Travel Within Reach: Montreal, Quebec

Old Montreal

Looking for a cheap getaway from the Northeast? Want romance, culture, good food and more? Look no further than Montreal.

I decided to spend my New Year’s in Montreal this year and it’s not a decision I regret! It’s a quick cheap flight from NYC, but my friends and I opted to take Amtrak from Penn Station. While the train was a MUCH longer ride, it was much cheaper as well! For only $58.50 one way (using a AAA discount), we took the 11 hour train ride (which ended up being more like 13 hours) from NYC to Montreal. The ride was very scenic, going through the Hudson Valley and the Adirondacks. Wifi was spotty to non existent and there wasn’t much room to stretch out over the long ride, but it was CHEAP!

amtrak scenery

Winter Wonderland riding to Montreal
Winter Wonderland riding to Montreal
snowy trees
snowy trees

Once we arrived in Montreal, we went to our cute Airbnb accommodation – another way to save money on this cheap getaway. Airbnb has a lot of great Montreal accommodations, but this is the one that I can personally recommend:

Stylish Condo in Mile End

The owner, Amelie, was amazing. She left fresh bagels and coffee for us and the place was exactly how it looked on the internet. It was comfortable and spacious, and for a trip with 4 girls, it saved us a lot of money on hotel rooms. The only problem was that Montreal had a blizzard before we arrived! We were greeted with lots of snow outside our apartment and everywhere in the city.

snow outside apt

Snow outside the apartment
Snow outside the apartment

Montreal has a great public transportation system if you’re looking to get around the city for cheap. The buses seemed to be running well even with all the snow. We took a Grayline city tour for $50, which gave us a great overview of Montreal and it’s rich history.

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Basilique Notre-Dame
Basilique Notre-Dame
Inside of Basilica


cute houses - everything feels very French in Montreal, with good reason!
cute houses – everything feels very French in Montreal, with good reason!
Parc Olympique
Parc Olympique
Parc Olympique
Parc Olympique

Most people in Montreal speak both French and English – so don’t worry if you don’t speak a lick of French. I tried to speak French as much as I could but people were always willing to help in English.

If you love shopping, Montreal is a great place to visit – even in the winter! One of their largest attractions is the Montreal Underground City – 20 miles of connecting tunnels, leading to shops, restaurants and even a movie theater!  It was a great way to stay warm, considering it was snowing throughout most of our trip and temperatures were around 10 degrees!

Underground City Map

If you choose to take this cheap getaway, check out Beauty’s Diner. This diner is a Montreal institution and has even appeared on the Food Network. The breakfast was cheap and good (the bacon and coffee were especially great). The best part about this place is that the owner is there everyday to greet you – at about 93 years of age! He even took a picture with me and my friends and gave us several postcards to take home with us.

Breakfast at Beauty’s!

Another restaurant we enjoyed was Vieux Port Steakhouse – we spent New Year’s Eve here. It’s a beautiful steakhouse in Old Montreal, a picturesque old part of the city near the water. If you’re looking for a quaint, European city feel, Old Montreal is where it’s at!

Vieux Port Steakhouse

All in all, if you’re looking for a vacation that won’t cost you much, Montreal is a good place to start. Good food, shopping, culture and beautiful scenery.

City Skyline

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One thought on “Travel Within Reach: Montreal, Quebec

  1. Co-sign to everything you said. Montreal is a WONDERFUL, GORGEOUS city, but even better- CLEAN. I don’t think we saw one slum or project in Montreal. The atmosphere was very inviting and you felt safe, despite it being a major city. Definitely a must-see.

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