Visiting a city for the first time is always exciting! But when stress and anxiety set in, it can be difficult to figure out where to start to fully enjoy our vacation. Here are six practical tips to save time and still have fun on your next trip.
Talk to the locals
Forget about the overly edited images on Instagram and the countless travel guides that always recommend the same spots. Talk to people who actually live in the city you’re visiting! They’re the best source of information about your destination’s hidden treasures. Ask them about their favourite restaurants and things to do, the city's most vibrant neighbourhoods, and any tips they might have. Get out of your comfort zone; that’s often how the best memories are made.
Do your research
While talking to locals will certainly help you venture off the beaten path, you should still learn a little about your destination to explore it efficiently. Before you go, find out about the local customs, lifestyle, security concerns, areas to avoid and food. And why not learn a few basic sentences in the country’s language, or bring a pocket dictionary to facilitate your conversations? Be a respectful traveller, not an annoying tourist.
Shop at local markets
The best way to experience local cuisine is definitely to check out the city's markets. Discover new ingredients, ask questions, taste regional flavours and get some inspiration to recreate your own feast once you’re back home. Talk to the shopkeepers about their specialties and get their tips on how to prepare traditional dishes. You might even find some souvenirs to bring back with you!
Leave your car behind
Why waste time and get frustrated in traffic when you can use a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation that allows you to truly experience the pace of the city you’re visiting? By using public transit or renting a bicycle, you can really get a feel for the area. It will also be easier for you to stop wherever something grabs your attention!
Give yourself the gift of time. Slowly sip a café as you observe the amazing details of your new environment. Put your mobile phone away and take a long walk. Avoid shortcuts and, most importantly, don’t overschedule your visit! Trying to see everything at once will just make your trip stressful. Live in the moment.
Write down your memories
Bring a notebook with you; you’ll be glad you did. It’s the best way to remember all your little discoveries. Reading through your travel notes makes the return home a little less sad.
If you are thinking about visiting Montréal soon, don’t hesitate to ask the professionals at Hotel Ruby Foo for their recommendations to have a blast while discovering the city!
Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, you only need one visit to fall in love with Montréal. This Canadian metropolis will amaze you with its historic charm, artistic flair and vibrant neighbourhoods. Easily accessible from Ruby Foo’s Hotel, this varied itinerary with plenty to see and do is the perfect way to discover Montréal. An exciting tour of this beautiful city is just a few Métro stops away!
Romance on Mount Royal
The Belvedere on Mount Royal is an idyllic attraction in an emblematic Montréal area—and a must for first-time visitors. With its spectacular view of the city, it's an ideal spot for a well-deserved break after a winter walk in Mount Royal Park. Or, breathe in the fresh air at the city's summit and enjoy the romantic atmosphere to cap off an evening with your significant other. If you go during the day, take the opportunity to visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory on Mount Royal just a short distance away.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Montréal culture is to taste its culinary classics. Stop by Mile End and try some of the city's iconic specialties, like fresh bagels from Saint-Viateur or Schwartz's Deli’s famous smoked-meat sandwich. If you’re in the Plateau area, be sure to visit La Banquise and discover their 1001 variations of the poutine. For something a little healthier, make your way to the Atwater Market and enjoy its seasonal fruits and vegetables—and pick up some gorgeous flowers while you’re at it!
Go back in time
Without a doubt, Old Montréal is one of the city’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. The architecture and cobblestone streets are reminiscent of Europe, yet it maintains its North American charm, continually reinventing itself with numerous emerging restaurants and businesses. Just 12 Métro stations away from Hotel Ruby Foo’s, the Notre-Dame Basilica and its luminous experience, AURA, are not to be missed. End the day on a high note with a stroll down Rue de la Commune and a ride on the ferris wheel at sunset!
Natural beauty from around the world
If you’re in Montréal in the fall or winter and the weather is not cooperating, reenergize with a visit to the fascinating Botanical Garden near Viau Métro. An oasis in the middle of the city, this Montréal phenomenon's different climates, landscapes, gardens and greenhouses will invigorate you. It’s perfect for a quiet afternoon, on your own or with the family!
History through art
Montréal has a plethora of museums to choose from, whether you’re an artist, forward thinker or history buff. There’s something for everyone! Enjoy the classics at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, innovative works at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, or a blast from the past at Pointe-à-Callière. Make the most of your stay, experience Montréal's culture and learn more about our cosmopolitan city's influences.
This list could go on forever... Montréal is an eclectic city where you can discover something new each time you visit. Hotel Ruby Foo’s is ideally located for all your activities, and our dedicated staff is always happy to help you make the most of your time exploring the city.
Enjoy your stay!
As soon as Halloween is over, the magic of the holidays sweeps across Montreal. The city lights up and gets decked out for the occasion, much to everyone’s delight. The best part is, Hotel Ruby Foo’s is close to many fantastic activities that will make your Christmas season bright.
What could be better than strolling through a Christmas market’s colourful decorations and festive kiosks to put you in the Holiday spirit! From December 20th to 31st, discover the fairy tale inspired Merry Montreal’s enormous Christmas market in the Old Port. You’ll be transported into the heart of Germany, while staying in the heart of our city’s grandest neighbourhood. Free activities include the unforgettable New Year Eve party, a tasting bar, musical shows, and fun Nordic activities! A magical must-see to discover before crawling back and warming up into our soft beds!
A Unique Shopping Tour
No idea what to get for your loved ones? Do your holiday shopping in Montreal’s underground city, where you can avoid traffic, escape the snow, and make the most of the wide variety of stores. When you’re ready for a break, stop by Montréal Trust’s enormous Christmas tree for a relaxing cup of coffee and a healthy dose of holiday cheer!
For a Jolly Good Time
Is Christmas your favorite holiday? Then jump into your winter vacation at bar Miracle to savor hot ciders and exclusive festive cocktails served in amusing cups. The yule-themed scenery bursting with decoration and a warm ambiance – that is as worthy of your childhood’s favorite Holiday movies – will take you directly to Santa’s home. From November 30th to December 30th, this pop-up bar is settled in Scarlett Exclusive located in Old Montreal. Since it’s only a few subway stations from Hotel Ruby Foo’s - It’s a must!
Ready, Set, Skate!
Skating is a favourite winter activity in Montréal, among athletes and amateurs alike. The city has a lot of options for a romantic date or activity with friends on the ice. There are plenty of superb outdoor rinks, like the Natrel Skating Rink in the Old Port of Montréal, or the one at the Winter Village on the Esplanade Financière Sunlife near the Olympic Stadium and Viau Métro station. If you prefer to avoid the wind and snow, try the indoor skating rink at Atrium Le 1000.
The Classics Never Go Out of Style
Some traditions never fade, and Les Grands Ballets’ magical Nutcracker is definitely one of them. See the Enchanting Escapade from December 13th to 30th at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Place des Arts. Performances are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., so you can share this experience with your children without them getting too cranky.
Hotel Ruby Foo’s is ideally located for you to enjoy all these activities and have a memorable winter stay. Our dedicated staff is always there to help you discover the best that the city has to offer.
Who doesn’t love pizza? Raise your hand. Anyone? That’s what we thought! We devour it in all its forms: thick or thin crust, traditional or gourmet, vegetarian or meat lover’s… If you’re looking for the best spots in the city to indulge in a delicious pizza and a glass of red wine, these are our favourites.
Otago, Hotel Ruby Foo’s signature restaurant, has a wood-fired oven and a talented pizzaiolo whose creations are made in the Italian tradition. The result is simply divine! The pizzas on Otago’s simple menu are always delicious and worth the visit. Plus, the restaurant’s warm and relaxed atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a romantic dinner, or a get together with family or friends. You’ll become regulars in no time, we’re sure of it!
Ideally located on Parc Avenue, Moleskine is no longer the city’s best-kept secret—and for good reason! With a relaxed atmosphere downstairs and upscale dining upstairs, it’s actually two restaurants in one and their passion for good food and drinks brings them together. Wine lovers will be delighted to discover the impressive wine list, with its vast selection of private imports, and the pizza… it is sublime. Moleskine even has an ice cream bar, so try to save room for dessert!
Located in the heart of Little Italy, this restaurant faces tremendous pressure to prepare pizza that will delight even the harshest critics. Leave it to Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione to rise to the challenge! The chefs concoct exquisite pizzas using fresh market ingredients. Their seasonal menu creations range from traditional to adventurous and are always delectable; it is served in an authentic and friendly, Italian-inspired setting. The entire family will love GEMA!
For a traditional Neapolitan pizza at its best, head to NO.900. Cooked in just 90 seconds, these pizzas give a whole new meaning to the term “fast food.” Everything is tastefully and expertly crafted. The secret to their success is their homemade fleur de sel mozzarella. Another great reason to check out NO.900? They might be in your neighbourhood! This certainly makes things easier when you are craving pizza … Like now, perhaps? ;)
Is your mouth watering? You know where to go. Ready, set, bon appétit!
As the warm weather returns, so does our desire to play outside. It’s so nice to go for long walks under the summer sun, to get together with friends, do a little shopping, rest for a moment in a park or admire Montréal’s architecture. In our magnificent city, every neighbourhood is different and has something unique to offer. These are our favourites for a stroll:
Tourists flock to this part of the city, and for good reason! As soon as you set foot in Old Montréal, you are transported to another time and place. The neighbourhood is perfect for a long, leisurely walk, with frequent stops to admire the architectural marvels that recall our history. The narrow cobblestone streets, cute flowery patios, art merchants and horse-drawn carriages set the perfect scene for a stroll to another era.
If you’re more of a city dweller who prefers the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis, downtown is the place to be! All summer long, you can enjoy festivals and cultural events in quick succession. So, if you’re comfortable with crowds, explore the Quartier des spectacles, where you’ll find live music on outdoor stages, food trucks aplenty and a festive atmosphere perfect for an energizing walk! If you’re looking for something a little calmer and more contemplative, numerous excellent museums are within walking distance. Art lovers rejoice!
Did you know this area has been called the coolest neighbourhood in the world? And we can see why! Young, hip and buzzing with creativity, it’s the ideal spot for foodies and artists at heart. Roam the streets and take in everything the neighbourhood has to offer: trendy (but not pretentious!) restaurants, original shops, excellent cafés that really know their stuff… Mile End is begging to be explored! While you’re there, be sure to stop by St-Viateur or Fairmount for some bagels. What’s more, the neighbourhood is right next to Mount Royal, the city’s very best location for walking!
If you’re in the mood for a family stroll, this neighbourhood has more fun activities than you can imagine. You’re sure to enjoy a wonderful day filled with discoveries; the Biodôme (closed, reopens in summer 2019), Insectarium, Planetarium, Botanical Gardens and Olympic Stadium all within walking distance (or stroller distance!) from one another. Explore Parc Maisonneuve’s impressive network of paths, and throw down a blanket for a lovely picnic lunch between two activities.
This weekend, leave your car at home, put on your sneakers and go for a walk. Take your time, wander Montréal’s streets; we guarantee you’ll uncover incredible finds and see your city in a whole new light.
Winter’s not even over, and we’re already getting ready for summer vacation. How about you? Sunshine, patios, outdoor activities… We can’t wait to play outside! If you’re looking for the perfect vacation (or staycation!) destination, Montréal has loads of activities for everyone.
For sports enthusiasts…
Montréal is a hockey town. Everybody knows that! But what can fans do once the season is over? Not to worry! The Montréal sports scene is hot year round. We have the Formula 1 Canada Grand Prix, of course, which draws in visitors from around the world for an electrifying weekend. And for those who enjoy watching tennis pros battle it out on the court, the Rogers Cup is sure to be a thrill, with the women vying for the top prize this year. Are you more of a participant than a spectator? Then why not sign up for the Montréal triathlon or marathon? Every year, thousands of international athletes come to the city for these events. Or you could just cheer on the participants… ;)
For music lovers…
Montrealers love music, that’s for sure! Just look at all its festivals, which shine the spotlight not only on world-famous artists, but also on up-and-coming local talent. All tastes and styles are featured, with the International Montreal Jazz Festival, Les FrancoFolies, Osheaga, the Montreal International FestiBlues, Nuits d’Afrique and much more! Do you prefer electronic music? Then don’t miss Piknic Électronik: every Sunday, DJs and other artists will have you dancing under the sun. If classical music is more your speed, be sure to check out OSM in the Park, a summer series of free concerts by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal!
For art lovers…
With its impressive array of museums and exhibits, Montréal is a great place to immerse yourself in art and culture. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is showing Impressionist Treasures, which will astonish you with its collection of European masterpieces. The Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal is presenting Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose/A Crack in Everything, a multidisciplinary exhibition inspired by the city’s great singer-songwriter which explores the theme of light. These are just two of Montréal’s countless artistic and cultural offerings!
Why so serious? A vacation means letting go of everyday work-related stress. It’s the perfect time to have a good laugh and to catch a comedy show! Keep an eye out for the Grand Montréal Comédie Fest and ZooFest schedules for a chance to see the established comedians you love and discover the stars of tomorrow. Is family fun and excitement what you’re looking for? La Ronde is definitely the best place for that! Roller coasters, fireworks and fun are on the menu. And if you want to sneak in a little educational content during the summer break, take the kids to the Montréal Science Centre, where they’ll have fun while they learn… And so will you!
If you’re looking for something to do this summer in Montréal, you have tons of options. The only problem is you might not have enough time to take advantage of everything the city has to offer. Our advice? Extend your holiday! ;)
Summer is coming to an end in Quebec (already?!), but believe it or not, there is an upside. Fall doesn’t just mean beautiful colours: it’s also harvest time in Quebec’s vineyards, so wine lovers, rejoice! Are you up for a road trip to visit a few wineries and sample some terrific bottles? Be sure to stop by our favourite spots.
7100 Rang St-Vincent, Mirabel
Established in 1993, Négondos is Quebec’s first organic vineyard. Its focus is sustainable viticulture, so its vines are pesticide-free. Not only are these wines excellent, but they are also better for you and the planet! Visit this winery, taste the wines (including the orange wine!), and join in on the harvest. Open from June until Thanksgiving. Check out their online boutique: http://www.negondos.com/boutique/.
150 Chemin Boulais, Farnham
Founded in 1991, the vineyard has been organic and biodynamic since 2005. All its grapes are certified organic and hand-harvested. Come meet the grape growers, pick up a few bottles and admire a magnificent view of the Appalachian Mountains. You can go on a self-guided tour and visit the vineyard at your own pace with an audio guide. The tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from the Fête nationale du Québec (June 24th) until the Canadian’s Thanksgiving (Oct. 9th, 2017).
Pinard & Filles
1700 Chemin des Pères, Magog
This family vineyard is located in the magnificent Magog area of the Eastern Townships. It uses organic viticulture methods, growing Pinot Noir/Meunier, Gamay, Dornfelder, Chardonnay, Riesling and Savagnin as naturally as possible – which produce excellent wines! You can visit the vineyard by appointment; go to their Facebook page or website for more information.
100 Chemin Richford, Frelighsburg
How about some cider to shake things up a little? Clos Saragnat has excellent products, all of which are organic certified and made with indigenous yeasts. They have won several prizes, including the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table; it’s definitely worth the detour! Be sure to try the straw wine, a sweet wine made from grapes that have been dried for several months before being pressed and vinified, to concentrate the sugar and flavour. Visit their boutique; you’ll make some delicious discoveries.
1086 Rue Bruce, Dunham
Beyond its amazing wines, L’Orpailleur has a lot to offer! You can enjoy a delicious meal at the Tire-Bouchon restaurant, or rent a hall for a wedding or special event. You can also go on an initiation tour and taste the wines, and even take a bottle sabering course! Accompanied by an experienced guide, one of the course participants will have the opportunity to sabre a bottle of Brut de l’Orpailleur. Will you be the lucky one?
Admit it: you can’t wait to hit the road, make some amazing discoveries and support our local wineries. Let’s raise our glasses to Quebec’s wine produ
Montréal is known as a festive city where something is always going on—and it’s true! Festival season is in full swing, but it’s far from over. Events for every taste are planned from now until the end of summer; these are our faves:
MONTRÉAL CiRQUE FESTiVAL
July 6 to 16
What does the first international circus arts festival in North America have to offer? Circus everywhere in the city! The festival’s stunning and unique program includes performances not only on stages, but also (especially!) in the streets, in parks, on sidewalks… You will be astounded by the amazing feats of the most talented artists from the circus world. It will be a thrill for everyone, young and old!
Just for Laughs
July 15 to 30
Is Montréal the world’s funniest city? It’s very possible.The world’s biggest comedy festival was born here. Just for Laughs has tons of comedy shows of all kinds, in both English and French, featuring local comedians and renowned international guests. The fun will also spill out into the streets, so get ready to laugh your head off!
Osheaga Festival Music and Arts
August 4 to 6 at Parc Jean-Drapeau
Every year, Osheaga, the biggest festival of its kind in Canada, brings together music and art lovers for an epic weekend featuring hundreds of performances by renowned and emerging artists on several stages, a series of art installations and a festive ambiance. It’s a feast for the eyes—and the ears! Think Woodstock, but better. ;)
Montréal’s Italian Week
August 4 to 13
Travel to Italy without leaving the city! Montréal’s Italian Week is coming up. This colourful and flavourful festival is an opportunity to discover Italian culture, with music, arts, food, literature, fashion and more! For 22 years, the event has drawn in more than 400,000 visitors seeking to dive into the beauty and diversity of Italy. See you there!
August 4 to 13 at Uniprix Stadium
The Montréal Canadiens are on holiday and the Grand Prix is over. Sports fans, no need to panic: the Rogers Cup is coming up! This year, the men will hit the court and dazzle you with their masterful performances. The top stars of the tennis world are coming to Montréal in August; you don’t want to miss it! The ball is in your court.
As you can see, the metropolis has no shortage of events this summer. Music, arts, culture, sports … the choice is yours! Don’t forget to include Montréal in your vacation plans. The city is ready for you. You w
At this time of year, not many people are still enjoying the sub-zero temperatures. Don’t we all just want to sip a cocktail on a patio in the sun? We can’t put away our shovels and take out the sunscreen just yet, so here are a few hot spots to escape the cold and warm up your taste buds.
345 rue Villeray
First destination: Spain. Located in the heart of the Villeray neighbourhood, Mesón prepares delicious meals that will bring you right under the Iberian Peninsula sun. There’s nothing quite like Marie-Fleur St-Pierre’s bold yet comforting dishes to highlight the exciting flavours of traditional Spanish cuisine. Squid, Serrano ham, chorizo, Manchego, olive oil, sherry… Try the cocas, flatbreads from the Catalan region garnished with a variety of sweet or savoury ingredients. Open for dinner and brunch.
1216 avenue Union
How about a trip to Cuba for a taste of the Caribbean? That’s what La Habanera is offering; its lovely decor will instantly take you away, the background music will remind you of your last trip to a sunny destination, and they serve delicious cocktails with their unique tapas. Be sure to have a look at their extensive rum list, and enjoy the friendly service and warm ambiance. What more could you ask for when it’s cold outside? On the menu: ceviche, Creole chicken, rum shrimp and more!
1602 rue Laurier Est
765 rue Saint-François-Xavier, Terrebonne
Enjoy the true taste of Mexico and be transported there by the decor. You will love the relaxed atmosphere and traditional cuisine featuring all the hits: tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, moles … And why not have a margarita (or two) to cleanse your palate between bites of spicy salsa? Or perhaps you would rather explore the impressive tequila bar and discover the best 100% agave products? ¡Salúd!
La Petite Mangue
300 avenue du Mont-Royal Est
Now off to the other end of the world, Asia, to enjoy Cambodian cuisine at La Petite Mangue. Let their delicious and exotic Khmer dishes take you on a culinary adventure. Green papaya salad, crab and ginger stir-fry, and the traditional amok, of course—fish prepared with coconut milk and lemon grass and cooked in banana leaves. Just close your eyes, and you’ll be able to picture endless rice fields and a warm breeze on your skin…
1446 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
1212 avenue Union
Countless Quebecers dream of Hawaii during the cold winter months. Good news: no need to go to Honolulu for a taste of traditional Hawaiian poke, a fresh and flavourful bowl of “deconstructed sushi.” Head over to the delightful Koa Lua, have a seat at a surfboard, and create your very own combination of marinated tuna, onions, mango, avocado, soy sauce, sesame… Can you hear the waves crashing onto the shore?
Aloha! And bon voyage!
Want to escape into a romantic bubble with your sweetheart on this day of lovers? Here are a few suggestions to switch up your routine and celebrate your love with style.
Who doesn’t love getting pampered during a hotel getaway? You may not have time for an exotic vacation, but don’t let that stop you! Why not splurge on a memorable night at a hotel? You two don’t need to leave the city for a change of scenery. Dress up, turn off your phones, and don’t forget to hang the “Do not disturb” sign on your door. What’s more, you won’t even have to make the bed in the morning.
Now is the perfect time for lovers with fine palates to treat themselves to a gourmet meal and a fine bottle of wine. Tonight is not the night for slaving over a hot stove and drowning in dishes! You’ll be too busy whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. For a wonderfully romantic evening, head over to L’Auberge St-Gabriel and savour its excellent cuisine. After enjoying their special Valentine’s menu, you can even go for a horse-drawn carriage ride in Old Montréal!
Escape your hectic lives with a romantic weekend at a cottage, far away from it all. Find a babysitter and go wherever you want—just the two of you. Go skiing, snowshoeing, enjoy the fresh air, then snuggle up next to the fire. And don’t forget to bring supplies: oysters, champagne, chocolate … whatever you desire.
Here’s an idea for you playful types: organize a treasure hunt for your sweetie. Leave hints and surprises at all of his or her favourite spots. Want to earn brownie points? Go back to where it all began and visit the places where you met and first dated. Enjoy the memories!
Finally—there’s no escaping it! It’s not Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Don’t settle for some mediocre box from the drugstore; anything worth doing is worth doing well. Why don’t the two of you take a trip to chocolate heaven? A decadent dessert at Juliette & Chocolat, rich, spiced hot chocolate at Suite 88 Chocolatier, chocolates from Les chocolats de Chloé to enjoy at home… Sweet kisses are on the horizon!
Treat yourselves, darlings. Whatever your heart’s desire may be! ♥