How to Spend 3 Days in Montreal

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With three days in Montreal, you should have enough time to explore the city’s top-line attractions, discover interesting neighborhoods beyond the downtown core, and even take a day trip out to the picturesque Quebec countryside. Here’s how to pack sights, scenery, food, and fun into 72 memorable hours in Montreal.

Day 1: Downtown and the St. Lawrence River
Set aside your first day for Ville-Marie, the downtown area of Montreal and home to many of the city’s must-see sights, including Notre-Dame Basilica and Place Jacques-Cartier. You can travel around by hop-on hop-off bus or wander independently, but guided walking tours are the perfect introduction to Montreal for first-time visitors, who will learn all about the history of Canada’s 2nd-oldest city.

In the afternoon, stroll down toward the Old Port area for your first glimpse of the mighty St. Lawrence River. There’s a water-based tour option for all tastes, from gentle sightseeing cruises to paddleboat rentals and fast-paced Jet Ski tours. 

Refuel with a typical grab-and-go Montreal meal of a bagel, smoked meat sandwich, or poutine (French fries and cheese curds covered in gravy) before setting out on a guided ghost walk around the cobbled streets and history-steeped alleys of Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal).

Day 2: Country Escapes and City Views
Get out of the city today and enjoy an easy day trip to rural Quebec. Opt for a half-day or full-day tour of Quebec wine country. Visit vineyards in the Eastern Townships and take part in guided tastings of local wines and cheese, many of which aren’t available outside of Quebec. Alternatively, travel north from Montreal to the picturesque Laurentian Mountains, where you can visit country villages, cruise on scenic lakes, and ride a cable car to the top of Mont Tremblant. 

Back in town, trade the rural panoramas for cityscapes with a nighttime hop-on hop-off bus tour. Disembark near the Plateau for a quick dinner in one of the area’s hip restaurants, then reboard to reach Mount Royal (Mont Royal). Trek to the park’s mountaintop lookout for unforgettable views over downtown Montreal and beyond. 

Day 3: Multicultural Montreal
Venture beyond the boundaries of the downtown center to uncover Montreal’s multicultural side. Spend today getting to know other parts of the city and learning about the influence immigrant groups have had on the fabric of Montreal as well as its culinary scene. Explore the Plateau on a Jewish history walking tour, take a food tour of Little Italy or Chinatown, or join a walking tour along the Main—aka St. Lawrence Boulevard—stopping in Little Portugal, Mile End, and Little Italy for divine tastes of local specialties. 

A guided afternoon bike tour of the city will allow you to cover even more ground and spot sights you’re unlikely to stumble upon while exploring solo, such as neighborhood parks and hidden-away eateries. Finish your trip in style with a dinner cruise along the St. Lawrence River, where you’ll be treated to front-row views of the dazzling skyline.
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