Erica Larson is a blogger and proud citizen of Montreal. She enjoys nothing more than her monthly trip up Mount Royal with her husband and three children.
Montreal is a city known for its oppressive winters, expensive stadiums and Nadia Comaneci’s perfect “10” at the 1976 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, it’s not considered one of the globe’s most romantic destinations, except of course for the fortunate past visitors to this amorous oasis. From strolling through the Montreal Botanic Gardens to horse-drawn carriage rides in Old Montreal; there’s almost no end to the possibilities for honeymooning couples and long-time lovers alike. Here’s just a sample of the many romantic spots throughout Montreal.
Anywhere You Hear Jazz Music
Montreal is truly a city for the jazz lover and no pilgrimage to the area would be complete without a stop to the world-renowned “House of Jazz” in historic downtown Montreal. Host to some of jazz’s greatest legends, the House of Jazz has been keeping the neighborhood alive since the late 1960’s. In addition to the great menu, is the lounge’s relaxed atmosphere, fun patrons and Louisiana-style cuisine served for lunch and breakfast. If you’re wise enough to visit the area during the summer, check out the Montreal Jazz Festival, held throughout the months of June and July annually. The combination of unforgettable performances, funky vendors and amazing food makes the Montreal Jazz Festival a fun atmosphere to do a little playful flirting with your mate.
Located in the notable borough of Ville-Marie, Old Montreal is one of the first truly urban establishments in North America and features many ornate structures that date back to the 17th century. A recent push to preserve the legacy of this area has turned this former port city and financial district into a lover’s paradise, complete with cobblestone streets, quaint sidewalk cafes and European-inspired shops and museums. Your mate will, no doubt, be impressed by the architecture and atmosphere, but the true draw of Old Montreal is the horse-drawn carriage rides. Board the caleche – a European-style carriage featuring low wheels – at the Place Jacques-Cartier, close your eyes and simply listen to the horse’s hooves as they gently click-clop against the cobblestone streets. End your night by dining and staying at any number of the quintessentially Montreal hotels in the area.
Montreal is typically urban, that is until you take your first steps onto Mount Royal. A large hill located in the heart of Montreal, Mount Royal is the highest point in the city and simply called “The Mountain” by tourists and locals alike. Start your visit by walking along the shores of Mount Royal Park’s Beaver Lake before climbing up to the hill’s peak, a less than one-quarter mile journey that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours depending on the number of stops made to take in the view. Once you’ve finally reached the top of Mount Royal, have a seat and take in the view, because you’ve just come across the most romantic point in the city.
Quays of the Old Port
Just off the St. Lawrence river and in the eastern portion of the Lachine canal lies the Quays of the Old Port, which is definitely one of the best ways to explore the city’s architecture, either on foot, bicycle or another quintessentially-romantic comedy mode of transportation, a pedal boat. There are many attractions along the Old Port, including the Montreal Science Center and an open-air skating rink. However, the real draw is simply walking along the river and taking in the ambiance. Boat tours, ferries and bus tours are also available to explore the old port and its surrounding islands.
Montreal Botanic Gardens
If you’re at a loss to satisfy your partner’s need for traditional romance, look no further than the Montreal Botanic Gardens. Flowers do equal romance, and the garden is massive, which makes it an ideal spot to explore once you’ve depleted your vacation funds on candle-lit dinners and bottles of unnecessarily expensive wine. Keep an eye out for the Chinese Garden, which is an exact replica of a period garden from the Ming Dynasty. This remains a hit-it-out-of-the-park romantic spot that any spouse, girlfriend, mate or significant other will enjoy.
This may seem like a counterintuitive piece of advice, but if you’re going to visit Montreal, there’s no better time than the holiday season. Yes, the streets are snowy and you may suffer a minor case of frostbite, but the quaint shops and Christmas lights strewn throughout the city more than make up for any cold noses and wet socks. Book your hotel and Montreal flights in advance to find the best deals.