It’s no secret that I’m absolutely in love with Montreal, a romantic city with tons of sites for culture and history lovers to explore (though it’s also drop-dead gorgeous with amazing photography spots). One thing I do more in Montreal than in any other city is go shopping! Between the great exchange rate for us Americans, the amazing local art scene, and the plethora of cools stores, I never leave Montreal empty-handed. So for those wondering what to buy in Montreal, here are my top Montreal souvenir recommendations and where to get them.
Where to Stay in Montreal
Every time I’ve been to Montreal, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how great a deal we’ve been able to get on quality hotel rooms. There are a ton of accommodation options in Montreal, and I think it’s much more affordable than other East Coast cities. I’ll list a couple of my favorites, one for each of these price categories:
- Budget: A room in a hostel, usually $20-25 USD per night for a dorm bed or under $50 for a double.
- Mid-range: Around $50-80
- Luxury: Around $100 per night or more
Budget: For a great budget-friendly hostel, you can stay in the dorms at M Montreal Hostel on Rue Saint-Andre. The rooms are modern and clean, but the real photogenic aspect of this hostel is the roof deck (including the hot tub!). You’ll also love the funky common areas like the billiards table and the bar. Check the pricing, reviews, and availability here.
Mid-Range: For an affordable, yet luxurious stay in Montreal, I recommend the three-star Hotel Chateau de l’Argoat. The rooms have an old-world charm look and feel, yet they are still rich in color. Just imagine tucking in by a beautiful fireplace complete with a warming fire for those cold Montreal nights. Check the pricing, reviews, and availability here.
Luxury: I adore a historic hotel, and if you’re going to sleep in history in Montreal it needs to be at the Le Mount Stephen, a five-star hotel with absolutely stunning interiors. The building is a nineteenth-century mansion, and I’ve never seen wooden paneling this beautiful in a hotel. The staircase deserves an Instagram fashion show. Located just half a kilometer from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, there are great cafes and restaurants in the area as well. Check the pricing, reviews, and availability here.
What to Buy in Montreal: The Best Montreal Souvenirs & Gifts
In no particular order…
Leather Jewelry and Leather Goods
By far the Montreal souvenir I have used the most often, I picked up a teal handmade leather bracelet while shopping in a boutique on my last trip to the city. Leather jewelry makes a great Montreal gift for her or for him, so if you’re looking for a present for a loved one keep your eyes open for great leather crafts. While I don’t remember the name of the shop I was in, a great local Montreal leather brand is PHILO.
Art by Labrona
One of Canada’s most well-known street artists, I loved spotting this Labrona while out and about in the city. Though I could certainly just frame it as a souvenir, it’s not the only option! Labrona actually has an online Etsy shop where you can purchase a print for yourself! This is a great way to buy a Montreal souvenir online that you can have waiting for you after you return, without the hassle of having to transport it yourself!
I love wine tourism, but I didn’t use to think of Montreal as a wine destination. However, there are many vineyards in the area, and you can buy local ice wine to remember your trip by! Made from grapes that are frozen while still on the vine, producing a sweeter dessert wine. You can go tasting at the Marche Bonsecours or other wine shops before purchasing your favorite bottle to take home with you.
Vintage & Secondhand
Montreal has some awesome vintage and secondhand shops. Unfortunately, my favorite closed in 2015, but I was able to take advantage and get this Prada bag second hand on clearance for about two hundred USD. Because of the exchange rate, the deals on second-hand goods are that much better in Canada in the US, so I absolutely adore shopping secondhand here. Look for shops with a bit of a dusty edge and you’ll find some truly overlooked gems!
Quebec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup, so it would be strange to come here and not run into the stuff. It is so important to the local economy that there was actually a Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist in 2011 and 2012 where almost twenty million dollars worth of maple syrup was stolen from a Quebecois storage facility.
Of course, you should pay for yours, but a few bucks will go pretty far. This makes an especially great gift from Montreal for coworkers and friends to let them know you were thinking of them (while keeping the price tag low…).
Novels about Montreal
I suggest a few books about Montreal for on my Montreal packing list, but you can also pick them up in the city to read and bring back with you! A few popular choices are Lullabies for Little Criminals, The History of Montréal: The Story of Great North American City, and Last Night in Montreal.
Literature in French
I don’t speak or read French. I did pick up a copy of French literature with the English translation on the opposite page after my first trip to Montreal. It was a fun way to learn a little bit of the language and appreciate French literature. Copies of works in French aren’t too easy to come by in the English-speaking world, so pick up one in Montreal if you’re so inclined!
Native Canadian Artwork
You can appreciate the Native Canadian Art at the art museums in Montreal, but you can actually buy artwork and support Native Canadian artists at the same time. There are multiple galleries in Vieux Montreal specializing in works by Native Canadians. The price tag at these galleries is noticeably steep, but the works are worth the price. If you can’t afford to bring one back with you, these are still great places to window shop in Montreal!
Yes, while in Montreal you are legally required to eat poutine. But did you know you can take it home with you? Poutine is one of the most popular choices for Montreal gifts and souvenirs. You can bring back sauce packets to make at home, or pick up a poutine-themed tee shirt or phone case. While it’s not the prettiest food you ever saw, why wouldn’t you want it on your phone case for the rest of eternity?
Montreal Metro Souvenirs
Inspired by the Paris metro, the Montreal metro has beautiful art nouveau signs, though I love the Instagrammable architecture of some of the Metro stops more than the iconography. You can find cool metro-themed souvenirs at some of the city boutiques and souvenir shops, and I think they’re a great way to celebrate the fusion of cultures that makes up Montreal!
Craft Brewery and Beer Souvenirs
Montreal has a great craft beer scene (I’m partial to Reservoir). You can pick up craft beer or brewery merch while you drink, saving you time and helping you get cool souvenirs in the process. Whether you choose to bring back the beer, the merch, or both depends on your budget and your fondness for your newly discovered craft beer crush.
Vieux Montreal Souvenirs
Quebec is proud of its French heritage, and nowhere is that more on display in Montreal than in Vieux Montreal. Here you’ll find great local souvenirs emblazoned with the historical symbols of the city and province, complete with about one billion fleurs de lis.
This might be a strictly-American thing, but coming from the states it’s always a shock how far my money goes. I love buying luxury goods here (even American and International brands), because you can typically find a really good deal, like this DKNY purse I got on my last trip for half of what it was selling for online back in the states.
FYI, they only technically count as souvenirs if you can avoid eating them before you leave the city. However, if you can manage to buy some local chocolates and not stuff your face with them (which I could not), then these would make a special Montreal gift for him or here back home. Or, if you pick up an unromantic box, could make a great Montreal gift for coworkers and officemates.
Notre Dame Souvenirs
The Notre Dame Basilica has a small gift shop, so you can always pick up your souvenirs from Montreal here. Note that their website says they have an online store, but it doesn’t seem to be working. So if there’s something you see while at Notre Dame, buy it there. This is one kind of Montreal souvenir that you can’t get online (for now at least).
Celine Dion Souvenirs
Celine Dion is perhaps the world’s most famous Québécois, (though she’s technically from the Montreal suburb of Charlemagne). So if you love this Canadian diva, Montreal is the perfect place to get Celine Dion souvenirs, from kitschy tee shirts and musical recordings to books and posters. Of course, you can never go wrong with a fake sapphire heart-shaped necklace to show your Dion devotion.
If you collect magnets, spoons, tee shirts, or any other item every time you travel, then you should rest easy that you can easily find traditional touristy kitsch all over the city! So whether you need a tiny bell, Montreal poster, or an “I ::Heart:: Montreal” tee shirt, you will find it here!
5 Things to Pack for a Trip to Montreal
- The Lonely Planet Montreal and Quebec City guidebook for your trip. I used a Kindle version during my first few trips to Montreal. This was especially helpful for information about Old Montreal.
- Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS system, and general travel genie.
- A Camera since Montreal in fall is super photogenic. I use a mix of my Nikon D810 and my Samsung8 smartphone these days.
- A Full Sized Travel Towel for anyone taking advantage of Montreal’s hostels or shared accommodations. This is the best travel towel in the world, and you’ll need it if you are staying in hostels or anywhere that requires you to bring your own towel.
- Travel Insurance Policy information, because things happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance when in cities like Berlin where there are pickpockets that target tourists.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance when participating in outdoor activities. Even in the cities, though, you’ll be happy when you’re able to replace your stuff if it’s lost or stolen.
Montreal Travel Resources
Are you headed to Montreal? If so, check out my Montreal packing list, which includes everything from what to wear in Montreal to what apps to download and books to read. After that, you can read my guide to the best Montreal Instagram spots, so you don’t miss out on the perfect travel pics during your trip.
Finally, I have lots of new Montreal content on the way, so bookmark my Canada page so you won’t miss any new posts before your trip!
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