10 of the most essential things to do in Montreal in 2022

Planning a trip to Montreal? You made the right choice. As much as we love Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal is its own character and a much cooler one at that. If Paris and Brooklyn had a Canadian lovechild, it would be Montreal. It’s effortlessly hip, a little rambunctious, sophisticated, and unapologetically itself. So, it goes without saying that there are many exciting things to do in Montreal in 2022, with the city now open and ready to have a good time.

Here are 10 of the best ways to spend your time in Montreal this year to build the ultimate bucket list.

Experience cafe culture in Mile-End

One unique way to experience the culture of Montreal is through its cafés, and you’ll find the very best of them in Mile-End. This laid-back neighborhood is known for its vintage shopping and trendy bars, but its coffee shops above all else.

Café Olympico has been a mainstay in the area since the 70s, where you’ll no doubt be treated to some ideal people-watching as you tuck into a slice of tiramisu and a foamy latte.

Where: 124 Rue Saint Viateur O

Shop at Jean-Talon Market

No trip to Montreal in the summertime is complete without a trip to the historic Marché Jean-Talon. Although it’s open year-round, the market expands into a much larger, open-air space during the warmer months. Here you’ll find all kinds of goodies to delight your senses, including fresh seasonal produce, bakery items, flowers of every variety, and handmade gifts to take home.

The surrounding roads close to traffic on the weekends, so the best way to get here is by bike or on public transit — both options are easy and convenient in Montreal.

While you’re there, you’ll want to make a pit stop at Café Saint-Henri, an adorable craft coffee shop with a terrasse out front.

Eat your way through the Plateau

When on vacation, one must eat as the locals do, and in Montreal, that means lots of smoked meat, fresh wood-fired bagels, and poutine. Le Plateau Mont-Royal is a fun part of town that’s home to many great restaurants where you can check every Québecois staple off your list.

St Viateur Bagel Shop has been the city’s go-to spot for fresh, hot bagels since 1957. The fries, gravy, and squeaky cheese curds at La Banquise are unparalleled. And of course, we need not tell you that Schwartz’s Deli is the most famous deli there is — trust us, the line is worth it.

Soak it all in at Bota Bota

This multi-level “floating” spa sits right on the waterfront the city skyline and the heritage buildings of Montreal’s Old Port, so it’s fair to say that it offers some of the best views in town. Not only can you enjoy it from multiple vantage points, but also from the many saltwater pools, windowed saunas, and indoor-outdoor lounging areas throughout the spa.

You can book a massage treatment or a day pass to make use of the hydrotherapy circuit. If you have a special occasion to celebrate or could simply use a little R&R, you won’t find anything quite like this anywhere else.

Where: McGill Entrance, corner of De la Commune and McGill

Stay in the heart of downtown

When it comes to choosing the right hotel, location and affordability are usually the most important factors. What if we told you that you can check both of those boxes without compromising on luxury? Yes, that option actually exists.

Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile is a stylish Paris-inspired hotel right at the foot of the lush Mount Royal Park. With the city’s finest shopping, bars, and entertainment just minutes away, the location could not be more perfect. Plus, who doesn’t love to wake up to skyline views in a massive plush bed?

The seasonal terrasse at the hotel’s Renoir Restaurant is considered one of Monteal’s best, with live DJs and a partnership with Veuve Cliquot to keep the bubbly flowing. The restaurant is open day to night, serving fantastic French cuisine.

In short, you will enjoy all of the spoils of an upscale hotel at much better price points than the ones down the street. And the staff at Sofitel pride themselves on going above and beyond to make your stay a good one.

Where: 1155 Sherbrooke St W

Hit up Canada’s best bars

Located just steps from Sofitel is The Cloakroom, a candelit speakeasy that was ranked one of Canada’s best bars for 2022, and a short Uber ride to Atwater Cocktail Club, also one of the finest in the country.

Around the corner from the hotel is Bar George at Le Mount Stephen boutique hotel, a grand and swanky establishment that feels like you’ve stepped into a different era, but with live DJs and incredible cocktails.

And of course there’s blocks the street, nightlife of Crescent Monteal’s “favorite place to party,” just a couple of away.

Where: The Cloakroom, 2175 Rue de la Montagne #100

Van Gogh Distortion at OASIS immersion

Van Gogh Distorsion is a luminous and contemporary journey through more than 225 paintings, drawings and sketches, on for a limited time at Montreal’s OASIS immersion.

The exhibit takes you through a series of large rooms with panoramic projections, each of which interprets Van Gogh’s art in a different way. The moving images are stunning, evocative, and downright strange at times, but fascinating the whole way through.

The floor-to-ceiling illuminations create an effect that feels like the room is moving, so if you feel a little disoriented, there are plenty of comfortable seats to rest on and enjoy the show.

Where: 301 Rue Saint-Antoine O

Unleash your wild side at Les Tam-tams

What better way to celebrate the return of in-person togetherness than with a giant dance party? Every Sunday until September 25, crowds of revellers will flock to Mount Royal Park for a free festival known as Les Tam-tams.

The colourful gathering is made up of drummers, dancers, vendors, as well as plenty of onlookers. The stunning greenery and the warm weather make for an ideal atmosphere for this summertime tradition. It’s a sight worth seeing!

Where: Mount Royal Park via Camillien-Houde Parkway

Festivals galore!

Festival season is roaring back to life in Montreal this summer, making it the best time of year to visit. The city will host beloved returning events like MURAL Festival, Osheaga, Festival International de Jazz, and Just For Laughs, headlined by Kevin Hart, Bill Burr, Amy Schumer, John Mulaney, and many more big names.

Where: See the festival schedule

Brunch in Old Montreal

Cobblestone streets, historic architecture, the smell of fresh coffee and croissants — you could do far worse than Old Montreal when it comes to brunch. This part of town is famous for its picturesque Parisian views, galleries, shops, and most importantly, dining.

You’ll definitely want to make room in your schedule (and your stomach) for Olive et Gourmando, a popular foodie destination with an inventive artisanal menu.

Also worth visiting is Le Caret Resto Boutique, a loft-like restaurant serving French cuisine, and Bloom Sushi for its picture-perfect atmosphere and plant-based Japanese dishes.

Where: Olive et Gourmando, 351 Saint-Paul St W

There you have it, friends — 10 essential things to do in Montreal in 2022. Bon voyage!

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