Friday 10 February 2017

What To Do in Montreal in the Winter

hotel william gray review

Montréal in the winter time is not your typical travel destination, but after visiting this past January I definitely think it should be. There's nothing quite like exploring a beautiful city like Montréal with a gentle blanket of snowfall in the background.  Sabrina and I packed our bags, hopped in a car and drove from Toronto to Montréal to experience one of Canada's most iconic cities in the winter.  The weather was chilly, but the company was warm and I fell in love with the vibrancy and culture of Montréal. Here's what we got up to during our weekend stay.

hotel william gray review

Where We Stayed: Hotel William Gray

Nestled in the heart of Old Montréal, Hotel William Gray is a modern gem in an otherwise very historic area. Immediately as we drove in for our stay, we were greatly warmly at the door and were whisked away to our room where we could rest after a long drive. This hotel truly is stunning; I love the mix of modern and classic in not only the lobby, but also the rooms. Sabrina and I would have our morning espressos from the in-room espresso machines, and saunter downstairs to the in-hotel café for a pastry. I really appreciated how nice and tranquil Hotel William Gray is during the day with people sipping coffee and reading quietly in the lobby, while the energy shifts at night and the lobby becomes a hotspot to meet friends for cocktails.  Overall the hotel is amazing, the staff are incredibly friendly and unpretentious and the location can't be beat. I'm already planning my next trip to Montéal in the summer, and I'll definitely be staying at Hotel William Gray.

hotel william gray review
The lobby is absolutely incredible! I think we spent half of our trip photographing it!
hotel william gray review
The in-suite espresso was SUCH a lifesaver! We used it to wake up in the morning, and in the afternoons for a mid-day wake up.

Montreal city guide winter

Where to Eat

Since the weather is absolutely frigid in Montréal during the winter we spent the majority of our time indoors eating and café-hopping. The food scene in Montréal is absolutely electric, and there are definitely options for all tastes, price ranges in palettes.  Contrary to what the guidebooks tell you, the best food in Montreal isn't necessarily in the touristy areas (i.e. Old Montreal and downtown.) We found some of our favourite - and not to mention cutest - spots outside of the core areas. Definitely check out Mile-End, Westmount and St-Henri area for a more authentic, trendy vibe. Some stand out spots for me:

  • Le Melbourne Café: This Australian café does a pop-up brunch a couple times a month and we were lucky to experience it during our stay!  The brunch was absolutely incredible, and they serve some of the most interesting lattes I've ever heard up - beetroot and cereal milk to name a couple.
  • Tommy: Likely the most instagrammed café in Montreal, Tommy is not to be missed when visiting the Old Port. We enjoyed a coffee and cronut when we first arrived, and had a quick Sunday brunch before leaving.
  • Café Myriade: On the bottom level of a Club Monaco, Café Myriade is almost like a secret gem tucked away in the city.  Although the light is not great for photos, the spot is very cute and I had one of the best croissants of my life there!
  • LOV: If you're looking for a show-stopper restaurant, definitely visit LOV in Old Montreal. The space is absolutely incredible, and their veggie-friendly menu served up some of the tastiest dishes of our trip - think Kale Mac & Cheese and Kimchi fries, washed down with one of the freshest virgin Pina Coladas. Yum!
  • Satay Brothers: One of the liveliest neighbourhood joints I've ever been to, Satay Brothers is not to be missed for delicious, sharable Asian food and incredible energy. 
  • St-Viateur Bagels: An absolute must before you leave Montréal is to enjoy one of their iconic bagels. St-Viateur is known as the best in the city, and there are several locations.  You're able to eat in-restaurant, or pick up a dozen (or two in my case) of these fresh bagels for the road.

a weekend in montreal in winter what to do
Pink beetroot and matcha lattes at Le Melbourne Café

montreal city guide
A light Brunch at Tommy in Old Montreal

what to do in montreal weekend

Where To Shop

Although we didn't do too much shopping during our trip to Montréal, there certainly wasn't a shortage of big-brands, or smaller boutiques. Here are a few standouts for me:

  • Downtown is where to find all of your brand-name and corporate stores.  You could walk up and down St. Catherine street and find pretty much whatever you're looking for, from H&M to Holt Renfrew.
  • SSense in Old Montreal is a gorgeous storefront for one of Canada's largest luxury websites. Definitely a must-visit for the label obsessed.
  •  Mile-End is hands down my favourite area to shop in Montréal. This neighbourhood is where you will find your cute, light-filled boutiques.  Two stores that I definitely have on my radar for my next trip are VdeV and Vestibule.  So beautiful!

How To Get Around

Although the metro system in Montreal is very good, we found that we opted for Uber most times.  The service is particularly inexpensive in the city and we were always able to get a car.

montreal city guide winter

All in all, despite the cold I would totally recommend visiting Montréal in the winter. I'm already counting down the days to my next trip.

What do you guys think? Have you visited Montréal? What do you like to do in the city? Let me know!

xo Joëlle


  1. Great post! I haven't been to Montreal in a few years but I'm dying to get back.

    1. OMG you need to go Kerri! I was the same, I hadn't been to Montreal in years and I was apprehensive about going in the winter - but I'm so glad that I visited!

  2. Awesome post! I am going there next week and this just made me more excited. Can't wait to check out LOV Restaurant.

    1. So fun! You will have a great time, let me know how you like LOV!

  3. I love this! I'm heading to Montreal in April and will definitely have to check out all the restaurants you recommended!

  4. Wow! I just got back yesterday from a weekend in Montreal with my boyfriend! We ended up going to La finca and got an espresso but sadly other than starbucks, that was the only cafe we got to. I'm not sure if you've ever gone to the coldroom but it's a good hidden bar to check out!

    1. OHHH I love hidden bars, I need to check it out next time! Thank you so much for the tip! xo

  5. So glad you and Sabrina had such a great time! It was lovely to spend time with you both :)

    Kris | Window Seat Style

    1. You guys were such great hosts to us! Loved spending time with you! xo


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