3 Days in Montreal

Poutine is a Montreal tradition
Montreal is a city of contrasts and combinations: Old World traditions and cutting-edge culture; bustling city streets and tranquil outdoor spaces; French fries and gravy. 

Here are a few must-see stops for groups dropping in on Canada's Cultural Capital.

Day 1: The Great Outdoors

10:00 AM
Begin the day with a refreshing walk through the Montreal Botanical Garden. It boasts 22,000 species of plants, flowers, and assorted flora across more than 185 acres and includes a Japanese garden, tropical plants greenhouse, and "Garden of Weedlessness" housing penjings (Chinese "living sculpture" plants). 

2:00 PM
Continue to explore Montreal's natural surroundings with a leisurely kayak trip, adventurous surf outing, or even a paddleboard-yoga session. Nautical activity center KSF offers a range of water excursions for all skill levels for periods from one hour to all day that will give visitors a different perspective on the city. www.ksf.ca

8:00 PM
Enjoy a performance at the Bourgie Concert Hall. This restored Erskine and American church was originally designed in 1894 and now serves as a remarkable venue for string orchestras and chamber-music ensembles.

Day 2: A Taste of Culture
12:00 PM
Start your visit to Montreal the right way with a stop at Schwartz's, the city's famed smoked-meat delicatessen. For more than 80 years, this landmark has maintained its tradition of mouth-watering brisket sandwiches that visitors' taste buds will remember years later. www.schwartzsdeli.com

2:00 PM
Stroll down the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, taking in the 18th- and 19th-century architecture of the buildings, and make sure to spend a few minutes appreciating the gothic grandeur of Notre-Dame Basilica. www.notredamebasilica.ca

8:00 PM
Catch a show at LA TOHU, a performance center for the circus arts in the city. The space presents circus arts shows that you cannot see anywhere else in its specially designed circular room. www.tohu.ca

Day 3: Cheese Curds and Chic Shops
12:00 PM
Besides smoked meat, the other must-eat in Montreal is, of course, the city's poutine. And there are few better places for gravy-smothered French fries and cheese curds than La Banquise, the 45-year-old eatery that offers 25 different varieties of the local dish. www.labanquise.com

2:00 PM
Walk off that poutine with a few hours of shopping on Sainte Catherine Street. This nine-mile stretch of 1,700 boutique shops, galleries, and department stores offers everything from high-end fashion to local art. Plus, an underground pedestrian walkway makes it a pleasant place to visit no matter how hot or cold it may be.