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How to Spend an Extra Day in Montreal

The French-influenced city offers a thriving culinary culture, diverse neighborhoods, and more

by Shivani Vora

June 12, 2023

The Colored Glass Windows at the Palais de Congress In Montreal, Montreal Convention Center / Photo: Stuart Walker/Alamy Stock Photo

The largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec, Montreal has a strong French influence and a distinct European character. Travelers can expect plenty of diversions, including a thriving culinary culture that encompasses markets, restaurants and beloved dishes such as poutine, a belt-busting dish of French fries, gravy and cheese curds.

Then there are the diverse neighborhoods, the many museums and the historic sites such as Notre-Dame Basilica, located in Old Montreal and an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture. Scenic green spaces include the popular Mount Royal Park, designed by Central Park’s Frederick Law Olmsted. Every season has its own outdoor appeal, with festivals in the summer and spring, colors in the fall, and skiing and ice skating in winter.

From a business perspective, Montreal’s convention center, with its striking multicolored facade, is within a 10-minute walk of 16,000 hotel rooms, 4,000 of which are accessible through an underground walkway. And the recently renovated Montréal-Trudeau International Airport offers direct flights to more than 150 destinations. Consider the five following options when visiting this charming city.

Place Carmin

Stylish French brasserie, Place Carmin / Photo: Courtesy of Place Carmin

Place Carmin is a stylish French brasserie in Old Montreal. It’s decidedly fun, in an old warehouse with high ceilings and white walls. Expect creative cocktails, a solid wine list and a menu of French classics. Favorites include beef tartare, arctic char à la grenobloise for two, and beef tenderloin Rossini with truffle and seared foie gras. On the dessert menu, the crème brûlée and lemon curd verrine shouldn’t be missed.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and McCord Stewart Museum

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Photo: Courtesy of Annie Fafard

Both on Sherbrooke Street, these museums are musts. The Museum of Fine Arts is an homage to Canadian heritage with its collection of paintings, photographs and objects. The McCord Stewart Museum represents a recent merger: the McCord, dedicated to Montreal’s history, and the Stewart, featuring artifacts and archives.;

Ritz-Carlton Montréal

Restaurant, Maison Boulud, Ritz Carlton, Montreal / Photo: Courtesy of Alexandre Parent

This property occupies a special place in the brand’s portfolio as the second Ritz-Carlton hotel in North America and one of a handful that César Ritz opened himself. It features 129 rooms and a restaurant, Maison Boulud, overseen by chef Daniel Boulud. Other highlights include the buzzy Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar and a rooftop pool. Concierge staff are happy to book coveted restaurant reservations for guests.

Jean-Talon Market

Jean-Talon Market / Photo: Marc Bruxelle/Alamy Stock Photo

The Jean-Talon Market is one of the biggest markets in North America and among the most distinguished. The venue showcases butchers and fishmongers, cheesemakers, maple syrup and chocolate producers and horticulturalists. Most of the merchants have had a presence in the market for generations and treat their customers like close friends. Stop for a coffee and sweet pick-me-up at one of the bakeries and end by buying edible souvenirs.

Ruby Roy Tours

Street art in Old Montreal / Photo: Benoit Debaix/Unsplash

Visitors tend to spend the bulk of their time in Old Montreal, but the city is home to several other dynamic neighborhoods. Local native Ruby Roy offers private, customized half- or full-day tours to high-end travelers. Guests will see Plateau-Mont-Royal (full of bars, coffee shops and street art), Little Italy and Chinatown.