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2 Days in Montreal Itinerary: The Perfect Weekend in Montreal

With its old world charm and unique French-Canadian culture, Montreal is one of the most fascinating cities in Canada. Spending 2 days in Montreal will allow you just enough time to experience all of its highlights to see why this city is so special – and be charmed by it.

It’s hard not to fall in love with the city’s European vibe, with its fairytale architecture and quaint cobblestoned streets. But at the same time, Montreal is a bustling urban metropolis, with world-class museums, a thriving foodie scene, and hip neighborhoods with vibrant street art. It also offers stunning natural beauty.

In short, Montreal is a city that has it all and this Montreal 2 day itinerary will help you experience the best of it (and leave you wanting to come back for more!)

I visited Montreal (along with Quebec City) on a little winter getaway, and while it was cold, I LOVED getting a little taste of Europe (without the transatlantic flight + expensive plane ticket). While I’d always been intrigued by the unique French-Canadian culture in both Montreal and Quebec City, I found that the city had sooo much more to offer!

You’ll find yourself never running out of things to do in Montreal, as there is so much to see and do (and especially eat – I’m already dying to spend another weekend in Montreal to eat more of that food)/ While you can easily spend a week here, I get it – you’re short on time and find out how to maximize it, and well, I’m here to help you do exactly that!

Keep on reading for the perfect 2 day Montreal itinerary, to help you make the most of your short time in the city.

Things to know before your weekend in Montreal

How many days in Montreal – is 2 days enough?

Short answer: yes, this 2 day Montreal itinerary will give you just enough time to see all of the city’s highlights and top attractions. 

While you certainly won’t see all of Montreal in 2 days, it is enough time to get a feel for a city and experience the best of what it has to offer, from the charming Old Town, the beautiful green space of Mount Royal, and to indulge in some delicious French Canadian cuisine – among other things.

Montreal is a relatively large city that is somewhat spread out, so I don’t think you’ll be able to fully experience it in one single day. Spending (at least) two days will give you a good introduction to the city.

If you can, I’d devote at least 3 days in Montreal – while my weekend in Montreal gave me a good overview, there was so much more I wanted to see and do, that I’m already planning my return visit!

When to visit Montreal

Montreal experiences four distinct seasons throughout the year, each offering a special experience for visiting the city. Therefore, there really is no bad time to visit!

Here is what to expect when visiting during each of the seasons:

Winter: I spent my 2 days in Montreal in winter (along with Quebec City), and while yes, it was COLD, it was still a beautiful time to visit and a magical experience!  

Highs during the winter months range from 24º to 30ºF (-1º to -4ºC), with the coldest month being January. Lows range from 11º to 18ºF (-7º to -11ºC) – yes, I found that to be pretty cold coming from California, but found it to be bearable with the right layers!

While it’s definitely cold during the winter months, there’s plenty that Montreal has to offer during those months, making a winter visit worthwhile. In December, the city becomes extra festive with Christmas Markets, lights, decorations, and other holiday events. There are plenty of winter recreation opportunities, both within the city at Mount Royal, and just outside of it as well.

Spring: Spring is a beautiful time to visit Montreal! Visiting during the spring months, you will see the city blooming with an array of colorful floral displays, making it a beautiful time to spend a weekend in Montreal. 

Average temperatures in Montreal during the spring months can range anywhere from 35º to 63ºF (2º to 17º C). Visiting earlier in the spring season (March-early April) means that the temperatures will still be relatively cold and still with a slight chance for snowstorms. Visiting later in the season (late April through May), you will have a better chance of enjoying warmer temperatures before all the crowds show up for the summer.

Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash

Summer: Summer is the city’s peak tourist season and the most popular time to visit Montreal. As such, you will find the most crowds and the highest flight and hotel prices during this time. 

That is no surprise as summer in Montreal brings the best weather – the temperatures stay pretty much perfect in June, July, and August, staying around 75º to 80ºF (24º to 26ºC). You’ll find everyone spending as much time outside as they can, soaking up the sunshine, and enjoying outdoor events and festivals.

Do note that the city can sometimes get humid in the summer, thanks to its location on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Be sure to pack a light jacket as well, as evenings tend to get breezy.

Fall: The fall months are some of the most beautiful to visit Montreal. The Quebec region is considered one of the best places to experience fall foliage in North America, and the trees in and around the city become transformed into stunning shades of red, orange, and yellow. Peak foliage usually occurs late September into early October.

It also offers a reprieve from the busy summer tourist season, making it the perfect time to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer, with far fewer crowds. It’s an excellent season to enjoy cultural festivals, seasonal foods, and outdoor activities.

Getting to Montreal

By Air

Montreal’s main international airport is Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL), located roughly 20 kilometers (~12 miles) from the city center. You’ll find many direct connections to many other domestic and international destinations.

From here, you have several options for getting into the city center:

  • Public transportation: The cheapest way to get into the city, and relatively efficient as well. The 747 bus stops right outside the airport terminal and offers service to the Berri-UQAM station, with stops near several points of interest in downtown Montreal, including where many hotels are located. The trip takes roughly 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions, and service is offered 24 hours a day. A one-way fare is $11 CAD, and includes unlimited transportation on the city’s STM and metro lines for the remainder of the day. You can purchase your ticket at one of the vending machines outside the airport terminal, at a metro station, the tourist office in Old Town, and at other participating retailers.
  • Uber: Uber service is offered in Montreal, and is a convenient way to get to and from the airport On average, the fare hovers around $30-40 CAD, but be aware that this depends on demand so be prepared to pay more during certain times. My flight to Montreal ended up being delayed and when I finally got in around 1:30am, I ended up having to pay a whopping $80 CAD to get to my hotel in Old Montreal!
  • Taxi: Traditional taxi service is also available, and you will find cabs lined up outside the terminal. Service to downtown Montreal costs roughly $40.
  •  Rental Car: YUL airport is served by most major car rental agencies, including Enterprise, Avid, Budget, Thrifty, Hertz and more. Do note that you do not need a car in this Montreal 2 day itinerary, unless you are planning to take day trips in the surrounding regions.

By rail

You can travel to Montreal via train to and from several other major Canadian cities, including Quebec City and Ottawa. There is even Amtrak train service that goes all the way to New York City! 

Most trains will arrive to Gare Central station in downtown Montreal, however there are two other stations in the city. From here, it is super easy to connect to many points of interest like Old Montreal on foot, or by metro or bus.

Do note that fares fluctuate based on demand, and it is in your best interest to book as early as you can! When traveling to Quebec City from Montreal, tickets cost $30 CAD when I first started looking – by the time I was ready to book, it went up to $70 CAD!

By bus

Traveling by coach bus is an easy way to get to and from other cities in the Quebec province, including Quebec City. Buses depart from Gare d’autocars de Montreal in downtown, which is easily accessible by bus or Uber.

Much like the train, fares fluctuate based on demand so book as early as possible!


Montreal is also a popular road trip destination for those coming from the Northeastern US, other Canadian cities, or around the Quebec province. While it is not necessary to have a car in Montreal itself, it can be handy if you are planning day trips or to travel around the region.

Here are driving distances to Quebec City from other major cities in the US and Canada:

  • Quebec City: 255 kilometers (158 miles), 3 hours
  • Ottawa: 200 kilometers (124 miles), 2.5 hours
  • Toronto: 542 kilometers (336 miles), 6 hours, 15 minutes
  • Portland, ME: 256 kilometers (159 miles), 5 hours, 15 minutes
  • Boston: 300 kilometers (186 miles), 5.5 hours
  • New York City: 370 kilometers (229 miles), 6 hours, 45 minutes

Getting around in Montreal

On foot

While Montreal is relatively spread out and it would be impossible to entirely explore it on foot, it has extremely walkable neighborhoods. I recommend setting aside some time to explore these on foot to truly get to know the city!

On super cold or hot days, you can even walk around the city in the Underground City, a series of underground tunnels that connect many points of interest downtown. There’s also restaurants, shops, and cafes located in the network, making it fun to explore as well.

Public transportation

Montreal has a relatively efficient and easy-to-use public transportation system that can get you to almost anywhere you need to go in the city. The city’s public transportation network is operated by STM (Societe de Transport de Montreal), which operates over 200 bus lines and four metro lines, which serve 68 stations.

A one-way bus/metro fare costs $3.50 CAD. If you find yourself using public transportation frequently during this 2 day Montreal itinerary, consider purchasing a 1-day pass for $11 CAD, or a 3-day pass for $21.25 CAD.

For information, routes, and schedules, visit STM.

Taxi + Uber

Montreal is served by both traditional taxis and Uber. I took Uber a few times during my two days in Montreal (mostly because I was tired of dealing with the icy sidewalks) and found it to be relatively affordable – around $7-10 to get around the downtown area. 

Rental car

You do not need a car when visiting Montreal. In fact, a car may be a hassle as there is traffic in the city. Parking can also be a challenge.

That said, if you plan on visiting surrounding areas or making day trips, then you may consider renting a car.

More Montreal travel tips


French is the official language in the Quebec province, and the native language of 80% of its inhabitants. It’s also the largest French speaking city outside of Paris. So, you may be asking yourself – “how much French do I need to know during my 2 days in Montreal?”

I know a common misconception about visiting Montreal is that if you don’t speak French then people will be rude to you, however, I found this not to be the case at all. While I did brush up on some basic French phrases on Duolingo, I found that most people in the main tourist areas speak English and I hardly needed to use it at all (which probably is a good thing, considering that my pronunciation is atrocious).

That said, it is always helpful to know a few basic French phrases. And, it’s a fun place to practice!


Canada’s official currency is the Canadian dollar. The exchange rate works out to around $1.25 USD to $1 CAD (it ends up being like an automatic 25% discount if coming from the United States, yay!).

Most places take credit cards, so you probably won’t need a lot of cash. That said, I like to have a little bit of cash on hand (especially as I was planning to visit Christmas Markets), and took out some Canadian dollars at an airport ATM. Also keep in mind that some of the most iconic eateries in Montreal (specifically Fairmount Bagel, St. Viateur Bagels, and Schwartz’s Deli) are cash only.

Do note that Canada has a tipping system similar to the United States – expect to tip 15-20% when dining out. Tips are also expected for taxis, hotel housekeeping, and bag service.

Traveling to/from Canada

Please note that entry + health requirements into Canada are constantly evolving and changing – be sure to keep updated on the latest guidelines here.

Do note that if you are flying back to the United States, YUL airport participates in pre-departure clearance. This means that you will clear US immigration and customs before departing Canada. Be sure to allot extra time for this when arriving at the airport.

Where to stay in Montreal

There is no shortage of accommodation options for your Montreal 2 day itinerary to suit your budget and tastes, whether you’re on a budget, looking for luxury, unique boutique hotels, or anything in between.

I recommend staying in downtown Montreal, specifically Old Town Montreal, to be central to all of the best things to do in this Montreal itinerary. Old Montreal also tends to be the most picturesque and the most walkable, and I really enjoyed staying there!

It is also very convenient to public transportation to help you get anywhere else in the city.

Here are some recommended places to stay in Montreal:

  • Hotel Uville: This is where I stayed, and I loved it! This cool boutique hotel is themed after 1960s Montreal, and along with the retro decor (I basically booked it after seeing photos of that fun wallpaper), they have mini-exhibits about the city during this era. The rooms also have fun details, such as a record player and a mini library of vinyls that you can play on it!

    They also offer free breakfast with a “breakfast in bed” concept – they bring it to your room every morning. The breakfasts include a selection of local specialties, such as a Montreal bagel. 

    You also can’t beat the location – just next to Old Montreal, and within minutes of Notre Dame Basilica and Place d’Armes, Rue Saint-Paul, the Old Port, Place Jacques Cartier, and more.
  • Fairmont Queen Elizabeth: If you are looking for a luxury option, then you can’t do much better than the Fairmont. You also really can’t beat the location, especially if you are traveling to and from Montreal via train – the hotel is located right about the central train station, and is minutes from many of the city’s top attractions!

    The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth also has a unique history and “for Montrealers, by Montrealers” concept, with a restaurant, cafe, bar, and urban market featuring local products and talents.

    I also love that this Fairmont has a bit more of a modern, contemporary vibe. You also still get the unparalleled luxury and attentive service that the Fairmont brand is known for.
  • M Montreal: This is a great option for those traveling on a budget, and I’ve seen it highly recommended. You’ll find both dorm-style and private rooms here that are super clean and modern. You also can’t beat the location –  it’s just a 15 minute walk to the heart of Old Montreal.

    There are also lots of lively common spaces, including a retro bar and a patio with hot tubs, where you can meet other travelers – and they put on tons of fun events!

The Perfect 2 Days in Montreal Itinerary

Montreal Itinerary Day 1 (Old Montreal + Surroundings)

Morning: Explore Old Montreal

Kick off your 2 day Montreal itinerary by exploring one of the city’s most charming areas – Old Montreal. Dating back to the 1600s, Old Montreal is known as one of the best and most well-preserved historic districts in North America.

One fantastic way to get acquainted with Old Montreal is to sign up for a walking tour, which will help you get acquainted with the neighborhood’s unique history, heritage, and architecture. Two highly recommended tours are the Old Montreal VIP Walking Tour and the Old Montreal History Tour.

I loved wandering through the quaint cobblestone streets here, admiring the fairytale architecture, and feeling like I took a step back in time. I also LOVED the distinctly European vibe here – at times I swore I’d transported myself to France!

You can easily spend the entire day in the Old Town, but as you only have 2 days in Montreal, I suggest at least spending an entire morning here. Below are some of the points of interests that you should not miss:

Rue Saint-Paul

The oldest street in the city, Rue Saint-Paul is also the main drag of Old Montreal. The street stretches about one mile, and is lined with tons of restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, galleries, and much more. 

It’s also one of the most picturesque streets in the city – you really get those fairytale vibes that Old Montreal is famous for when walking through Rue Saint-Paul!

I suggest centering your exploration of Old Montreal and starting off your Montreal 2 day itinerary here, and walking from one end to the other, seeing what gems you can find. You’ll definitely snap tons of photos along the way (I certainly did!)!

Place d’Armes

Place d’Armes dates back to the 17th century, and is one of the most notable public squares in the city. You’ll find a collection of statues and public arts pieces here, as well as a number of historically significant buildings that surround the square.

The centerpiece of Place d’Armes is Paul de Chomedy, the founder of Montreal. Some of the notable buildings that surround the square include Vieux Séminaire (the oldest building in the city), the New York Life Building (the first skyscraper in Montreal), and the Bank of Montréal building (the oldest banking institution in Canada).

Notre Dame Basilica

Also surrounding Place d’Armes is the Notre Dame Basilica, one of the most famous churches in the city and one of the most significant landmarks in the city. 

Dating back to the 19th century, the Notre Dame Basilica dates back to the 19th century and is the oldest place of worship in North America. Throughout its history, many significant events have taken place here, including the wedding of Celine Dion and the funeral of Pierre Trudeau, the former prime minister of Canada who was also the father of the current one, Justin Trudeau.

The inside of the church is stunning, with richly painted vaulted ceilings (adorned with 24 karat gold stars to resemble the night sky), ornate details, intricately carved decorations, and breathtaking stained glass windows.

You can go inside to tour the church and learn more about its history, but I suggest coming back in the evening, as they put on a beautiful light and sound spectacular (more on that later)!

Bonsecours Market

With its distinctive silver dome and Neoclassical facade, the Bonsecours Market building is one of the most iconic in Old Montreal, and recognized as one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Canada. 

The Bonsecours Market has a unique and storied history, and was once the largest agricultural market in the city for over a century. It also once housed a concert hall and once served as the City Hall.

These days, the Bonsecours Market is a bustling marketplace that houses 15 boutiques, showcasing local artisans from Quebec, along with cafes serving local products. It also serves as an event space and exhibition space.

City Hall

The five-story Montreal City Hall was built in the 1870s and is the seat of the local government. It is a National Historic Site and one of the city’s architectural jewels. 

It has a storied but turbulent history. It survived a fire in 1922. It was also the balcony here from which French President Charles de Gaulle uttered “Vive le Québec libre!” (Long live free Québec) in 1967, escalating a debate over whether the French-speaking Quebec should seek independence from Canada.

While you currently cannot tour the inside of City Hall because of renovations, it is worth a stop to admire from the outside. It’s also one of the few places in the city where you can still see signs of the fortified town of the past.

Place Jacques-Cartier

Connecting City Hall to the Old Port, the lively Place Jacques-Cartier is always teeming with activity. The square is surrounded by historical buildings and cobblestoned streets, retaining its European charm. It is considered to be the heart of Old Montreal, and you’ll always find something going on here, with plenty of people hanging out.

During the warmer months, you’ll find plenty of street performers and people hanging out in outdoor cafes. Place Jacques-Cartier also offers a special kind of magic in the winter months, and the square is decorated with twinkling lights during the holiday season (I loved walking through here at night when visiting in December).

Place Jacques-Cartier is steeped in heritage, and has been a central meeting place in the city for centuries, and was the home of a public market until the 20th century. You’ll find historical monuments placed within the square, most notably the Nelson Column, a towering monument erected in 1809.

Old Port

The Old Port of Montreal stretches over a mile along the Saint Lawrence River and once served as a trading post for French fur traders as early as the 17th century. Today, it is a recreational and historical venue that draws over six million visitors a year.

You’ll find that there are tons of attractions and activities here, to suit everyone’s interests and travel styles! Many events and festivals take place here as well.

Some of the attractions you’ll find at the Old Port are the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, the Montreal Science Center and IMAX Theatre, the Bota Bota spa (housed in a floating boat!), a beautiful Clock Tower, zip lining, shops, cafes, and much more.

You’ll also find Canada’s tallest Observation Wheel (but we’ll come back to that later), which you can skate in front of in the winter, when there is an ice skating rink located here. 

At the very least, you should go for a stroll across the riverfront promenade and take in views of the city’s unique architecture and the Saint Lawrence river! 

Options for Afternoon Activities

For the afternoon for the first day of your Montreal 2 day itinerary, I am giving you a few options and then you can choose what interests you the most – it’s a choose your own adventure kinda afternoon!

Being that you’re trying to see Montreal in 2 days, you aren’t going to see it all. Here are some well-known and highly recommended attractions, but you won’t have time to do them all – so pick one that interests you the most!

Atwater Market

This is where I ended up because I was hungry (and because I heard there was a Christmas market here). It’s the perfect spot for foodies!

Housed in a beautiful Art Deco building, Atwater Market is the gourmet paradise in the city – you’ll find tons of local specialties and hard-to-find specialty food products. They also have a selection of eateries offering a diverse array of foods (it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch).

They also put on seasonal food events as well, from food and beverage tastings to cocktail hours.


Montreal is home to several world-renowned museums – if you are a museum lover, be sure to visit at least one of them during your weekend in Montreal. 

If you’re visiting during the winter, they’re a fantastic place to learn something new while escaping the cold.

Here are some of the best museums to visit in Montreal:

  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: One of the largest and most visited museums in Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts boasts an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, and fashion.
  • Biodome: Housed in the former Velodome (which was built for the 1976 Olympics), the Biodome is one of the city’s most unique museums, focusing on ecosystems and housing over 2500 animals from 200 different species, along with 800 plant species.
  • Pointe-a-Calliere: Canada’s largest archaeological museum, showcasing the history of Montreal from the indigenous First Nations tribes to present.
Image by Santiago Endara from Pixabay
Botanical Gardens

Montreal’s Botanical Gardens is known as one of the largest and most beautiful in the world, with over 22,000 plant species, 10 exhibition greenhouses, and 30 thematic gardens.

The gardens showcase the botanic traditions of the Japanese, Chinese, and the First Nations, and showcase individual flowers such as roses and lilies. The main exhibition greenhouse has seasonal displays and events – it even has an indoor waterfall!

I’ve heard that the gardens are magical, but I didn’t go because it was winter and I didn’t think there would be much to see – however, I heard that the gardens are still well worth visiting in the winter, so I really wish I went! Oh well, just have to make a return visit.

The Botanical Gardens are a little ways off from the city center, but you can get there via a 20 minute Uber ride, or take public transportation.

Aura Light Show at the Notre Dame Basilica

After your afternoon adventure, head back to Old Montreal where you will spend the rest of your evening. First, head back over to the Notre Dame Basilica – I know I pointed it out when you were exploring the area in the morning, but you’re coming back for something special.

This is the time to check out Aura, a spectacular display of lights and music. You’ll see dynamic lights synchronized with orchestral music, using the cathedral’s stunning architecture as the perfect backdrop. It is truly a stunning sight!

Aura takes place nightly at 6pm and 8pm – you can find more details and tickets here.

Dinner in Old Montreal

Time for dinner! You’ll find plenty of choices in Old Montreal, no matter what you’re craving.

I was in the mood for some French cuisine (this is French Canada after all) – particularly French onion soup – so I stopped into Modavie and highly recommend it! You’ll find a varied menu that serves up plenty of traditional French bistro classics, and it is delicious! Aside from the soup, I also had the moules frites and really enjoyed that as well. 

They also have an extensive wine list, particularly of French wines.

I loved the cozy atmosphere here – they also have live jazz every night, which is a treat! It’s the perfect place to spend your evening and enjoy a leisurely dinner.

La Grande Roue

After dinner, I suggest taking a ride on the Le Grande Roue – the tallest ferris wheel in Canada! 

This is such a relaxing (and romantic – although I was in Montreal on a solo trip lol) after dinner activity. If you happen to catch the sunset, it’s the perfect place to see it from – on a clear day, you can see up to 17 miles!

If visiting in the winter like me, it’s an ideal place to cozy up, since all the cabins are heated. It was beautiful to see all of the lights of the city from up high! 

There’s an ice skating rink here as well, although I was a few days early for it.

Montreal Itinerary Day 2 (Mount Royal + Neighborhoods)

Have a Montreal bagel for breakfast

Start your day off with one of the local specialties – a Montreal bagel!

What makes it so special you ask? Montreal bagels are thinner and less doughy than a traditional bagel, and are boiled in honey water. The result is a perfect texture with a perfect amount of crunch – and they’re not so dense. Even if you aren’t usually a fan of bagels, I highly recommend trying one!

It makes the perfect light breakfast before you start this busy second day of your 2 day Montreal itinerary! 

Head to St. Viateur Bagel or Fairmount Bagel to find the best in the city – they’re pretty close to each other, so you can even try both (they are also open 24 hours). Be sure to bring cash though!

Mount Royal

A sprawling green space located right in the center of the city, Mount Royal is home to a variety of trails and recreational opportunities, no matter what the season. You’ll also find plenty of people walking, jogging, and cycling throughout the park (yes, even in the winter). It’s also home to some of the city’s best views!

Mount Royal is actually how Montreal got its name, after Jacques Cartier climbed atop the 233 meter (764 feet) tall mountain in 1535. It’s like the Central Park of Montreal – in fact, the park shares the same designer as the iconic NYC park. 

You can easily spend all day in Mount Royal, but at the very least, I suggest checking out some of the viewpoints in the park. I stopped at the Mount Royal lookout (Camilien-Houde Belvedere), from where you can see the entire city – in fact, there’s an ordinance in place that states that buildings can’t be higher than Mount Royal, so you really feel like you’re standing on top of the city! And, on a clear day, you can even see all the way out to the United States!

Another popular viewpoint is Kondiaronk Belvedere, which is said to have arguably the best view of Montreal. It requires you to climb up a bunch of stairs to get there. Unfortunately, the ground was pretty slick when I was in the park, so I decided to skip this one. I need to come back in the summer to make it here though!

There are plenty of trails throughout the park which lead you up to the viewpoints, but as I mentioned earlier, I was there in the winter and it was icy everywhere! I had grand intentions of walking throughout the park, but gave up after slipping and almost eating it. Luckily, there is a bus (line 11) which drops you off at some of the main points, so that saved me from slipping and sliding all throughout the park.

St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

One of the most iconic landmarks in Montreal, the beautiful St. Joseph’s Oratory is Canada’s largest church and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world, drawing over two million visitors annually.

It is one of the most impressive buildings in the city, featuring a stunning dome, which is the third largest in the world. You can actually go up to the top of the dome, which is the highest point in Montreal and from where you will find one of the best views of the city!

Unfortunately, they were doing quite a bit of construction on the grounds when I went, but it was still a stunning church and worth a stop!

Little Italy + Jean-Talon Market

Once a hub for Italian immigrants in the 20th century, the vibrant Little Italy neighborhood is known as a foodie neighborhood, filled with world-class markets, acclaimed restaurants, cafes,  bakeries, bars, and much more.

Obviously, the Italian roots run deep here and you’ll find plenty of traditional Italian businesses, but today it’s also a diverse neighborhood, featuring a diverse mix of cultures, as well as contemporary eateries and hip bars.

The highlight of Little Italy is the Jean-Talon Market, known as one of the best and largest open-air markets in all of North America. The market is often referred to as “the stomach of Montreal” and is truly a foodie paradise!

The Jean-Talon Market is a feast for both the eyes and stomach, and is a must on your 2 day Montreal itinerary. I always love wandering through markets like this (Pike Place Market in Seattle and La Boqueria in Barcelona are other favorites) because the sights, smells, and tastes are always so inspiring! Taking a guided tour will help you discover all the best that the market has to offer.

This is the perfect place to stop for lunch, as there are a diverse array of vendors and eateries here – you can find everything from crepes, sushi, tacos, Middle Eastern food, and much more.

In addition, you’ll find a dizzying array of vendors selling anything and everything from fresh produce, specialty cheese, maple syrup, fresh flowers, charcuterie, local products, and much more.

Saint Louis Square

I originally came across a photo of Saint Louis Square on Instagram and knew I’d have to make a stop, and it did not disappoint. This was one of my favorite spots during my 2 days in Montreal as it was just so darn pretty! 

Saint Louis Square is located just off Sherbrooke Street, which is the longest street in the city and filled with exclusive boutiques, luxury hotels, high-end galleries, and elegant Victorian buildings.

I loved the rows of colorful homes that line the streets surrounding the square. And, a fun fact – two famous Quebecois poets, Émile Nelligan and Gaston Miron, once lived in these homes, so it is a place of significance in the city’s literary history!

It was especially beautiful seeing the houses covered in a layer of snow, and it started to snow when I was there, and it was magical – I felt like I was living inside a snowglobe! But outside of winter, this is a place to take in the beauty of Montreal’s seasons – flowers bloom in the spring, and the foliage transforms into vibrant colors in the autumn.

Explore Mile End 

The artsy Mile End neighborhood is one of the coolest areas in Montreal. You’ll find trendy shops, hipster cafes, lively bars, and some of the most popular restaurants in the city.

There’s plenty to keep you occupied for an afternoon in Mile End – I loved browsing through the shops here and hanging out in some cafes. 

One of the highlights of Mile End is seeing all of the colorful murals that adorn the walls here. I love cities with a vibrant street art scene (some favorites include Nashville, San Francisco, and Austin), and I loved seeing that Montreal had so many murals!

A fun way to spend your afternoon is to go on a guided mural walk, which will allow you to see the best street art in the neighborhood, as well as get the social and cultural context behind them. 

Dinner in Mile End or Plateau Mont Royal

After your afternoon exploring Mile End, I recommend either staying in there or visiting the neighboring Plateau Mont Royal neighborhood for dinner. This is where you will find some of the best and most iconic eateries in the city!

A few suggestions below:

  • Schwartz’s Deli: You’re coming here for one thing and one thing only – the smoked meat sandwiches. Schwartz’s Deli has been around since the 1920s and is famous for their smoked meat sandwiches, which is a Quebecois specialty. The meat is smoked and spiced over a week, and the result is perfection! Be sure to wash it down with a cherry cola.
  • La Banquise: This is your best bet if you are in the mood for poutine. They have over 28 varieties of poutine, with something to suit everyone’s taste, from the traditional to outrageous toppings. There’s always a line out the door here, and for good reason!
  • Au Pied de Cochon: One of Montreal’s most popular restaurants, Au Pied de Cochon gained its fame when it was featured by Anthony Bourdain. They are known for their foie gras poutine here. Reservations are a must!

Have you been to Montreal? What would you add to your Montreal 2 day itinerary?

You might also like:
Montreal in Winter
Montreal vs. Quebec City: Which Should You Visit?
2 Days in Quebec City
Quebec City in Winter
2 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

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