What to do in Montréal's Centre-Ville
It’s no secret that my love for Montréal runs deep. So deep that I can feel it in my bones. I’ve been to the city multiple times but visiting never gets old. There is always something new to discover - a bar, restaurant, street you’ve never walked by, a person you hadn’t met before.
This may be why I keep going back, but more likely the reason I keep going is because I love it so much and one-day plan to buy a one-way plane ticket.
I’ve stayed in a few different areas of the city on my visits and most recently was able to call Downtown my home base. Now I must say the Downtown area was never fully on my radar as a place to stay, but it was fun to find that there are some great places right in the business center.
Now depending on how much time you actually have in Montréal you may or may not be able to hit all these places. But that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with having multiple options to choose from!
They say breakfast is the most important part of the day – so make sure it’s a good one.
- ROSEWOOD ($$): We all know brunch is a thing, and even more so is boozy brunch. Maybe it's more of a thing in NYC than it is on the West Coast but Montréalers know the value of unlimited mimosas. If you want to start your morning off a little tipsy then head here. Not only is the food also delicious it's a boozy brunch that won't break the bank.
60 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montreal, QC H2Y 1L5
- CACAO 70 ($$): If you like your breakfasts to be more like dessert then this is the place for you! Known for their decadently rich food and drink concoctions Cacao 70 will have you smiling from ear to ear. Coming solely for the chocolat chaud is also perfectly acceptable.
2087 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3H 1M6, Canada
- TOMMY ($$): The cafe you are starting to see pop up all over the grams of people in MTL. But understandably so. The interior is super cute, they have those huge floor to ceiling windows, and their breakfasts and cafe drinks are super good. You may pay a little more for this one but it will be well worth it and your followers will thank you.
200 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montreal, QC H2Y 1T3
- VENICE MTL ($$): You don't even need to go that far to feel as though you have stepped off the plane in California. Venice, which happens to be just down the street from Tommy, has got you covered in California cuisine and decor. No matter the time of day everything on their menu is delicious - but I recommend coming earlier rather than later as this place is pretty popular and can get packed.
440 Rue Saint-Francois-Xavier, Montreal, QC H2Y 2T3
- MELK BAR À CAFÉ ($): You all know I'm all about finding the cutest cafés. A lot of the time this can be hard in the downtown areas of different cities. But MELK is the exception to that rule. There is a wide selection of coffees and their pastries are on point!
5612 Avenue de Monkland, Montreal, QC H4A 1E3
- TIM HORTONS ($): Now I didn't put this on the list because it's all gourmet and what have you. It's here because it's a Canadian staple and if you haven't had it you must try it once in your life. Preferably after a night out at the bars.
1400 De Maisonneuve Boulevard West, Montréal, QC H3G 2V8
You’ve gotten up, gotten ready and had a delicious breakfast....it’s now time to explore!
Many times I get so caught up in exploring and completely forget to have lunch. Don't follow my lead, there are way too many good lunch spots in Montréal to completely forget about it.
- LA BELLE ET LA BŒUF ($$): Really most of the time you would come here to watch a sports game. But since you are basing yourself in Centre-Ville you need a spot that serves up some legit poutine. Yes, there are many other places people go in Montreal for this gravy/fried/cheese curd delicacy but when Downtown come here.
1620 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montreal, QC H3H
- LA PANTHÈRE VERTE ($$): Yes, this is a vegan place, but no joke they serve some of the best falafel in all of Montréal. And really that is all you need to know about this place.
2153 Rue Mackay, Montreal, QC H3G 2J2
- KOA LUA ($$): Poke is on the rise, pretty much everywhere. But this place isn't new - they have known what's up for a while. Their bowl combinations are so delicious. I always go for the Mama California bowl as you get salmon AND crab, spicy mayo and crunchy tempura bits. This is also the place to give the Spam Musubi a try. Ya sure it's Spam, but it's surprisingly yummy.
1446 Sainte Catherine O, Montreal, QC H3G
- VENICE MTL ($$): Venice is popping up again, because like I mentioned earlier it's good for all meals. I mean, just check out those Korean beef tacos and chips and guac.
440 Rue Saint-Francois-Xavier, Montreal, QC H2Y 2T3
- MONT ROYAL: This is where you go to get that epic view of the city. You'll be able to look over the exact area where you are staying but also get an escape. It really feels as though you are not even in a metropolitan area when you're walking up to the top of Mont Royal. Whether it's the spring, summer or the dead of winter coming here is always a good idea.
- NOTRE-DAME: I have come to learn that many cities have a basilica with this same name. That doesn't make them any less impressive though. Montréal's version. Built 1672 the inside is just as gorgeous as the outside and only requires a small donation to enter. Come in and take in the stained glass for a peaceful break to your exploring.
110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 1T2
- UNDERGROUND CITY: Not so much of a city as it is an indoor mall. Technically called Place Ville-Marie, the Underground City was modeled after NYC's Rockefeller Center and is a series of shops and restaurants connected to MTL's Metro stations, train stations, hotels, and other landmarks. Sometimes find an entrance can be kind of hard, and once you get down there good luck popping out where you want to. It's the perfect rainy day activity or when it's insanely cold outside.
- BOTA BOTA ($$$): Don't make the mistake that I have made and come to the city multiple times without spending the afternoon at this day spa. There are even some locals who still have yet to experience the magic that is Bota Bota. This floating spa on a ferryboat in the St. Lawrence River offers body and facial treatments throughout five decks featuring two saunas, steam baths, whirlpool baths, cold showers and baths, relaxation areas, a restaurant, terraces and a garden. Trust me, next time I'm in MTL you'll find me here.
358 Rue de la Commune Ouest, Montreal, QC H2Y 1H2
- HUDSON'S BAY: When you travel you must pick up a souvenir right? In my opinion the best thing to pick up when you're in Montréal in the winter is your very own Hudson's Bay gear. The rainbow colored scarves, hats, mittens, blankets, jackets, etc. can only be found in Canada (you can't even ship them to the US online), so be like a true Canadian and come back with your very own toque.
585 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3B 3Y5
- PLACE DES ARTS: There is always something going on in this area of the city. In general it's a major performing arts center and artistic complex. In the summer it's the site of some of the Jazz Fest stages, and year=round is the perfect place to get a ittle more culutred in the arts. To check their events schedule click HERE.
175 Saint-Catherine St, Montreal, QC H2X 1Y9
I won’t judge what you choose to do with your evenings. Dinner and night exploring, partying, a festival, grabbing wine from SAQ and chilling in your room. The night is yours!
- RESTAURANT HÀ ($$): If you like Vietnamese food you HAVE to go to this place. Even if you aren't sure if you like it, you still have to go to this place. The food is seriously some of the best I've had and the drinks are also so delicious. It's easy to walk by this place as they purposely don't have it blatantly marked but your tummy, and surprisingly your wallet, will thank you. Pro tip: Get the crispy broccoli! It's not on the menu but you need it in your life.
243 Avenue Mont-Royal O, Montreal, QC H2T 2T2
- JATOBA ($$$): This place is a little more on the pricey side but there is a reason it is so hard to get into at night. The hand-crafted drinks, extraordinary food, cool ambiance, and art will make you want to stay longer than a normal dinner should last. It's unique Asian fusion with Montréal flair.
1184 Place Phillips, Montreal, QC H3B 3C8
- LE NINJA ($$$): Good sushi is hard to find - we all know this. Good sushi at a good price point is even harder to find. There are some that say you should never go somewhere they has "affordable" sushi because that is when the fish quality should be questioned. I say different. When staying in Centre-Ville this is your go-to sushi spot.
1242 Rue Bishop, Montreal, QC H3G 2E3
- KAMPAÏ GARDEN ($$): This is another place that is reminiscently as cool as Jatoba. They serve food here but it's all about coming for the cool atmosphere and even cooler drinks. Be forewarned the line here can get long so it's better to get yourself in there earlier. No one wants to be standing out on the sidewalk in single digit weather.
1616 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montreal, QC H3H 1L9
- LE SPEAKEASY ($$): Who doesn't love a good speakeasy? This is slightly farther way from where you are staying than the rest of the places on the list, but it's the best and closest speakeasy. You'll walk in and wonder if you're in the right place. But once you get inside you'll be surprisingly pleased that it's not super packed and the drinks are expertly crafted.
120 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y 2E5
- FLYJIN ($$$): There are some bartenders doing some pretty cool stuff here. If you want a little added flair to your Japanese in a spot that goes from restaurant to nightclub then this is where you can have your cake and eat it too - so to speak.
417 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montreal, QC H2Y 2M3
- QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES: This area of the city always has some cool installation or event going on. It's an entertainment district which features concerts, cultural events, festivals, exhibits and more all throughout the year. In the winter you can find Luminothérapie occupying the space - a bright, interactive and free outdoor art gallery. And this is one of the things I love about MTL. Many of the festivals and cultural events are free or very inexpensive. Entertainment and fun does not have to break the bank.
1435 Saint-Alexandre St #500, Montreal, QC H3A 2G4
- IGLOOFEST ($): As far as music festivals go Igloofest (the winter sister of PIKNIC ÉLECTRONIK) is an affordable must! Head to Old Port and party into the night while listening to some of the best and most innovative electronic music. It's not just music - there are activities, drinks, food and yes even yetis walking around. Just don't forget to bundle up in your cutest (or craziest) winter gear - this is Canada after all.
Jacques-Cartier Pier in Vieux Port
I know you are probably starting to get glassy-eyed thinking about all of the things you are about to have to put into Google Maps right? No worries! I have included a handy-dandy map below which has everything all plotted out for your you!
Now this is just what you can do around the Centre-Ville / Downtown area. If you want more ideas of what you can do during your next visit to MTL check my post HERE. And don't worry there will always be more from me when it comes to MTL! So keep your eyes peeled for more neighborhood guides to come.
The best part about all of this is you don't have to worry abut staying in one of the expensive hotels downtown in order to experience all of these things. LikeAHotel makes it super easy to call Centre-Ville home for a few days at a super reasonable price! Take your pick from LES MACKAY or LA TOUR DES CANADIENS.
Big thank you to the team at LikeAHotel for hosting me on my recent trip to Montréal! It was fun to experience a neighborhood that previously I had normally just walked through. To read more about my experience with LikeAHotel click HERE!