Cuisine, culture, and character: Here's how to spend 24 hours in Montreal

Mar 11 2022, 7:04 pm

Whether you’re here on vacation or just passing through, there’s never been a shortage of interesting things to do in Montreal, especially during the warmer months.

And while it’s not possible to do absolutely everything, there are certainly ways to maximize your experience in Canada’s cultural and culinary capital.

So, if you’re struggling to make an itinerary, take a step back and let us handle the essentials. That way, you can avoid tourist traps and actually enjoy every minute in the town formerly known as “sin city.”

Without further ado, here’s how to spend 24 hours in Montreal.

8 am to 10 am: Breakfast

To say that Montreal is a food town is a complete understatement. This city lives, breathes, and dies by the fork, and there’s nothing like a delicious regional breakfast to get you started on the right foot.

If you’re looking for a traditional diner experience, look no further than Beautys, a landmark diner in the Mile End. Open since 1942, Beautys has more than a few Jewish-style deli staples that will leave you very happy.


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Address: 93 Mont-Royal Ave W
Hours: 8 am to 3:30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Another delicious dejeuner option is Arthur’s Nosh Bar. Known best for serving, quite possibly, the best pancakes on the island. They truly take the concept of brunch to another level.


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Hours: 9 am to 3:30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Address: 621 Notre-Dame St W

10 am to 12:00 pm: Explore the Old Port

As the fourth-oldest city in Canada, Montreal is riddled with rich history. This is most apparent when walking through the town’s Old Port region. Cobblestone streets, gothic architecture and French Colonial landmarks will transport you to 17th century France. The high-traffic area is also extremely pleasant to walk through with street performers and artisanal shops along the way.

Old Montreal’s L’Arc de Triomphe is undoubtedly the Notre-Dame Basilica. Since being inaugurated in 1829, the 200 ft structure has become one of the most visited churches in North America.

This masterpiece is even more beautiful on the inside.

Address: 110 Notre-Dame St W

12:30 pm to 2:30 pm: Lunch

One of Montreal’s most iconic dishes is smoked meat, and nobody does it better than Schwartz’s.

Schwartz’s is known around the world for its iconic smoked meat sandwiches. Unchanged for nearly 100 years, this joint churns out over 1,000 of these bad boys a day. Don’t let the line scare you. It goes pretty quick and it is well worth the wait.


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Address: 3895 St Laurent Blvd
 Sunday to Thursday, 10 am – 11 pm; Friday to Sunday, 10 am – 12 am

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm: Check out the best view in town

Because we only get a few months of sunshine here, Montrealers take full advantage of the city’s many green spaces. Whether you want to travel by BIXI bike, metro or your own two feet, you should do your best to hike up Mount Royal, which is conveniently located near the downtown area’s commercial hub.

You’ll be rewarded with the best view of the city once you reach the top.

Address: 1576 Voie Camillien-Houde

5:00 pm to 7:30 pm: Dinner

“Where do you want to eat tonight?” is the hardest question local foodies are forced to answer. The infinite universe of Montreal’s restaurant scene is vast, and includes the likes of the world-renowned Joe Beef or the celebrity-ridden Bis.

But, for the first-time Montreal visitor, we’d recommend L’Express, a timeless French bistro. Another option is Gibby’s, one of the city’s most legendary steakhouses.

Both restaurants are open late, giving you a better chance to secure a table and have the ultimate gourmet experience you deserve.

Address: 3927 Saint Denis St
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 12 am


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Address: 298 Pl. d’Youville,
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 pm to 11 pm; Friday to Saturday; 5:30 to 12 am

9 pm to 12 am: Time to hit the town

Montreal’s nightlife scene is quite diverse. It also never stops, which means there’s something to do nearly every night of the week.

From festivals to casual drinks to roaring clubs, you’re bound to have a good time.

For the drinker who enjoys lounges and good conversation, Cloakroom is among the city’s best speakeasies. Its secret door and hidden location make it hard to find. Out-of-this-world cocktails and sophisticated vibes will make you lose track of time.

Address: 175 Rue de la Montagne #10
Hours: 5 pm to 12 am (closed on Mondays)

For a more vivacious feel, check out Burgundy Lion, an English-style pub where people gather for a pint and a jolly good time.


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Address: 2496 Notre-Dame St W
Hours: 11:30 am to 3 am

Finally, if you like to boogie, check out Newspeak, a minimalist nightspot with dancing and live music events.


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Address: 403 Rue Sainte-Elisabeth
Hours: Depending on events

1 am to 3 am: Late night eats

Poutine is the ultimate late-night indulgence. And that’s not up for debate here.

Now, when it comes to the Quebec delicacy known as poutine, there are more quality eateries around town that specialize in it than you can imagine, and many of them are open late. With that said, your best bet may just be La Banquise.


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This 24-hour joint has large portions, a variety of toppings and a seal of approval by none other than Anthony Bourdain. Your tastebuds will tingle upon the first sniff of that decadent saucy mess. It’s so wrong, but oh so right.

Address: 994 Rue Rachel E
Hours: 24 hours

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