Relax In A Nordic Spa
Three words hot, cold, relax. Thats the basis of a Nordic spa cycle, which is something Ive come to associate with cold destinations ever since jumping into a freezing cold fjord from a sauna in Norway. To my shock and surprise, I loved it!
Skeptical? Science and Nordes both agree: traditional Nordic spas aka thermotherapy or hydrotherapy if youre fancy is AMAZING, and a wonderful way to relax and help your body adjust itself to freezing cold temperatures!
Montreal offers several Nordic spa opportunities:
Things To Do In Downtown
- Escape the cold in The Underground City, a maze of department stores underground -connected to the major hotels and stations
- Explore the largest museum in Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Art offers over 41,000 works of art
- Head to the top of Au Sommet, a 607 ft. skyscraper for incredible views and an interactive exhibit
- Watch Broadway shows, opera, and more at Place de Arts, the largest performing arts complex in the city
- Visit Christ Church Cathedral, a national historic site of Canada and catch their weekend concerts
- Browse Montreals entertainment district, Quartier des Spectacles for converts, festivals, galleries, and more
Things To Do In Montreal In The Winter: The Ultimate Montreal Winter Guide
By Lia Garcia | January 11, 2022
Things are changing rapidly – please double check what’s open before your trip and follow all local guidelines to keep yourself and others safe! Also, ads are how we pay our bills and keep our blog free for you to enjoy. We also use affiliate links if you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Softly falling snow. Hot mulled wine. Sticky maple taffy. Montreal, Canada is a winter wonderland, and one of the best places to visit for winter cheer!
As Californians, theres nothing more exciting to us than traveling somewhere cold and snowy especially if there will be Christmas Markets. Christmas just doesnt feel right without a cozy mug of mulled wine and a blanket of snow! But while we love hopping on a plane and flying to Europe the reigning champion of Christmas Markets lets face it: its not always feasible.
So instead, this year, we boarded an Amtrak train in New York City and headed up to Montreal, Canada! To our delight, Montreal is every bit a charming winter wonderland complete with Christmas Markets and delicious treats. Plus, we were introduced to a Canadian winter tradition that immediately won us over: cabane à sucre, aka Sugar Shacks!
Yall: we learned so much. And now weve stuffed it all into this massive guide to Montreal in the winter! Heres everything you need to know to plan your trip, from what to pack to the best things to do in Montreal in the winter.
2021 Travel Tip:
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Where To Eat In Montreal
Montreal is known for its food, so be prepared to eat a lot, and to eat well. These are a few of my favourite places that I found during my last visit, with great food and reasonable prices.
Tip: The more you use bixi bikes and walking as your transit, the more beaver tails you can have.
I always wanted to go here. Thanks for the good tips and tricks ?
Thanks for the great information! Im looking forward to a few days stay in September and want to be sure to hit the highlights this sounds like a great itinerary. I especially love that a garden is included one of my favorite things! and eating, of course
The gardens are so beautiful! I hope you have an amazing time when you go!
Thank you for your itineraries they have been very helpful in planning an upcoming trip. One question do you think we would be able to do a mile-end food tour, explore Plateau Mount-Royal, and walk to the top of Mount Royal all in one day or is that too much? Thank you!
Hi Aimee! I definitely think you can do those things in a day. Just get an early start and youll be all good! Platueau-Mont Royal is a beautiful area but it doesnt take that long to visit the beautiful parks and streets.
Thank you for this fantasic guide. I will be in Montreal at the end of Nov/Start of Dec for 3 nights, and this seems perfect.
Things To See Near Le Plateau
Rue St-Denis & Boulevard St-Laurent The two busiest streets in the neighborhood with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. St-Laurent is especially great for designer shops and nightlife with venues open late.
Montreal Bike and Bites Get a detailed overview of Montreal and its best restaurants through this comprehensive 5 hour, 12 km bike tour. The tour covers the Plateau, Mile End, Old Montreal, Little Italy, Mont-Royal Park, and downtown.
La Banquise Arguably one of the best places to get your poutine fix in the city. Youll find long lines, locals, and tourists at this foodie hot spot.
Schwartz Deli Another popular foodie place in the city, Schwartz Deli is one of the oldest delis in Canada and an institution in Montreal. Its where you can taste world famous smoked meat.
LEcomusee du Fier Monde An in-depth history museum about the working-class people of Montreal and the importance of grassroots involvement in the city.
Mount Royal is one of the most popular nature spots in Montreal city located right next to the Plateau and is a favorite place to enjoy an impressive view of the city. Dont miss the Tam-Tams, a weekly free festival around the George-Étienne Cartier Monument that includes drummers, dancers, and vendors every Sunday.
The Official Montreal MURAL Tour This walking tour takes you to some of the best murals along Saint-Laurent in the Plateau, and talks about why Montreal has such impressive street art.
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How To Get Around In Montreal
Montreal is a big city, but its transit systems and paths are well-designed and easy to navigate. Whatever method of transit you choose, there are great maps available and lots of signs through out the city to help you find your way.
- Bixi Bikes: The Bixi bikes sytem is one the easiest and cheapest ways to get around in Montreal. Thestations are all over Montrealthe place in the downtown, so returning or exchanging the bikes is never an issue. There are beautiful bike paths all through Montreal, so you rarely have to ride on the road. It costs $5 for a day pass, which gives you unlimited 30 minutes rides.
- The Metro: There are 68 metro stations in Montreal, over 4 different lines. The stations where the lines cross over can be overwhelming, but in reality there are only 3 lines and you just need to know what colour line and what direction youre going. If you are going a far enough distance to merit the metro, make you sure to plan your route carefully before you go, and get familiar with themetro system map.
- Walk: Montreal is a very walkable city, particularly if youve got a good plan for the day that keeps you within one area. Theres no need to be in transit more than a couple times a day!
- Take the bus:the city buses in Montreal are easy to use and come frequently. Once again, make sure you know your route ahead of time.
Day2 Mile End And Mount Royal
Eat Your Way Through Mile End
The Mile End area is one of Montreals trendiest neighbourhoods these days, as its got a growing artistic community and some incredibly skilled chefs and bakers in the area. Its one of those picturesque areas, with houses that have exterior staircases and big flower baskets. Theres also a lot of fun, funky street art so make sure you bring your camera.
Go on aself-guided Food Tour of Mile End Montreal to experience some of the citys best food. Ive spent a lot of time in Mile End, so I put together a 2 hour self-guided food tour map that includes 8 stops. One of the really cool things about Mile End is that many of the good food spots offer small, single-item servings that you can munch on while you walk! There are also guided food tours of Mile End. I went on one 2 years ago and loved it! Its how I found a couple of my favourite places, and it included a couple of neat historical locations, too. Whether you go with a tour or on your own, there are a few places youve got to try:
- St-Viateur Bagels: this place is famous for making the best bagels in the world. My expectations were high, and totally met. Delicious!
- Kem Coba. This is the best ice cream in the area. I had a rose / raspberry ice cream here that I will never forget.
- Drogheria Fine. My personal favourite, Drogheria Fine is a small Italian spot, with homemade gnocchi and family-recipe pasta sauce.
Hike to the Top Mount Royal
St Josephs Oratory
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What Is The Best Boutique Hotel In Montreal
You like some luxury but dont like the famous chain hotels. If youre looking for the best boutique hotel in Montreal, you should check out Hotel Gault. Its a very cool hotel that has been highly recommended by travelers and experts. Also check out our list of the best boutique hotels in Montreal, its a manually curated list of the most unique and romantic hotels in the city.
What Is The Best Budget Hotel In Montreal
If youre looking for a cheap hotel in Montreal, then book Hotel Chateau de IArgoat. Its an excellent budget hotel offering great value for money. Its in a good location, its been recommended by travel experts and the hotel has excellent customer reviews. Also make sure you read our shortlist of the best cheap hotels in Montreal.
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Why Stay In Downtown
For those who like a more modern aesthetic or are in Montreal for business then Downtown offers that big city vibe. The biggest concentration of skyscrapers in the city and the official business district, you can expect the usual flurry of pedestrians, cars, and taxis. However, the area is very central and has easy access to the rest of the city with several metro lines and bus routes going through here. You can also enjoy the theatre district, underground shopping, rooftop bars, and modern cafes. There are more than enough museums to keep culture vultures happy and getting to the citys major attractions from Downtown is easy. Perfect for people who arent necessarily looking for that European aesthetic and want a wide range of accommodation choices.
Best Location In Montreal Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best area to stay in Montreal for sightseeing?
The best areas to stay in Montreal for a first visit or sightseeing are Old Montreal and downtown. Old Montreal is great to dive into the citys history. Meanwhile, the downtown area is modern and has the best transport connections.
What is the best area to stay in Montreal with kids?
What is the best location in Montreal for nightlife?
Choosing an area to stay to party in Montreal will depend on your interests. For LGBT bars and clubs, theres the Gay Village, Downtown has something for everyone and Quartier des Spectacles is great to see live shows.
Where to stay in Montreal without a car?
The best areas to stay in Montreal without a car are Downtown and Old Montreal because of their great public transport connections. These are also have so many attractions that you wont need to move as much.
What is the best area in Montreal for LGBT travelers?
As its name suggests, Gay Village is the recommended area to stay in Montreal for LGBT visitors.Here, youll find LGBT bars, shops, restaurants and accommodation.
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Where To Stay In Griffintown Neighborhood
Hôtel Alt Montréal
One of our top picks in Montréal.Located in Griffintown, Hôtel Alt Montréal is within 200 yards of the Lachine Canal and 0.6 miles of the Old Port. This eco-friendly hotel offers an on-site snack bar, fitness centre and free WiFi.
Modernly furnished, rooms at Hôtel Alt Montréal are appointed with original works of art. A flat-screen TV and iPod docking station are featured in every room, as well as a coffee machine. Toiletries and a hairdryer are included.
The hotel is equipped with meeting facilities.
Bonaventure Metro Station is 10 minutes walk from this hotel. Mount Royal Park is 2.5 miles away.
How To Go On A Canadian Safari
- On a nice day there isn’t a better place in Montreal to jog or walk.
- MuseumThe largest and most frequently visited history museum in Montreal.
- LandmarkMore than 2 million people visit this pilgrimage site in Mount Royal each year, and its dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world.
- MuseumA massive natural sciences complex, home to four different museums.
- MountainSprawling 692-acre park north of downtown, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1876.
- MuseumThis museum, on the historic Golden Square Mile stretch of Sherbrooke Street, is one of the 10 most-visited in North America.
- LandmarkWho doesn’t love a ferris wheel?
- SpaIt’s impossible to leave this boat spa feeling anything but relaxed.
- TourFor those looking for a crash course in the history of Montreal.
- TourA chance to figure out who really makes the best bagel in Montreal.
- activityThe informal phenomenon known as Tam Tams has been one of the city’s quirkiest and most beloved traditions.
- TourAt this outdoor video-projection installation, 25 tableauximages, narration, and musiccollectively tell stories central to the city’s identity in Old Montreal.
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Lachine Canal National Historic Site
- Used during the fur trade
- Relaxing boat rides and walks along the banks
- Open air and plenty of green space
- Over 14-kilometers long
Why its awesome: Nestled on the southeast bank of Montreal Island is Lachine Canal a 14.4-kilometer long canal. Pioneers from the 17th-century initially thought the route led to China, but in fact, only runs from Old Port to Lake Saint Louise. Its now a beautiful historic site, with plenty of parks, green spaces, and fresh air. Although much of the area has been converted to usable space, you can still close your eyes and imagine how the fur traders floated down the canal on their expeditions!
What to do there: There are plenty of outdoor activities to do along the shores of the Lachine Canal. Take a picnic and plop yourself in the sun for a relaxing lunch. Or, rent a bike and cycle along the side of the river on the paved bike paths. There are even cruises that will take you up and down the canal, so you can feel the wind blowing through your hair! But best of all, you can come to Lachine Canal just to escape the bustle of the city.
Chic Arty Neighbourhood Attached To Le Plateau
Once recognised as the north-western corner of the Plateau, its now its own separate neighbourhood. Just as cool as the Plateau this wonderfully multicultural area will have you overhearing a mix of English, French, Italian, and Portuguese and the restaurants and shopping is just as diverse.
The whole district oozes art and many of todays most famous bands and musicians have come out of this dynamic area, Grimes and Arcade Fire being just a couple of examples. Its a fashionable area with boutique and book shopping galore, fabulous bakeries, and cafes.
With a creative and local vibe and within walking distance of the Plateau, Little Italy and La Petite-Patrie, youll be spoiled for choice of things to do in Mile End. In both Mile End and the Plateau, youll find an eclectic mix of chic boutique hotels and upmarket hostels to choose from.
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Downtown Montreal Skyscrapers Entertainment & Culture
If you are looking for where to stay in Montreal where you can immerse yourself in the energetic city center downtown Montreal is the best neighborhood. It doesnt get much more central and convenient than downtown. Downtown Montreal, or Centre-Ville, is the official business district of the city.
That big city feeling will envelop you with the rushing pedestrians, speeding motorists, and the largest concentration of skyscrapers in the city.
But just because youve suddenly found yourself surrounded by suits doesnt mean that there isnt also a more cultural side to the neighborhood. Downtown offers an array of unique museums, cafes, bars, theaters, universities, and even shopping options in an underground part of the city.
Which Area Should You Choose
First of all, here is a map that shows the best neighborhoods to stay in Montreal that Ill be talking about in this article:
Montréal is not a small city and it is divided into several different areas, each one with its own unique charm and advantages. In case you need help choosing the best area for you, here is my list of personalized recommendations:
- Where to stay in Montreal for luxury: Downtown Montreal
- Where to stay in Montreal for budget travelers: Old Montreal
- Where to stay in Montreal for nightlife: The Village
- Where to stay in Montreal for families: Le Plateau Mont-Royal
And heres a video that shows the charm of Montreal, just to get you in the right mood for your vacation. Its not exactly a video about the areas in the city, but it will give you a pretty good idea about it:
Now let me tell you everything you need to know about the 6 most popular neighborhoods to stay in Montreal:
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