a road trip down to Boston with friends for a few days. On our way back to Toronto, we decided to spend some time in Montréal.
I arrived in Boston with a brain full of content ideas, Pinterest recommendations, and saved pictures on Instagram. I knew exactly where I wanted to explore, what I wanted to eat, and what kind of pictures I was going to take. When we arrived in Montréal, we decided to just set out, with no agenda in mind, and see where the day took us.
Despite not having an itinerary to begin with, I have now worked backwards and created one for you to use if you’re planning a weekend trip to Montréal in the near future.
Coffee & Breakfast at Café La Cote R
We stayed in an Airbnb, and this cute coffee spot was right down the street. We stopped by first thing in the morning for an americano and a croissant.
There’s a wall full of Instagram-worthy prints that I didn’t manage to take a picture in front of, but you can check out their location tags on Instagram to see for yourself.
Lunch at Schwartz’s Deli
While we recently switched over to a pescatarian lifestyle, we agreed that we would allow ourselves flexibility on certain occasions, and Nick said Schwartz’s famous smoked meat was an absolutely must for him.
Schwartz is the oldest deli in Canada. Established in 1928, it recently turned 90! I would have made a visit for the history alone.
Things to note:
– this place is crazy busy, but the line moves fast.
– be prepared to sit with strangers as they fill every available seat.
– there is a sharing fee of $2, but the food is cheap and I think the best option for two people is to share a smoked meat plate that comes with enough bread for both of you to have at least two sandwiches.
– don’t forget to order a giant pickle!
After lunch we decided to explore the downtown area. It is VERY under construction right now, so it’s not the prettiest stroll through the city, but we did come across a very pink, very Instagrammable, summer pop-up called Le Petit Montréal. Located in Phillips Square, it’s actually designed to offer a nice place to hang out in the midst of all the chaos.
Drinks at Winnie’s Bar & Restaurant
The thing I loved most about our trip to Montréal is the countless amount of bars and restaurants to choose from. And they all have patios! Every one! The streets are lined with sidewalk patios that give the city a really fun and welcoming vibe.
We chose Winnie’s pretty randomly since we were incredibly tired of walking around all day in the sweltering heat, and were pleased to discover that they serve two for one happy hour drinks 7 days a week from 4:30 PM – 8 PM.
Dinner at Ferrari
I did a bit of Google-mapping while sipping on an Aperol spritz, and discovered a lovely little Italian place around the corner called Ferrari. Since I’m always in the mood for pasta, we made our way over and discovered the most charming hidden patio in the backyard. It made me feel like I was actually somewhere in Europe. Our server was fantastic: very funny, very French, and did little things like offering me a more expensive wine when he realised they were out of rosé, but still charging me the original price. Oh, and the pasta was amazing.
Coffee & Breakfast at Café Origine
My friend Emily mentioned Café Origine in her Montréal City Guide, which is where we decided to start our second day. Café Origine is a really cool spot that serves great coffee, and an array of baked goods, as well as home made soups, salads, and sandwiches.
The café also features gorgeous murals all along the walls and numerous plants that make for the ideal Instagram capture.
Hiking Up Mont Royal
After breakfast we hiked up to Mont Royal in the blistering heat. I was obviously not dressed for the occasion and we came out on top, dripping in sweat. But the view is absolutely worth it.
Once you reach the top of the path you can either keep walking, or take a very short bus ride to the Mont Royal Parc and Chateau, where the view is even more spectacular. There’s a huge courtyard with a piano that Nick immediately started tinkering on. And inside the chateau you’ll find a little café where you can buy coffee, kombucha, and many different kinds of snacks and sweet treats.
Lunch at Mandy’s Salads
After trekking back down (which left my calves sore for days afterwards), we ended up in the same area we had been the day before, near the museum. I had noticed a pretty patio with pink umbrellas, so we took a closer look and discovered Mandy’s Salads. This was one of my favourite discoveries in Montréal. The salads were unbelievably good, and not too expensive.
This place is highly Instagrammable on the inside, but make sure to go before or after the lunch rush because it gets packed!
Exploring Old Montréal
Obviously our trip wouldn’t have been complete without walking the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal. This area of town is just as enchanting as I imagined it to be. The beautiful old buildings are filled with restaurants, cafés, and shops. There was so much to see and we probably could have spent an entire day there.
Dinner at Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises
Quite the name and also quite the menu. The food here was crazy good. We finally had a poutine and also indulged in mushroom ravioli and smoked potato salad. They make their own beer in small batches, and you can watch the brewmaster at work through a glass window at the rear of the restaurant.
After Dinner Drinks at Le Saloon Bistro Bar in the Gay Village
Our last stop was a walk through the Gay Village. During the summer, a large section of rue Sainte-Catherine is closed off to cars. Hundreds of thousands of rainbow balls are strung up overhead creating a stunning canopy to walk under. This is the final time the balls will go up, as the Village make way for a potential new art installation, so I’m thrilled that I got to see it.
We drank frozen margaritas under the rainbow canopy at Le Saloon, a super funky bar with a great staff and awesome patio on the street.
Overall, Montréal is an incredible city that I could actually see myself living in. I will certainly return in the future. Maybe I’ll even brave the winter?
If you’ve visited before, let me know your favourite spots in the comments so I can start making a list for next time! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, and please feel free to share or pin the image below if you think someone else would benefit from this post.