What to expect when visiting Montreal for the first time 2019

I grew up in Hong Kong, and i’d describe it as Montreal’s twin sibling that was separated at birth. Accessibility is both the cities best trait, even without a car, and not to mention the fantastic multi-racial cuisine. The metro stations are almost identical to the ones in Paris, but less complicated.

Downtown is full of restaurants and shops, luxury hotels, museums, and galleries. One of its main attractions is Parc Lafontaine and St. Michael, and St. Andrew’s church.

Here’s what you could expect as you venture into the Paris of Canada . The artistic city that welcomes all kinds of people.

  1. Its a tad bit expensive

Having been here for 8 days, I took a weekly metro pass which costs me around $33*, an average meal was $20, and I stayed at an AirB&B single bedroom apartment for my first 3 days in downtown Montreal which was $106 per night. Turns out most all the historic sites and museums were accessible by foot. You could do the math, or you could also read my other article on travelling on a budget.

*in CAD currency

Solution: Stay at a hostel where breakfast is provided, and check out https://passeportmtl.com/attractions/, where they sell transport tickets, and they offer free entrances to museums and cruise tours if booked in advanced. Rates may vary depending on peak/off season.

2. You could see most of the cities attractions in a day

The fact that Montreal is relatively small, that gives you a lot more time to relax as self-guided walking tours are highly recommended and that allows you to enjoy the city without rushing or driving a lot. I’d say 3 days is already enough to view all the touristic sites, but I’d strongly suggest to stay a bit longer since Montreal is also famous for their mouthwatering cusines, as well as their nightlife.

Read more on the best sites of Montreal here

3. Generally, Montreal is pretty safe

At after 9pm I still remember the main streets being busy, but it does get pretty quiet on the residential neighborhood. I’ve seen plenty of young women walking around as usual, and I honestly felt safer in Montreal than New York. You don’t really get hassled by street vendors. Even at the most touristic places people are generally friendly and helpful, despite the city being very cosmopolitic.

Read more about safety on my practical guide on staying safe on your travels.

4. A lot of awesome festivals in the summer!

In a city where it snows approximately for 5 months and where winters can be harsh, Montrealers and tourists alike take the advantage when the warm sun takes over. The best season starts from late May until September. Be sure to stay up to date with the upcoming festivals here. There’s a few almost every week!

Check out the link for more! https://www.mtl.org/en/experience/montreal-summer-festival-guide

5. Lodging, can be ‘tricky’

As the old saying goes : ‘You get what you pay for’, really applies to lodgement. You either spend a fortune, or you’re in an oldish apartement in the city centre which can be unaccomodating or noisy. Really depends on what you prefer as finding the balance won’t be easy.

Solution: Book far in advance if you prefer to be more centric, thus reducing its price. Or take an apartment/hotel that’s a bit far off the centre. I’m typing this in a beautiful house located near Cote-Vertu Metro station, after leaving the first apartment i took in downtown Montreal. A bit of commuting, but it’s quiet, peaceful, and since this is my personal preferrence I really don’t mind sacrifing to take the metro all the time. Nothing to complain about. I got this on airB&B.

6. And finally… The food

I couldn’t stop emphasizing about food in Montreal. Into the land where you have enough Poutine Fries to feed kings and bears alike, finding food in Montreal isn’t rocket science. As long as you stick to what seemed decent looking to you, indulging food in Montreal is always a pleasant experience.

Have I missed anything? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!

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