Montreal 3 Day Itinerary: 72 Hours in Montreal for the Ultimate Getaway

Montreal 3 day itinerary

This Montreal 3 day itinerary will show you how to have an amazing getaway to this fantastic Canadian city. There are so many awesome things to do in Montreal, and I’ve created a Montreal itinerary that I’m sure you will love, too. As I live in the Toronto area, I’ve been to Montreal on numerous occasions (it’s only about a five hour drive away). With this handy travel guide, you can spend the best 3 days in Montreal ever, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’ve gone a few times before.

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Whether it’s one day, 36 hours, 2 days in Montreal, or a long weekend, this travel blog will give you lots of great ideas when searching for what to do in Montreal. Feel free to pick and choose your favorite aspects or follow it to a T. This Montreal 3 day itinerary will allow you to see the most iconic areas of the city, plus some of its hidden gems. Ready? Let’s go!

Day 1: Old Montreal and Old Port

One of the first areas of the city that comes to mind when you think of Montreal might be Old Montreal and Old Port. With its cobblestone streets and grandiose architecture, you might feel like you’ve transported yourself to Europe. It makes sense to start your first day in Old Montreal.

In the first day of this Montreal 3 day itinerary, we’ll explore Old Montreal by foot and also wander to some nearby neighborhoods. Then, I highly recommend that you rent a bike and do some cycling. Montreal is a very bike-friendly city. Cycling around Montreal is one way that you’ll feel connected to the city and feel a little more like a local resident.

Old Montreal

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Old Montreal - Vieux Montreal

Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal) likely tops your list of the best places to see on a weekend trip to Montreal. We’ll start the first day of your 3 days in Montreal with a walking trip around Old Montreal and other notable areas near downtown Montreal.

I recommend that you wander around Old Montreal on foot. Walk up and down all of its streets and side streets. You never know what you might discover around each corner. The historic cobblestone streets and old architecture definitely ooze European vibes.

Cobblestone streets and old buildings of Old Montreal / Vieux Montreal

If you enjoy walking tours to get acquainted with new cities, there’s no better place in Montreal to go for a walking tour than Old Montreal. I suggest booking this Old Montreal Walking Tour that’s about two hours long with a maximum of six people per group.

More into spooky experiences? Check out this Old Montreal Ghost Walking Tour of the older parts of the city. Hear chilling stories and tales from your guide, and be on the lookout for the spirits that haunt Old Montreal. There are lots of scary tales and unexplained mysteries, and your guide will share all of the gruesome details.

Rue Saint-Paul

Rue Saint-Paul, Old Montreal

Rue Saint-Paul is the oldest street in Montreal, and some of its cobblestones date back to 1672. Yes, there are many souvenir shops on this stretch. However, keep walking and you’ll find some interesting boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and patios.

Bonsecours Market

Bonsecours  Market, Old Montreal

Bonsecours Market is the home of the largest public market in Montreal, dating back 150 years. You can’t miss its glimmering silver dome. It was built in 1847 and once served as City Hall. It became Montreal’s main marketplace for over a century until it closed in the 1960s.

Nowadays, it’s a heritage building that was recently renovated in the 1990s. You’ll find it on Rue Saint-Claude. It’s no longer the traditional farmers market that it used to be, but you’ll find lots of boutique and high end shops inside this grandiose building. There are also three restaurants, including a cafe, a brewpub, and a Japanese sushi restaurant.

We didn’t do much shopping inside the Bonsecours Market, but Justin and I definitely took a moment to admire this stately architectural work before continuing on our way. If you’re looking for a public market, head to the Jean-Talon Market in Little Italy.

Notre-Dame Basilica / Basilique Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame Cathedral / Basilique Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal is one of the most visited monuments in North America with over 11 million visitors annually. This work of Gothic Revival architecture is one of the most brilliant and dramatic, decorated in blue and gold. The stained glass windows depict scenes from Montreal’s religious history rather than biblical scenes. There is a small admission fee to visit Notre-Dame Basilica as a tourist.

By night, you can visit Notre-Dame Basilica for AURA, an illuminating light show experience at the cathedral. It’s a three act multimedia spectacular featuring the architecture, lights, and orchestral music. It’s a fascinating and captivating way to visit the cathedral at night time.

Artist Alley on Rue Saint-Amable

 Montreal 3 day itinerary: Rue Saint-Amable, Old Montreal

The Arts Court, Artist Alley, or as its officially known, La Cour des Arts du Vieux-Montreal, is a must visit for those looking to purchase a gift or memento from their trip. Its tucked away inside a little alley off Rue Saint-Amable. Once you enter through the doorway, you’ll walk into a partially covered, partially open-air courtyard.

There are many vendors here selling local, handmade wares that are much more lovely than anything you’d find in the souvenir shops. You’ll find handmade jewelry, art, prints, wood carvings, and all sorts of locally produced gems.

Artist Alley Old Montreal

Château Ramezay

Château Ramezay is a historic site and museum in Montreal featuring over 500 years of history in its exhibits and gardens. This home was originally built in 1705 as the home of the governor, Claude de Ramezay. Later, it was the first building to be declared as a historical monument in Quebec, and it was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1949.

Its permanent collection has over 30,000 objects, and there are also many temporary exhibitions and multimedia displays. There’s also a glorious garden on the property where you can go for a stroll. It’s divided into three sections: an orchard, a kitchen garden, and a pleasure garden. There are plant species that are very close or similar to the ones grown back when Ramezay lived at the property.

Coffee at Cafe Olimpico

Coffee at Cafe Olimpico

When you’re in Old Montreal and Old Port, pop by Cafe Olimpico for a cup of coffee. Cafe Olimpico was founded in 1970 and it remains one of Montreal’s favorite coffee shops. You can get a variety of coffee and espresso beverages. It’s definitely one of the best cups of coffee that I’ve had in Montreal.

When I was walking around the artist alley in Old Montreal, one of the shop owners asked if I was from Montreal. When I replied that I wasn’t, she said that she was surprised to see someone from out of town drinking a coffee from Cafe Olimpico. She said that most tourists go for the bigger chains and they don’t realize that Cafe Olimpico has the best coffee. So, there you have it. When one of the locals can vouch for it, you know that their coffee must be one of the best.

Old Port

Old Port Montreal

The Old Port of Montreal is a historic 2km stretch along the St. Lawrence River. Old Port dates back to the year 1611 when it was used as a trading post for fur traders. Old Port is right next to Old Montreal, making it easy to combine a visit to both areas. You’ll likely walk from Old Montreal right into the Old Port area without even realizing it.

Montreal 3 day itinerary: La Grande Roue de Montréal - Ferris Wheel

There are lots of activities and attractions in Old Port, such as the Montreal Clock Tower, La Grande Roue de Montréal (a gigantic ferris wheel), the Montreal Science Centre, zip lines, and paddle boat rentals. There are paved paths for cycling, roller blading, and walking that lead to the Lachine Canal. There’s no shortage of things to do in Old Port to add to your Montreal 3 day itinerary.

I also loved walking along Rue de la Commune to look at the old buildings and architecture that lines the waterfront. There are a few other places of interest in Old Port, such as the Pointe-à-Callière (Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History) and the Scandinave Spa Vieux Montreal. You can also book a craft beer tour in Old Port where you’ll be able to sample nine different craft beers along with some snacks.

Lunch at Le Panthere Verte

La Panthere Verte vegan restaurant in Montreal

La Panthere Verte, or The Green Panther, is an all vegan establishment in Montreal that’s perfect for lunch. They’ve got some of the best falafels in town. La Panthere Verte serves up delicious sandwiches, hummus, bowls, and sweet potato poutine. I also highly recommend that you pair your meal with one of their refreshing fruit smoothies.

La Panthere Verte takes pride in serving meals made with fresh and organic ingredients. They use locally grown food whenever possible. Plus, they emphasize bringing your own container when possible, and they only use compostable takeout containers. It’s great to support a plant-based restaurant that also cares about the environment, too.

While La Panthere Verte has six locations across Montreal, there’s one not too far from Old Port that works perfectly with this Montreal 3 day itinerary. You’ll find it in the Latin Quarter of Montreal at 1735 Rue Saint-Denis. They also offer delivery with Uber Eats.

Gay Village

Montreal's Gay Village

The two of us visited Montreal’s Gay Village on our last visit, and we suggest going for a walk through this lively and colorful Montreal neighborhood. A few years ago, we walked around an area that was closed down to traffic where we admired lots of outdoor public art. The Gay Village neighborhood is a brilliant place to include on a Montreal 3 day itinerary.

Les Boules Roses
Public art in Montreal's Gay Village

One of the main art installations there was Les Boules Roses – pink balls strung across the entire length of the road. It was so cool to see all of the pink balls overhead extending for as far as we could see. There’s always lots of street art on the buildings and public art displays. In addition, there are shops, restaurants, cafes, and more.

Rent a Bike and Go Cycling

Things to do in Montreal: Riding bikes

Riding bikes around the city was one of our favorite things to do in Montreal during this Montreal 3 day itinerary. There are so many bike paths in Montreal, so there are numerous places to go cycling. We stuck to more of the scenic areas and parks for a pleasure ride between Old Port and Parc Jean-Drapeau.

You have a few options for riding bikes in Montreal. First, if you are looking for a guided tour experience with a local, I recommend booking this Montreal Bike Tour. This tour offers a few different options, such as riding around downtown and Old Montreal, venturing to vibrant neighborhoods like Mile End and Le Plateau, or combining your bike ride with lunch and a trip to the Nordic spa.

How to Rent Bikes in Montreal

For those looking to take shorter bike rides from place to place, there are Bixi Bikes all over Montreal. These are meant more for short distance bike rides from one spot to the next. You can download their app to see where there are bikes available at each station. You can buy day passes with Bixi Bikes. Use the bike for 30 minutes or less (or there will be additional charges). This program is designed more for city dwellers who need to get around from one place to the next rather than visitors looking to explore for a few hours by bike.

The third option is the one that we decided to do, which was rent bikes from a shop. Ça Roule Montréal, or Montreal On Wheels, offers half day or full day bike rentals. We rented our bikes for four hours, which gave us the freedom to ride wherever we liked. This is a slightly more expensive option than using Bixi Bikes. However, if we rented the Bixi Bikes and didn’t return them for many hours, it would be far more expensive. We also found that the bike rentals from Ca Roule Montreal were more comfortable and better quality than the Bixi Bikes.

The employees at the bike shop gave us a map and explained a few routes that we could take. We decided to ride from Old Port along the waterfront to Habitat 67 and Parc Jean-Drapeau. Justin and I wanted to ride our bikes around the neighboring islands to check out the Biosphere and Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, an F1 race track where you can go cycling.

Habitat 67

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Habitat 67 Montreal

Habitat 67 is a unique housing complex in an architectural style that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Check it out on a bike ride between Old Port and Parc Jean-Drapeau. Designed by Israel-Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie, Habitat 67 was built as a pavilion for Expo 67. While it was conceived as a way to revolutionize housing around the world, it never quite stuck. There weren’t any others designed that used this one as a model.

Habitat 67 Montreal
Habitat 67 Montreal

In 2009, Habitat 67 was granted heritage status by the Quebec government. Today, Habitat 67 in Montreal is a popular residence and a community in itself. Many of the cubes that were singular apartments are connected together for sprawling residences with multiple terraces.

The views of the river and the city skyline are beautiful. It’s one of the most sought after properties in the city to call home. It’s also one of the most unique Montreal attractions and a must visit for architecture lovers on this Montreal 3 day itinerary.

The Biosphere

The Biosphere Montreal

The Montreal Biosphere was built for Expo 67 to house the United States pavilion. Today, it’s a museum devoted to the environment. There are interactive exhibits and activities relating to climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, water, and much more. The goal is to raise awareness about these important issues and encourage visitors to take action in their daily lives.

The Biosphere was closed when we visited, but we rode our bikes to Parc Jean-Drapeau to admire this unique and photogenic structure. There’s also a Metro stop at Parc Jean-Drapeau, so it’s really easy to access by public transportation if you want to visit without riding a bike there.

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve

Bike riding on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, the F1 race track

Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a Formula 1 race track that hosts the Grand Prix du Canada (since 1978). It’s 4,361 meters long and wraps around Notre Dame Island, a man-made island built up for Expo 67 (and now part of Parc Jean-Drapeau). When the F1 races aren’t happening, this race track is repurposed as a multi-use track for everyone to enjoy.

Bike riding on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, the F1 race track

You can ride your bike around the F1 circuit track. It’s also possible to go rollerblading, go for a jog, and even drive your car around the F1 track. There’s a separate lane for pedestrians and cyclists, and there’s another lane for cars. Whether navigating the track by bike or car, it’s a pretty exhilarating experience to glide around an actual F1 circuit track (even if you’re traveling way slower than the professionals!).

Chinatown

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Chinatown in Montreal

We returned our bikes after riding around Old Port and Parc Jean-Drapeau for a few hours. If you find yourself with some spare time before dinner, it’s not too far to walk from Old Port to Montreal’s Chinatown neighborhood. Chinatown is essentially one large city block in Montreal, bordered by Rue Saint-Dominique, René-Lévesque Boulevard, Rue Viger, and Rue Jeanne-Mance.

There are four paifang gates at each of the four entrances to Chinatown, which are intricately decorated archways to demonstrate that you’re entering Chinatown. In fact, Montreal has the most paifang gates out of any city in North America. Go for a stroll around Chinatown to visit shops, restaurants, and even check out some street art and murals.

Dinner at LOV

LOV - Vegan restaurant in Montreal

For dinner, LOV is our first restaurant choice in Montreal for fresh and flavorful meals. Their restaurants are super popular so you’ll want to make a reservation in advance. They’re 100% vegan, and the food leans towards a fine dining experience (but the restaurant is casual enough that you don’t need to get dressed up).

LOV - Vegan restaurant in Montreal
LOV - Vegan restaurant in Montreal
LOV - Vegan restaurant in Montreal

To drink, I ordered the Peach Bum cocktail, which has a little fuzzy peach candy sticking out of it. For food, it was a really tough decision. We decided to split the dumplings (mushroom and vegetable with an almond butter kimchi sauce). For our main courses, Justin and I ordered the LOV tacos (breaded tofu, avocado sauce, chili and red onion pickling) and the Mac n’ cheese LOV.

While we ate delicious food throughout our entire stay in Montreal, our meal at LOV was our favorite of all. The food is skillfully prepared, looks beautiful on the plate, and tastes super yummy.

Day 2: Mont Royal and Mile End

On day two of this Montreal 3 day itinerary, we’ll explore Mont Royal and the Mile End/Le Plateau neighborhoods. After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we’ll start the day off by climbing to the top of Mont Royal. It isn’t a super far walk from the hotel, but you can also choose to take the Hop On Hop Off Bus to learn a few facts about the city on your way.

Climb Mont Royal

Mont Royal - Views from the top of Montreal city scape

Mont Royal (or Mount Royal) is Montreal’s small mountain or volcanic-related hill, and it’s where Montreal gets its name. Mont Royal is right in the middle of Montreal, not far from the downtown core. At the top of Mont Royal, you’ll be able to savor incredible panoramic scenery of the city. A visit to Mont Royal is an absolute must for your Montreal 3 day itinerary.

Climbing Mont Royal stairs to get to the top

There are winding paved paths so you can ride your bike up to the top (these are also accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, although it can get a little steep). Climbing the staircases is the quickest way to reach the top. It’s a little bit of a trek to get to the top, and it might leave you a little winded.

If you’re in a reasonable amount of shape, it isn’t a problem to hike to the top. We managed to see some locals jogging up and down the stairs, as well as a woman dressed in heels and business attire climb to the top (while chatting on the phone, I might add) without breaking a sweat.

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Mont Royal - Views from the top of Montreal city scape
Mont Royal - Views from the top of Montreal city scape

The views from the top are absolutely worth the climb. I know that the scenery here must look amazing in all four seasons. I’ve also heard that this is a fantastic place to watch the sunset.

Walk the Trails and Visit Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors)

Mont Royal Park Trails

Mont Royal Park is so much more than that one viewpoint. It’s a beautiful park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same man who designed Central Park in NYC. It’s a magnificent green space, one of the largest in Montreal, with a small lake and walking trails. When you’re looking for the best things to do in Montreal in 3 days, take the time to appreciate Mont Royal Park.

Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors)
Montreal 3 day itinerary: Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors)
Sculptures at Mont Royal Park in Montreal

Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors) is a beautiful, man-made lake where visitors can go for a stroll to admire the views. There’s vast open green spaces around the lake that are perfect for a picnic lunch. You can rent rowboats there in the summer and go ice skating there in the winter, making it the ideal all seasons destination. There are also many interesting sculptures to view on your walk between the summit of Mont Royal and Beaver Lake.

Coffee Break at Dispatch Coffee

Dispatch Coffee in Montreal

Dispatch Coffee is one of the top coffee shops in Montreal. I suggest stopping for a coffee after you visit Mont Royal and before you explore Mile End and Le Plateau Mont Royal neighborhoods. It’s a charming little cafe with a funky mural on the side of the building.

Dispatch Coffee in Montreal
Dispatch Coffee in Montreal

They source, roast, and distribute their own coffee, keeping the prices affordable. At the same time, they are responsible in purchasing beans at a fair price directly from the farmers. Dispatch Coffee has a great selection of plant-based milks, including my favorite, oat milk. I ordered an iced Americano with oat milk and it was super refreshing.

Search for Street Art in Mile End

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal

Many areas of Montreal are virtually open air art museums that you can visit for free, any time of the day or night. Mile End likely has the most murals as the art festival, MURAL, happens annually each June on  Saint-Laurent Boulevard. On this Montreal 3 day itinerary, you can’t help but stop to admire the street art because it’s virtually everywhere you look.

Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal
Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal

Don’t limit yourself to exploring only Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Some of the best works of art are around the corner, whether they’re painted on buildings down side streets, down narrow alleyways, or the backs of buildings facing parking lots. Sometimes we walked down the street only to realize that there were incredible works of street art behind us that we didn’t even notice. It won’t take long for you to stumble into one amazing piece after another.

Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal
Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal
Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal
Montreal street art - Murals in Montreal

If you love public art, street art, and murals, you should book this Montreal street art tour. You’ll walk around with a local guide to learn more about the artists and discover the most famous murals in the city.

Even though we saw so much street art throughout our stay, there’s always more to discover. I’m not sure you’ll be able to see all of the Montreal street art in one visit, but you’ll certainly see a lot of it when you walk around Mile End. In addition to soaking up those amazing street art views, I also adore the houses and buildings in this neighborhood, too.

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Bicycles at a home in Montreal
Beautiful homes in Montreal's Mile End

Lunch at Mimi & Jones

Mimi & Jones is a vegan diner featuring delicious comfort food. You can choose from a burger, a cheeseburger, tofu nuggets, raviolis, Caesar salad, or their famous milkshakes. We decided to order some burgers, nuggets, and a chocolate milkshake.

Mimi & Jones vegan diner
Mimi & Jones vegan diner
Mimi & Jones vegan diner

Everything was super yummy! The tofu nuggets were heavenly little bites, especially when you dip them in the maple Dijon dipping sauce. They operate mostly for takeaway during the pandemic, but we dined on a small bench just outside of the restaurant.

Shop at the Boutiques of Mile End and Le Plateau Mont Royal

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Antique shop in Montreal's Mile End

When you wander around Mile End and Le Plateau Mont Royal, you can pair street art hunting with boutique shopping. There are loads of great stores with unique, one of a kind items. We loved browsing the antique shops and poking our heads into indie record stores. There’s a shop for every taste and style, whether you’re looking for clothes, gifts, or something for your home.

Flower shop in Montreal
Boutique shopping in Mile End, Montreal

Relax at Square Saint-Louis

Square Saint-Louis is an urban park and square in the Plateau Mont Royal neighborhood. There’s a Victorian fountain in the middle of the park, and the park is surrounded by rows of brightly painted Victorian homes. Throughout this Montreal 3 day itinerary, I’ve tried to build in some moments of relaxation. Square Saint-Louis is a great place to unwind with a cup of coffee, people watch, rest your legs, and collect your thoughts.

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Square Saint-Louis fountain in Montreal
Montreal 3 day itinerary: Square Saint-Louis in Montreal - Victorian colorful homes

It’s one of the most beautiful parks in Montreal, and a great place to rest your legs after all of the walking you’ve been doing all day. Bring your camera as you’ll want to take some photos of the colorful graystone row houses.

Dinner and Drinks at Bowhead Pub

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Bowhead Pub Montreal - Vegan pub

The Bowhead Pub is Montreal’s first vegan pub, and we absolutely adore it! They have a delightful patio just outside of the restaurant where we enjoyed a couple pints of beer along with some delicious appetizers. They have a full menu, but we were really feeling the sharable items that night. Justin and I ordered the Chkn Wings and the Cheese Sticks (vegan feta in a Guinness batter). They also have burgers, comfort main dishes, and desserts.

Day 3: Olympic Park and Museums

I’ve left the third day of your 3 days in Montreal devoted to some of the best museums and attractions in Montreal. You’ll start off your morning by visiting MAC, the contemporary art museum in Montreal. After lunch, you’ll travel a little outside of downtown Montreal to Olympic Park. I suggest taking the Metro there as there’s a subway stop right at Olympic Park.

If you’re only spending 2 days in Montreal, I’d suggest simply doing the first two days of this Montreal itinerary. However, if you’re able to create a Montreal 3 day itinerary, this plan is perfect. If you only have a weekend in Montreal, you can also mix and match your favorite aspects of this travel guide.

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, also known as MAC, is the modern art museum in Montreal. Their collection includes over 7000 works by more than 1500 artists. They primarily focus on artists from Quebec and across Canada. You’ll find everything from paintings to digital and sound works, installations, sculptures, and more. It’s easy to spend at least a couple of hours wandering around MAC, enjoying the atmosphere and all of the thought-provoking works of art.

Lunch at Lola Rosa

Lola Rosa - vegan Montreal

Lola Rosa is a delightful vegan restaurant in Montreal with three locations. There’s one right across the road from the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum, so it’s easy to pop over for a quick bite. They have lots of comforting, hearty dishes that will please vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Lola Rosa - vegan Montreal
Montreal 3 day itinerary: Lola Rosa - vegan Montreal

Justin and I both couldn’t resist ordering their Cajun Burger (it’s funny when we both decide to order the exact same thing on the menu!). I got mine with a vegan poutine because…when in Montreal, right? They’ve also got a great selection of local beers, as well as pitchers of sangria and cocktails.

Montreal Botanical Garden

To reach Olympic Park, you’ll need to take an Uber or a Metro ride as it’s a little farther outside of town. The Montreal Botanical Gardens is a wonderful and peaceful place to visit, whether you’re roaming the gardens by day or visiting a special exhibit by night. I recommend adding the Botanical Gardens to your Montreal 3 day itinerary, whether you are admiring the gardens by day or attending the lantern festival in the fall.

It’s 75 hectares of gardens and greenhouses with a remarkable selection of plants and themed gardens. There are 10 greenhouses and numerous gardens, like the Chinese Garden, the First Nations Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Toxic Plants Garden, and more. Depending on the time of year that you visit, different plants and flowers will be in bloom, so your experience can vary from one time to the next.

Montreal’s Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Gardens of Light Festival (Jardins de Lumière) in Montreal - Montreal lantern festival

If you’re visiting Montreal in the fall, I highly recommend that you check out the Gardens of Light Festival (Jardins de Lumière). It’s an annual tradition at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Hundreds of lanterns flood the Chinese and Japanese Gardens with light, illuminating the landscape with bursts of bright colors. The lights transport you to another place for the evening. I felt as though I was in China rather than Montreal.

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Gardens of Light Festival (Jardins de Lumière) in Montreal - Montreal lantern festival
Gardens of Light Festival (Jardins de Lumière) in Montreal - Montreal lantern festival

Though Chinese lanterns typically celebrate Chinese New Year, they’re on display here for the fall harvest, or Moon Festival. The lanterns are handmade in Shanghai, and it takes a full year of preparations to organize and display the lights. Every small detail contributes to the magical atmosphere of the festival.

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

If you’re a fan of outer space, science, or planetariums, you’ve got to pay a visit to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at Montreal’s Olympic Park. It’s a must for any Montreal itinerary if you love museums and attractions. There are a number of French and English language shows, although there are fewer English ones. It’s best to plan accordingly ahead of time so you don’t miss out. They have their programming schedule posted online (as well as some virtual programming at the moment, until the planetarium reopens).

Coffee Break at Caffe in Gamba

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Caffe in Gamba - Montreal cafe

Want a little pick-me-up before dinner? Venture over to Caffe in Gamba for a delicious cup of coffee or espresso beverage. It’s back in the Mile End neighborhood where you’re invited to do more exploring before dinner. I ordered a simple black coffee here and it hit the spot. I’m all about finding great coffee shops on the go, so be sure to add Caffe in Gamba to your list of Montreal cafes.

Dinner at Aux Vivres

Aux Vivres continues to be one of our favorite restaurants in Montreal, ever since we first traveled to the city together back in 2013. Back then, we actually ate dinner at Aux Vivres and went there for brunch one morning, too! You know the restaurant is good if you choose to dine there twice.

Aux Vivres vegan restaurant Montreal
Aux Vivres vegan restaurant Montreal

It’s a 100% vegan restaurant and one of the original vegan restaurants in Montreal. They have a huge menu with lots of favorites, from sandwiches and wraps to bowls and burgers. We also adored the blueberry pancakes that they serve for weekend brunch.

Pints at Le Sainte-Elizabeth’s Patio Garden

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Pints at Le Sainte-Elizabeth's Patio Garden

End your trip to Montreal with a pint or two at Le Sainte-Elizabeth pub. They have a gorgeous back patio that’s the closest thing I could find to a beer garden in Montreal. You’re surrounded by tall, brick walls covered in vines and greenery. There are tall trees in the middle of the patio garden. Plus, there are tons of heat lamps, meaning that this patio is open all year long.

More Than 3 Days in Montreal?

If you find yourself with more time, there are still many more things to do in Montreal. For instance, you could stay within the city and check out some more museums. You can book a relaxing Nordic spa experience just a few minutes away from downtown Montreal. Or if you’re looking for what to do in Montreal and you’re thinking about taking a day or two away from the city, I suggest a trip to nearby Mont Tremblant.

Visiting Mont Tremblant From Montreal

Mont Tremblant in the summer

If you have an extra couple of days, I recommend making the short drive from Montreal to Mont Tremblant. Tremblant resort is a fantastic experience any time of the year, whether you’re visiting Tremblant in the summer or partaking in outdoor activities in the winter. In the summer, Mont Tremblant hosts their sensational International Blues Festival, and there are also lots of great vegan restaurants at Tremblant, too.

Where to Stay in Montreal

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Hotel Bonaventure Montreal

Justin and I spent three nights at the Hotel Bonaventure Montreal. It was our second time staying here. We enjoyed our first stay so much that we didn’t hesitate to make it our temporary home again in Montreal. It’s right downtown in the perfect location, right in the middle of all the action. We’re able to walk almost everywhere from this hotel.

Hotel Bonaventure Montreal
There are 30th birthday balloons in our room for Justin (he celebrated his 30th birthday on this trip!)

The hotel has all the modern amenities you need for a comfortable stay, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. There’s complimentary Wi-Fi and we found the speeds were lightning fast. We stayed in one of their newly renovated rooms, which was super comfortable and spacious. There’s a rooftop pool, a terrace garden with ducks, a fitness center, and restaurants on site.

Montreal 3 day itinerary: Hotel Bonaventure Montreal Rooftop Pool
Montreal 3 day itinerary: Hotel Bonaventure Montreal Terrace Garden

Everything you could possibly want or need is right here at the Hotel Bonaventure. Click here to book your stay at the Hotel Bonaventure Montreal. There are also many more reviews of Hotel Bonaventure Montreal online, and I encourage you to check them out when you’re reviewing hotels in Montreal for your holiday.

Montreal Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking about planning a trip to Montreal? You might have a few questions about Montreal that I haven’t answered already. Here’s some basic info about Montreal that you should know before you go.

Is Montreal worth visiting?

Of course, yes! I have visited Montreal on multiple occasions. Even though it’s not too far away (about 5 hours by car), I think Montreal is a great city to visit even if you are coming from abroad. There are many things to see and do, and it’s such a vibrant and awesome city.

Do they speak English in Montreal?

Yes! Most people in Montreal speak both French and English. While you may be initially greeted in French, don’t worry if you cannot speak French. I’m sure many people would appreciate if you tried. But, if you start speaking in English, pretty much everyone will flip over to English and communicate that way.

Is Montreal a walkable city?

Montreal is a very walkable city. You can walk most places, especially if you stay in a centrally located downtown hotel. However, there’s also the fabulous and easy to navigate Montreal Metro if you’d rather travel by the subway or public transportation.

Is 3 days enough to visit Montreal?

3 days is the perfect amount of time to visit Montreal. You’ll be able to see many attractions and places of interest. Of course, you can visit for 2 days or 4 days (or even longer), but you should be able to tackle most of the best things to do in Montreal in 3 days.

What currency is used in Montreal? Can I use US dollars?

Please use Canadian currency in Montreal. We do not use US dollars here. I am sure many places will accept US dollars, but they won’t do any currency exchange for you. As the US dollar is valued much higher than the Canadian dollar, it makes more sense to convert your money into Canadian dollars.

What is the best time of year to visit Montreal?

Montreal is a great city to visit all year long. However, it does get quite cold and snowy in the winter, so you’ll need to dress appropriately. I love the spring and the fall the most in Montreal. September is a great time of year (after Labour Day weekend) because there are fewer crowds and the weather is still warm. The prices for hotels are more affordable during the shoulder seasons (March to May and September to November).

Map of Montreal

Navigate your way around the city with this handy map. See everything that I mentioned for this Montreal 3 day itinerary visually represented on a map.

Do you want to save this map for future reference? If you click the star beside the map title, it will be saved to your Google Maps account. Then, you can access it while hiking from your own Google Maps app (it will be listed under “your places” and then “maps”).

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Is there anything else that you’d add to your Montreal itinerary?