What to Do When Visiting Montreal

Traveling to Montreal for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon, runners will enjoy all the experiences that Rock ‘n’ Roll events have to offer pre- and post-race with the bonus of seeing some of the sites and heritage of this beautiful city.

This year, Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday, with a busy calendar of major events that includes Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal marathon, bike and car races and rallies sporting events, concerts, festivals, light and fireworks shows, street fairs and parades. This website provides information on amazing events and opportunities that will be held this year.

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Founded in 1642 and originally called Ville Marie, it is named after Mount Royal, which is the high ground of the city on the island of Montreal located along the Saint Lawrence River.

Montreal is a very walkable city. A great way to travel around Montreal is by using the Metro. A one-day pass costs $10, and a three-day pass costs $18.

For me, a must-see evening site includes the top of Place Ville Marie with its amazing 360° view of Montreal! By day, you want to take in the view from the top of Mount Royal Park, providing an amazing opportunity to walk through the trail system and enjoy the views of Montreal.

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Walk through Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal), the oldest area of Montreal, and experience a 94-acre historic area with old world charm, narrow cobblestone streets, gas lamps, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Allow time to explore Notre Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes Square, the second oldest site in Montreal. The historic Old Port (Vieux Port) area is a broad promenade along the Saint Lawrence River that is best seen by walking around using a self guided map from Tourism Montreal.

For unique shopping, visit the underground city (33K of walking opportunities), the famous open air markets of Jean Talon and Atwater, and don’t go home without purchasing 100% natural Canadian maple syrup!

A visit to Montreal is not complete without walking Saint Laurent Boulevard, “the street with everything.” Saint Laurent Boulevard, or as locals call it, “LaMain,” starts in the old city, passes through Chinatown, the main bar district with excellent selections of Quebec wine and micro brews, little Portugal, and Little Italy. Walking in this heritage site provides a visitor with an opportunity to experience the district’s cultural sites, restaurants, shops, art, and entertainment.

For a true taste of Montreal, try a smoked meat sandwich: beef brisket that is dry rubbed with a spice mix known as Montreal steak spice (garlic, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dill seed, and salt) marinated, smoked, sliced, placed on rye bread, served with cole slaw, pickle and French fries. For a unique take on the fries, try Poutine (French fries and cheese curds in a light brown gravy), a popular distinctly Quebec food that is found across Canada.

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Montreal’s famous bagels are a unique take on bagel making. The handmade bagels (black seed poppy or white seed sesame) are smaller, sweeter and denser than a New York style bagel and are boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood oven. Montreal also has an excellent range of bread bakeries (boulangeries), pastry shops (pastries) and cafes where you can try specialized cupcakes, donuts, French pastries, traditional buttery baked goods, croissants and baguettes.

Recovering from your Montreal marathon or a day of walking, experience the “Joie de Vivre” that is Montreal!