Shopping in Montreal is an experience, with a variety of places to explore no matter your budget. The city is home to beautiful, architecturally designed shopping centers, such as the RÉSO underground network, which provides a unique shopping experience, connecting multiple shops and centers through tunnels protected from the elements.
Montreal also has historic marketplaces and lively shopping streets, offering an array of products to browse. Whether you’re looking to save or splurge, this guide will help you plan your retail escapade in Montreal.
The Best Places to Go Shopping in Montreal
1. SAINTE CATHERINE STREET
Ste. Catherine is a bustling district in Montréal, Canada, and one of the city’s most popular places. It is known for its impressive selection of over 1,200 retailers and is a top destination for shoppers. The area is especially popular amongst English-speaking residents and visitors. It is home to some of the city’s most iconic stores, such as La Baie, Ogilvy, Simons, Holt Renfrew, and Birks. It also houses the Eaton Center, Complexe Les Ailes, Place Montréal Trust, Les Cours Mont-Royal, and the Underground City.
For foodies, Faubourg Ste. Catherine has a fantastic food court and a small market with specialty stores. A short distance away is Les Ailes de la Mode, the 40-million-dollar shoppers’ paradise. Designer boutiques have also sprung up, attracting well-to-do professionals and fashionistas alike.
2. MARCHÉ BONSECOURS
The Marché Bonsecours is one of the most recognizable buildings in Old Montreal. It shares its name with the nearby church. The building has a long history of many uses, such as a public market, a concert hall, Montreal’s city hall, and even the Parliament of Lower Canada.
In 1859, the building was established as a permanent public market. Today, it remains a popular spot, renowned for housing 15 artisan boutiques that feature Québec artists, designers, and artisans. Visitors can find original creations from members of Le Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec (Québec’s Craft Council).
As well as the artisan boutiques, the Marché Bonsecours offers a great selection of cafés, bistros, and restaurants.
3. Eaton Centre of Montreal
The Eaton Centre is the largest shopping center in Montreal’s Downtown hub. It offers a variety of products, including brand-name fashions, beauty and health products, home decor, electronics, and more. Notable tenants include Sephora, Decathlon, and Uniqlo. In addition, Eaton Centre is connected to RÉSO, Montreal’s ‘Underground City,’ which has hundreds of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
The Eaton Centre boasts a range of dining options, such as the TimeOut Market, chocolatiers, and fast-food restaurants. Paid parking is available in the mall’s underground car park. However, public transport is the most economical way to get to Eaton Centre, as it has direct access to McGill Metro Station.
4. PLACE VILLE MARIE
Place Ville Marie is a large shopping complex situated in central Montreal. It is considered a city within a city and is referred to as PVM by locals. Every night, the rotating beacon on its rooftop is visible in the night sky.
The complex offers direct access to key subway stations, the South Shore bus terminal, and the Windsor and Central train stations. It also provides access to two major hotels: the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure.
Place Ville Marie is comprised of an underground shopping plaza with over 80 upscale boutiques and stores. It offers a variety of ready-wear collections and high-end products, along with a food court and several good restaurants.
The center was designed by the Sino-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei. The clever cruciform structure allows natural light into the center of the building, creating a light and airy atmosphere further complemented by notable public art pieces.
5. Mont-Royal Avenue
Mont-Royal Avenue is a great way to explore the vibrant Plateau neighborhood of Montreal. Along the thoroughfare, you can find a variety of secondhand shops, bookstores, boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants. In good weather, cycling is a fun way to explore the street.
As you wander, you will be able to soak up the quirky and lively atmosphere. Be sure to take a break at one of the many cafe patios and look out for street art created by local artists. One of the most well-known is Mono Sourcil, a Montreal-based muralist.
6. COMPLEXE DESJARDINS
The Complexe Desjardins is strategically located in front of Place-des-Arts and the Place des Festivals. It offers a variety of stores, with 110 shops ranging from the usual big brand names to bargain stores and specialty boutiques. Additionally, the complex has a hotel, food court, and several restaurants.
This shopping center is attractive because of the vast public plaza, filled with natural light and plants. Throughout the year, the plaza hosts concerts, events, and presentations. During the Jazz festival, shows and workshops take place there.
The Complexe is connected to the Underground City and within walking distance of the Quartier des Spectacles (Entertainment District), Chinatown, Ste Catherine Street, and other attractions.
7. La Promenade Fleury
La Promenade Fleury is located in the north Montreal borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville. It stretches between Saint Hubert and Papineau Streets and offers a unique shopping experience with a small-town feel. This quaint promenade is lined with restaurants, delicatessens, and shops that are away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a mere 30-minute drive from Downtown Montreal.
Ahuntsic-Cartierville is a predominately French-speaking neighborhood situated along the banks of the Rivière des Prairies. It has several large parks where visitors can take a leisurely walk or bike ride after exploring its shop-lined streets. La Promenade Fleury is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful day out with friends or family.
8. RUE ST DENIS
Rue Saint-Denis is ideal for anyone looking for great shopping and a good time. It is the epicenter of trendy Canadian and hip fashion from top Quebec designers, featuring unique decor, cosmetics and perfumes, jewelry, books, and music. Rue Saint-Denis is especially popular during the warmer months, as people flock to the many patios for drinks and to watch trendsetting locals.
Shoppers can also take advantage of stores that stay open late for a bit of shopping before heading out to the dance venues. Between Mont-Royal Avenue and Sherbrooke Street, Rue Saint-Denis is a great place to grab breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks while taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
9. BOULEVARD ST LAURENT
Saint-Laurent Boulevard has served as the official dividing line between Montreal’s east and west sides for over two centuries. Known popularly as “The Main,” this bustling street is the city’s commercial hub, home to a wide variety of stores catering to all tastes and budgets. Those looking for a shopping experience to remember won’t want to miss the sidewalk sales held in the spring and fall, during which the streets are filled with unbeatable bargains.
But there’s more to The Main than just shopping – it’s also a great place to eat, drink and dance. With a diverse range of restaurants, bars, and clubs, it’s the perfect place to experience Montreal’s vibrant nightlife. So whether you’re looking for a great deal or a night out, Saint-Laurent Boulevard has something for everyone.
10. RÉSO (OR LA VILLE SOUTERRAINE)
Montreal’s winter season is long and cold, while summers are short and hot. A 19-mile tunnel system called the Underground City has been developed to accommodate this. This complex connects over 60 commercial complexes and residences and is used by close to half a million people daily. It provides access to hotels, shopping malls, banks, corporate headquarters, museums, university buildings, seven metro stations, two commuter train stations, and the Bell Centre hockey arena.
The Underground City has 120 above-ground entrances, allowing access to locations such as Place Bonaventure, Windsor Station, Les Cours mount-Royal, Place Montreal Trust, the Eaton Centre, Place de la Cathedrale, Complexe Les Ailes de la Mode, the Stock Exchange Tower, and the World Trade Center. In 2004 the Underground City was rebranded and given the name RESO/ La Ville Souterraine.
So if you’re visiting Montreal, leave your winter coat back at the hotel and head underground to take advantage of the convenient shopping opportunities RESO/ La Ville Souterraine offers. Shop ’til you drop!
11. PLAZA ST HUBERT
If you’re looking for a fashion bargain, Plaza St. Hubert Street is the perfect destination. With over 400 merchants gathered underneath the famous green awnings, you will find plenty of club wear, prom dresses, and wedding dresses. Founded in 1954, this street is a dream come true for serious shopaholics. You can find shoes, brand-name clothing, formal wear, jewelry, lingerie, perfume, cosmetics, knick-knacks, electronic goods, games, and textiles at fantastic bargain prices.
On top of that, you can also find plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can refuel. However, be aware that the quality varies widely, so pay careful attention to get the best value for your shopping dollar.