While international travel could resume in the second half of 2021, some travelers might not be entirely comfortable yet crossing the pond to Europe. If you still want the feel of going abroad without an overseas flight, a fantastic option is the cosmopolitan city of Montreal. As a former resident of 11 years with roots still planted in the city, read on for my inside scoop on how to enjoy this wonderful Canadian city.
Montreal is an incredible year-round destination, with great activities in both the summer and winter seasons. In the winter, enjoy the holiday décor and a short 1.5-hour drive to incredible skiing in the Laurentian Mountains. The Laurentian Mountain range is dotted with charming towns like Mont-Tremblant, Ste. Agathe and Ste. Adele, all of which exude French culture and offer an array of delightful patisseries and cafés. No matter the season, this immersion creates the feeling of being abroad without ever having to leave North America.
In the summer, Montreal buzzes with the sounds of the Festival International de Jazz concerts or artists creating murals right in the streets during MURAL Fest. Also, don’t forget the Festival of Laughs, couldn’t we all use a good one right about now! While summer festivals may be put on hold this year, the city’s summer energy will buzz on and is the perfect backdrop for lunch at the outdoor Atwater Market or a bike ride along the Lachine Canal.
Let’s not forget the excellent exchange rate, which has been hovering around 1.27 Canadian Dollars for every USD!
Where to stay
Montreal has a variety of fantastic properties to choose from for every type of traveler. For a luxurious stay in Montreal, the classic Four Seasons Montreal or Ritz Carlton Montreal are the way to go. The Ritz Carlton Montreal has been standing for over 100 years, opening in 1912 and leading the way for luxury hotels in Montreal. Both properties sit in the center of the Golden Square Mile and are surrounded by fantastic dining and shopping options.
For a boutique option, the Le Mount Stephen Hotel is a renovated mansion that once belonged to Lord George Stephen and was built in 1880. This five-star boutique property has been redone in a modern, neo-classical design on the inside to compliment the stunning historical exterior. Of course, at any of the Virtuoso properties in Montreal, I would be thrilled to get you booked with upgrades and extra amenities to make your stay all the more special.
Where to eat
Foodies, this is the city for you. From street food to five-star restaurants, all of the dining options in Montreal are spectacular. For those travelers who prefer dining outside well into post-pandemic times, this city is equipped with all the summer patios, terraces, and al fresco dining options you could dream of that have been in place well before COVID-19. For the French dining meets steakhouse experience that snagged Number 3 on Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants in 2017, Joe Beef in Montreal is the absolute best. Enjoy a melting pot of other cultures and indulge in Syrian delicacies at Damas, upscale Greek seafood at Milos, or eclectic classics at Tuck Shop.
As a former resident and traveler alike, I can confidently say that Montreal is the perfect trip to plan for in the second half of 2021. Reach out, and let’s get your trip to this Canadian destination booked and ready for travel restrictions to lift!