What to See in Montreal in Just 48 Hours

What to See in Montreal in Just 48 Hours

What to See in Montreal in Just 48 Hours

Joie de Vivre. Montreal is possessed by it. I grew up in this sophisticated city of 4.1 million in Quebec, Canada; learned to flirt on the dance floors at the pubs on downtown’s Crescent Street and wrote some of my first poems in the boho cafes of the Plateau. Although there are many places to visit here, for the next 48 hours, I will escort you through three of my favourite districts: Downtown (Centre Ville), Old (Vieux) Montreal and The (Le) Plateau.

Before we begin: Montreal is a walking city, so get your most comfortable shoes on. When you get tired, the metro is clean, quick and so easy to use, as are the buses in these three districts. Montreal is also a world-class gastronomic city where I developed my taste for traditional Eastern European dishes like halishkes and honey cake, prepared to perfection by my Bubby in her cramped Outremont kitchen, and other Jewish delicatessen specialties like smoked meat, stuffed chicken and tongue.

Here is also where I learned to savour the delicacies of a variety of ethnic cuisine, something you will come to appreciate even in the short time you have here.  

Day 1

Morning

Your day begins with breakfast at the 4 star Café Des Beaux Arts, in the Museum of Fine Arts. While savouring the aftertaste of your croissant et café, visit the fabulous contemporary art exhibit in the main building’s ultramodern galleries, then take the underground passage to see local and historical displays in the museum’s heritage buildings. Before you leave, get a souvenir at M Boutique and bookstore.

The décor is cozy and creative, with hand-crafted wooden furniture (made by its Iranian owner) and shelves with jars of herbs, cameras, text books and novels in English and French.

Lunch is just a block and a half west on Sherbrooke, where delicious salads and house-made flatbread sandwiches are on the menu at Café Aunja. The décor is cozy and creative, with hand-crafted wooden furniture (made by its Iranian owner) and shelves with jars of herbs, cameras, text books and novels in English and French. Sit beside Concordia University students, whose downtown campus is just a few blocks away. 

Afternoon

J-walk like a true Montrealer as you cruise along with the crowds on St Catherine Street. Be sure to stop into your favourite local and brand-name stores as you head toward Old Montreal. On the way, peak in at the impressive Place des Arts and Complexe Desjardins in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles.

Evening

After strolling through Rue des Artistes (and having your portrait painted), choose one of the many restaurants on the cobblestoned Rue St. Paul (Montreal’s oldest street) for dinner, then stroll though Place Jacques Cartier, a famous square about to undergo a 21st century transformation, and one of the most popular spots in Montreal to watch street performers.

If there’s a play on at the Centaur Theatre, go see it. I’ve seen many here with my Mom and we’ve never been disappointed.

If there’s a play on at the Centaur Theatre, go see it. I’ve seen many here with my Mom and we’ve never been disappointed.

Night

There are many places to stay in this city, at every different price point. Check into one of the boutique hotels downtown, or find a comfortable, friendly place to stay in all three districts through Airbnb or Homestay.com.

Day 2

Morning

Sip your favourite coffee or tea in the Plateau at Mamie Clafoutis, just up from Sherbrooke on the charming Rue St Denis, and while enjoying any of their breads or sweet pastries. I have been known to leave there with a paper bag full of sweet treats. Then saunter up the street, browsing one of Montreal’s chicest shopping areas. Besides the hip one-of-a kind new and vintage clothing boutiques and chain stores, there are a few with locally-made clothes. There are beautiful artisan craft stores as well.

Afternoon

Whether or not you are vegan or like to eat organic food that’s local, try Aux Vivres on Rue St. Laurent for lunch, one of the hippest streets in Montreal. Breathe in the boulevard’s historic and multi-cultural charm as you linger with the locals or stand in line for a chance to feast on the famous smoked meat of Schwartz’s, the oldest deli in Canada.

Evening

Montreal is a city of endearing and enduring festivals. They keep its inhabitants and visitors happy through all kinds of weather. Because I prefer to visit the city in the summer, all of my must-sees happen from late June to early September.

Booked with the best international talent, check these out and you will be astounded at all the ways this city can party:

Jazz Festival, Nuits D’Afriques, Just for Laughs, Montreal World Film Festival, Montreal Folk Fest.

Whether you like to make music with your hands or find the rhythm through your whole body, you will get a natural high by the feeling of communal celebration.

If you prefer a little more locally-made expression, and are there on a late spring to early autumn Sunday, then head to Mount Royal Park. There, you can partake in the 25 year-old drum circle known as the Tam Tams.

Whether you like to make music with your hands or find the rhythm through your whole body, you will get a natural high by the feeling of communal celebration.

 

What to See in Montreal in Just 48 Hours

Related Reading

Montreal Homestay: How to Experience the City Like a Local
Think Like A Montrealer: 5 Things to Do in Montreal
Five Days in Montreal
4 Things to Love About Montreal
Traveling with Kids to Montreal

Have you traveled to Montreal, Canada? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

What to See in Montreal in Just 48 Hours photo credit: pixabay.

About Ahava Shira

Ahava ShiraAhava Shira, PhD, is a writer, performer, creative mentor and founder of the Centre for Loving Inquiry. Her innovative retreats and mentorship programs support women to develop confidence, cultivate self-compassion and access their creative power. Author of the poetry book, Weaving Of My Being, a spoken Word CD, Love is Like This and co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection, Ahava mentors writers ages 12-80 on a magical island on the West Coast of Canada, filled with farmers, foodies and creative artisans of all kinds.

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