The Insider Travel Guide
Visiting Montreal, to me, is basically visiting home. I was born in Brossard, a smaller city located next to Montreal, and still have several family members who live in the Great White North. The first time I went out and really experienced the city was the summer after my freshman year of college. Since then, I have been back for short visits eleven times.
Whenever I want to go on a quick weekend vacation away from the country, I visit Montreal, Quebec, Canada. My first trip to Montreal was during a Rhode Island College trip freshman year. I had so much fun that I have visited over 8 times since. I love traveling and learning about different cultures.
Time & The Trip
When visiting, we usually go on the Montreal bus trips. The trip is under $200 and it includes the hotel and round trip bus.We like to stay at the Holiday Inn Midtown because it is most centrally located to the shopping and food places we like to go to. The trip is around 6/6.5 hours from Rhode Island/Boston without stopping. It is not too bad considering I mostly sleep on the way there. I also bring an ipad with a few movies on it just in case I'm bored. When taking a bus, most of the time the drivers choose a pit-stop in Vermont. However, if you’re driving yourself, a great place to stop is Lebanon, NH which has a few gas stations and several restaurants. They also have a Panera which is where we usually go!
Side note: This trip is 18+.
Information about Bus & U-drive packages
The first thing you want to do is get a passport. You do need a passport to get in and out if Montreal. Passports are around $100 and last up to 10 years. It takes around 3 weeks to up to two months for a passport to come in so try to get a passport a while in advance. I got my passport at my local post office which also took my passport photo. You can also take a passport photo at CVS.
Canada’s drinking age is 18+. If you are looking to buy bottles of hard liquor, you can only purchase them at SAQ, which is government owned. The prices are fairly the same from the USA. You can purchase beer, wine coolers, and wine at most convenience stores.
Saint Catherine Street is the main street that everything is off of. We like to walk between Rue Guy and Rue de Bleury.
Best Department Store
Simons is located on Saint Catherine Street near Rue Metcalfe. It is by far the best department store in Montreal. I found luxury fashion designers like Balmain, Missoni and Herve Leger for 50-70% off. These luxury designers are located on the second floor. Also on the second floor are a huge variety of beautiful tights.
Best $10 of Your Life
On the first floor of Simons there is a section of $10 leggings by La Classe Couture. They are the best leggings I have ever purchased. They keep me warm, are great quality and will not rip.
Simons is connected to the underground mall. Montreal has one of the largest underground complexes in the world.
La Senza 's Secret
La Senza is a lingerie and intimate store that I like to shop at in Montreal. It is owned by the Limited Brands, which also owns Victoria's Secret. La Senza is the Victoria's Secret of Canada. They have lingerie, bras, and underwear at better prices than Victoria's Secret and they all look very similar.
A Delicious Must, Crêpes
If you’re looking for a good, old-fashioned French snack, look no further than Paris Crepes. Located on Ste-Catherine (near Rue Crescent), this little shop serves tons of delicious flavors of crepes, along with a small selection of other types of food. There is some seating on the first floor and then a much bigger upstairs area where you have great views of the street. My personal favorite crepe is the nutella & strawberry!
Side note: The Montreal nightlife scene changes every so often where clubs open and reopen.
Les 3 Brasseurs (The Three Brewers) is located off of Saint Catherine Street. There are two locations close by one near Rue Crescent and the other near McGill College Ave. They have really good pub food, I usually order a burger. They brew their own beer there. Our favorite is the Blonde.
Our Italian Fix
We love to go to Boccacinos for lunch. It has delicious Italian food and a selection of fun drinks. Boccacinos is located on McGill College Avenue.
Montreal is home to one major casino-- suitably named the Casino de Montreal (1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal, QC H3C 4W7, Canada). It’s a short ride from downtown, probably only about 10 minutes in a cab, and hosts about five floors with every conceivable game and a dedicated poker area. Our personal favorite is probably a horse racing game on the very top floor which costs only about a quarter to play. You probably won’t win big on it; but if you’re looking to relax and have fun on a budget, it’s the perfect solution. Just beware of the drink prices at the bar, however.
Almost everywhere is in walking distance if you’re staying downtown. Usually we use taxis when we want to go out at night to lounges, clubs or the casino.
Blvd St-Laurent is one of the best streets to check out if you’re looking for fun nightlife with a local vibe. The street itself is not touristy, and most of the people who frequent the many bars and lounges on the street are born-and-raised Canadians.
Some places we suggest:
Pinq Taco (fun tequila bar)
3612 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC Canada
2108 Boulevard Saint-Laurent Montréal, QC Canada
8 Sherbrooke Rd. W. (Corner St. Laurent) Montreal, Quebec
The promotional company we have used before: Big Moe Productions/Big Moe