Being a truly diverse international city, Montreal promises something for every kind of visitor. When you only have a day to hop around town, decide what memories you want to take back with you.
The best way to spend a day in Montreal is to hit the Old Town. The Old Town, or Vieux Montréal, is one neighborhood that defines Montreal in its entirety, from its earliest origins, then through its various stages of development, to the modern status of the city.
The Point a Calliere Museum, built on the site of the earliest known Montreal settlement, provides a deep insight into the historical development of Montreal, with presentation, displays, and interactive learning oppurtunities.
Nearby is located the Old Port of Montreal, an artistically developed waterfront space. It contains beautiful walkways along the water, a sure treat to capture the city's skyline by night while walking along dimly light quays. The Old Port houses the Montreal Science Centre, a science based entertainment centre for kids of all ages.
Near the Old Port is the Place Jacques-Cartier, a large public square open all year, filled with festivities, street performances, and food kiosks, and Parisian restaurants with lovely overhanging summer terraces.
The Old Town also houses some of the best (and most expensive) French restaurants in Montreal, so try some out if you can spare the time - and the money.
Be sure to check out the Bonsecours Market while you are in the neighborhood. This large colonial building has a grand facade and interior, and the space inside has been quite impressively used to house boutiques, restaurants, and artistic and photography displays.
Old Montreal, with its cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and majestic architecture, is a reminsicent of the colonial times, and similar to many medieval European towns. Romantic and alluring.
Another great way to spend a day is heading Downtown. Restaurants, shopping malls, you name it, and they’ve got the best of it. Complex Les Ailes and the Atwater Market are two of the most popular markets located right in the heart of the downtown district. Chinatown and Little Italy are two distinct neighborhoods present within the Downtown area, offering their own unique tastes in cuisine, crafts, and souvenirs.
A treat in itself is the underground city in downtown, functional all year round due to the controlled climate inside. It houses the Eaton Centre, an underground shopping complex, the largest of its kind in the world. More than a day is required to go through all the amazing boutiques and restaurants present within the Eaton Center, but it is recommended that you visit the tourist information center first, and decide what exactly you want from the Eaton Center - shopping, eating, or just strolling about.
If you are a nature-lover, Montreal is sure to delight you. You can start with an early morning walk inside the Parc du Mont Royal in the Le Plateau district. This is the largest public park in the city. It offers breathtaking views of Montreal from atop the majestic Mount Royal, as well as large open spaces, walkways, and cycling and jogging tracks.
You could then proceed to the other quite popular public park which is located just over the other edge of Mount Royal, Parc LaFontaine. As the name suggests, the park contains beautiful fountains, artificial lakes anad waterfalls, and intricately carved sculptures over water. It also contains bike trails and a large open playground, in addition to a swimming pool, a skating area in winters, and also an open-air theatre.
Two other parks are located nearby: the Park Jeanne Mance, a family hangout spot containing playgrounds for various sports for children, and Carre St Louis Park, a much smaller park, popular due to its usage as a set location for filming the "Just for Laughs Gags" TV show.
The many restaurants that dot the Le Plateau neighborhood are ideal revitalizing spots - from light snacks to sumptuous meals to a quick cup of evening coffee, these provide you with the rest you need in between your park-hopping. End the day with a romantic stroll along the beautifully lit Mount Royal Park walkways, taking in the last breaths of fresh Montreal night air.