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An Essential Guide to a 3-Day Trip to Montreal

An Essential Guide to a 3-Day Trip to Montreal

The French Canadian city of Montreal is a popular tourist spot. But sometimes, you just don’t have a lot of time to check out everything this beautiful city has to offer.

But what if you decide to spend a weekend in Montreal? Would it be possible to fully experience it without missing out on anything? Well, we’ve got great news!

Spending three days in Montreal without sacrificing the quality of the trip is possible. During this limited time, visitors can walk the cobbled streets of Old Montreal, eat some Quebecois dishes, and visit famous architectural buildings.

But that’s not all there is to Montreal! In this article, we’ll help you craft the perfect itinerary, so you can fully immerse in Canada’s French city. 

Read on and find out what you can do in Montreal for three days to experience the best things in the city! We’re also giving out budgeting tips so you can plan everything to a tee!

The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary for Exploring Montreal

DayAttractionsRecommendations
Day 1• Notre-Dame Basilica
• Pointe-à-Callière
• Old Montreal 
• La Grande Roue de Montréal
Go to the Ghost Walk tour at Old Montreal at night
Day 2• Mile End neighbourhood
• Saint Joseph’s Oratory
• Mount Royal Park
Hike up Mount Royal Park and reward yourself with a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s Deli
Day 3• Downtown Montreal
• Olympic Stadium
• Botanical Gardens
• Gay Village
Experience the nightlife at Gay Village (only for 18+!)

Day 1: Appreciate Montreal’s history

Day 1 Appreciate Montreal’s history
Photo by Maria Elena Zuñiga on Unsplash
Attractions• Notre-Dame Basilica
• Pointe-à-Callière
• Old Montreal 
• La Grande Roue de Montréal
Highlights• Immerse yourself in the AURA experience at the Notre-• Dame Basilica
• Ghost hunting and walking tour at Old Montreal

Let’s kick off our great Montreal adventure with a day in Old Montreal, which is famous to tourists. There are many interesting places to visit here, which will make you feel like you’re in New France.

There are many restaurants in Old Montreal, whether you prefer fine dining or waiting in a long line to buy that perfect bagel (sorry, New York!).

Appreciate Montreal’s history
Photo by Freepik

Montreal is worth visiting (Is Montreal worth visiting?) due to its rich foodie scene. Many restaurants in the city offer different kinds of dishes, including French, of course!

Even spending just a day in Montreal (How do I spend a day in Montreal?) means eating tonnes of local food! It’s pretty impossible not to because everywhere you look, you’ll find delectable dishes!

Here are some of my favourite restaurants you can try, not just for breakfast but also for brunch if you wake up a bit later due to jetlag!

Many of these restaurants are just a few minutes walk from the Notre-Dame Basilica. You can eat there before going to mass or after joining a sightseeing tour.

RestaurantBest DishesLocation and Contact
NelliTartare de boeuf

Sandwichs au poulet épicé
104 Saint-Paul St W, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1Z3
514-788-4000, info@nellibistro.com
Brasserie 701Salmon tartare

Lobster tail butter risotto
701 Côte place-d’Armes, Montréal, QC H2Y 2X6
514-904-1201, info@brasserie701.com
ModavieDuck confit

Rack of lamb
1 Saint-Paul Street W, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1Y6
514-287-9582, info@modavie.com
Pincette Bar à HomardPoutine de homard et crabe des neiges

Guédille de homard

Mac and cheese de homard et crabe de neiges
94 Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1G6
514-876-4261, info@pincettemtl.com

Notre-Dame Basilica

Location: 110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1T1, Canada

Notre-Dame Basilica
Image by Ambuj Laroiya on Unsplash

A trip to Montreal isn’t complete without visiting the Notre-Dame Basilica. It’s one of Montreal’s most famous places.

The iconic building boasts Gothic Revival architecture, which will take your breath away (it did mine!). It has a stunning interior and is worth visiting!

You can go to Mass because it’s open every day. On weekdays, you can go as early as 7:30 AM, or you can choose to attend the 5:00 PM Mass on weekends.

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal Mass Schedule
Monday – Friday7:30 AM and 12:15 PM
Saturday5:00 PM
Sunday9:00 AM, 11:00 am, and 5:00 PM

In addition, you can plan a sightseeing tour to see every aspect of the decor. But remember to schedule your visit and book a ticket online for a sure visit!

But do note that they close the tour at 4:30 PM to make way for the AURA Experience!

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal Ticket Prices
Adult$14 + $1 fees
Student (17 – 22)$12 + $1 fees
Child (6 – 16)$9 + $1 fees
Group of 10+$12 + $1 fees
Family of 2 adults + 2 children (6 – 16)$9 each + $0.50 fees per ticket
Family of 2 adults + 1 child (6 – 16)$10 + $0.50 fees per ticket

If you happen to have extra time in the early evening, you can check out the AURA Experience. It’s a four-act musical and visual show, so you can appreciate the Notre-Dame Basilica even more!

You can see the captivating show from Monday to Saturday, which lasts around 40 to 45 minutes. Make sure you’re not late, or else your money will go to waste!

Trust me, when they close the door, you wouldn’t be able to get in! 

Check out the ticket prices for the amazing AURA Experience!

The AURA Experience Ticket Prices
Adult$32  + $2 fees
Senior (65+)$27 + $2 fees
Student (17 – 22)$21 + $1.50 fees
Child (6 – 16)$18 + $1 fees
Child (5 and under)No charge (but must have a ticket)
Group of 10+$27 + $2 fees
Family of 2 adults + 2 children (6 – 16)$20 each + $1 fees per ticket
Family of 2 adults + 1 child (6 – 16)$23.33 each + $1.50 fees per ticket

Pointe-à-Callière

Location: 350 Place Royale, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 3Y5, Canada

The Pointe-à-Callière or the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, is within walking distance from the Notre-Dame Basilica. You can add this place to your itinerary if you want to check out some exhibitions.

Just make sure to purchase your ticket if you want to check out all of them. The museum is also open until 5:00 PM every day, except on Mondays.

Pointe-à-Callière Ticket Prices
Adult (31 – 64)$26
Senior (65+)$24
Young Adult (18 – 30)$17
Teenager (13 – 17)$13
Child (5 – 12)$8
Child (0 – 4)Free
Family (1 adult + 3 children; 2 adults + 2 children; 2 adult + 1 child)$52

You can also check out the museum’s shop if you want to purchase some local products to remember your Montreal visit! It doesn’t hurt to get souvenirs!

Old Montreal Walking Tour

Location: Old Montreal Vieux-Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada

After going to Mass, you can walk around Old Montreal and just breathe in the district’s stunning Old European feel!

But as a tourist, it’s impossible not to join a walking tour in Old Montreal. It’s rich in history and you can learn so much from these tours.

There’s a free walking tour if you want to save some money. Although not all public tours are free, they usually cost way cheaper than private tours.

Furthermore, these walking tours will only take around 1.5 to 3 hours. By joining one of these, you can learn so much about Old Montreal’s rich history and get insider tips on where to go and eat from tour guides.

One of my personal favourites is the Montreal Ghost walking tour since I like ghost hunting. It’s a unique one because it involves professional actors dressed as ghosts!

Check out some of my favourite Old Montreal walking tours!

Walking TourPriceDurationHighlightBooking
Old Montreal Free Walking TourPublic tour – free
Private tour – $300
2 hours and 15 minutesGet personal recommendations from the localsBook here
Fantômes Montréal GhostsAdult – $29Student – $24Youth (10 – 17) – $161.5 hoursGhost walk tour led by professional actorsBook here
Walking Tasting Tour by Secret Food ToursStarts at $67.27 per person (depending on group size)3 – 3.5 hours Eat Old Montreal’s famous dishesBook here
Winter Charms of Old Montreal Walking Tour$492 hoursGet insider tips for winter activities in MontrealBook here

La Grande Roue de Montréal

Location: 362 Rue de la Commune E, Montréal, QC H2Y 0B4, Canada

Don’t forget to see the sunset at the top of the La Grande Roue de Montréal. It’s the tallest observational wheel in the country, allowing you to view Montreal’s skyline.

You can ride a private gondola with your family or friends. Plus, it can hold up to eight people!

La Grande Roue de Montréal Ticket Prices
Adult (18 – 64)$30.47
Senior (65+)$25.87
Student$25.87
Child (3 – 17)$23
Toddler (0 – 2)Free
Private Gondola$186.84
VIP Gondola$63.24 – $209.83
Family Package$94.86

Prices include taxes

It’s open from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM, so you can end your first day 60 meters high! It’s a perfect way to end a tiring but fulfilling day in Montreal, don’t you think?

Day 2: See breathtaking views and interesting people in Montreal

Day 2 See breathtaking views and interesting people in Montreal
Photo by Rich Martello on Unsplash
AttractionsMile End neighbourhood
Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Mount Royal Park
HighlightsExperience the local trendy Mile End neighbourhood
Pay a visit to Saint André Bessette
Eat the famous smoked meat sandwich with cherry cola after a Mount Royal hike

For your second day in Montreal, there are still plenty of things for you to do in this safe city (How safe is Montreal?). On this day, we suggest enjoying the breathtaking views of the city and trying out different kinds of food (again!)!

Mile End

Location: Mile End neighbourhood

Mile End
Photo by Adèle Beausoleil on Unsplash

You can start your 2nd day in Montreal walking through Mile End. It’s full of entertainment and has rows of restaurants.

Trust me, it’s impossible to get bored here! It’s also known as a trendy neighbourhood because there is a tonne of activities to do!

Don’t end your day in Mile End without trying the famous Montreal bagels. There are two famous bagel shops (and some of the best in the city): St-Viateur and Fairmount.

Go grab a fresh one before starting your day. Choose between the two bagel shops, or I suggest trying out both!

Believe me, you can’t go wrong with a classic sesame bagel for a quick bite while exploring the streets of Montreal!

Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Location: 3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, Quebec H3V 1H6, Canada

Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Photo by Francis Xavier on Unsplash

You can then add Saint Joseph’s Oratory to your visit. You can go to Mass in the morning, afternoon, or night from Mondays to Sundays.

It’s one of the most popular and visited places in Montreal. You can even look at the beautiful view of the city from the top.

Many devoted Catholics visit the Basilica because it’s famous for being related to many miracles throughout the years. Many devotees even climb the 99 wooden steps on their knees.

In addition, Saint André Bessette’s body is entombed in an alcove in the oratory. His heart is also preserved there, and many people from all over the world visit because he is said to have healing powers.

The rich history is awe-inspiring. You will also see many canes and crutches in the chapel left behind by people who could suddenly walk during Saint André’s life in Montreal.

Mount Royal

Location: Montreal, QC H3H 1A1, Canada

Mount Royal
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

From Saint Joseph’s Oratory, you can hike up to Mount Royal and check out Montreal’s stunning skyline. But don’t worry if you don’t want to walk up there because there are buses that pass through here for faster access.

Get your cameras ready because you’re going to want to capture every moment here. Montreal is a beautiful city, after all!

There are many fun activities (How can I have fun in Montreal?) you can do here as well. Green spaces are abundant, allowing you to breathe in Mount Royal nature. 

Just remember not to feed the animals you see here. It’s for your safety and the animals, too.

You can check out Beaver Lake, Mount Royal Cross, and the Kondiaronk Belvedere lookout. If you love nature, you’ll definitely find many things to do here!

After Mount Royal, you can visit the quirky and creative neighbourhood of Plateau Mont-Royal. There are houses and buildings with different coloured exteriors.

You won’t get hungry there, too! You can try Schwartz’s Deli for the famous smoked meat sandwich for dinner before you go back to your hotel.

You might see a long line, though, which can be expected because locals and tourists flock to this deli. I highly suggest pairing your smoked meat sandwich with a cherry cola (it’s the best pairing!).

But if you don’t want to line up or just don’t have the time, we have some restaurant recommendations in the area for you!

RestaurantBest DishesLocation and Contact
Schwartz’s DeliSmoked Meat Sandwich3895 St Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1X9
514-842-4813, info@schwartzsdeli.com
Ma Poule MouilléePoutine
Le louis cyr
969 Rachel Street E, Montreal, Quebec H2J 2J2
514-522-5175
Au Pied de CochonFoie gras poutine
536 Av. Duluth E, Montréal, QC H2L 1A9
info@pieddecochon.ca (sugar shack), reservations@pieddecochon.ca (reservation)
Hof KelstenCroissant
Babka chocolate
4524 St Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec H2T 1R4
Online orders through the website

Day 3: Immerse in the local scene

Day 3 Immerse in the local scene
Photo by Manas Suva on Unsplash
Attractions• Downtown Montreal
• Olympic Stadium
• Botanical Gardens
• Gay Village
HighlightsSee 22,000 plant species and local animalsExperience the nightlife at the Gay Village

On your 3rd day, you can visit Downtown Montreal. It’s a very lively place with lots of entertainment options.

First-time visitors to the downtown area will be surprised at how vibrant it is! Even someone who has been there lots of times still gets stoked at the arts and culture scene (like me!).

Olympic Stadium

Location: 4545 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave, Montreal, Quebec H1V 0B2, Canada

The Olympic Stadium was built as the main venue for the Olympic Games in 1976. It’s famous for having an inclined tower and a sports centre attached next to it.

There used to be guided tours, but as of this writing, the tower and stadium are closed due to renovations. But you can still take photos outside of the stadium to show your Montreal trip to your online followers!

The Botanical Gardens

Location: 4101 Sherbrooke St E, Montreal, Quebec H1X 2B2, Canada

You can take around 2 to 3 hours out of your day to visit the Jardin Botanique de Montreal, simply called Botanical Gardens. It’s a massive place with over 22,000 plant species!

There are indoor and outdoor areas for you to visit. Every area is breathtaking, even perfect for romantic dates!

You will find many animals here as well, just enjoying their Montreal home. There are turtles, macaws, capybaras, frogs, otters, and so much more!

I suggest checking the opening hours on the website, just to make sure it’s available during your stay. Some areas are closed for renovations, and some are unavailable due to the impacts of storms.

Here are the admission rates for the Botanical Gardens, taxes included.

CategoryRegular Ticket RatesCMM* Resident Rates
Adults$22.75$17
Senior (65+)$20.50$16
Students (18+)$16.50$13.25
Kids and teenagers (5 – 17)$11.50$8.50
Kids under 4FreeFree
Family (maximum of 2 adults and 3 children, ages 5 – 17)$62.75$48.25

*Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal

The downtown core means shopping. There, you’ll find St. Catherine Street, which is a paradise for shopaholics!

There are rows of different shops for your touristy needs. There are shops for visitors with varying price ranges, so you can find souvenirs whether you’re on a budget or not.

If you get tired from walking and trying on clothes, you can stop by the many restaurants to charge up your body’s battery.

Here are some of my most recommended restaurants near St. Catherine Street.

RestaurantBest DishesLocation
PamikaPapaya Salad
Braised Beef Panaeng
4902 St Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec H2T 1R5
Café SfoufTartines (any flavour!)1250 Rue Ontario E, Montréal, QC H2L 1R6
La PiazzettaDuck confit bruschetta and goat cheese

Vegetarian deluxe pizza
1101 St Catherine Street E, Montreal, Quebec H2L 2G6
Sachère DessertsCarrot cake
Matcha and white chocolate mounted cake
Soft serve ice cream (your flavour of choice!)
1274 Boulevard de Maisonneuve E, Montréal, QC H2L 2A3

Gay Village

Location: The Village, Montreal

On the east of St. Catherine Street is Le Village gai, also known as Gay Village. It’s one of Montreal’s top tourist spots for the LGBTQ+ community.

You won’t miss it, too, because it’s so vibrant and diverse. It almost feels like a different area, and it’s so interesting and welcoming here. 

At night, there are many 18+ nightclubs, strip clubs, and drag shows. If you’re lucky, you might see some new exhibitions just out on the streets, too.

If you go to Montreal around the end of July or the start of August, you may be able to catch the Pride Parade. That will surely be an even livelier event!

Once you’ve exhausted yourself from enjoying the nightlife, you don’t have to worry about returning to your hotel because there’s a metro station there.

Where to Stay in Montreal

Where to Stay in Montreal
Photo by Ph B on Unsplash

Going to Canada is possible, even with a limited budget. Of course, you may need to restrain yourself from buying too much stuff, but that doesn’t mean it will limit your fun experience!

Getting the best out of your budget means staying at affordable hotels. I recommend looking out for some online deals to stretch out your budget.

You can also stay at some budget hotels or Airbnb. But remember to check the reviews because staying at bad hotels can take some fun away from your trip!

In addition, you can wait for some last-minute deals. Plus, you can compare reputable sites to see which offer the most affordable rates.

Peak seasons usually have higher rates, so booking in advance can help with the final prices. You can also visit during the off-season for more affordable rooms.

Furthermore, hotels in the central district are usually expensive. That’s why booking accommodation outside major areas is another tip to save some money.

Here are some of our favourite hotels we stayed at, in case you would like to check them out.

HotelAverage Starting Price per NightLocationBooking Info
Auberge de La FontaineQueen bed room – $2901301 Rue Rachel E, Montréal, QC H2J 2K1Book here
Hotel M MontrealDorm room – $39.99 – $59.99
Double bed room – $133.35
1245 Rue Saint-André, Montréal, QC H2L 3T1Book here
Hotel Casa BellaSingle occupancy – $60
Double bed room – $70
264 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H2X 1X9Book here
Fairfield Inn by MarriottOne King bed room – $199
Two Queen beds room – $209
1199 Rue Berri, Montréal, QC H2L 4C6Book here

3-Day Stay Budget In Montreal

3-Day Stay Budget In Montreal
Photo by PiggyBank on Unsplash

Solo Travelers can visit Montreal with a budget of around $800 to $900 for 3 days. Families will need much more than that, depending on the number of people.

Your 3-day Montreal budget will depend on where you’ll stay and what you want to do. If you want to do some shopping, then you may need to add some extra budget for your trip.

A day’s food budget can be around $40 to $70. But you could go with less than that if you eat at markets and cheap restaurants or if your hotel has breakfast included.

Additional expenses you may need to think about are admission fees. So, that will depend on how many activities and places you want to visit.

Montreal is a walkable (and bicycle-friendly) city. You can even walk most of your trip and add those steps to your pedometer.

Moreover, buses and trains are cheaper than using taxis. So, make sure to plan your choice of transportation because it can drain your budget without you noticing.

For your daily expenses, you can make do with around $300 per day, including the hotel room and souvenirs. But then again, it will vary depending on your daily decisions during your trip.

The Best Months to Visit Montreal

The Best Months to Visit Montreal
Photo by Shawn Dearn on Unsplash

The best months to visit Montreal are around March to May and August to November. The weather during these months is milder, so your trip can be comfortable.

July to August will have warm temperatures, usually around 16°C to 26°C. Meanwhile, November will have colder temperatures but not freezingly brutal like December to February. 

Remember that Montreal can have harsh winters and you’ll find heaps of snow everywhere. So unless you want to do some snow activities, then you may want to stay away from late November to February.

FAQ about Spending 3 Days in Montreal

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