The last time I visited Montreal was a whopping 10 years ago. Sheesh, that’s bad. (and worst when said out loud). I don’t subscribe to the whole Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadians hockey rivalry. I can not deny that old town Montreal has tons of history, is a foodie lovers paradise (this according to the awesome Anthony Bourdain) and a haven for jazz music.
After writing some other local (as in Canada) Short Trip Itineraries for St. John’s out East in Newfoundland, Ottawa and of course Toronto (my city) here in Ontario, I couldn’t wait to return to La Belle Province (Quebec) and revisit Montreal.
My 48 Hour Montreal Itinerary
Things To Do In Montreal In Winter
It’s cold outside.
An uncomfortable -19 to -20, not including the windchill on New Year’s Eve and probably not the best time for a Montreal weekend trip. My iPhone and Osmo Mobile keep dying but I have my external battery charge power pack, I’m dressed in layers and even busted out my snow pants.
So let’s do this! Day one of my Montreal itinerary.
The Crew Collective & Cafe
Located at 360 St Jacques Street and definitely one of the best places to visit in Montreal (especially in minus zero temps). Crew Collective & Café both a cafe and private, members-only workspace. Despite having a members-only workspace policy, The Crew COLLECTIVE & Café offers meeting rooms for, which are available for any person or group who makes a reservation. If you’re simply stopping by for a drink or bite than The Crew Collective & Café offers, just that as well with an ever-changing menu.
The Illuminated Crowd
Commissioned by the late Raymond Mason in 1968 then later moved from Paris to Montreal in 1985, the Illuminated Crowd is a sculpture depicting a crowd of65 polyurethane figures who “roll down the towards the spectator”. Despite the seemingly clumsiness of the figures, Mason’s spectacular sculpture captures a peculiar sort of gracefulness throughout the figures. The Illuminated Crowd is located on McGill College’s esplanade.
Place des Arts
As both the leading performing arts center and the largest cultural and artistic space in Montreal, Place des Arts is Montreal’s locus for facilitating major artistic activities. The team at Place Des Arts makes it their mission to “to operate a business for the diffusion of the performing arts, to administer the Place des Arts de Montréal and the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay in Joliette, and to establish the artistic programming at the Maison Symphonique for organizations other than the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal”. Place des Arts is located at 175 Saint-Catherine Street.
Saint Patrick’s Basilica
Opened on March 17, 1847, Saint Patrick’s Basilica has been a long-standing and esteemed institution in Montreal. The church was originally intended to serve the needs of the flux of Irish immigrants who emigrated to Montreal to escape the notorious feminine and political strife. Saint Patrick’s Basilica was built in Gothic Revival style and is located on a promontory that overlooks the city.
Monument à la mémoire de Paul de Chomedey | Place d’Armes
Located in the historic Place d’Armes, Monument à la mémoire de Paul de Chomedey monument that memorializes the founder of Montreal- Paul de Chomedey. The monument was sculpted by Canadian sculptor Louis-Phillipe Herbert in 1895.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
No Montreal itinerary would be complete without a visit to Notre Dame.
Arguably Canada’s most highly-decorated cathedral done in the Gothic Revival style, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is a stunning place of worship dedicated to Saint Mary- the mother of Jesus. The original foundations for the basilica were laid out in 1672; however, the numerous renovations and further construction has been completed on the site of the original church since then.
Les Glaceurs – Vieux-Montréal
When it comes to specialty cupcakes and cakes, Les Glaceurs – Vieux-Montréal is in the ranks of the best of the best. Patrons can drop by for decadent cupcakes and cakes of all kinds and even have them customized based on holiday themes or original ideas! If you’re planning a wedding or an event that calls for delicious treats than Les Glaceurs is just the place.
Montreal Science Centre
The Montreal Science Center is conveniently located at the center of the Old Port of Montreal. The center is solely dedicated to both science and technology and boasts excellent quality facilities for both exhibitions and interactive devices.
Originally trading post for fur-traders in the early 17th century, Montreal’s Old Port is a recreational and historic venue that attracts over six million visitors a year. Old Port offers a variety of activities and attractions such as the Montréal Science Centre, the Montreal Clock Tower, a riverfront promenade, and an IMAX Theatre.
The Clock Tower of Old Port was constructed between 1919 and 1922. Montréal-based engineer Paul Leclaire drafted the blueprint for the 45 meter (147 feet) tall clock tower. The Montreal Clock Tower is significant because it “marks the entrance to the port and is a memorial to sailors lost at sea in wartime”. Despite being a landmark in Canada, the clock was heavily influenced by the English influence; the accuracy of its clock mechanism is contributed to England-based clockmaking firm Gillett and Johnston, the clock tower is also a replica of Big Ben in London.
When it comes to fine wine, “old time jazz vibes”, and an extensive menu, Modavie is one of Montreal’s more renowned restaurants. Frequented patrons often cite the restaurant as being both “cozy and excellent” with an exquisite menu/eating experience that’s ideally paired with an upbeat yet relaxing live performances.
In this video, I take you through Day 1 of my Montreal weekend itinerary
Mount Royal Park
Located West of Downtown Montreal, Mount Royal Park is a small mountain that has been transformed into one of the city’s best kept and most valued landscapes. Mount Royal Park stands 233 meters tall and is on 692 acres of land. Mount Royal Park facilitates various gatherings and festivals throughout the year, as well as being home to the Mount Royal Cross, two cemeteries, and a transmission tower.
Mount Royal Chalet
The Mount Royal Chalet was completed and opened in in 1932. Built with the blessing of Quebec politician Camille Houde, Mount Royal Chalet originally functioned as a decadent display of wealth and extravagance during the Great Depression. Today, the renowned villa functions as an event space, as well as a tourist attraction open to the public. The chalet’s stunning interior is decorated with pictures “tracing the history of Montréal, including many painted by famous artists”. Mount Royal Chalet also offers patrons an amazing view of Downtown Montreal via the Kondiaronk.
St. Joseph’s Oratory - Despite being a minor Roman Catholic Basilica, Saint Joseph’s Oratory is Canada’s largest church. The church’s rich historical, cultural, and spiritual history resonates throughout Canada. Saint Joseph’s Oratory is located on Mount Royal, was founded by Saint Brother André, and is also a Catholic shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph- the father of Jesus. #montreal #canada
St. Joseph’s Oratory
Despite being a minor Roman Catholic Basilica, Saint Joseph’s Oratory is Canada’s largest church. The church’s rich historical, cultural, and spiritual history resonates throughout Canada. Saint Joseph’s Oratory is located on Mount Royal, was founded by Saint Brother André, and is also a Catholic shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph- the father of Jesus.
Food Trippin’ with Daryl & Mindi Hirch
Beauty’s Luncheonette – 2 Food Trippers Recommendation
Beauty’s Luncheonette’s legacy in Montreal dates to 1942. After getting married, Hymie & Freda Sckonick purchased what used to be in Montreal ‘s Jewish garment district. After renovating the place and revamping the menu, the Sckonick’s began to dish out quick and delicious bites. Soon enough, Beauty’s Luncheonette won over the hearts and stomachs of Montreal’s locals. Since then, Beauty’s has been Montreal’s go-to dine-in for delicious dinner meals with food made from scratch and a retro 1940s atmosphere. Beauty’s Luncheonette was given its name by the locals who referred to Hymie by his bowling nickname, “Hymie”.
As the oldest city of Montreal, Quebec, Old Montreal offers the perfect blend of European and North American culture and history. Dating back to the 17th century, Old Montreal continues to be one of Montreal’s main tourist attractions. It is situated on the south end of the St. Lawrence River.
Bonsecours Market, also known as Marche Bonsecours, is “acknowledged as one of Canada’s ten finest heritage buildings and has become an essential stop on any visit to Old Montréal.” The building opened in 1847 and originally functioned as the central public market in Montreal. In 1849, the market once accommodated the Parliament of United Canada for one session. Today, Bonsecours Market functions a multi-purpose facility: an up-scale mall, banquet hall, and municipal office space.
Built in the 18th century, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is one of the oldest churches in Montreal. The church’s rich history has made it one of Montreal more esteemed institutions. The Chapel houses the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum.
Officially constructed in the 19th century, Jacques- Cartier Plaza captures the sentiment of a Montreal that once was. This open-air square is located in Old Montreal and also serves as the entrance to the Old Port of Montreal. The Plaza teems with restaurants on each side of its wide streets. The plaza is often packed during the summertime with street artists and local vendors.
Montreal City Hall
Like a handful of city halls Montreal’s City Hall is a place of grandeur, pomp, and local government. The city hall was constructed in 1878 and is located in the heart of Old Montreal. Montreal City Hall is well known for its Hall of Honour, which displays a “particularly striking and offers portraits of every mayor who ever held this office in Montréal”.
Located between Quartier des Spectacles and Old Montreal, Montreal’s Chinatown is an upbeat and lively district that attracts locals and tourists of all kind. The district serves as a home to one of the densest Asian populations in Montreal containing various Asian restaurants, convenience stores, novelty stores, and food markets. At night, Chinatown becomes a hub for Montreal’s nightlife.
Food Trippin’ with Daryl & Mindi Hirch
La Banquise – Official 2 Food Trippers Recommendation
There’s almost a no better way to wrap up a trip on Montreal than by eating proper Canadian eats- poutine! La Banquise is legendary for dishing out large world-class and hearty servings of poutine. La Banquise also serves as microbrewery with a diverse beer menu.
In this video, I take you on Day 2 of my weekend in Montreal itinerary
For this 48 Hour Montreal Itinerary I have a map to help you with navigation. In order to maximize your time, you gotta figure out your bearings; Where are the things you want to see, do, eat and drink and what is the fastest way to move in between it all.
So using Google Maps we created a custom GPS guide and offline map based on this articles highlights and where all the places we visited can be found.
We had a great time at Emma’s place. The apartment is spacious and clean and it has all you need to feel at home. We recommend it. However, because there was four of us we decided to go for a house and split the costs. Emma’s place is not in the city so you will need a car.
If you're thinking of using Airbnb for the first time, we have a $50.00 credit from us to use towards your first booking 🙂
I promise not to wait another 10 years to return back to Montreal. I will, however, return when it is warmer outside. There is plenty of food and plenty of jazz music to sink my teeth into.
A just for the record the Toronto Maple Leafs is a better hockey team 😉
Short Trips, Mini Breaks, Weekend Getaways & Stopovers
Using the latest travel apps, technology, and gear, I take a city; see the sights, taste the food, smell the roses, hear the stories and feel the love. All in 48 hours. Then, using videography & editing, photography and writing I retell and share those stories with my readers and viewers.
I'm Christopher Rudder and welcome to Rudderless.
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