What to Do In and Around Ritz-Carlton Montreal

Whether you want to explore the best of shopping or culture right at your doorstep, or travel back in time with a visit to nearby Old Montreal, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal offers a home away from home that combines elegance, style, and a warm welcome like few other properties in the world.

1228 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1H6, Canada
This hotel is on our list of The 10 Best Hotels in Canada.

First opened for business in 1912, the iconic Ritz-Carlton Montreal—known as “the grande dame of Sherbrooke Street"—began a $200 million facelift in 2008, opening its doors again in 2012. Quebec’s most luxurious and historic hotel could tell endless celebrity secrets but is, of course, far too discreet to utter a word. It’s no secret, though, that Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton here, that the Rolling Stones rented the entire sixth floor in 1972, and that a who’s who of world leaders, movie stars, and royalty are still regular guests. Situated in the downtown culture and shopping hub that is the Golden Square Mile, the hotel oozes money-is-no-object luxury from every pore: from the ornate duck pond and immaculately manicured garden and terrace to the 100-year-old chandeliers, the sweeping staircases, and the belle époque golden glow of the lobby and palm court. Rooms have a white-and-gray minimalist palette with splashes of signature purple. Antiques and original features blend with ultra high-tech design such as Japanese Toto toilets in all bathrooms, heated floors, and motion-sensor lighting.
1228 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3G 1H6, Canada
The French chef Daniel Boulud made his name in New York, where he oversees seven restaurants and has since expanded his culinary empire to six other outposts around the globe. His venture in Montréal makes perfect sense, with Québecois cuisine combining French traditions and techniques with New World ingredients—not unlike Boulud himself. The space—by Super Potato, one of the hottest design firms today—is elegantly restrained, with smoked glass details, wooden floors, and a contemporary enclosed fireplace warming and lighting the room. Boulud uses the best of Québec’s produce in dishes centered on local foie gras, duck, and salmon. The result is refined yet soulful contemporary French dishes, prepared by Maison Boulud executive chef Riccardo Bertolino. In warmer months, guests can dine alfresco, while in the winter you can take in the snowy scene from the restaurant’s enclosed greenhouse. Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada
One of Canada‘s most popular museums, the MBAM (as the locals call it) was founded in 1867 and has welcomed its fair share of rotating exhibits, from Yves Saint-Laurent to Chihuly, and from Tiffany glass to Matisse, with many other exciting ones to come. Even more interesting for visitors is the permanent collection, an ode to Canadian art, from Amerindian artifacts to ultra-modern paintings—including the main players of the Quebec-based modernist movement: Alfred Pellan, Paul-Émile Borduas, and Jean-Paul Riopelle. Whether you visit for the popular exhibition or for the permanent collection, the MBAM is a must-do in Montreal. Insider tip: Wednesday nights are 50% off when major exhibitions are on.
859 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Opened in 1880 as Canada‘s first natural history museum, the Redpath Museum has a charmingly old-school Victorian quality to it. The collection of artifacts assembled by intrepid explorers ranges from taxidermy and Egyptian mummies to geological samples and—one of its most prized possessions—a handwritten letter from Charles Darwin. The museum is located at the heart of McGill University, long one of Canada‘s most important institutions of higher learning. Most of the buildings on campus, all in a handsome gray stone on a lovely bit of green in downtown Montréal at the base of Mount Royal, date from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
1307 Ste Catherine O
The duo of José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger is made in heaven. They design graceful, luxurious clothes for the modern woman who aims at Marlene Dietrich elegance in her every gesture. From crisp white crêpe suits to flowing pleated lamé skirts, their designs are the sort that make you walk taller and feel like you’ve arrived, whether it’s on the red carpet or at a soirée among friends. UNTTLD are masters at blending textures, like see-through evanescent silk worn with a structured cotton pencil pant, and they are known for their unique prints. They sell directly out of their Mile End loft (upon appointment), or through exclusive stores such as Ogilvy.
273 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada
Montreal doesn’t lack for atmospheric restaurants in which both the decor and the aromas entice anyone who walks by. But my favorite of them all is, without a doubt, the Usine de Spaghetti, nestled on the quiet side of the touristy St. Paul Street in Old Montreal. What makes this place so special? A free salad bar, an unlimited bread supply, an expertly curated wine cellar, a menu that won’t break the bank but that rivals even the best Italian eatery, and a historic decor. (Brownie points for naming each dish after a Montreal fact!) Notice the ceiling-high wine racks and the intimate, dark wooden and candlelit back room where Dickens supposedly wrote parts of A Tale of Two Cities. I highly recommend the Jean Drapeau dish with a crisp wine. But mostly, I recommend staying here for a little while, to take in the romantic, inspiring atmosphere that will take you back centuries.
2081 Rue de la Montagne, Montréal, QC H3G 1Z8, Canada
“She’s an original yet timeless Québec fashion designer—a rare combination. Marie Saint Pierre is known for using unusual fabrics with soft colors as well as black and white. Her designs feel really classic. I stop in when I need something chic and comfortable,” says Nathalie Bondil, head curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2W 2M4, Canada
L’Express, on rue St-Denis in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood, opened in 1980 and has about it the air of a beloved institution. Indeed, with its timeless style, it feels even older than it is. This popular spot serves classic renditions of bistro fare—steak tartare, bone marrow, onion soup—into the early morning hours (2 a.m. except for Sundays, when it closes at 1 a.m.). When the kitchen ventures into new territory, the results are impressive. The spaghetti with mushrooms is unconventional in its presentation (topped with a healthy serving of arugula)—one of those dishes you try on the road and then want to re-create at home. Reservations recommended.
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