Bucket List Travel: Montreal
Planning my next vacation is definitely my favorite pastime. I will spend hours researching destinations, finding the perfect place to stay, exploring restaurants and learning everything that I need to know about my next trip. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure. I am excited to start sharing these pre-planned trips with you all. In my Bucket List Travel series I will create itineraries based upon how I would like to travel. These trips are pulling out all of the stops, no expense spared. After all, it’s a bucket list right?
Montreal, Canada is a city that I have been longing to see for a few years now. It was when someone mentioned to me that I could get all of the charm of Europe but without the long, more expensive flight. As I’ve yet to visit Montreal, the jury is still out for me on that. But I’ll definitely give it a shot.
Michael and I are discussing taking our anniversary trip to Montreal this year so I definitely want get the low down before we go.
The first thing that I research on any trip is the perfect place to stay. Guilty pleasure #1, I am a hotel snob. I’m not saying that it has to be expensive, but it has to be nice. For this I almost always reference Conde Nast Traveler. They do an amazing city guide that fits with my tastes.
Where to stay:
After reviewing over 15 hotels in Montreal, I settled on the Hotel William Gray for a few reasons. It has a good location, it’s unique and, most importantly, it has a spa. When I’m on vacation, I want a massage. I want to relax and enjoy a little time to myself.
CNTraveler does a great breakdown of more hotels in Montreal here.
What To See/Do:
When it comes to city vacations, I like to see everything, but not too much touristy stuff. I love museums and landmarks. But I also love hole in the wall stores and off the cuff adventures. My rule of thumb when traveling is to have a list of things that can be done, but not plan anything. That way you always have ideas for the day but you can do whatever it is you’re feeling in the moment. There’s nothing worse than trying to force a fun vacation.
Below are all of the places that have sparked our interest in Montreal:
It goes without being said that I love to shop while on vacation too. This does get quite hard sometimes because Michael isn’t into shopping. So I never plan a shopping destination. I prefer to just stumble into stores that are along our route. Unless, of course, there is a must go to store that needs to be added to the agenda!
When I am researching a destination I also like to look if there are any events happening while we’re there. Since our anniversary is in March, there isn’t much happening in Montreal at this time.
Where to eat:
Manitoba for the Canadian food.
Schwartz’s Deli for the popularity and the sandwiches.
Fairmount Bagel for the bagels.
St. Viateur Bagel Shop for the bagels.
Cafe Olimpico for the atmostphere & espresso.
Greenspot for the poutine.
Food plays a big part in our vacations. We love to eat and to explore the local cuisine. Most of the time we split whatever is on the menu because the portions are so big anyway!
When I’m creating the tentative itinerary, I always use google maps to see which spots are near eachother. This helps from doing a lot of back and forth over the city.
Arrive in Montreal. For us, we normally just grab a cab or an uber to our hotel. Of course, there are other ways to get around Montreal but we find this easier and less of a hassle.
Check into the hotel and get settled. By the time we arrive most trips, it’s either late afternoon or evening. So we don’t plan anything for the night that we get in except dinner and drinks around the hotel if we have the time. This is not a planned meal, we just find a restaurant that’s close that fits what we are craving.
Breakfast: Cafe Olimpico which is just a short walk from our hotel.
Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal
Pointe-à-Callière Montréal Archaeology and History Complex
Late Lunch: Schwartz’s Deli
Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Drinks at The Coldroom
Breakfast: Fairmount Bagels
Space for Life
Lunch: La Banquise
Spa appointment at the hotel.
Walking around the neighborhood/shopping
Dinner & Drinks: Somewhere around our hotel. Whatever we’re feeling that night.
Light breakfast at the hotel and head off to the airport!
**Side note: If you’re on a budget, make sure to research if any of the places that you wish to attend cost money to enter. Sometimes museums are free and sometimes they charge.
Have you been to Montreal? What was your favorite thing to do/see? What are your Montreal tips?