Montreal is a beautiful and diverse city that sits on Canada’s St. Lawrence River. As the largest city in Quebec, this metropolis offers a broad range of things to do for visitors whether you’re heading there for the first time or you’re an old pro at exploring Montreal. To help you plan the ideal day in this city, check out this itinerary.

Morning: Enjoy a Gourmet Breakfast

Good food lurks on every corner in Montreal, but if you want to turn your breakfast into a true experience, stop by Engaufrez-vous. The name of the restaurant might be difficult to pronounce, but your word worries will fly out the window when you peruse the place’s menu. Waffles are its specialty. Although there are tons of different waffles to choose from, including both savory and sweet varieties, you should go with the stuffed waffles if you’re visiting for the first time. Try the Piémontaise, which is stuffed with ham, mozzarella, and pesto.

Montreal Botanical Gardens
The Montreal Botanical Gardens in Montreal.

Mid-Morning: Stroll Through Montreal Botanical Gardens

Board the metro Green Line and disembark at Pie-IX station, which will put you close to the city’s amazing botanical gardens. There are ten large greenhouses waiting for you; altogether, there are more than 22,000 species of plants in the gardens. The Japanese and Chinese gardens are always worth a visit. If you have kids, be sure not to miss the toxic plants garden. The gardens are open year-round.

Noon: Grab a Light Lunch at Café In Vivo

About half a mile from the Montreal Botanical Gardens is Café In Vivo, a hip and intimate eatery where you can enjoy pastries, salads, and a fantastic cup of coffee. New items are always appearing on the menu because chef Karine Martel loves to experiment with new flavors. Look for a duck sausage sandwich or a beetroot salad, and take your food outside to enjoy Montreal’s lovely atmosphere. The café is gluten-friendly, so you’ll be able to find something to eat even if you have food sensitivities.

If you’re in the mood for slightly more exotic food, head to Pisco, which is also near the botanical gardens. It features mouthwatering Peruvian and Latin American dishes.

Mont Royal
Mont Royal in Montreal.

Afternoon: Climb to the Top of Mont Royal

Montreal got its name from Mont Royal, a towering hill that is now home to one of the city’s largest parks. The place is popular with joggers and walkers, and the two cemeteries in the park are fun to explore if you’re a history buff.

The highlight of the park is the view from the top of Mont Royal. There is a staircase that will take you there, and after you huff and puff your way to the pinnacle, you’ll be treated with an Instagram-worthy view of the city.

The park regularly hosts events. In summer of 2017, you can catch a guided tour, go on a discovery walk, or check out a musical show. The park’s website has more information about upcoming events.

While you’re in the vicinity of the park, head over to St. Joseph’s Oratory, an old basilica that features stunning architecture. If you’re heading to the church, remember to dress appropriately.

Evening: Go Shopping in Mile End

If you love fashion, or even if you just love window shopping, Mile End is the place to be. This chic neighborhood has some of the city’s best boutiques. It’s also brimming with art; some have said that it is home to Canada’s largest concentration of artists.

When you’re shopping, check out Drawn & Quarterly for books, General 54 for womenswear, and Frank & Oak for menswear. You might also think about taking a food tour of the neighborhood. You’ll visit some of the best and most prominent places to eat, but you may also discover back-alley gems that typical tourists always miss.

St. Jospeh's Oratory
St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.

Late Evening: Explore Old Montreal

If you want to take a step back in time, hop on the metro Orange Line and disembark at Place-d’arm’s metro station. Old Montreal has cobblestone streets where horse-drawn carriages rule the scene. Browse through beautiful souvenir shops and pick up something nice to take home with you.

The best thing about visiting Old Montreal in the evening is the nightlife. Head to Modavie where you can listen to local jazz bands seven nights a week. The bar also has a restaurant, so it’s a great option for a late dinner — just be sure to make reservations if you’re visiting on a weekend since the place is often packed.

It’s impossible to take in all of Montreal’s wonders in just one day, but the above itinerary is a great way to experience some of the best places in this Canadian gem of a city.