Spring in Montreal is just around the corner. And even though snow is in the forecast this week, the sun is peeking through and we know that warmer weather is just a few days away.
With Montreal taking a serious seat on some of the most coveted restaurant lists, housing a vibrant nightlife scene and offering an amazing culture and arts scene, there is never a shortage of things to do.
So if you can only spend 24 hours in Montreal this spring, here’s how you should spend them:
1. Fuel Up
There is no shortage of amazing coffee spots across our fair city, so why not take some time in the early hours and enjoy a cozy nook at one of our local spots? If trying something brand new is on the agenda, head over to Little Burgundy and grab a latte and granola bowl at September Café. This new coffee shop that pays homage to surf culture also allows you to make your own surfboard in the back. If you want to stick to a neighbourhood gem, just down the street sits one of our favourites, Lili & Oli, where good times and great coffee is always on the menu.
2. Park it
After you’re nice and caffeinated, cross the street and stroll the famous Atwater Market. Known for its many butchers, delicatessens, farmers’ goods and delicious food kiosks, you can stock up on a week’s worth of healthy groceries, try samples from all the vendors, indulge in some of the best cheese you’ll ever have at La Fromagerie, or cool down with some ice cream at Havre aux Glaces.
3. Bike it Off
After all the delicious coffee and food you’ve had today, it’s time to shed a little heaviness and take in some fresh air. The perfect place for this is just steps away from Atwater Market. Rent or bring your own bike and start biking along the canal all the way to the historic Old Port and absorb the gorgeous views along the way. There are beautiful bridges, places you can stop for a quick picnic, and even a spot to grab beer along the way at the terrace Saint Ambroise. Don’t worry about getting lost – there are maps all along the way, or just follow the cyclists in front of you.
4. Get Your Shop On
Once you get to the Old Port, park your bike away and explore the beautiful cobblestone streets of Old Montreal and all the local boutiques it has to offer. From design icons Denis Gagnon and Travis Taddeo to Ssense, which has a perfectly curated selection of luxury international and Canadian designers, these historic streets are full of gems that carry everything from fashion to home décor.
5. Take Lunch.
Because biking and shopping equal the need for a well-deserved lunch break. In Old Montreal you have to make a stop at Olive & Gourmando, a foodie destination for artisanal breads, sweets and lunches that will make you drool and take that perfect #foodiegram. Fair warning: this rustic space is always packed, so expect a little lineup. Trust us, it’s well worth the wait. Try the Cuban sandwich or their famous mac n’ cheese and thank us later.
6. Get Artsy
Next up: The Main. A beautiful spring day would not be complete without checking out Montreal’s art capital in the Mile End. If you’re not too familiar with which galleries or nooks to check out, take the Fitz and Follwell “Creative Montreal City Tour.” This walking tour showcases Montréal’s creative side and includes a chance to learn about a group of artists, craftspeople and cultural curators in the Mile End’s Saint-Viateur East area.
On foot you’ll discover these creative thinkers, their artwork and products, as well as the urban landmarks in this unique neighbourhood. You’ll have the chance to see Montréal’s iconic outdoor staircases and to check out local creative hotspots like the former home of Arcade Fire. Try to make a stop at either Schwartz’s Deli or St-Viateur bagels for a quick sandwich or snack. Both hold legendary status and are a must, even for locals.
7. Take a Scenic Break
So it’s been quite a jam-packed day, but it ain’t over until you make your way to the top of Mont-Royal. Designed by New York Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, this is by far the jewel of our city, providing a breathtaking and panoramic view of Montreal at the Kondiaronk lookout. Other lovely pleasures you can check out while you’re snapping pictures away include the Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake) and the famous Tams Tams, a recurring weekend celebration filled with musicians, acrobats, yogis and many more interesting sights kicking off in May.
8. Dinner Time
We’re not called a foodie city without reason. It seems that new restaurants pop up every week, leaving us with very little time to take a break or go on a post-Christmas diet. But since you just hiked Montreal’s most famous mountain, you deserve to treat yourself. We’ll make it easy on you so you don’t have to venture far to satisfy your inner glutton. Between Outremont’s Syrian gem, Damas, Mile-End’s hipster hotspot Hotel Herman, and always happening Plateau gastropub Maison Publique, you have more than enough options to satisfy whatever craving your hungry heart desires.
9. Do Drinks
From secret backdoor cocktail lunges to old-school arcade bars, your spring nighttime fling can be as varied as your day. So if grabbing a cocktail in a cozy yet cool spot is your thing, make a stop at the Big in Japan Bar ,which is behind a hidden door in a wall between two stores in the Plateau. This Japanese speakeasy never disappoints and always houses a notable crowd. Interested in something more opulent? Then head to Mayfair, a cocktail bar and spiked tea room on Rachel Street named after one of London’s most posh neighbourhoods. For a good time without frills, check out Montreal’s first-ever pinball bar, North Star. Cocktails, food and a whole lot of retro gaming equals serious good times.
If dancing is on your mind and you just haven’t had enough, take a taxi over to Bar Datcha, the Russian-themed bar and dance spot that houses some of the best underground DJs around. Warning: dancing is mandatory here. Otherwise cab yourself back to our city’s core and cap the night off with drinks at the bespoke speakeasy Bar Cloak Room. Yes it’s in an actual menswear store slash barbershop and it’s damn cool.
Feeling tired yet? #Montreal never sleeps.