72 hours in Montreal: What to see and do + costs
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Montreal and the rest of Quebec have long been on my travel bucket list, and I finally got to check it off my list last month! Over her spring break, Jill and I took a long weekend to drive up and check it out! We had a great time, and both decided it’s a city we think would be great to live in! While it ended up being slightly more expensive than I expected, it was definitely worth it!
Montreal definitely lives up to its reputation of being one of the most European cities in North America. I mean, first off, all the signs are in French first – or only in French! Don’t let this keep you from going if you don’t speak French though. Most of the Montreal residents are bilingual and are quick to switch to English when they hear your high school level attempts at French. The city itself was a great mix of European and North American vibes, and the food scene here is fantastic. I’ve always said that there are some cities I would go back to just to eat, and Montreal is one of them!
We left Rochester at about 10:30 am, much later than planned! Luckily we got to Montreal just in time to check into our Airbnb at 4 pm. We checked out the Marche Jean-Talon, one of the biggest fresh food markets in Montreal. While we didn’t get anything, if you plan on cooking your meals, this would be a great place to get your produce! We also got dinner at Poutineville, which is a chain restaurant, but the poutine was good and the portion was huge! We called it an early night, and enjoyed the huge bath in our Airbnb!
Daily cost: $16.50CAD
We were up nice and early to get to our food tour. The weather was beautiful out, 45° and sunny, so we walked to the metro station to buy our travel passes. We also grabbed a coffee before meeting up for our food tour. We did our tour through Local Food Tours, and our guide Darren was great! We got to try six different foods – the best falafel in Montreal, a famous Montreal bagel, homemade Italian pasta sauce, a charcuterie plate of meat and cheese, artisan chocolate, and a delectable brioche with white chocolate inside. We also got to learn more about the history of Montreal, and more specifically Mile End (the neighborhood while we were in). The best part was that it filled us up for the afternoon! If you’re headed to Montreal, I would highly recommend checking out a food tour with them – they have several to choose from!
After our food tour, we checked out the Musee des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). They had a huge variety of art there, from the middle ages until now, so there was definitely something for everyone! We were there for two hours and honestly could have used another hour to see everything there. Worth the $16CAD we paid! Then we were getting a little peckish, so we stopped at C’Chocolat for milkshakes. While these were $14 milkshakes, they were big enough (and yummy enough!) that they ended up being our dinner. I know if I lived in Montreal I would spend way too much time there! We called it an early night to enjoy the tub again and get some work done at the apartment in the evening.
Daily cost: $42CAD – coffee, tour tip, museum, milkshakes
Our last full day in Montreal was a bit chillier than Friday, but we couldn’t let that stop us, as we had a lot to see! We grabbed coffee and breakfast at this adorable coffee shop right by Basilica de Notre Dame called Xavier Artisan before heading to check out the cathedral. Now I’ve been to a TON of cathedrals in so many countries, and let me just say that this one easily made the list of my favorites! From the outside, it looks just like Notre Dame in Paris, but the inside is so much more ornate. We probably spend a good forty minutes walking around and taking photos. So worth the $8 admission fee!
After the cathedral, we headed to the Centre d’Histoire de Montreal, which gave us a nice little overview of the history of the city – and it was a great place to get out of the cold for a little bit! We also walked around and did a little shopping, stopped and got some delicious macarons (my guilty pleasure, and I definitely bought a box of 12…) before heading to Chinatown to get dinner… at a Mexican restaurant. You might be thinking ‘who goes to Chinatown for Mexican food?’ Well, the answer is more people than you would think, as this place had a line out the door! To their credit, La Capital Tacos had the most authentic Mexican food that I’ve had outside of Mexico! All in all, it was a busy and good day exploring the city!
Daily cost – $44CAD – food, museum, and Notre Dame
We didn’t do much this morning before we left. It was about 20° and super windy, so neither one of us was eager to walk around for hours! the highlight of the morning was getting crepes at Chez Suzette in Vieux-Montreal. We split a savory and a sweet crepe – best of both worlds!
Delicious ham and cheese crepe for brunch!
We also stopped by a couple of places on our food tour to get bagels and Nonna’s sauce to take home! Then it was back in the car and back on the road for the trip home, thus wrapping up our very yummy weekend in Montreal!
Daily cost: $25CAD
Getting there: $85
We drove up from Central New York, which took about five and a half hours. The close proximity meant that flying or taking the train would have been much more expensive and taken much longer. Our costs in this area were solely gas and tolls (it took about two tanks of gas).
Accomodation: $221//$77 per night
We stayed for three nights in the cutest private Airbnb in the Mont Rose neighborhood. It was great for us because there was free parking both on and off-street, and the bus stop to the metro station was right down the street. It had a kitchen (although we didn’t end up using it at all) and a beautiful bathroom! It was my first time using Airbnb, and I had such a great experience! If you’ve never used Airbnb, I would definitely recommend it! Here is a link for $40 off your first stay!
Food: $92.50 pp
This is definitely where we spent more than we expected, but let me tell you, it was definitely worth it! All the food we had was delicious. We could have saved money by using the kitchen at our Airbnb to cook, and probably would do that if we went again. I also didn’t account for the tips on all of the meals we ate, which were mostly sit-down meals. Sadly, Montreal isn’t great for the street food scene, which is usually my go-to for cheap, local eats!
Things to do: $90pp
We did our first food tour here and loved it! Definitely going to be trying our more food tours in other cities, and we both felt that it was worth the $55 each, especially as we were full the whole day! We also paid for a couple of museums while we were there, and tipped our tour guide.
Transport: $14.50 pp
Since we were there for just over three days, and it was still quite cold in mid-March, we elected to get the three-day unlimited metro pass, which cost $19CAD. We both felt this was a great investment because we never got stuck walking miles in the wind and cold. Also, I thought that was a great price for three days of unlimited travel, especially when one ride on the Montreal metro is $3.25CAD!
Total: $350 per person (split the cost of the Airbnb and gas)
For what we did, I would say the $350 per person wasn’t bad for a weekend getaway, especially as we could have cut corners and saved a little if we had wanted to! Montreal is a great city, especially for all you food lovers out there, and one I already can’t wait to return to!