About Montreal

by SmarterTravel Staff

Just 45 miles from the U.S. border, on an island flanked by the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, sits Montreal. Both Canada's second largest city and the second largest French-speaking city in the world (after Paris), Montreal ranks first in the hearts of many of its visitors with its unique blend of cultures, festivals, history, and beauty.

Exploring the neighborhoods is one of the best ways to get to know Montreal. Old Montreal is characterized by cobblestoned streets and a river promenade replete with street performers. Head to St. Catherine Street to get a taste of downtown, and find time to shop, eat, and spend time browsing the collections at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the Canadian Guild of Crafts. Other neighborhoods worth a wander include the Plateau, with its shops, restaurants, and five-block pedestrian-only promenade on Prince-Arthur Street; and the Latin Quarter near the campus of the University of Quebec at Montreal.


Evenings provide even more chances to savor Montreal: the city has the highest per capita number of restaurants in North America. In popular neighborhoods, that means an average 160 restaurants per square mile. Montreal is also considered one of the top nightlife capitals in the world, with bars, clubs, lounges, and other ways to while the night away.

There are plenty of flights to Montreal, and the city is within an hour-and-a-half flying time from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

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