Montreal Located on the St. Lawrence River in Northeastern Canada, Montreal annually attracts travelers searching for rich history, culture, and architecture. From the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, the majestic beauty of the nearby Laurentian Mountains, to the vibrant market and streets spread throughout, Canada’s second largest city has something for everyone. 5 Must-See Attractions: Montreal Botanical Gardens- A large, well-manicured garden, with flowering plants sculpted, into pieces of art for visitors to marvel. The garden is complete with an insectarium featuring beautiful butterflies. Laurentian Mountains- A nature lover’s dream, the Laurentian Mountains near Montreal offer beautiful views, swimming, hiking, and outdoor leisurely activities. While the landscape changes in the winter, the activity level remains high with winter sports. Old Montreal- This historical section of Montreal features a European feel, small alleyways, shops, and beautiful architecture; a walk down one of these streets is similar to a walk into history. St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal- The largest church in Canada, St. Joseph’s Oratory is a sight for both religious and non-religious individuals visiting the area. Completed in 1967, this basilica accompanied with well-kept gardens evokes a historical feeling to all who visit. Parc Jean-Drapeau- An island on the Saint Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeau sports unique architecture via the Biosphere and still holds the special charm that made the 1967, World Expo. 5 Great Sites for Kids: Montreal Biodome- Take the kids on a fun, educational trip highlighting the ecosystems of the American continents featuring plant and animal life in the Montreal Biodome. Sugar Shack- An opportunity for kids and adults alike to learn the process of making maple syrup, and perhaps enjoying a sweet treat on the way out. SkyVenture- Parents may give their kids a little scare, but a lot of fun, as they enjoy the exhilaration of skydiving without jumping out of a plane. Laser Quest- Laser tag is always a fan favorite with kids and Laser Quest ups the ante with plenty of smoke and a maze of walls for kids to hide behind and duck under. Kids Butterfly Yoga Studio- Parents and children alike can learn the restful, peace promoting exercise methods of yoga. 5 Free Attractions: Mount Royal- Mount Royal attracts hikers, sun bathers, and nature lovers alike, as people come from all over to enjoy Montreal’s surrounding beauty. McGill University- The gorgeous campus area around McGill University is excellent to tour for both perspective college students and those who appreciate the collegiate environment. Jean-Talon Market- A classic street market that has served fresh fruits, vegetables, and much more to the people of Montreal for a long time. Atwater Market- Another excellent food market with produce, meat, herbs, and spices that can take a meal to the next level. Rue St. Paul- A street packed with shops, restaurants, and bustle, Rue St. Paul’s cobble-stoned streets are an excellent place for strolling and people watching. 5 Great Restaurants: Stash Café- While taking a stroll down Rue St. Paul, stop into the Stash Café for a true Polish dining experience in a cozy atmosphere. Il Focolaio- If you are looking for an authentic pizza place featuring freshly prepared ingredients and a blazing maple wood oven, then Il Focolaio is the place for you. An excellent spot for a shared lunch or a savory dinner. Le Leman- A restaurant with a contemporary and fine dining flair, Le Leman is a Swiss bistro with authentic dishes and recipes, just in the heart of Montreal. Bonaparte- A proper restaurant with a large, expertly prepared menu for both lunch and dinner, Bonaparte serves French cuisine for romantic dinners and business lunches. Word is the breakfast spread is excellent too. Burger Bar Crescent- A sophisticated take on a staple classic, the Burger Bar serves triple AAA beef, a plethora of different sandwiches, and bison burgers, all prepared with care for true quality. 5 Great Nightlife Spots: Hurley’s- An Irish bar with a massive beer and drink menu and live music on a nightly basis; the perfect place for a relaxing night with friendly company and good music. Le Lab- An eclectic drink menu with a number of interesting cocktails and flavor splashes, Le Lab offers a cool atmosphere for patrons looking for a relaxing night. The homemade ginger beer has become a little bit of a fan favorite! N Sur Mackay- Expertly mixed drinks are a specialty at N Sur Mackay; this comfortable bar attracts locals looking to kick back after a long week of work and other stressors. La Distillerie- This bar attracts a crowd because it’s just that good. La Distillerie serves a wide range of cocktails and drinks, expertly mixed by skilled bartenders, alongside popcorn, goldfish, and beef jerky to keep visitors satiated. The Comedy Nest- For a night of laughs from either a well-known comic, or an upstart trying to break into the game, the Comedy Nest is a great place for some of the best medicine. 5 Romantic Getaways: Parc Lafontaine- Nothing is more romantic than beautiful city views in a natural oasis, and that’s what Parc Lafontaine provides. In the winter, people flock to the park to ice skate with their significant other. Japanese Garden- A great location for a jaunt through the Japanese garden amidst koi ponds and perfectly manicured surroundings while holding hands with your loved one. Montreal Planetarium- Not everyone thinks of the planetarium as a romantic date, but once the seats move back and the constellations appear, a spell-binding feeling sweeps across all in the room. For years people have gazed up at the stars in wonder, so why not share that feeling on a date? Scandinave Spa- The spa is a romantic classic for a reason. It is the ultimate in relaxation and warmth, particularly with a partner, and Scandinave provides a unique spa experience. Old Port of Montreal- While most may think the Old Port as a more of a historical site than a romantic spot, the bygone buildings and architecture are a nice place for quiet date. 5 Must Try Foods: Poutine- A Canadian staple consisting of cheese curds, French fries, and plenty of variation in gravies, additives, and sauces, poutine is a fan favorite for both locals and visitors alike. Tourtiere- In vein of popular English meat pies, Tourtiere is a Quebecois turn at the meat pie, filled with pork, beef, and other meats available in both stores and gourmet restaurants. Couscous- A number of places throughout Montreal offer couscous, a North African dish not dissimilar to rice in pairing and function. It has been a favorite among the French for years and that influence has pervaded Montreal. Bagels- Montreal has a reputation as a hotspot for bagel lovers. With a number of options and places baking bagels, it isn’t hard to find a good one. Orange Drink (Orange Julep)- Gibeau Orange Julep is certainly hard to miss, with a giant orange bubble dominating the surrounding horizon, and visitors absolutely want to stop by for the trademark orange drink that popularized the location. Climate: The weather in Montreal is bitter cold in the winter months, while warm and comfortable in the summer time. Temperatures float around the low twenties and teens’ Fahrenheit in the winter, while jumping to the high sixties and seventies in the summer. Montreal experience more rain than the average North American city, which is something to consider when packing for your trip. Transportation: Montreal offers both a metro and bus lines that transport visitors around the city; however, if you truly want to experience the city, walking the streets, particularly in the old downtown sections, is the way to go. Taxis are also options for navigating around the city, as well as Uber and Lyft. Safety Precautions: Montreal is a large walking city with hustle and bustle among its historic streets, shops, sites, and restaurants; thus, it is important to mind your surroundings and keep all important documents in order. Keeping a list of emergency contacts is a smart plan, along with carrying vital documents in a PacSafe, slash-proof bag. Most importantly, take the time to research the city, intended destinations, and materials needed for your travels and be safe. Souvenirs: Montreal’s vibrancy and rich art history makes souvenirs accessible on every street corner, but for something unique, take a visit to Galerie ZoneOrange for a local, hand-made art tchotchke. Trip Highlights: The botanical gardens and Parc Jean-Drapeau will leave any traveler with a lasting image of Montreal, as well as a trip through Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets, shops, and alleyways. Montreal holds so much history; all you have to do is walk through it. Paperwork: U.S. residents along with any other non-Canadian resident require a passport to travel to and from Montreal. If you do not already possess a passport, it is important to start the process far ahead of your trip, to allow ample time for the passport to arrive. Air Travel Information: Montreal is principally serviced by Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) through all major airlines, including United, Air France, Air Canada, Air China, British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, American Airlines, and many more. Regional shuttles, trains, taxis, and other car services take travelers to and from the airport to Montreal and the surrounding area.