by Lia Kouri
I am a mother of two wonderful girls, aged 8 and 3, originally from Bangladesh but living in Montreal, Quebec for the past 27 years. We love travelling the world with our children so they can be exposed to all different cultures and learn about life from all the different people they meet along the way. Living in Montreal for so long, we really have experienced the best the city has to offer and would love to share our findings with you.
Where to Stay:
1. Le Saint-Sulpice Hotel:
This hotel is in Old Montreal close to downtown and the old port. The hotel had bunk beds for the kids and the rooms were very clean. Breakfast was included in the price and a crib was also available. There is an on-site restaurant with outdoor seating available. Babysitters could be arranged if you let them know in advance. Because it’s in Old Montreal, you are surrounded by many restaurants, monuments, and activities like Bateaux Mouches boat rides with meals, pirate ship zipline, museums, ferris wheel, outdoor skating during winter and Cirque du Soleil in summer.
2. Hotel Gault:
This is a bit more expensive but comes with a kitchenette if you want to make your own meals. This is also in Old Montreal so you have access to the same activities and restaurants as above.
3. Hotel Travelodge Montréal Centre:
This is a great hotel for families on a budget who still want to be in the heart of downtown and close to the action. You will find economy bunk bedrooms, free continental breakfast, Wi-Fi and 24-hour desk service.
4. Hôtel Monville:
If you need a pet-friendly hotel in downtown, this is a great option.
5. Lowes Hotel Vogue:
This downtown hotel with a contemporary style is great for kids as well.
6. Chateau Versailles Hotel:
This is another pet-friendly hotel that also provides buffet breakfast.
What to Eat:
Montreal is all about the food! There are so many delicious speciality food items you have to make time for during your visit. I’m sharing some of my favorite dining options below.
Poutine: French fries with hot gravy and cheese curds. Try it at any of these restaurants:
- Lobster poutine at Garde Manger (Old Montreal)
- Foie gras poutine at Au Pied de Cochon (Le Plateau Mont-Royal)
- Le Reggae poutine (ground beef, guacamole, diced tomatoes and hot peppers) at Poutine La Banquise (Plateau)
- Make your own poutine at Poutineville (chain, multiple locations)
–Smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s Deli in Downtown.
–Bagels are a must try at Fairmount Bagel and also at St-Viateur Bagel Shop where you can watch them being freshly baked at the original location in Outremont area (open 24/7).
–Orange Julep at Gibeau Orange Julep – you can’t miss the iconic giant orange orb on Décarie Boulevard at this drive-in diner. Stop by to have the creamy orange drink and also get some hot dogs and fries. Every summer we take the kids and have Orange Julep while sitting in our car and listening to music with our windows down, which is usually what everyone does since there is no indoor seating. There are also some outdoor benches available.
–BeaverTails: A flat fried dough with dessert toppings. Try it at Queue de Castor.
–Tim Hortons: A cafe chain available now in other parts of the world, but if you haven’t tried it yet, you must! Have their timbits, donuts and freshly brewed coffee at a great price. They have breakfast, lunch and kids meals. They are found everywhere and are a Canadian institution!
–Sugar Shack: Reserve a spot at a Sugar Shack to watch the process of maple syrup being made and also try some. Visit around the end of March if possible so it’s less cold. They serve a variety of meals and you can also purchase cans of maple syrup, candies and candles to take back with you. Most Sugar shacks are family owned and some have petting zoos, pony rides and trekking paths. Some options we like are:
- Le Chalet des Érables – great for kids as this place has an outdoor fair with train rides, pony rides, a merry-go-round and more.
- Au Pied de Cochon – This is a big favorite and you will need to make a reservation at least a month in advance.
- Cabane à Sucre Handfield – Great vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options
- Sucrerie de la Montagne – Also has a ski slope which is good for little beginners
Most Sugar shacks are family owned, some have petting zoo, pony rides and trekking paths.
–Farmer’s Markets: A trip to the Farmer’s Market is a great way to see the city and enjoy fresh food. The two markets below are great to visit:
- Jean-Talon Market – This is located in the Little Italy area where you can try fresh fruits as you walk around, buy seafood, and enjoy so many great restaurants.
- Atwater Market – This is near the Little Burgundy area and you can try some freshly baked baguettes, cheap eats, fresh fruits and veggies and visit some trendy cafes.
–Food Trucks: These are mostly found in summer in Old Montreal and Downtown and also during the winter holidays.
We make travel a priority and make sure to visit at least two different countries or more a year. My 8 years old writes a journal about her travel and has a travel Instagram page @asfaandsyanasworld where she writes about her travel experiences with her little sister. Hopefully our Montreal experiences will help you plan your own visit!