Visiting Montreal and Quebec City aren’t as overwhelming and intimidating as visiting other foreign countries, especially if you’re coming from the U.S. If anything, visiting the Quebec province is very similar to visiting any major U.S. cities. However, it is always good to be prepared prior to your arrival. This guide will help you navigate through major questions, such as “What is the best time of year to visit?” or “What is the best mode of transportation in Quebec?”
Table of Content:
Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions when traveling to the Quebec province, particularly Montreal and Quebec City. You can read through all of them or click to the questions you want answered. Either way, you will be 100% prepared when visiting the French Canada province!
- Montreal is one of the five largest French speaking cities in the world. However, most residents are bilingual.
- Montreal is the second largest city in Canada but the largest city in the French Canadian region.
- Montreal has the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada but the second highest in North America, right after New York City, of course.
- Montreal hosted the first Olympics held in Canada in the summer of 1976.
- Montreal is a UNESCO city of design.
- 85% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Québec, Montréal’s Provence.
- Quebec City is the capital of the province of Quebec, not Montreal.
- The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City is the world’s most photographed hotel.
The currency is Canadian Dollar (CAD).
Some places may accept US Dollar (USD) but you will get a poor exchange rate.
Yes, some places accept major credit cards but only use one with no foreign transaction fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Amazon Visa Rewards Card. Always keep in mind that when using credit card and presented with an option to pay in USD or their local currency, always select the local currency; in this case, CAD. You get a better exchange rate from the bank converting your dollars rather than the store converting it for you.
No, you do not need a visa to visit Canada in general. The only thing you will need is a valid U.S. Passport. If you plan on driving into the country, you must have a passport and a passport card or NEXUS card. This allows for expedited border crossings for both private and commercial travelers through Canadian and U.S. border controls.
The dress custom in Quebec isn’t that much different from any other American city, so your normal everyday attire would suffice. However, if you are coming in the winter, be sure to pack a warm, waterproof jacket, boots, and base layers. For nature and outdoor activity, pack active attire and shoes.
- Train: The VIA Rail Canada train will be the most cost-efficient option. Duration of the journey is ~3 hours one-way with fares starting at CA$37.
- Air: The flight duration is 50 minutes one-way with fares starting at around CA$80. On select days, you can find flights as low as CA$60.
Top Neighborhoods to Stay in Montreal:
- Old Montreal: The most tourist and oldest districts in Montreal. This area is filled with narrow cobblestone streets and architecture dating back to the 17th century.
- Le Plateau-Mont-Royal: Housing in this neighborhood was originally built for factory workers but over the years, gentrification has transformed this area into a artsy, upscale neighborhood. It is definitely less touristy than Old Montreal but is always bustling with locals who stroll into these parts to shop and dine. We stayed in this area and loved it.
- Mile End: Mile End used to be a part of Le Plateau but is now recognized as a sub-neighborhood. Similar to Le Plateau, the Mile End has an artistic vibe and is home to many artists, writers, and musicians who have moved out of Le Plateau and into Mile end.
- Quartier Latin: This small neighborhood is just south of Le Plateau and is filled with a youthful vibe and energy due to its proximity to Université de Montréal. It may be more active and lively in nightfall than during the day.
- Gay Village (or Le Village): Simply referred to as the Village by locals, the Village is dubbed the Gay Village due to its LGBTQ-friendly vibes (similar to the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, CA). This area was once a poor working-class area but has grown into a vibrant dining, drinking, and entertainment district. Similar to the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, Le Village is LGBTQ-friendly.
- Little Italy: Just behind Toronto, Montreal has the second-largest Italian population in Canada. Located North of the Plateau neighborhood, Little Italy is filled with many Italian Canadian-owners shops and restaurants and is home to Jean-Talon Market, Montreal’s oldest public market.
Most Popular Neighborhoods to Stay in Quebec City:
- Saint-Jean We stayed here and it was the perfect location! It was a short 5-minute walk from the train station and a 5-10 minute walk to all the major POIs
- Vieux-Québec: Haute-Ville (Upper Town) & Vieux-Québec: Basse-Ville (Lower Town)
- Parliament Hill
- Use your own two feet! Walking is not only cost-efficient but also better for the environment.
- Save money on rideshares. Ubers, as we all know, is cheaper than taxis most of the time. If you’re new to Uber, use my codealdt6for a free ride worth up to $5.
- Eat a simple breakfast such as a piece of fruit and yogurt.
- Travel during low or shoulder season. Flights and hotel rates drop during this time.
- Take the train to/from the airport in Montreal. If you can spare 45 to 70 minutes, take the express bus. The fare is CA$10 vs. CA$29-40 for an Uber.
Have any other questions about the Quebec province?
Just drop us a note in the comment section below and we’ll respond with an answer! If we don’t know the answers ourselves, we’ll do our best to find the answer for you.