montreal neighborhoods

Stroll past the restaurants on restaurants along Saint-Paul Street in Old Montreal. (Photo: Alamy)


Old Montreal Is Just the Beginning: 8 Montreal Neighborhoods You Need to Know

The late Anthony Bourdain once famously said Canada’s second most populous municipality is “where the cool kids hang,” a statement that still rings true. Indeed, Montreal — famous for bilingualism, bagels and indie rock bands — takes its leisure, food and culture seriously.

Use this guide to navigate Montreal’s most interesting neighborhoods and find the iconic sights, food and drink that make them each worth checking out.

Old Montreal/Old Port

There’s history lining every cobblestone road in Montreal’s oldest neighborhood. Well-preserved, 19th-century buildings house art galleries and restaurants along Saint-Paul Street and de la Commume Street, while the Old Port is a long waterfront area teeming with life.

Old Montreal has an unexpectedly raucous culinary and nightlife scene. Feel transported in classic Italian bistro and café Caffe Un Po’ Di Piú, or get your caffeine fix in Crew Collective & Café, a coffee shop and workspace set inside the architecturally stunning Royal Bank Tower.

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal

Immortalized in word and song, the densely populated Plateau is the trendsetting heart of the city. Residential streets offer charming and colorful townhouses and spiral staircases, while the commercial arteries — Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Saint-Denis Street — are lined with trendy cafés and clothing stores.

Locals will tell you unprompted who makes the best poutine — a Quebecois culinary creation that marries crisp fries, squeaky cheese curds and warm gravy — but consider knocking two dishes off your Montreal food list in one go at Ma Poule Mouillée, where they also specialize in a lesser-known local favorite: Portuguese chicken. Otherwise, SuWu is a trendy hangout for Montreal’s cool clubbing crowd.

Mile End

Le Plateau’s northern neighbor is where Montreal’s past and present collide: it’s the home of famed video game studio Ubisoft Montreal and competing decades-old bagel shops. Pick a side between the Fairmount vs. St-Viateur bagel battle, or catch a concert at local-friendly twin venues La Sala Rossa and Casa del Popolo, where the likes of Arcade Fire cut their teeth.

Grab a pint at original microbrewery Dieu du Ciel!, share small plates at Larrys, or get a feel for the Montreal greasy spoon tradition at converted diner Nouveau Palais.

Little Italy/Mile-Ex

In the early 20th century, an influx of Italian immigrants made this neighborhood home, and the charms of that era remain in the form of bakeries, coffee shops, eateries and cookware shops. It’s also where farmers market Marché Jean-Talon resides, a must for anyone looking to sample local produce in a vibrant setting.

Wine bar Vin Mon Lapin is part of the Joe Beef family of decadent restaurants, and arguably the favorite among locals.

La Petite-Patrie

The once-iconic greenish awning that covered this neighborhood’s commercial stretch on St-Hubert Street is a thing of the past, as is the area’s reputation as a place to buy old-school wedding attire. It’s now where young professionals live and play, but it hasn’t lost its old-school charm just yet.

Elevated French bistro cuisine is a must when visiting the francophone capital of North America, and few do it with more flair than Montreal Plaza.

Golden Square Mile/Downtown

Montreal’s main business and shopping district isn’t as stuffy as one might think. Crescent Street is the touristic go-to during the city’s annual bacchanalian Formula One weekend. The fabled Montreal Canadiens play hockey here, and you’ll find the city’s two biggest English-language universities, McGill and Concordia.

The downtown area is also being taken over by high-end food courts loaded with popular local brands. Two brand-new entries are Le Central on the corner of Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Sainte-Catherine St. and Time Out Market inside the Eaton Centre shopping mall.


montreal neighborhoods
Explore Saint-Henri. (Photo: Getty Images)

Those from the “Sud-Ouest” are intensely proud of their historically blue collar block. Once the tannery district long ago, this area has been reborn as a hub for new restaurants and expanding housing complexes along the Lachine Canal.

Speakeasys with secret entrances are forever en vogue, so keep an eye peeled for the back alley entrance to the dimly lit Atwater Cocktail Club. Its partner locale, Foiegwa, is a contemporary spot that serves up the titular foie gras, a popular delicacy around town.


Condos have sprouted up in this former industrial neighborhood, and with them, an influx of trendy shops and restaurants. These new buildings coexist with the area’s converted warehouses, giving the area an old-meets-new feel.

Speaking of repurposed old buildings, pop into former horse stables and car repair shop-turned-restaurant Perles et Paddock for an elaborately designed cocktail and carefully prepared bite.