canal streetcar line in new orleans

A practical guide for Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Travel From NYC to Montreal

For just over $65 (each way), Amtrak will ferry you 10 hours north, past Ft. Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, and across the border to Montreal. You will have to wait about an hour at the US-Canada border (Canada is technically another country), but you brought a book cause you love reading (or you would never take a train for 10 hours), so it's not a big deal.

Where to sit on the train

On the way up, I'd sit on the left side of the train so you can see the Hudson River in all it's glory. When you get to Lake Champlain, most of the action is on the right side, but you can see that on the way back if you sit, again, on the left-hand side of the car. Depending on the time of year, a wonderful vintage viewing car is added to the front of the train at the Albany stop. If that happens on your journey, go up there as soon as the train starts again and befriend some sexagenarians.

Where to stay

I've stayed at the Alexandrie-Montreal hostel twice and got a private room (~$35 a night, but big enough for two people if they don't mind sharing a bed).

Travel within Montreal

The train station is pretty central (you can walk to the hostel in about 25 minutes). For general mobility, I'd recommend the local bike share, Bixi (you should get the app so you know where all the stations are). There is a station a block and a half from the hostel.

Where to eat

  1. Rotisserie Romados - To this day I often think back, fondly, about the half chicken/salad/and fries meal at Romados. I prefer the mild to the spicy. If there is a wait, you're just a block away from a cat cafe.
  2. Au Kouign Amann - You must get the Kouign Amann pastry. You must get the Kouign Amann pastry. You must get the Kouign Amann pastry.
  3. Scwartz's - Smoked meat sandwich on Mile End is well-regarded and has inspired a few homages in New York.
  4. Poutineville is the place to go for poutine, but I preferred the corned beef version at Mache! on Rue St. Denis.

What to see

  1. Mont Royale - walk up the mountain, take in the views, see the cross that lights up at night.
  2. Botanic Garden - once they had this wonderful topiary exhibit, but now they just have some lovely gardens and a fascinating insectarium.
  3. Olympic Stadium - as you bike to the Botanic Garden, you'll notice a tower that makes Pisa look hetero.
  4. Vieux Montreal (old Montreal) - it's touristy and by the river.
  5. Biosphere - Despite what my friend, Lana, will tell you, it is possible to bike to the island and the Biosphere. I believe there is also a casino on the island.
  6. There are some nice midcentury modern shops by Alexandrie-Montreal on Rue Amherst.
  7. One can go on a long walk up Rue St. Denis and see all manner of typical Montreal urban life.

Do you need to speak French?