We had a wonderful three days in Montreal this summer as a family! The weather was lovely (especially compared to the Texas heat!) and we enjoyed an eclectic activity list.
Where to Stay:
We checked into the Hotel William Grey in the Old Town. The hotel was created by combining two eighteenth century homes with a modern glass veil-like structure. The staff was so friendly and helpful and the location was perfect for strolling the old part of the city. The room was sparse and a bit more hip than I typically like but the bathroom was fantastic!
Where to Eat:
The kids loved wandering the streets of old town. It felt like wandering through an old European village. Many of the cobblestone streets are closed off to vehicles which added to the charm. We often just dilly-dallied our way through the shops and up and down the little streets to find a place to dine. The food was great in every place we stopped but the service is very “European” (in another word, slow!) Leave plenty of time in your schedule for long breakfasts, lunches and dinners!
A trip to the artsy Mile End Neighborhood was recommended by our concierge.
One must-make stop is for a famous Montreal Bagel – don’t be mistaken – this is not your average bagel and is certainly worth stopping for! They are denser, a bit sweeter but thinner than a New York bagel. They are often baked in a wood-fired oven and offered in many flavors but they are most famous for the sesame seed (my favorite!). Click here for a list of the best bagel spots. We went to St. Viateur and it was fab!
And don’t say I didn’t warn you – there isn’t anywhere to sit and eat there – or order a coffee! We ate our bagels on some colorful benches a few blocks away and then strolled down the road to Arts Cafe for an amazing Americano!
A stop for some Gnocchi take out from Drogheria Fine Conserve is also a must! Don’t miss Della Nonna’s Gnocchi that sits stewing on a big pot almost all day long! For $5 you can grab a bit to keep you full! You can also buy their famous tomato sauce – La Salsa Della Nonna – in jars!
Be sure to head to the Jean-Talon Farmer’s Market and stock up for a picnic. My little one’s loved tasting the variety of fruits and we left with a big basket of mango, plums and peaches.
The market is near Little Italy which is a great spot to wander into a little Italian restaurant for lunch or dinner. Most of them are old-school and make you feel like you are really in Rome!
What to Do:
Be sure to wander – Montreal’s treasures were certainly discovered while we were wandering around.
We snuck into Electrik kidz boutique for a little shop while wandering the streets of the Mile End. In addition to finding the kids some great jackets that were made in Quebec, they were able to get complementary temporary tattoos in the store’s vintage barber shop! They loved it!
On our way to Little Italy, we pulled over right away when JR noticed some “colorful” people in a park! We quickly got out of the car to get into the action of this amazing piece of performance art. I still haven’t discovered what it was all about but a charming and comical group of painted people (and I mean painted on every square inch!) wandered in the park checking out the other humans. They measured us, took notes, and inspected us. The pink one even allowed little Millie to get some pink paint on her fingers! We all got such a kick out of it. You never know what you will stumble upon in Montreal!
Don’t miss a visit Notre Dame Basilica but be sure to check out their schedule of events as you don’t want to miss an organ performance or laser light show!
Place Jacques Cartier, the square in the Old Town, provided hours of fun for all of us. The little ones loved taking in the performances in the square, having their portraits painted by a street artist and eating pizza in one of the outdoor cafes that line the long open space. We also took a quick wander through the
After dinner, you should put your brave face on and go on a Ghost Tour! JR and Justin loved the tour led by an actor who told horrifying stories of Montreal’s rarely told history!