Our family went to Montreal this winter for a long weekend family getaway. We wanted to experience Montreal as tourists, but also enjoy places and hidden gems that are popular with the locals. Our daughters are 9 and 12, old enough to experience a trip that is not solely focused on children activities but one that would be a highlight for the whole family. In 4 short days, we were able to do just that. What an experience it was.
This post is not sponsored. Some of the places mentioned hosted us, and some we explored on our own. We wanted to share them all with you, so you can really get a feel for how much fun our long weekend family getaway was in Montreal.
LONG WEEKEND FAMILY GETAWAY IN MONTREAL
We spent much of our time in Les Quartiers du Canal – 3 different neighbourhoods which include Griffintown, Little Burgundy, and Saint-Henri. These are neighbourhoods with history and distinctive personalities. Everything from gorgeous Victorian homes to vast industrial factories. Residential developments are sprouting up as old factories and vacant lots have been converted to residential and commercial use, revitalizing these neighbourhoods of southwest Montréal.
On Friday, we booked in at the alt hotel in the Griffintown neighbourhood. We knew we would be busy so we did not need a hotel with a lot of amenities. The alt was a perfect choice. Convenient. Contemporary. Comfortable. Affordable luxury.
I have stayed at many hotels and this one did not disappoint. The beds were comfortable, the wifi was fast and the shower was divine after each busy day.
I must say, the staff at the front desk were the best I have ever had. They were so friendly and helpful, they answered many of our questions and went above and beyond to make sure our time in Montreal was the best it could be. They offered many suggestions for visits, activities and places to go.
We spent the evening walking around the neighbourhood and relaxing for the busy days ahead.
Saturday morning we went to Le Richmond Marché Italian for an absolutely delicious breakfast.
This beautiful restaurant is one of the few places in Griffintown to offer a 7 day brunch menu, may we suggest the French toast or Smoked Salmon Benedict! YUM.
Whether you are going for a business meeting, or don’t have time to cook breakfast, you won’t be disappointed. You can even find exclusive grocery products and over 60 items of fresh foods to choose from as take-out. Le Richmond Marché Italian offers a dog-friendly environment, with spots for people to come in and shop or eat with their furry friends. It’s truly about the pleasure of good food, beauty and comfort. Facebook – Instagram
After breakfast, we bundled up and took the subway to a different area of Montreal, Parc Jean Drapeau, for Fête des Neiges, an adventure filled winter event with the family. While at Parc Jean Drapeau, we also took in The Biosphère. What a unique and spectacular site!
Our daughters appreciated the many educational exhibitions which provide a better understanding of major environmental issues: air, water, biodiversity, climate change, sustainable development, and much more. What an incredibly fun day!
We didn’t want the excitement to stop, so we decided to venture out that evening, taking the bus to Old Port, yet another area of Montreal, to go on the new La Grande roue de Montréal, a 60-metre-tall observation ferris wheel – the largest of its kind in Canada!
This was an unforgettable experience. We were in the comfort of a climate-controlled gondola. I have to admit that I was glad we went when it was dark, I think I would have been too scared to see so far in the daylight. If you are not afraid of heights, it would be incredible to see the picturesque setting of Old Montreal, on the shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Facebook – Instagram
Sunday we spent most of the day in the LITTLE BURGUNDY and SAINT-HENRI neighbourhoods of Les Quartiers du Canal.
We started out our day in Little Burgundy with a late breakfast at Barley a céréales bar. As the name suggests, it is a venue focused on selling breakfast cereal.
Our 9-year-old daughter was delighted that she could enjoy a bowl of imported “crunch berries” cereal with a mug of hot cocoa.
Our next stop was a delightful little boutique, Karibu.
The owner Emilie loves to travel and her shop has a wide variety of unique gifts and accessories. Of course, our daughters noticed the hammock in the middle of the store and got very cozy!
Around noon we were warmly welcomed at Andrea Jourdan La Boutique. Andrea Jourdan offers a range of delicate and fine products, caviar olive, maple syrup, foie gras butter. If you are not familiar with the culinary odyssey of Andrea Jourdan, you will be inspired by her story. She has published more than 100 cookbooks!
We were invited to try a tasting of a variety of their products. My husband, who has a love of cooking really appreciated the selection of high-end products.
Our daughters also enjoyed the tasting and we purchased a jar of pesto, garlic artichoke cream and black olives caviar as they were favourites for our whole family. We would have loved to fill a whole suitcase with their products to bring home. Facebook – Instagram
As Canadian winters can be, it was a cold day with a lot of snow. We would love to travel back here one day when the weather is warmer and there is less snow so we could take in all the area have to offer. It is a beautiful area to explore and the street art is something to see.
After lunch, we headed into the SAINT-HENRI neighbourhood.
We were in for an adrenaline-filled afternoon at A/MAZE. If you have never tried an escape room, it is a team building experience like no other.
Our family worked together to escape. Our 12-year-old was a natural – she loved the world of puzzles and enigmas. Although she was in her element, the escape room really does need everyone. It challenges every part of your brain and different types of people. I’m happy to say that we escaped! Facebook – Instagram
Next up was a visit to MARCHÉ UNDERGROUND – This Vintage shop is a secret place with many great old accessories. At the end of a corridor, there are a variety of different rooms, each with their own style of picked items. Every room was charming and filled with plenty of little things that brought back memories from different stages of my childhood.
Next, we popped into LIBRAIRIE CROSSOVER COMICS – a store dedicated to informing people about comics. My husband grew up with quite the comic book collection, and his brother still is an avid collector, so we had to check it out. Whether you are new to comics or a seasoned comic reader, you are sure to enjoy a stop here. Our 12-year-old wanted to be sure that I also mentioned that they had a wall of board games and card games. She loves games and she purchased a new Tetris card game for herself. Facebook – Instagram
As you can imagine, by this point in the day we were getting a little tired. We had been having so much fun, but a stop at CAFFÈ FARINA was exactly what we needed.
This stylish Italian café just opened a few months ago on the street. I enjoyed a hot cup of their delicious coffee while the girls indulged in a steaming hot chocolate and their amazing Nutella Panetone. Facebook – Instagram
We wanted to make the most of the day on Monday before our flight home that afternoon. We decided to head to the Grévin (wax museum) – the most amazing museum located on the fifth floor of Montréal’s Eaton Centre.
With its original décor, ambiance, interactive and sensory experiences, and 120 wax figures including local and international stars from the past and present, the Grévin gives the public the chance to meet the stars, and WOW, it did not disappoint.
One last stop had to bring us somewhere to try a true, authentic Montreal bagel. We asked around and decided on Fairmount Bagels – The first bagel bakery in Montreal. Thier story is one worth reading!
I’m so glad we made the effort to stop in and have that experience – I’m not surprised at all they are considered the tastiest bagel in the world. Yum!
FAMILY WEEKEND GETAWAY
I hope that gives you a glimpse of our fun family weekend. Our whole family made memories we won’t soon forget. One last mention. We had heard so many good things about La bête à pain – a restaurant close to the alt hotel in Griffintown. We did not realize that it was closed on Monday’s but had looked forward to enjoying it. If you’ve been, let us know what we missed!