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Montreal/Downtown

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Downtown is a district of Montreal.

Get in

By car

Street parking runs $3/hour from 8AM-9PM and ticketing is common. There are a number of large, commercial parking structures and by-the-day lots. Driving can be very slow and frustrating along rue Sainte-Catherine, with large numbers of pedestrians and heavy traffic. Sherbrooke often comes to a standstill during rush hour.

By metro

Downtown Montreal is served by the Orange and Green Lines. The Green Line follows Avenue de Maisonneuve, while the Orange line runs parallel five blocks to the South (i.e. towards the river). Note that in many cases, you can use the "Underground City" to walk from one station to another — even between lines — without surfacing (useful in winter or rain!).

Useful stops include:

  • McGill and Peel on the Green Line for McGill University and downtown shopping district.
  • Bonaventure for Gare Centrale (Main Train Station) and AMT Downtown Bus Station.

By bus

Dozens of bus lines run through the downtown area.

  • 24 Sherbrooke runs on rue Sherbrooke, a good way to get out to Westmount or the Plateau.
  • 15 Sainte-Catherine covers rue Sainte-Catherine from rue Atwater to the Village.

Get around

Downtown is walkable, weather permitting, but watch for frustrated drivers trying to cut through throngs of pedestrians crossing the street. The new bike lane on rue Mainsonneuve provides easy and relatively safe bike access in and out of downtown.

Many blocks are connected by 30 Km of underground pedestrian tunnels, arcades and malls. You can walk and shop in comfort when the weather above is foul.

See

  • Chinatown, accessible at the Place-D'Armes metro station, is one of the largest Asian communities in Canada. It is known best for its many restaurants and gift shops.
  • Grande Bibliothèque du Québec, 475, boulevard de Maisonneuve est (intersection of rue Berri and boulevard de Maisonneuve est; Berri-UQAM metro station), 514 873-1100 or 1-800-363-9028. Closed Mondays, open Tue to Fri 10AM-10PM and weekends 10AM-5PM. Part of the Bibliothèque nationale, this is a massive library housing four million works. The building itself is a contemporary style building integrating art and architecture including a glass mural, a kinetic luminous mural, a sculpture garden, and varying museum-style displays in the lower-level gallery. The tiles that cover the outside of the building are made to resemble a closed book. Architectural tours are offered: call the library for information.
  • McGill University Campus, 805 rue Sherbrooke ouest at avenue McGill College. The lower section of McGill's campus is composed mainly of nineteenth century neoclassical buildings and is definitely worth a ten minute stroll.
  • Montreal Planetarium, 1000 rue Saint-Jacques ouest, between rue Peel and de la Cathédrale (métro Bonaventure), (514) 872-4530 [1]. $8 admission, schedule varies. See the website for information on rates and shows.
  • The Underground City (Montréal souterrain) [2], throughout the downtown area. This network of underground malls and passageways is a very convenient way to walk around during the winter months. It encompasses six metro stations on the green and orange lines and all of the major downtown shopping malls, including food courts, cinemas, innumerable boutiques, and services.
  • Christ Church Cathedral, 1444 avenue Union, entrance on rue Sainte-Catherine ouest near McGill and Place-des-Arts stations. It is a small, but colourful church, the mother church of the region's Anglican (Episcopalian) denomination. Of special interest is the organ with additional remote-controlled organ pipes in the front of the church. If you have the opportunity to listen to an organ concert there, you should go. The concert will probably be by donation only.
  • Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde), 1065, rue de la Cathédrale at boulevard René-Lévesque ouest (metro Bonaventure) [3]. A 1/4 scale copy of St. Peter's in Rome. Impressive interior.

Do

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts/Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 rue Sherbrooke Ouest (metro Guy-Concordia) [4]. Free permanent exhibitions and many prominent traveling exhibits. There is usually a fee for special exhibitions.
  • Musée McCord/McCord Museum, 690 rue Sherbrooke Ouest [5] Museum dedicated to Canadian History. Located next to McGill University.

Buy

Rue Sainte-Catherine offers all the brandnames (Gap, Zara, Roots, Payless, etc.) and is packed with shoppers on nice days. Much more shopping happens out of sight in the hundreds of small stores in the "Underground City".

Eat

Budget

  • Café Presto, 1244 rue Stanley (Peel metro), (514) 879-5877. The best downtown deal for a very inexpensive and very satisfying casual/cozy Italian fare (main courses are all $3.95. Calculate approximately $10 if you add a glass of wine and an espresso). Mon–Sat 11:30AM–2:30PM and 4:30PM–9PM, closed Sundays. Very busy during lunchtime on weekdays. Arrive before noon or after 1:30PM to avoid the longest lines. Cash only (no credit or debit cards, but there are a few ATMs on the same block).
  • Café Crystal, 1216 Avenue Union, (514) 866-3338. Light meals for breakfast and lunch. $5-$7, close to the rue Sainte Catherine shopping district.
  • Cafe L'Etranger, 680 rue Sainte-Catherine ouest, (514) 392-9016 (metro McGill). With a giant menu that goes on for pages and seems to have everything, the most challenging part of a trip to Cafe L'Etranger is deciding what to order. This casual spot is famous for its sandwiches, wraps, coffees, and 2-for-1 happy hours for drinks. Relaxed atmosphere. Live music on most weekend nights. Popular with students.

Mid-range

  • Vieux Dublin, 1219 rue University at rue Cathcart, basement pub serving traditional pub fare, plus a couple of Indian dishes at lunch and dinner. But when you go in, there is no one behind the bar and when people do come, they make you feel as if you have just strayed into their living room and interrupted their conversation with friends!

Splurge

  • Toqué!, 900 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle (metro Square-Victoria), +1-514-499-2084, [6]. In 1993, chef Normand Laprise put Montreal cuisine on the map with this landmark restaurant, and after more than 10 years, it's still going strong in a new location. Combining the latest trends in fine dining with local and regional produce, the chefs create spectacularly complex dishes in tiny, but strangely satisfying portions. The house specialty is an eight-course surprise menu, made up of many small dishes. This restaurant will take a bite out of your wallet, but serious foodies will find it worth the cost. $30-50 ($80 menu, $100 with wine).

Drink

  • Bar des Pins, 3714 avenue du Parc (metro Place-des-Arts), +1 514 845 6760. 5PM-3AM, sometimes closes earlier on weekdays. Blue collar bar invaded regularly by beer-pong-playing university students. Sells only cheap beer. Hottest night of the week is Tuesday. cheap..
  • Vinyl, 2109 rue de Bleury (metro Place-des-Arts). 8PM-3AM every day. Vinyl is a small, intimate club with frequent specials including $3 Rhum-n-Tings on Sunday nights and a diverse range of music from Reggae to Techno on different nights. Also, couches in the bathroom and an outdoor terrace around the back. $5 draft beer, $3 drink specials.
  • The Cock n' Bull, 1944 rue Sainte-Catherine ouest. Inexpensive pub with a small kitchen, live bands, a single pool table and a couple of active dart boards. Known for their cheap 4 Liters beer pitchers (16 $). Friendly and sociable, for the most part English-speaking patrons, from age 18 to 60. Arts and crafts on Monday nights!
  • Madhatter Saloon, 1220 rue Crescent (metro Peel), 514-987-9988, [7]. Located In the sunny hot spot of Montreal Canada, the Madhatter has to be the least trendiest bar on a street know for trendy bars... yes sir, the hatter is now on Crescent Street, people beware. Having held such events as Irish wakes, Golf for Booze, and All You Can Eat Chili and Beer, the hatter prides itself in stuff most wouldn't.
  • McKibbin's Irish Pub, 1426 rue Bishop (metro Guy-Concordia), 514-288-1850. Being next door to Concordia U. may or may not be a point in its favor, but there's no denying that this friendly pub is a great place for a pint. The food is above-average for a pub, too. McKibbin's is known for their ladies night every Wednesday with its all night open bar ($5 cover for girls and $20 cover for guys).
  • Hurley's, 1225 rue Crescent (metro Lucien-L'allier or Guy-Concordia), 514-861-4111, [8]. Probably the best Irish pub in Montreal, with live traditional music every night and excellent food at fair prices. There's an upstairs for the busy nights, in addition to outdoor patios in the front and back. A part of the pub is non-smoking. Very cozy with a highly authentic feel and friendly professional staff.
  • Brutopia, 1219 rue Crescent (metro Peel), 514-393-9277. Brewpub on the busy Crescent strip. English-speaking college crowd.
  • Peel Pub, 1196 rue Peel (metro Peel), 514-844-7296. Montreal legend. Sports bar. Dirt cheap specials. Good time, particularly on $1 shooter Thursdays.
  • Reggie's Bar, 1455 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, [9]. Concordia University's bar. Features special Hockey nights, and cheap Thursday beer and shots (1$). Great part of student-life experience.


Sleep

Budget

  • Hotel Villa, [10]. Rooms starting at $48 CAD/ night. Monthly rates also offered. Continental Breakfast. Souvenir shop. 57, Ste-Catherine Est (metro St-Laurent). E-Mail: info@hotelvilla.ca Toll free : 1-800-298-9409 (Can. & US). In the heart of downtown Montreal. Friendly and Billingual staff to serve you.
  • Abri du voyageur Hotel, [11]. $52-75. 9, Ste-Catherine Ouest (metro St-Laurent). E-Mail: info@abri-voyageur.ca Toll free : 1-888-302-2922 (Can. & US).
  • Alternative Hostel, 358, rue Saint-Pierre (metro Place-d'Armes), 514-282-8069 email: info@auberge-alternative.qc.ca [12]. Unique layout and friendly staff in the old area of Montreal. Kitchen and laundry facilities provided. $19 for a bed in a dorm. Often full. Reservations recommended.
  • University Bed & Breakfast[13], 623, rue Prince-Arthur West (metro McGill), 514-842-6396, e-mail: university@videotron.ca $69-129. Private Rooms with shared bathroom and apartment suites with private bathroom, kitchenette and private entrance.
  • Auberge de jeunesse HI-Montreal[14], 1030, rue Mackay (metro Lucien-l'Allier), 514-843-3317, e-mail: info@hostellingmontreal.com $26-86. Friendly and helpful staff. Activities organized every day (pub crawls, bike tours, urban walks, etc.). Dormitories and private rooms.

Mid-range

  • Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, 1201 Rene Levesque Boulevard (near the business district), +1-866-716-8101 (), [15]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Offers 825 newly renovated rooms, free internet use in the Link@Sheraton lobby connectivity hub.
  • Marriott Residence Inn Montreal Downtown, 2045 rue Peel (near the business district), +1-514-982-6064 (), [16]. In the heart of downtown Montreal with fully equipped kitchens and complimentary daily hot and cold buffet breakfast, Free WiFi access, rooftop terrace, laundry facility,friendly multi-lingual staff, Rates from $149.
  • Hotel La Tour Centre Ville 400 boulevard René-Lévesque ouest [17].
  • Major hotel chains like Holiday Inn (155 boulevard René-Lévesque ouest) [18], and Delta Hotel (475 avenue du Président-Kennedy) [19] have locations in the heart of downtown Montreal.
  • Designer Hotel St. Paul, 355 rue McGill, +1 514 844-8855 (, fax: +1 514 844-0912), [20]. The award-winning luxury Hotel St. Paul is ideally located in a beautifully restored historic building only minutes walk from both the business district of downtown Montreal and the shops, restaurants, and cafés that line the streets of Old Montreal.
  • Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, 900 René-Levesque Blvd, West, 800-441-1414, [21]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: noon. Offering 1,037 rooms, of which 100 are suites Comprises 50,000 sq.ft. of meeting space, a health club and an indoor pool, as well as three restaurants, Les Voyageurs lounge, Le Montréalais bistro-restaurant and Beaver Club. Starting from $129 + taxes.

Splurge

  • Le Meridien Versailles-Montreal, 1808 rue Sherbrooke St. Ouest/West, 866.716.8101, [22]. This boutique hotel is located in the chic Golden Square Mile neighborhood. This hotel features 108 guestrooms.
  • Hotel Le Germain Montreal, 2050 rue Mansfield, 514.849.2050, [23]. Montréal's trendy downtown district is home to Le Germain, a chic and intimate boutique-hotel designed for a hip clientele of leisure and business travelers.
  • Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, 1050 rue Sherbrooke Street ouest, 514 284-1110, [24]. This five-star, four-diamond luxury hotel is centered amongst fashionable boutiques, museums, fine dining, and the exciting nightlife of Montreal's chic Crescent Street.
  • Montreal Hyatt Desjardins, 1255 rue Jeanne-Mance.
  • Loews Hotel Vogue''', 1425 Rue de la Montagne (metro Place-d'Armes), [25]. Close to the corner of rue Ste-Catherine in the centre of city's main shopping district.
  • Montreal Intercontinental, 360 rue Saint-Antoine ouest, [26].
  • W Montreal, 901 Square Victoria, 866.716.8101, [27]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 12pm. A luxury hotel, the W Montreal has 152 rooms, spa, and a restaurant - Otto Ristorante. This hotel is located between downtown and Old Montreal.

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