Answers from Our Experts (1)
Montreal is a fantastic pedestrian city, so your best bet is to put on some comfy shoes and get marching. Pick a neighbourhood like Old Montreal, downtown, St. Henri the Plateau or Outremont and map out a walking tour that will take you past shops, museums, parks and the occasional street performer. Be sure to refuel often (see below).
European influences abound from architecture to eateries. From Italian espresso and French cafés to British pubs and Viennese bakeries, you'll feel like you're dining across the ocean. You'll also find plenty of Middle Eastern spots to get your felafel fix and Asian food of all kinds from kalbi to noodles to sushi. And don't forget traditional Montreal faves like smoked meat, bagels and poutine. Good thing you're doing all that walking (see above).
It probably has something to do with Montreal's European heritage but locals absolutely love to visit the multiple Scandinavian spas in the area. Start in the sauna or hot jacuzzi followed by a quick dunk in freezing water, and then sit back and relax in a fluffy robe at beautiful spots including Spa Scandinave, Bota Bota and Strom Spa. Lakeside spa Balnea is just an hour or so out of town, near Bromont, but well worth the trip in the summer months.
The only skiing to be had in the city is cross-country, but if you're visiting in the winter be sure to save a coupe of days for a jaunt up north to the Laurentians or a quick trip to the Eastern Townships for mountains galore. Bromont offers fantastic night-skiing just an hour and a half away from the downtown core, and Mont Tremblant is a must for downhill enthusiasts.
Montreal has a very distinct sense of style. Though you'll find some well known brands including H&M, Zara, GAP and Forever XXI on the main Ste. Catherine street strip, pick up a Montreal original that no one at home will have. We recommend hunting down a piece by designer darlings, Denis Gagnon, Marie Saint Pierre, DUY, Helmer, Eve Gravel, Melissa Nepton, and more.