How to Experience Montréal Like a Local

Cheyanne Herrera sitting in front of a fountain in Montreal's Botanical Garden.

Montréal  is a vibrant city packed with artwork and culture. Canada is very welcoming to immigrants, which allows Montréal to be filled with people from all over the world. I was so impressed by all the different cultures represented throughout the city.

One of the moments that sticks out the most to me from my time in Montréal was my experience ordering in a restaurant. The waitress took my father-in-law’s order in French, took mine in English, then, without hesitation, took my mother-in-law’s order in Spanish. It is very typical of the locals to speak multiple languages, with almost 60% of the population being bilingual in French and English. The citizens welcome and embrace diversity, which is one of the many reasons it’s so easy to fall in love with Montréal. Here is a list of things you should do to experience the city like a local:

Mount Royal

Mount Royal is the mountain in the center of the city, and it is what Montréal is named after. We hiked up the mountain at nighttime and the view of the city lit up in the darkness was spectacular. You can take a set of stairs to get to the mountaintop, or you can hike up a trail that circles around the mountain during the day. Whether you’re wanting a romantic evening admiring the city lights or a nice workout during the day, visiting Mount Royal is a definite must-do.

View from Mount Royal

Riviére Rouge

I was very lucky to experience Montréal  with my father-in-law, who grew up in the city. He took us to his favorite places from his childhood, which included the Canadian countryside. I definitely recommend taking a day trip out to the countryside, it is so peaceful and is relatively untouched by human development.

Riviere Rouge, Quebec

Montréal Botanical Gardens

The botanical gardens in Montréal are straight out of a fairytale. I felt like a princess walking through the rows of flowers, and there are spots that seem like they were made for the perfect Instagram shot.

Montreal Botanical GardensMontreal Botanical Gardens

Website: Montréal Botanical Gardens

EAT

The food in Montréal is some of the best I’ve had in the world. The city is filled with immigrants who open up restaurants and make food from their native countries. One night my husband and I found a Venezuelan restaurant that served some of the best arepas we’ve ever had (and that’s really saying something, my husband is from Colombia).

Another night I got a margarita pizza from an Italian Restaurant, Pizzeria Dei Compari, and I was amazed. It tasted exactly like pizzas that I had in Naples. The tomato sauce, the cheese, the basil, the crust… everything was perfect. That is the only pizza I have had since my trip to Italy that can really compare to a genuine Neapolitan pizza.

Of course, when you’re in Quebec, you have to try poutine. It’s a dish that originated in the province that consists of French Fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Almost every restaurant (including fast food chains like KFC) sell poutine and Canadians love it. 

Have you ever been to Canada? What was your favorite city? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

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