Montreal welcomed us back like a long, lost friend
Ever since we went to Montreal a few years ago, I was yearning to go back, and we had planned to go in 2020 but the world changed overnight, and obviously, it was postponed. As most of you probably know the Canadian/US border was closed and recently opened up to tourism on August 9th, 2021, almost a year and a half after closing. While excited, I wanted to make sure we did everything we needed to in order to go to Montreal safely and before I get into all of the great things to do, see and eat, I want to give you some guidelines.
*Please note this was as of the end of August-early September, please make sure to visit appropriate websites to confirm
- Download ArriveCAN app – this is where you’ll put vaccination status for all traveling and covid test results
- You must be vaccinated to enter Canada for tourism
- You must take a COVID test within 72 hours of entry
- You have to present vaccination cards and covid tests to the border agents
- Some ( not all) businesses require you to show them vaccination cards and ID’s or they will ask if you are vaccinated
Now that these are out of the way let’s get to the fun stuff!
I have a million favorite things about Montreal, but I always go back to how amazing the food is and how beautiful everything is. We did as much as we could on this trip but also stayed in a new neighborhood that we fell in love with. Mile End has everything you could want from markets, to eateries, to murals and our Airbnb was right smack in the center of it. ( check out @denstays – they have some great ones)
So what do I feel you need to explore while in Montreal? Well, keep reading for the great ways to explore this great city!
1. Explore the food scene
I have said it before and I will say it again, the food scene in Montreal is one of the best I have ever experienced. They have everything there and we had our fill of delicious food. The places we tried were:
- Kamuy Restaurant
- B&M Restaurant
- La Corneterria
- Le Petit Dep
- Il Pagliaccio
- Cafe Origine
- Léche Desserts
- Ripple’s Ice Cream
2. Go explore different neighborhoods
As I mentioned above we stayed in the Mile End neighborhood which was epic. We were surrounded ( literally our Airbnb was right above a cool cafe) by eateries, boutiques, and more. (Like an all pink laundromat) That being said there are so many areas to explore. We went to Old Port and Downtown which are both very different and have different vibes. Something I will say is to just leave where ever you are, drive or walk and explore the nooks and crannies. There is so much to see.
3. Go to the Jardin Botanique du Montreal or the Montreal Bonical Garden
One of my favorite places to visit in Montreal, this place can make you feel so calm and at peace. We were able to see some things we hadn’t seen during our last visit and were honestly floored with how beautiful it was. We walked almost the entire path and checked out the First Nations Garden, Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, and a few things in between. It is worth repeat visits for sure and we sat down in the different areas and took it all in.
This time my favorite was the Chinese Garden, it was so beautiful and colorful. I was really in awe of the artistry behind it.
4. Go find some street art
Murals are everywhere in Montreal and I love it. I said it last time I wrote about this city, that art is such an important part of the whole vibe there and street art is insane there! In every neighborhood we walked through we saw so many, and I wanted to take photos of all of them 🙂 but I contained myself and only took a few. IF you love street art then keep your eyes open, you are bound to see some cool ones!
5. Go to museums
We only managed to go to one museum, but after visiting the Musée des beaux-arts de Montreal or the Museum of Fine Art I knew I wanted to visit more one my next trip. Great art from a varied artist pool and from different regions. This museum has tons of floors and there was something different on each. Art museums and galleries have always been a favorite of mine because you can see the world a bit differently and through someone else’s eyes.
6. Mount Royal Lookout
There is a place where you can view the entire city and honestly it is incredible. Great place to watch the sunset, to see the city at night and just take it all in. You can hike some paths or you can drive up. We drove up and stopped at one of the lookouts because hiking wasn’t an option for us, it was a bit foggy the night we went, and right after a rain shower, but it was glorious. Loved the twinkling lights at night, and if you can go during the day because I am sure it is incredible!
7. Montrealian Bagels
I could have put this under the food, but it deserves its own section. The first time we went to Montreal, we didn’t get a chance to try the bagels, so this time we made sure to check it out. We went to Fairmount Bagel, waited in line, in the rain, and got the glorious, warm bagels to take home. We did it the traditional way. Sesame bagel bought Liberte cream cheese and smoked salmon and prepared them. Really tasty and a must. The bagel shop is open 24 hours and is one of a couple in the area that does bagels this way. Loved this experience and next time will try the other famous bagel shop that is also open 24 hours :).
Montreal is a rich city; full of culture, exciting cuisine, and an overall great vibe. I have to say it was nice to feel like we were overseas when really it is just a 5-hour drive from us. I cannot recommend this city enough, it is one of my favorite cities and I will continue to visit as often as I can.
Have you ever been? Let me know your favorites in the comments.
Life as a Maven