The first time I visited Montreal, I had no set itinerary. My only mission was to find myself some veggie-friendly poutine and to get a feel for a city that I had heard was distinctly Gallic and North American at the same time.
Over the course of my trip—which happened to be around three days—I tried fantastic food from around the world, was awed by the ethereal interiors of the Notre-Dame Basilica, and spent plenty of time finding my way around the labyrinthine passageways that weave through the city. If I were to do it again, I might follow a stricter itinerary so that I could enjoy even more of the atmospheric city’s food, art, and culture.
While Montreal winters are freezing, summers can get pretty balmy.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the Notre-Dame Basilica.
Today, check out the city’s vibrant cultural scene, starting in the bohemian Plateau area. Spend the morning ambling around, admiring colorful murals and pretty homes while checking out bookstores, boutiques, and cafés.
After working up an appetite, eat your way through the multicultural Mile End neighborhood, where you can sample Montreal favorites like poutine and bagels. Alternatively, try making your own bagels with some locals.
If you visit Montreal in the winter, you'll likely spend some time getting from point to point using the RESO, an underground network of passageways that makes braving the cold a little more bearable. But no matter when you come, it's worth checking out the subterranean side of the city, which spans over 20 miles (32 kilometers).
Finish your Montreal trip from the other side of the city—the other vertical side, that is. A helicopter tour gives you unique views, ideal for photography buffs. For those more inclined to stay on land, check out the many microbreweries and taprooms of the Latin Quarter.