What’s better than good food and wine, good company, and the je ne sais quoi of French speaking people? Not much, which is why Montréal is one of my go-to cities for a girls’ getaway and one of my favorite cities in North America. A Montréal girls getaway is guaranteed to have something for each of your girlfriends; me and mine list it number one for a fun weekend away.
Sports in Montréal for the Sporty Girl Getaway
If you’re a sports fan, it doesn’t get better than the Montréal Canadiens, even coming from a southern girl born and bred on SEC football. The Canadiens are the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team worldwide and have won more Stanley Cups than any other NHL team. The Canadiens play at the Bell Centre, which is located in downtown Montréal – convenient to get to via public transportation, taxi, or walking. Don’t worry if you can’t get tickets to a game – go to a local pub, watch the game with locals, and you’ll be a Canadiens fan before the end of the first period!
Montréal Music Festival Getways
Montréal is known for its music and hosts a number of music festivals each year. Perhaps two of the most popular festivals held each summer are The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival and The Montréal International Jazz Fest. Osheaga is a multi-day music festival showcasing many well-known bands and artists on six stages. Passes are required and typically sell out prior to the event. The Jazz Fest features roughly 3,000 artists each year and runs for ten days each year, beginning the last week of June. Some shows require tickets, but there are a number of free shows as well – a great way to discover your new favorite artist! Keep in mind when getting around, the festival shuts down part of the city’s downtown core to traffic, as free outdoor shows are open to the public.
Montréal is for Foodies
However, even better in my opinion than the world-class sports and music, is the food. When in Montréal, make sure you try the poutine. Poutine is a Quebecois dish originally made with french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy, but is often found with additional toppings as well. French fries, gravy, and cheese – what more could a girl want?! The hands down best place for poutine in the city is La Banquise. With over 30 varieties, everyone is sure to find a combination of which they can’t get enough.
Across the street from La Banquise is my favorite cocktail bar to date – and I’ve done research for the best on five continents! Le LAB has a great ambience and the most knowledgeable mixologists. Order the Jay’s Basilic – a Chambord flavored drink with touches of black pepper and basil – and thank me later! My girlfriends and I regularly reminisce about the drinks here.
One very well known restaurant in Montréal is Au Pied de Cochon. The restaurant is small and popular so reservations are recommended. The scene is lively and if you are looking to try foie gras, this is your place. One of my personal favorites spots in Montréal is Modavie. Not only will you keep coming back due to its super convenient location in Old Montréal, the setting, the food, the music, and the service will have you back each time you’re in Montréa; I’ve been here every time I’ve visited Montréal! My first trip to Montréal – a girls’ trip with my mom – we had our Thanksgiving dinner at Modavie, seated at the corner table while a jazz artist played and snow was falling outside; it felt like we were in a movie.
Here are a few other favorite spots for food and drinks in Montréal:
Jardin Nelson: Opens in the spring and has an amazing, large courtyard. Grab a bottle of rosé and your girlfriends and spend the afternoon listening to live music and people watching.
Terrasse sur l’Auberge: Open from May to September, the roof terrace of the Auberge du Vieux-Port hotel offers great drinks and bites with a wonderful view of the Old Port and St. Lawrence River.
Schwartz’s Deli: The go-to deli for a smoked meat sandwich. If the line is long at the restaurant, and it probably will be, go next door to the takeout side – there are seat yourself tables inside, or simply take your sandwich to go.
Where to Stay in Montréal
I’ve stayed at a number of great places in Montréal booked through Airbnb, from large houses to one bedroom apartments. Two hotels I love for their location, their clean and updated rooms, and their value are the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain and the InterContinental Montreal. Both are walking distance from and super convenient to Old Montréal and public transportation. Speaking of public transportation, the subway in Montréal is incredibly easy to navigate, clean, and quick – give it a try!
Montréal is beautiful in the summer, perfect for al fresco dining. I also love the city in November and December, when it’s not yet too cold, there might be a light dusting of snow, and the city is covered with Christmas decorations. You might want to avoid January and February if you don’t love the cold, as the temperatures do get quite low but if you’re a true blue winter fan, Montreal is the place for you.
You and your girlfriends are sure to love Montréal and will leave full, happy, and with a new je ne sais quoi about you, so start planning your Montréal girls’ getaway now!