Montreal, Quebec is one of North America’s greatest cities. Located on the St. Lawrence River, this city of four million inhabitants, the largest in Quebec, offers visitors a chance to experience both the fruits of 375 years of multi-ethnic history and the feel of today’s dominant French Canadian culture. Friendly to English-speaking Americans, the city is justly-renowned for world-class cuisine and shopping, spectacular architecture, a plethora of festivals throughout the year, a great public transportation system and lively nightlife.
From professional sports franchises to ethnic neighborhoods, from the Atwater Market to the Lachine Canal urban park, the city offers a kaleidoscope of attractions year-around.
Before You Go
- Check out http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Traveller/
Montreal is a major city and is accessible by highway, air, train, boat or car.
- Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL), is 12 miles from Montreal’s downtown. It has numerous daily flights to Canadian, U.S. and international destinations.
- VIA Rail, the national passenger train system of Canada, serves Montreal’s huge Central Station right downtown with multiple trains per day in several directions and connects with Amtrak to New York here. It is also a commuter rail hub.
- Like Quebec City, cruise ships dock right downtown in the old city along the St. Lawrence.
- By car, Montreal is reached from the U.S. by Canadian Autoroute 15, a freeway which connects with U.S. I-87 at the border 40 miles to the south. It is less than a five hour drive to Boston.
When You Are There
- Have lunch at Reuben’s Deli & Steakhouse (near the train station), upscale dinner at Chez L’Epicier or Les 400 Coups.
- Walk at least the downtown part of the underground’s 20 miles to visit shops, restaurants and sights without having to fight traffic or inclement weather.
- Discover downtown shopping and restaurants along Sainte-Catherine Street West.
If You Only Have Two or Three Days:
Must-sees for a short stay are:
- The Old Montreal/Old Port district on the St. Lawrence with shops, galleries and history galore.
- Mount Royal Park and its gorgeous scenic overlook views.
If You Have Several Days, enjoy:
- A cruise around the Old Port on the electric-powered Le Petit Naivre.
- Olympic Park and the spectacular Montreal Tower.
- Visiting some of Montreal’s wonderful ethic neighborhoods and the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History.
- Exploring the nearby Laurentian mountains.
Ginny O’s Tips For Dressing The Simply Smart Travel Way For Montreal.
This is a sophisticated urban center that enjoys high fashion, so you can dress up a little when you tour the town, Nice slacks and a dressy blouse are always in order for ladies and attractive costume jewelry works well and can dress up even the plainest outfit. For men, a sport coat serves a dual purpose of warmth and style. Bring a sweater and/or a jacket even in the summer since temperatures can fluctuate.
Since there is a lot of walking, make sure that you wear comfortable shoes!
This Destination At A Glance
Mobility Level: Moderate. While there are some hills and steps, most are easily navigable and accessible public transportation abounds.
When To Go: Anytime. Winters can be severe but the underground pedestrian network always provides warm and comfortable access to major attractions and skiing is nearby. Summers are gorgeous. Our fall trip had magnificent weather.
Where To Stay: The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth enjoys a great downtown location and connects by elevator to the massive VIA rail station. Not cheap but worth it.
Special Travel Interests: French Canadian culture
Editor’s Notes: Orenstein is a syndicated travel writer who lives on Florida’s West Coast. He and his wife Virginia enjoy simply smart travel and writing about it. They can be reached at jorenstein@SimplySmartTravel.com. Check out their travel ideas, articles and blog at www.SimplySmartTravel.com and like them at facebook.com/SimplySmartTravel.