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Canada City Travel

2 Days in Montreal – A Perfect Weekend Itinerary

Last updated on May 14th, 2022

Montreal is the most populated city in Quebec and is my favourite Canadian city thus far. I have travelled to Montreal since 2013 and have returned three times since. I don’t often repeat my trip destinations as there are so many different places I want to explore, however, Montreal holds a special place in my heart. Known as a center for food, culture, language, and education, Montreal has activities for every type of traveller. There is no shortage of things to do in Montreal. This guide includes a 2-day Montreal itinerary, perfect to use as a Montreal weekend itinerary or for when you will spend two days in Montreal.

While French is the primary language spoken in Quebec, Montreal is bilingual, speaking both English and French. Montreal has the most french speaking people in the world, second to Paris, France. Immerse yourself in the culture, and you will hear both French and English spoken everywhere you go in Montreal. You do not need to speak French to visit Montreal, but it is always good to practice. 

Fun Fact: Montreal gets its name from the three-peak hill in the heart of the city, Mont-Royal. 

When planning a trip to Montreal, be flexible with your itinerary if possible. You will most likely find you want to spend more time in Montreal. On my most recent trip to Montreal, I ended up changing my travel plans and cancelled another destination to have an additional two days in Montreal.

i love montreal sign quebec

Are 2 Days Enough in Montreal?

Montreal is a beautiful city filled with so many things to do and places to eat that I recommend you spend a minimum of 2 days in Montreal. How many days you need in Montreal will depend on what you like to do and the pace you prefer to travel at, however, every time I visit Montreal, I spend 2-4 days. Two days will give you a good taste of what Montreal has to offer. It takes time to travel between neighbourhoods, so spending at least two days in Montreal will give you the time to not miss the must-visit attractions and restaurants of Montreal. 

48 Hours in Montreal Itinerary:

Day 1 – Mount Royal Park, Saint Laurent Boulevard, Notre Dame Basilica, Old Port, St Lawrence River, and La Grande Roue de Montréal

Today will take you through the Mount Royal, Plateau Mont-Royal, and Old Port neighbourhoods of Montreal. 

Day One is jam-packed, so you will want to start your day early. If you only have 1 day in Montreal, you will want to use this Day 1 as your itinerary. This Montreal itinerary is designed to be adjustable to your needs. 

Mount Royal Park 

Mount Royal Park is a large green space park on top of a large hill directly beside downtown Montreal. Spanning 4 km by 2.5 km, Mount Royal Park features an artificial lake, trails, a lookout, and a sculpture garden. Standing 233 m at the top, Mount Royal provides a scenic view over Montreal, best viewed from the Mount Royal Lookout. 

In the winter, Mount Royal Park offers skating on Beaver Lake, cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails, along with snow tubing and toboggan hills. The park can be enjoyed year-round.

During my visit, I looked out over Montreal at the lookout and walked along one of the trails to reach the summit. Mount Royal lookout is especially beautiful in the fall with the fall foliage. We spent about an hour at Mount Royal Park.

Mount Royal Park 

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours
Cost: FREE, paid parking

From Mount Royal Park, head to Saint Laurent Boulevard. Make sure you have lunch on Saint Laurent Boulevard. 

Saint Laurent Boulevard

Saint Laurent Boulevard is one of the main streets in Montreal, stretching through multiple neighbourhoods for more than 11 km. Featuring an abundance of shops, street art, and restaurants, Saint Laurent Boulevard is a must-visit on your trip to Montreal. Every time I visit Montreal, I stop somewhere on Saint Laurent Boulevard. A few of my favourite places to visit on Saint Laurent include Slice+Soda, the famous Schwartz Deli, and admiring the street-art of the neighbourhood. 

Each summer, along Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montreal hosts a street-art festival called Mural Festival. During Mural Festival, Saint Laurent Boulevard is taken over by artists performing their street-art live and live music, and traffic becomes pedestrian-only for everyone to enjoy the festival. New art pieces are added each year, and some old art pieces get new looks, so the experience is unique every time. 

One of the most well-known street art pieces near Saint Laurent Boulevard is the Leonard Cohen murals. There are two murals of Leonard Cohen, the famous Canadian singer, in Montreal: one is at the corner of Rue Saint-Dominique and Rue Napoleon, and the other one is downtown at 1420 Crescent Street. 

We spent about 1-2 hours exploring Saint Laurent Boulevard and eating lunch. 

Saint Laurent Boulevard 

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours 

Cost: FREE

Once finished at Saint Laurent Boulevard, make your way to Notre Dame Basilica. 

Notre Dame Basilica

Notre Dame Basilica is a beautiful and historic early 19th-century Catholic church in the Old Port, Montreal. The interior of Notre Dame is one of the most dramatic interiors in the world. Inside the basilica features rich colours and stained glass showcasing Montreal’s religious history. Notre Dame is a famous landmark and a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture. Visited by millions each year, Notre Dame Montreal is visited almost as much as Notre Dame in Paris. 

You will want to visit the interior of Notre Dame for the best experience. Plan your visit to Notre Dame ahead, the interior is open to the public only on certain days and times each week, and a ticket is required. 

Notre Dame offers two different entry options: a self-guided tour and the Aura experience. For the self-guided tour, you are free to wander around the interior of the church at your own pace within the allotted time frame. For the Aura experience, you are immersed in a multimedia experience of orchestral sounds and dynamic lighting to add to the beautiful architecture. 

During my most recent Montreal trip, I finally visited the inside of Notre Dame through the self-guided tour. Previously I had only admired the exterior of the church. I spent about 30 minutes inside Notre Dame, but tickets allow for an hour. Whether you choose to visit the interior or the exterior of Notre Dame, it is worth adding to your Montreal itinerary. 

Notre Dame Basilica

Hours of Operation: Changes as needed, check the website for details

Cost: Starting at $14 per adult

Note: Tickets must be purchased in advance and are only available online

From Notre Dame Basilica, the next stop is Old Port Montreal. 

Old Port Montreal

Old Port is a historic neighbourhood in Montreal, located along a 2 km stretch of the Saint Lawrence River. A former early 17th-century fur trading post, Old Port was redeveloped in the 1990s and is currently used for recreation purposes. This historic neighbourhood includes many restaurants, cafes, shops and attractions: including the Montreal Science Center, a Ferris Wheel, an urban beach, and an IMAX theatre. Millions of people visit Old Port Montreal each year, especially in the summer or on holiday weekends. Old Port is a great place to go for a walk, grab something to eat, and admire the architecture; the neighbourhood is unlike the rest of Montreal. 

Depanneur Cafe old montreal

One street in Old Port you will not want to skip is Rue Saint Paul. Rue Saint Paul is a cobblestone road filled with restaurants and shops, along with musical performers. Each time I visit Montreal, I stop by Rue Saint Paul.  

Old Port Montreal

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours

Cost: FREE

While in Old Port, walk to the St Lawrence Riverfront. 

St Lawrence River 

The St.Lawrence River runs from Lake Ontario for thousands of kilometres, passing through Montreal and onwards until it reaches the Gulf of St.Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. Running along Montreal’s eastern border, there are many spots to admire the St Lawrence River. The piers in Old Port Montreal provide a good place to walk along the river. Another way to experience St Lawrence is by river cruise. During my visit to Montreal, I walked along St Lawrence in Old Port, at King Edward Pier near the Science Centre. 

St Lawrence River 

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours 

Cost: FREE

If you are looking for an activity to do while at the riverfront in Old Port, try the Montreal Science Centre. If time is tight or you aren’t interested in a museum for today, skip to the next activity. 

Montreal Science Centre

Montreal Science Centre is a science museum located in the Old Port neighbourhood of Montreal. Featuring a variety of permanent and travelling interactive science and technology exhibits and an IMAX theatre, Montreal Science Centre is a fun experience for all ages. During my visit to the Science Centre, there was a temporary shark exhibit, and I enjoyed it. 

Montreal Science Centre

Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 9 am – 4 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am – 5 pm 

Cost: Starting at $23 per adult 

Note: Tickets must be purchased online from their website

La Grande Roue de Montréal – Montreal Ferris Wheel 

La Grande Roue de Montréal is a Ferris Wheel located in the Old Port neighbourhood. Standing 60 m tall, La Grande Roue de Montréal is the largest Ferris Wheel in Canada. Built to celebrate Montréal’s 375th birthday, the Ferris Wheel has been open to the public since late 2017. Providing panoramic views of Montréal along with temperature-controlled cabins, the Ferris Wheel is ready to be enjoyed year-round. 

During my visit, it was raining, so I did not ride the Ferris Wheel and only visited the Ferris Wheel area and enjoyed some cotton candy from Mary’s Gourmet Popcorn in Old Port immediately outside the Ferris Wheel area. I plan to ride La Grande Roue de Montréal on my next trip to Montréal.

La Grande Roue de Montréal – Montreal Ferris Wheel 

Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am – 11 pm, Area open 6 am-midnight

Cost: Approximately $26 per adult 

Tickets can be purchased online

After the Ferris Wheel, this 1-day Montreal itinerary is done. Head back to your accommodations and rest for tomorrow. 

Day 2 – Jean-Talon Market and Mile End

Today will take you through Little Italy, Mile End, and the downtown neighbourhoods of Montreal. 

Jean-Talon Market – Jean Talon Marché

Jean-Talon Market is a farmer’s market in the Little Italy neighbourhood of Montreal. Located on Jean-Talon Street, the market spans a whole city block and is the largest market in Montreal. Open to the public since 1933, Jean-Talon is one of the oldest markets in Montreal. The market features an indoor and open-air outdoor section, housing more than 300 vendors, with most vendors coming from the farms surrounding Montreal. The indoor section of the market is open year-round, while the outdoor alleys close in October for winter. During weekends, the outdoor market alleys are for pedestrian traffic only. 

You will find a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants at Jean-Talon carrying high-quality and mostly local products. During my trip to the market, I purchased many items, including local cheeses and meats, pastries, fruits, maple syrup, and local chocolate milk. I spent about 2 hours at the market, wandering slowly through all the vendors and snacking along the way.

Jean-Talon Market – Jean Talon Marché

Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 8 am – 6 pm, Sun 8 am – 5 pm

Cost: FREE, paid parking lot

You can check out Jean-Talon Market on their website

Mile End 

Mile End is a trendy and unique neighbourhood in Montreal. Featuring art galleries, cafes and boutiques, Mile End is home to well-known places such as St.Viateur Bagels and Cafe Olimpico. Rain or shine, Mile End is beautiful to visit and wind down. Don’t forget to pick up some Montreal-style bagels and try the local cafes. 

Mile End 

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours

Cost: FREE

Bonus Activity: 

Barbie Expo

Barbie Expo in downtown Montreal is home to the largest permanent barbie exhibit in the world. The barbie collection features more than 1000 unique barbie dolls, including dolls inspired by celebrities, artists, fashion designers, and pop culture. Barbie Expo is a fun and unique experience for both children and adults. My favourite barbies in the expo included dolls inspired by Van Gogh and Star Trek. 

Barbie Expo

Hours of Operation: Mon-Wed 10am – 6pm, Thurs-Fri 10am – 9pm, Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 12 pm -5pm

Cost: FREE

You can see more information on the Barbie Expo website

Once finished, you have completed this 2 Day Montreal itinerary.

Are you looking for more ideas on what to do in Montreal? Try these activities. 

  • Montreal Botanical Garden 
  • Lachine Canal 
  • Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal 
  • La Fontaine Park 

Note: Observatoire Place Ville Marie is closed. The lookout is no longer accessible and has closed down. 

Getting Around Montreal

There are multiple options for getting around in Montreal, including walking, bus, metro and driving. Public transportation is pretty clean and reliable in Montreal, especially the metro. The metro (STM) connects downtown along with all attractions. Plan your routes and purchase a day pass whenever it makes sense with your travel plans. 

Here is the metro map for your convenience.

How to Get Downtown from the Airport

Montreal has two airports, Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau (YUL) and Montreal-Mirabel (YMX), the most popular being YUL. To get downtown Montreal, from the airport (YUL) the best option is to take the 747 bus. The 747 bus runs daily, 24 hours and will take you downtown to the Berri-UQAM Station. The ride lasts between 45-70 minutes and costs around $10, paid in coins. The fare includes unlimited rides on buses and the metro for 24 consecutive hours. 

Helpful Tips for Visiting Montreal 

  • Weekdays are less busy to visit Montreal than weekends and long weekends.
  • Summer and Fall are the best times of the year to visit Montreal for the best weather.
  • The currency of Montreal is the same as Canada, Canadian dollars.
  • The drinking age in Quebec is 18 years old.

Hope this information helped you plan your itinerary for Montreal.

Happy travelling!

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4 thoughts on “2 Days in Montreal – A Perfect Weekend Itinerary”

  1. Great itinerary! I love Montreal and its joie de vivre.
    Next time I visit I’ll have to check out the Aura Experience you recommend at the Notre Dame Basilica.
    It must be stunning.

    1. Thank you Mayra! I agree, Montreal is a great city to visit. Notre Dame is so beautiful, enjoy the Aura Experience when you visit Montreal next.

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