Montreal offers an abundance of activities year-round, but come spring and summer, its array of enjoyments seems to multiply to the point where you may find yourself experiencing decision paralysis. Fear not, though, because this curated three-day guide will lead you to some of the best places to eat, stay and play in the city.
Artful start (10 a.m.) Lace up your walking shoes and hit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as it opens if you want to see all 43,000 of its artworks in good time. Or, fast-track your visit and check out Connections — an exhibition featuring seven contemporary Canadian artists from different cultural backgrounds, on until June. mbam.qc.ca
Animal friendly (6:30 p.m.) Invitation V celebrates a wholly vegan environment, from its rich shiitake “sausages” and roasted cauliflower “fish” tacos to its faux-leather decor and wines processed without animal products. Be sure to save room for dessert, especially the velvety “cheesecake” — it’s so good you’ll have a hard time believing it’s made with almonds. invitationv.com
Behind the curtain (9 p.m.) End your night sipping cocktails crafted from an impressive collection of 500 spirits at The Cloakroom Bar, an intimate speakeasy hidden behind a velvet curtain at the back of a luxury menswear tailors in the Golden Square Mile neighbourhood. cloakroombar.co
Market fresh (8 a.m.) Skip breakfast and make for Little Italy’s Marché Jean-Talon, North America’s largest open-air market, where you’ll find fresh-from-the-oven baguettes and pastries, seasonal fruits and vegetables, an oyster-shucking stand and charcuterie plates brimming with creamy goat cheeses and salty prosciutto. marchespublics-mtl.com/marches/jean-talon
Brew master (1:30 p.m.) Originally opened in the 1970s in Amos, Que., Brasserie Harricana became the first female-owned microbrewery in Montreal when owner Marie-Pier Veilleux moved her family business south in 2014. Order a sour blackcurrent and cherry 9-Berliner Weisse, one of 41 signature beers on tap. brasserieharricana.com
No fish? No problem. (7 p.m.) Sushi Momo works miracles to create delectable Japanese dishes sans fish and seafood. Try the mushroom tartare with truffle-miso emulsion, pan-fried spicy jackfruit rolls and avocado maki topped with sweet potato and coriander-jalapeno aioli. sushimomo.ca
The real deal (10:30 a.m.) Book a tour with Spade & Palacio, the brainchild of Danny Pavlopoulos and Anne-Marie Pellerin, whose unscripted excursions offer an on-the-fly glimpse of authentic Montreal. Options include a journey from Old Montreal to the Plateau, a culinary walk and an exploration of the city’s murals. spadeandpalacio.com
Daring delights (2 p.m.) Indulge your adventurous side at the Mi Corazón food truck, where Rafael Martinez creates Mexican fusion food with a creepy-crawler twist. Specialties include cricket falafels, mealworm tacos, black-ant lemonade and chocolate-dipped ice cream with a sprinkling of termites. micorazonfoodtruck.com
Sky high (8 p.m.) No trip to Montreal is complete without a ride on La Grande Roue de Montreal, which at 60 metres tall is Canada’s highest observation wheel. Located in Old Montreal on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, the wheel offers a 360-degree view of the city, year-round, rain or shine. lagranderouedemontreal.com
WHERE TO STAY
Le Mount Stephen hotel With a red carpet leading guests past sculpted limestone columns into an entryway dripping in 22-karat gold details, Le Mount Stephen is an immediate jaw-dropper. Although it was built in 1883 and designated a national historic site in 1971, the hotel offers modern luxuries such as an on-site spa and chromatherapy showers in every room. Don’t skip Bar George, the hotel’s British-inspired restaurant where ornately carved floor-to-ceiling wood panels will have you feeling like you’re on the set of Downton Abbey. lemountstephen.com
Kiley Bell (@kiley_bell) is Canadian Geographic Travel‘s copy editor and fact checker.