We traveled to Montréal together last weekend to celebrate our 10-year friendaversary! It was a new-to-both-of-us city so we were very excited to explore different neighborhoods, try out lots of restaurants, and get a feel for the French side of Canada.
Alongside that, though, we knew weather predictions were in the mid-20s at best (and the negative 10s at worst!), so we opted to do a generous amount of activities indoors. We both loved visiting and getting to know a new city, and both strongly believe that winter weather should not be a deterrent to go somewhere. Especially in Quebec, where winter is such a long time of the year, getting to interact with locals and see the sights in their natural habitat (covered in snow) is even more a part of the experience! We were also lucky that our good friend, Amy, who lives in conveniently-close New York, was able to make it up for a couple of days!
Here are some of the highlights of our recent trip.
- Breakfast – We stayed at an airbnb so we ended up having breakfast there both mornings, but we did venture out for coffee. On a friend’s recommendation, we camped out at Crew Collective for a couple of hours, getting blog work done and sipping on delicious café drinks! Also on our last morning in Montréal, we ventured to Fairmount because not a single list of “must do” things in the city left off “have a bagel.” They definitely lived up to the hype!
- Lunch – Not a single restaurant disappointed during our trip, but two standouts for lunch were Gingko and Vua. Gingko had delicious smoothies and hearty but healthy lunch options that were perfect for our just-off-the-plane selves! And Vua, which we later learned is a local chain, had some amazing banh mi options and delicious bubble tea at perfect budget-conscious prices!
- Snack – Poutine of course! We split a delicious order of smoked meat poutine at Montreal Poutine as an afternoon snack one day in the Old Port. It was so good and a huge portion.
- Dinner – We made a few reservations before arriving in Montréal and were so glad that one of them was at Modavie. The live jazz, delectable food, and boisterous atmosphere was just what we were looking for in a girls weekend away!
- On our first evening in Montréal, we wanted to explore a little bit and grab a drink, but we were also dead-tired from a red-eye the previous night. We opted to make the short walk from our airbnb to Distillerie because they advertised a happy hour and free goldfish crackers before 7 PM! They delivered on both and the drinks were super tasty!
- The following night we had some time to kill before our dinner reservation, so we hit up Les 3 Brasseurs to tackle their “metre of beer!” It was definitely a bit of a kitsch factor but we had a lot of fun with it and the beers (most of which were brewed on premises) all turned out to be great.
- The week before our trip Laura had happened upon the tour site for Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal and emailed in a reservation. They advertise loose reservations and give away your spot to the waitlist if you’re not there, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure in making plans before arriving. In planning out our day on Saturday we realized we’d be in the area around the time of the reservation and thought, “oh sure, we’ll go.” WOW was it impressive. Definitely not to be missed, and now we for sure recommend getting a reservation for the long tour ahead of time!
- Because of the cold weather we were want to find some indoor activities and stumbled upon a recommendation for the Barbie Expo near McGill. It sounded silly, but most importantly is located inside of a larger shopping center that was sure to be well-heated! It turned out to be a very fun exhibit (a great boomerang opportunity in the life-sized Barbie box!)
- On the more touristy-side of things, we explored Old Port and spent some time browsing Bonsecours Market. The whole area was very reminiscent of Boston and New England for all of us and we all agreed we’d have to come back and see it bustling in the summertime!
Out of The Box:
- Not included in our dinner roundup above is a restaurant we sought out partially for it’s “weird!” factor. O Noir is Canada’s first-ever restaurant that simulates the experience of being blind. In a pitch black room, you are lead to your table and “shown” how to maneuver by your server who is blind. The experience was one none of us could stop talking about and we really can’t recommend trying it out more! The food was also super delicious. We highly recommend this spot!
Anyone else been to Montréal recently? Have any must-sees or must-tastes?? Let us know in the comments!
PS – if you’re in the Montréal area before the end of January, be sure to spend an evening checking out Luminothérapie! It’s an awesome outdoor interactive exhibit that has light-up seesaws!