Montreal’s airport is about 30 minutes from the city center via bus (with free Wi-Fi) or taxi (the $40 flat fare from the airport gets you anywhere you need to go within downtown).
Renting a car in Montreal is not recommended, as traffic is awful and finding parking nearly impossible. But a bicycle-sharing system, Bixi—the first of its kind—is blessedly extensive. The public transit system, STM, with its reliable network of Métro and buses, is easy to navigate and quite cheap (a 3-day pass costs $18).
The massive Fine Arts Museum, with its touring exhibits and permanent collection of Canadian art, is the perennial favorite. And the whimsical Science Museum, in Old Montreal, offers fun stuff for kids and adults. Other popular highlights are the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Canadian Architecture Center, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, and the McCord Museum.
Montreal could be called the festival capital of the world, with hundreds of festivals year-round, even during the cold months. The official season kicks off in June with Francofolies, a French music festival, and goes into fall, with Chinese Lanterns at the Botanical Gardens. Other notable events include Osheaga, Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs, the fireworks competition, and White Night. If you can, time your trip to catch a festival (or two).
Marie is a native Montrealer trying to balance a deep love for her hometown and an unquenchable thirst for travel and discovery. She has been to more than 20 countries, lived abroad in both France and the U.K., and is always on the lookout for authentic experiences wherever she travels—especially if it involves chocolate. She blogs at To Europe and Beyond.