I am taking the family to Montreal & Quebec for 6 nights in August. I am trying to figure out how many nights to stay in each city and what area in each city to look for a hotel.
Well, I admit to prejudice, but I think your whole 6 days should be spent in Montreal. If you insist on Quebec City, then give Montreal 4 and Quebec 2.
For a hotel in Montreal, not that I have ever needed one, a lot of visitors love “Old Montreal”, at the old port. I would advise instead staying in the city centre. The metro system will whisk you to Old Montreal in minutes if that is your fancy, and there are many hotels in the western part of the city centre. Museums are close by, restaurants abound, access to Mount Royal, our beloved mountain, is very easy should you feel the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you see a hotel on booking.com that attracts you, I will be happy to offer an opinion as to location, etc.
What do you want to do? Blue Jays games? Botanical Garden s or outside pursuits? A day trip to Ottawa😁? Have you reviewed what is showing at the major museums that might be of interest? I think these can help determine how many days each city....but 4/2 makes sense.
'Atmosphere' is great for couples but if family includes younger kids you might prefer space, variety and modernity on lodgings. Old Town either city won't give you that. You may want a pool for down time and the fact that Montreal in particular is hot, hot, hot...and humid.
I recommend leaving the car parked and walk or use public transit.
If the OP is interested in a Blue Jays game he (she?) should go to Toronto, not Montreal.
Thanks for all your responses. We have a 12 year old girl (going on 65) who appreciates art and architecture but would also enjoy sites like the aquarium. We want to be close to Old Montreal (by train is fine). Only if it makes sense I would prefer to stay at a Marriott or SPG (Westin, W, etc.) property.
I would allow much more time for Montreal (no less than 4 days), for obvious reasons. It's chock-full of things to see, you can easily spend the whole time there (I would probably do that given the short time you have but then again I've been to Quebec City multiple times, and it is special and unique). The Montreal metro is super easy to use so you have a lot of flexibility as far as which neighborhood to stay in. I loved the Le Plateau-Mont Royal neighborhood, but ended staying in the Latin Quarter, which was also good location-wise. I found all my lodging on booking.com and it turned out great. If you need specific recommendations, just send me a PM (private message) and I'll dig through my e-mail to find where I stayed a few years ago.
I assume you mean Quebec City? If so, it's very compact and can be seen in 2 full days. The province of Quebec, however, is wonderful and geographically spread out. It requires more time and wheels to get around. In Quebec City, I would only say that you should also consider staying outside the walled city (there's an upper and lower town) since everything is rather close and walkable. I stayed within the city walls in a great little apartment but ended up liking the local neighborhoods a lot more and really enjoyed walking around all over the place. In retrospect, it would have been much less expensive to not stay directly in the path of the horse carriages and the tourist-central area which is inside the walled city. So don't hesitate to look at other neighborhoods as well, especially if you don't mind a bit of a stroll in local neighborhoods.
Your studious offspring might enjoy the Insectarium, a real creapy-crawly experience. It is part of the big east-side park adjacent to the shabby Big O sports stadium. That park also has a Biodome, an exhibit about nature installed in what was the velodrome for bike-racing in the 1974 Olympics. The nearby botanical gardens are glorious.
I suggest checking the city tourism board for what activities may be on during your stay. Almost every weekend has some sort of festival or other celebration. Summers can be short so Montreal makes the most of them.
Quebec City, as has been suggested, is much more compact and the walls and other history are fine for young people. But going there and back to Montreal, if that is your plan, will consume at least a half day each way, cutting into your already short vacation.
I don't know whether it's worthwhile to reserve early, but here's the website for the VIA train between the two cities:
Also, both cities have excellent online and on-the-ground tourism resources. I would look online first because the summers are very busy with activities and festivals, and those may really affect the lodging prices.
Oops. You can tell I am not a sports person.....should have been Montreal Expos baseball team.
The big stadium is in the area of the Biodome and Botanical Gardens, with the Insectarium. That area is easily accessible by subway and could take up a good portion of the day.
The Quay still offers a lot of fun activities. The old Expo site and La Ronde are still functioning.
Depending on whether there is a major festival on, you might find those SPG prices/points to be over and above their average.
Montreal Expos have been defunct for years and years, Maria, if anyone reading this thread is the slightest bit interested in seeing baseball in Montreal.
Well Norma, thanks, again, for correcting my sports knowledge or lack thereof. I will in future steer clear of saying more than 'watch a sporting event at the stadium'. I am sure any savvy sport person would see my error and move on.
Quebec City does have a minor-league baseball team, Les capitales. It plays in Stade Canac, an old wooden stadium worthy of Bull Durham. The fact that its website is only in French may suggest just how many tourists it expects. Fun for diehard baseball fans, which you clearly are not. There's more than enough to do in Montreal alone, and adding in the scenic delights of Quebec City will produce a crowded, indeed hectic, schedule without four hours at the ball park.
I have been to both Montreal and Quebec City and I disagree strongly with those who have said to spend all your time in Montreal. In fact, I would almost say the opposite. Quebec City is much more different than any US city than Montreal. In the old town of Quebec City it feels like you are in a European city, whereas Montreal is much more like a modern US city. We booked an Airbnb in Quebec and ended up in a historic building in an old town square, which was great. If you are interested in architecture and history, QC is also better in my view.
My sister-in-law are going in August, flying in and out of Montreal and taking the train to (and back from) Quebec City. So I was interested in all the suggestions (we should compare notes later!) We plan to split our time equally between both cities. My comment has to do with your preference for a Marriott or Westin-owned accommodation....Our hotel reservations are with local hotels, hopefully to get that French-Canadian atmosphere for a greater percentage of our time there....As a side-note, a member of our travel meetup here in Phoenix is descended from one of the original benefactors of a Cathedral in Old Quebec, her ancestor's name is on a plaque...so I'm excited to see that.
I just returned last week from a week in Canada doing exactly what you are planning on doing. We flew to Quebec City and spent three days and then took the train, as a previous poster suggested, to Montreal. These two cities have been on my bucket list for years. I have to confess that I was disappointed in Montreal (sorry to all those who love it). QC is so charming and so easy to walk around and lovely outdoor cafes everywhere. Montreal, to me, was a big city with very little charm compared to QC. We stayed in the Mount Royal neighborhood and used the subway everyday which was easy to figure out, but like any big city, was usually very crowded. We did spend one day visiting the Botanical Gardens which were absolutely gorgeous. I would go back to QC in a heartbeat, but once was enough for me visiting Montreal.
Grace, that's interesting about your friend. We stayed in an Airbnb that was in a historic house on Place Royal, the square where the oldest stone church in North America is still standing. The square is in the lower old town port area of the city and is surrounded by 17th and 18th century houses. Very charming! The church is called the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires and we could see it out of our window. I wonder if that's the one with your friend's relative's plaque?
And I'm glad to see that Lisa also agrees that QC is worth more time than Montreal. I was beginning to think maybe I got the two cities confused.
I have very fond memories of Quebec City after two visits there and very few clear memories of Montreal even though I've been there three times.
I vote for at least 2 nights in Quebec City so you can soak up the European-style atmosphere and see some of the historical wonders.
Montreal is less distinctive, but be sure to visit the underground shopping centers as I haven't seen anything like that elsewhere in North America.
We went on a river ride near Montreal- day trip. It was a lot of fun.- high speed thru rapids. dad found it on trip advisor. took metro and then bus but it was great. Also took a day trip from Montreal to Quebec City- that was fun
Montreal is like an affordable Paris without the hassle of overseas flight and time zones. It is a great city.
Use the underground system to get around.