Old Port Montreal: 19+ Mesmerizing Things You Can’t Miss
By Mia Pearson on March 9th, 2017
Montreal’s Old Port is a charming old-world district with lots of attractions for locals and visitors alike. Between the restaurants, bars, festivals, and other activities, the Old Port is an exciting place to spend the day and evening in a beautiful setting.
Enjoy Old Montreal's Best Food Tour.
Old Port Montreal’s Best Restaurants and Attractions
The Old Port of Montreal, Old Montreal, the Old Town, the Old City… there are many ways to name Canada’s miniature Europe. What few people know is that there’s actually a difference between Old Montreal and Old Port. The latter is the area that spans from the water to the train tracks, and the former is everything above it. So what does the real Old Port Montreal have to offer? Quite a lot, actually. From winter activities that’ll warm you right up to one of Montreal’s most Instagrammed cafés, it’s jam-packed with tons of noteworthy gems. Let’s start with…
1. The Old Montreal Food tour
To truly experience the Old Port, it’s exciting to get to know the history of the area and taste its culinary heritage. The Old Montreal Food Tour walks your through the charming cobblestone streets while your tour guide tells the stories of the port’s cultural history. The tour stops at six different tasting locations where you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the best food Montreal has to offer. Tickle your tastebuds, take in the old world charm and discover the Old Port’s heritage on the Old Montreal Food Tour. Find out more here.
2. Old Port Montreal’s Best Restaurants and Bars
The Old Port is a beautiful place to visit for locals and visitors alike. No wonder its home to so many delicious restaurants with world renown chefs. Taking time for a delectable dinner then heading out for a walk on the cobblestone streets makes for a perfect evening in this former-industrial district.
Kyo Bar Japonaisis, hands down, the city’s best sake spot. It holds Montreal’s most extensive sake menu, topping off at 25 kinds! Beyond that, they serve rarities like plumb wine, and killer cocktails that’ll keep you happy. The staff is classy (read: quick and professional), and the ambiance is dim and romantic. The decor is sleek and rustic, drawing a business-chic crowd. Kyo is also a popular dinner spot in the area, with izakaya creations and sushi dishes that’ll have you coming back for more. 711 Côte de la Place d’Armes
You don’t need a special occasion to celebrate at La Champagnerie.This bar/restaurant is the only champagne bar in Montreal and has a huge selection of prestigious private imports. The food is also spectacular, especially the lobster poutine with foie gras and Quebec cheese curds. If you’re looking to get loose on the weekends, let their DJ beckon you to the dance floor, and keep popping those bottles! 343 St Paul St E
What better place is there to experience the delights of seafood dishes than Montreal’s Old Port? Le Bremner‘s chef is Food TV personality, Chuck Hughes, and has become an Old Port must-visit for seafood enthusiasts. Le Bremner is identified only by the words “Restaurant” above the door. Walk down into the semi-basement locale and you’ll find a cozy, candlelit cave with delicious scents wafting from the plates. They’ve got a list of their own unique cocktails and their seafood dishes are quite detail-oriented and full of flavour. 361 St Paul St E
3. Cutest Cafés
If you’re like me, you enjoy working alone but in the company of others. There’s something about that white noise that’s soothes, and there’s definitely something about that caffeine that’ll keep you awake and focused. And if you’re travelling, a daily wifi drop-in spot is in order. Check these out if the Old Port is where you choose to make that stop.
If you scroll through a local coffee shop lover’s Instagram feed, you’re almost guaranteed to find a few shots of Tommy Café.Every square inch is carefully curated: majestic wall mouldings, dangling plants, a selection of pretty furniture.. even their plating and lattes are shot-worthy. Come catch up on emails here and bask in Tommy’s magical space. Their menu is just as scrumptious: delicious quiche, smoked salmon bagel and toast with toppings from avocado to Nutella and strawberry–yum! British Empire Building, 200 Rue Notre-Dame O
The newest addition to the Flyjin family is Flyjin Café. With third wave coffee culture seeping into our daily routine, it makes sense that the popular club (Flyjin) would open up a cool little brother for it’s club, Café Flyjin. The club’s influence gives it that extra twist, too: burgundy stools, amazing sound system, sodas made by Flyjin club bartenders.. all extra touches that make it a must-see. It’s cozy but classy, the perfect kind of space to gobble down a doughnut and latte. Suite 102, 417 Rue Saint-Pierre
Maison Christian Faure
More of a renown French pastry shop than a regular café, Maison Christian Faure is your go-to if you want an edible work of art paired with your coffee. There is no better quality éclair than a Christian Faure éclair, and there are no prettier pastries to be found. 355 Place Royale
4. Coolest Galleries
A big part of Old Port Montreal’s magic lies in the amazing art galleries that speckle its cobblestone streets. Strolling around, taking in the old timey sights and then popping into art galleries is an experience you’ll want to have during your visit. Here are a few we’re big fans of:
Matthew Namour Gallery
The Matthew Namour Galleryhas as its mission to feature avant garde, contemporary and surrealist art. Whether it’s street art, graffiti, tattoos, prints… here you’ll find some pretty unique pieces from today’s artists. The gallery continues on gallerist Yves Laroche’s endeavour to showcase lowbrow art that all can appreciate. 217 St Laurent Blvd
Galerie Le Luxart
Committed to showcasing 21st century art, this is another spot for that contemporary feel that will balance out the Old Port’s old-timey atmosphere. Abstract art, local artists, and an always colourful, Le Luxartwill refresh your mind and inspire you to create. 66 Saint-Paul St W
Galerie Got Montreal
An important player in the galerie world, Galerie Got Montreal holds a combination of sculptures, paintings, and photos. Its mission? To showcase unprecedented works by modern artists. A real gem for the Old Port, and an unmissable stop for any passerby. 50 Saint-Paul St W #1
If you’d like to find out more about Old Montreal’s galleries, check out our article on the topic over here.
5. Most Exciting Festivals
The Old Port hosts a myriad of amazing festivals throughout the year. Some celebrate winter and encourage people to go outside into the cold and enjoy a fun time in their snow suits. Their summertime festivals are the perfect way to enjoy a sunset and let the evening roll on into the night.
Igloofest is an outdoor music festival that takes place during the coldest time of the year, the subzeronian months of January and February. Sounds kinda crazy, right? It is, and that’s why Montrealers love it. Cold weather, electronic music, colourful snowsuits… It’s somewhat of an extreme sport of music festivals, and the Old Port is where it all goes down. The event features international DJs, snowsuit competitions, amazing light shows, and a whole lot of dance moves to keep you warm! Some notable acts previously featured at the event are Bonobo, Diplo, Tiga, and more. Any adventurous electronic music lover out there will want to have a taste of this unique experience.
In the month of June, the greatest festival ever thought-up graces Montreal’s Old Port. This grandiose festival is The Great Montréal Poutinefest. The best chefs in Montreal emerge from their kitchens with their very own poutine creations that locals and visitors can sample, savour, and judge. They’ve got gastronomic poutines, extra cheesy poutines, spicy poutines–you name it! Vote for the best poutine and let that chef win the most prestigious prize Montreal has to offer.
Pointe-à-Callière’s Port Symphonies gives musicianship a whole new meaning. Every year, reputable musicians are selected to create a musical composition with the horns or the sleeping cargo ships. Along with train whistles, drums, and other instruments, this outdoor festival, spanning from February 26 and March 12, is a must see!
Montréal en Fêtes
To spark the Christmas magic, Montréal en Fêteshosts an event from December 1st to January 1st that features free activities for kids and adults. Shop at their Christmas market, watch an outdoor movie, and meet Santa Claus! This is a great festival for families, so don’t forget to bring your snowsuit!
6. Old Port Landmarks
Farine Five Roses
The Old Port was home to many manufacturing facilities in the industrial era, but the Farine Five Roses sign is one landmark that Montrealers hold dear. It still sits atop its former bustling factory (even though the flour company sold the building to Smuckers). It continues to light up, nodding to Montreal’s lively industrial past. Now, it serves as a great place to take pictures and can rouse a little nostalgia.
Silo number 5
In the same vein as Farine Five Roses, Silo number 5 was once an example of technological development in the bygone industrial era. An imposing structure, Silo number 5 is now a huge, rusting building with long floating walkways spanning the building. It’s also great for a photo shoot, especially if Montreal’s history or architecture is something that piques your interest.
Designed by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, Habitat 67 which sits on the Saint Lawrence River looks like an agglomeration of lego blocks carefully pieced together. Built during Montreal’s Expo 67, Habitat 67 is one of the world’s most unique architectural endeavours. If you’re a fan of interesting architecture, take the time to checkout this achievement in urban living.
7. Spend Time at the Spa
Anchored in Montreal’s Old Port, Bota Botaoffers a spa experience in a unique setting with a beautiful view of the port. The spa, which is actually a converted boat, has five stories which offer a variety of services like two saunas with a view, a eucalyptus steam bath, hot and cold baths, a relaxation area, a restaurant, and a rooftop terrace. There’s the option to add a facials and massages if you’re looking to really indulge.
358 rue de la Commune Ouest, Quais du Vieux-Port de Montréal
L’Empreinte Boutiqueis one of Montreal’s best fine arts cooperatives. It’s home to over 85 artists’ creations that are each unique and handcrafted. Find gems like vases, dining sets, woodwork, and even clothing! 88 Rue St-Paul Est
The Old Montreal Food Tour
3h walking tour. Explore Old Montreal’s charming streets while you savour outstanding food. Offered everyday at 11:00 AM and more!