Montreal is the place to go if you want the European charm without the hassle of traveling across the Atlantic. This French-speaking Canadian town is located in eastern Quebec about 300 miles north from Boston. In just a few short hours, you can be enjoying a coffee on the sidewalk in a cafe. Montreal can be explored in two days. Montreal, Canada’s second largest city, is home to a plethora of restaurants, Gothic cathedrals and cobblestone streets. There’s something to suit everyone in Montreal, with its trendy designer shops, family-friendly museum, and hip vintage stores. Start with our ultimate guide to 2 days in Montreal.

Getting Around During 2 Days In Montreal

The metro is easy to use in Montreal, so you don’t need a car. You can easily get around the city using Uber or taxis. The Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, located about 30 minutes away from downtown, is also accessible. Two days in Montreal can be combined with a trip to Mont-Tremblant for skiing or a trip to Quebec City.

Montreal’s Historical Sites

Notre-Dame Basilica is Montreal’s most important religious sight. Be amazed by the stained-glass and blue and gold decorations. Be sure to take a look at the ceiling to appreciate its beauty. You might be reminded of Notre-Dame de Paris by the two towers with bells. You can explore the church on your own, or you can book tickets for Aura a light show inside.

Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. Photo by Tourisme Montreal, Marie Deschene

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Old Montreal has captured my heart. You could easily mistake the cobblestoned streets of Rue Saint Paul with their street lamps and planter box for Paris. When you’re tired, browse the shops or stop by a café or patisserie for a quick break. You can also stroll along the river or visit art galleries. Do not miss the night light show where historical scenes will be projected on the buildings. You can download the app and follow along or just wander around.

Montreal Cultural Attractions to See in 2 Days

It’s not what you expect to find in Montreal. But Chinatown will be a pleasant surprise. In the morning, I saw a few locals practicing tai-chi as the snow fell lightly. The streets are alive at night with vendors selling meat skewers and noodles as well as souvenirs.

Insider tip: Visit Dragon’s Beard Candy to find a hand-spun sugar treat.

Dragon Beard Candy is available in Chinatown Montreal. Photo by Kirby Harrington

Old Montreal is a far cry from the Plateau-Mont-Royal District. It has a cool bohemian feel. Take your camera and wander the streets to capture colorfully painted facades of buildings, as well as murals. As you walk, look for painted dumpsters and spiral staircases. You can explore churches, parks and tasty eateries.

Montreal’s Spa Scene

Montreal’s BotaBotafloating Spa is a favorite destination. Spa-goers can enjoy cold-water therapy in the river and relax in hammocks and steam rooms in an old, renovated boat.

Reservations are highly recommended for some spas that only accept guests older than 18.

Bota Bota Spa, Montreal. Marie-Reine Mattera, photographer.

I visited in march when the sidewalks were still covered in snow. The thermal therapy in Scandinave provided a nice break from the sightseeing. Switch between the hot spa with its relaxing waterfall, the dry steam room, the plunge pool, and the sauna. In the Zero Stress Room, I curled up under a blanket with my worries.

Boutiques For Every Style Of Shopper

Floh Marche, with its three-floors of vendors on Rue Saint-Denis is heaven for vintage enthusiasts. There are many vintage shops, streetwear stores and cafes on this funky street. Spend a few hours browsing boutiques and thrifting.

Marche Floh Vintage Market. Photo by Kirsten Hastings

Montreal’s main street for shopping, Rue Saint Catherine is home to more than 1,200 shops. You can shop at the landmark Eaton Center Mall, and have lunch at Time Out Market. Here you’ll find a food hall with over a dozen different local food concepts. Do not miss the arcade of retro video games just outside.

Montreal: Other Places to Visit During Two Days

  • Mont Royal Park A green oasis on the edge of the city, with winter sledding as well as summer concerts.
  • Old Port Ride the Big Wheel in winter or enjoy a beach day.
  • Underground City- This subterranean system stretches over 20 miles and connects restaurants, malls, and metro stations.
  • The Biodome- Visit a rainforest and see marine life. View animals in different habitats.

Montreal Restaurants: Where to Eat

Montreal is a foodie’s paradise, with one of the highest concentrations of restaurants in the world. Plan to eat a lot and wear stretchy pants.


Montreal is full of cozy cafes, artisan bakeries and other places to linger. Crew Collective & Cafe is my favorite because of its beautiful architecture. You don’t get to drink a cappuccino every day in the old Royal Bank of Canada Building. The interior is stunning, with its gold ceilings and chandeliers. Early arrival is recommended to ensure a good seat.

Crew Collective & Cafe, Montreal. Photo by Kirsten Hastings

Le Petit Dep has a postcard-perfect facade with green lights and twinkling. You can stay for coffee and pastries or buy gourmet groceries to take home.

Le Petit Dep cafe in Montreal. Photo by Kirby Harrington


Montreal is the place to be, so poutine must be tried. This classic is a combination of French Fries smothered with gravy and Cheese Curds. Pitarifique offers pita sandwiches, poutines and other dishes with inventive toppings. You can choose to add gyro, bacon or mushrooms, or stick with the classic. Order the smaller portion unless you are a teenager.

Poutine at Pitarifique. Photo by Kirby Harrington

Spend the day browsing Jean-Talon Market , a market open to the public, and nearby Italian grocery stores. You can find beautiful cheeses and pastries, as well as produce. Do not tell anyone, but I grabbed a quick pizza slice before lunch. Ristorante Pizzeria Corneli can be found on Little Italy’s main road, just a few minutes walk from Jean-Talon. It’s a good thing I had room for the salmon linguine.


Friendly waiters dressed in white long aprons are on hand to serve you duck confit and steak tartare. Salmon carpaccio is also available. This elegant French restaurant is the perfect way to start two days in Montreal.

Montreal Restaurant Holder Courtesy Restaurant Holder

Brit and Chips offers a casual dining experience with a pint Lion Ale. Choose between cod, haddock, or salmon in maple syrup batter. This is the best fish and chips. It’s fried and battered to order. If you’ve never tried poutine, substitute chips for it.

Brit & Chips serves fish and chips. Photo by Kirby Harrington

The Creperie Chez Suzette has a wide variety of crepes and fondues. They also offer salads and sandwiches. Enjoy the good life at a window table, ordering French onion soup.

Craft Beer And Cocktails

As it was winter I warmed myself mostly with tea and coffee. On a warmer trip, I would love to drink a cocktail with a great view on a terrace. This is a list of rooftops bars. I wish I had spent more time exploring the craft beer scene. You can book a tour of the breweries to try them out. This is just one more reason to return!

Insider tip for eating in Montreal: There are many options available to vegan travelers, including beautiful rolls and sashimi.

Other Foodie Finds In Montreal

There are too many places to visit in Montreal, from cafes to chocolatiers. I could not possibly try them all in two days. Here are some more suggestions:

  • Gibbys offers steak and seafood served in a historic building.
  • Schwartz’s Deli for smoked meat sandwiches
  • Patati Patata fries and poutine
  • La Fabrique de Bagel for Montreal-style bagels

What To Do In Montreal

Hotel Nelligan, an elegant luxury hotel in Old Montreal’s Rue St. Paul. Shop in the pedestrian cobblestone streets or relax at a café around the hotel. The subway station is also nearby. You can find all you need at walking distance. The exposed brick walls, views of the city and the lush hotel atrium all add to the charm. The hotel is hard to leave with its Nespresso machine and down comforters.

Hotel Nelligan, Old Montreal. Photo by Kirby Harrington

Hotel Nelligan Dining

Nelli Cafe offers a chocolate croissant and coffee in the morning. Mechant Boeuf Brasserie offers dry-aged steaks and oysters as well as craft cocktails. Enjoy a glass or two of sangria and the city view on our rooftop Terrasse Nelligan.

Nelli Cafe in Montreal. Photo by Kirsten Hastings

Insider tip For a romantic, green-filled tete-a tete in the Nelli Cafe, search for the hidden alcoves.

Other Accommodation Options in Montreal

Consider an Airbnb luxury apartment in Old Montreal if you need more space. This charming rental has enough space for eight guests, and it even includes a pool-table. This place is unique because of the exposed brick walls, accent lights, and quirky furniture. The Old City is just a few steps away. There is plenty of space for lounging.

Airbnb apartment in Montreal. Photo by Kirsten harrington

Insider tip: Le Beau Marche is located just around the corner. Grab a baguette and coffee or wine and cheese and enjoy it in the apartment.

Why and when should you visit Montreal for 2 days?

Montreal is beautiful in every season. Winter is a time for snow sports and Christmas markets. In Spring and Summer you can find street cafes, festivals, and other activities. Fall brings the best foliage. There is so much you can discover in 2 days, from food and fashion to shopping and spas. If you are planning a trip in Canada or to Montreal or Quebec City or to anywhere else, let Travel With Wonder lead you to the most amazing places.