Montreal is the most populated city in Quebec and the second-most populated city in all of Canada with more than 1.7 million residents. It was founded in 1642 but evidence has been found showing that native Americans were living there approximately 4,000 years ago. By the 1300s, the settlers had begun growing and selling maize in what started the first French colony in Canada in the 1200s.
Today, the city is bursting with Montreal shopping malls in downtown Montreal as well as awesome shopping streets like Saint Laurent Boulevard (or Boulevard Saint Laurent), Rue Ste. Catherine, Rue St. Denis (also known as Rue Saint-Denis). You can also find a variety of boutique shops and shopping areas with department stores and the best shopping in town.
Old Montreal has some of the best shopping in Montreal boasting vintage boutiques, old shops with everything from children's books to fashion accessories, clothing, and food. Some of the best shopping in Montreal can be found in small shops as well as strip malls and the Atwater Market.
In the Mile End district of Montreal, you can find a variety of unique shops such as General 54, Boucle & Papier, Ruse Boutique, and Boutique Unicorn. The main streets to shop in the Mile End district are Boulevard Saint Laurent and Boulevard Sainte-Joseph E. You will also be treated to art galleries and street art along your shopping journey.
If you are more into shopping malls, Montreal has those too. The Underground City is the most popular and boasts 19 miles of tunnels with different Montreal shopping malls, hotels, museums, a food court, and seven metro stations. Laden with packages after a morning of enjoying sales and bargains? Drop off your bags at a Montreal suitcase storage site before continuing your day so your hands are free to carry more purchases!
Downtown Montreal is the place to shop
Just like most of the trendiest cities, the best place to shop in Montreal is the downtown core because that is the hub of the major boutiques, fashion shops, famous brands, and luxury hotels as well as attractions like the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and the McCord Museum. If you get hungry, the best food places can be found downtown as well.
In this central part of the city, you can find a collection of clothing boutiques featuring the best brands as well as high fashion shops like Sephora, Boutique Monroe Montreal, Suzy Shier, and Ardene for the modern woman. Take a walk down Rue Sherbrooke for the home essentials store, Shamiels Boutique, Boutique Rock, Ritsi Fashion Store, and many more. Below, we'll delve deeper into wonderful streets and areas of the city for shopping and buying!
Rue Ste. Catherine
Shopping in Montreal would not be complete if you do not visit Rue. Ste. Catherine or Ste. Catherine Street. It is one of the largest groups of retail shops in Canada with more than 1,200 merchants. Some of the best shopping can be found in the stores and boutiques along this famous shopping street.
Some of the stores include Birks, Holt Renfrew, Simons, Oglivy, and La Baie. Whether you are looking for international labels, fashionable people, accessories, or a mall full of popular stores, you will find it all on this main street. The food selection on this street is also spectacular with so many cuisines from Montreal homestyle to seafood.
Rue Ste. Denis
All the way from Henri Julien Park to the Saint Lawrence River, Rue Ste. Denis or Saint Denis Street is packed with the best places to take a walk as you enjoy store after store full of high-priced clothing brands and boutique shops. Between Mont-Royal and Sherbrooke Street, there are over 50 eateries in case you get hungry. You may see a food truck or two along this street as well.
This area is known for its arts and creativity so you will also find a few theaters and craft stories like Les Pierres St. Denis Bead Store, the Loft bijoux, Le Livart Centre d'art Montréal, and Kamikaze Curiosities. You can also find a collection of clothing stores such as ONZE Montreal, Le Corner Men's Clothes, and Floh Market, which is great for vintage clothing.
Also known as Sherbrooke Street, you will discover a plethora of men's style shops like The Coat House and Jeanguy at this high-end shopping location. Women are not left out on Rue Sherbrooke either. It is one of the best places to find trendy vintage shoes, quality bags, and more. Head west on the street to MO851 for leather goods, Ritsi for personalized service when shopping for quality women's clothing, Scarpa for footwear imported from Europe, and Chou Chou for lots of major brands.
You will find high quality items in the same place as dollar stores which makes it a great place for anyone to shop. This street is also the home of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which just happens to be right next to Tiffany & Co. Jewelry.
Saint Laurent Boulevard
Located in and around the Mile End area, the trendy Saint Laurent Boulevard is home to many high-end thrift stores, home decor boutiques, and jewelry stores. Eve Gravel is one of the most popular delicate jewelry stores in Montreal as well as Canada. Lowell is a special place to drop in for some leather goods. And Citizen Vintage has unique items made by hand.
The street goes right through the Red Light District with a spattering of boutique hotels, and several performing arts theaters. Stop in at El Furniture Warehouse, SuWu, or Le Rouge for a cocktail and a bite to eat or hang out at the Place de la Paix Park to do some people-watching. But don't miss Boutique 1861 founded by Castle Ho. There are four locations along this fantastic shopping street.
Are you thinking about trading in some of your old clothes for something new? Just pack a tote bag full of your unwanted items and head to Empire Exchange. The two main stores are in Mile End but their sister store is not far from here in Little Italy. Whatever exchanges they take, they will give you store credit to use at any of their locations.
Besides Empire Exchange, you can enjoy Clark Street Mercantile, LNF Shop, Les Etoffes, Frank and Oak Fashion by Ethan Song, and naif Boutique Mile End. In fact, this is one of the best shopping areas for those on a budget because of all the resale and thrift shops.
It seems like every major city in the world has a Chinatown and Little Italy and Montreal has their own Little Italy between Rosemont and Rue Jean-Talon. You can find some really special souvenirs at Miss Napoletana, awesome jewelry at Bijouterie Dominic, and have a glass of wine at Ratafia.
If you are looking to add to your book collection, you can possibly find something rare at Renaud-Bray or the Librairie Raffin Plaza St-Hubert Book Store. And right down the street the Planete Otaku Toy Store and the Oscar Candy Store.
Montreal Eaton Centre
This shopping mall is part of the Underground City and is located in the downtown area of Ville-Marie in Montreal. With more than 125 stores, if you cannot find what you want there, you probably cannot find it anywhere. What started as Eaton's Department Store in Toronto has merged with the Complexe Les Ailes to become one of the largest shopping centers in Canada.
From the Akai Bowl to Zyeu Optometristes and Jewelry, you can find it all at this place. Besides the 100+ retail stores, the mall also boasts a food court with everything from fast food to fine dining restaurants. You can shop for vintage items, shoes, and more than two dozen women's clothes and accessories shops as well as several markets and Canada style shops.
Place Montreal Trust
Located on the corner of Ste. Catherine and McGill, this five story shopping mall is also a part of the Underground City of Montreal. It is a favorite with the local shoppers as well as visitors boasting a central site and three anchor stores, Indigo Books and Music, Winners, and Zara. The site is also popular for its indoor water fountain with a 98-foot water spout, one of the tallest in the world.
It may not be as large as the Montreal Eaton Centre, but with 70 shops, it has all the major places for women, men, and children such as Twin Roads, and Souris Mini. You can also visit one of the dozen eateries for a bite or grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks. One of the best deals at this location is that tourists get up to 25% off, so it is worth the trip.
Le Cours Mont-Royal
For those who are really into high style items, go where the local shoppers go. This is one of the most upscale shopping malls in Canada and boasts a 12-story architectural wonder that used to be Mount Royal Hotel. The building itself is a work of art with the fancy remnants of the former hotel like several chandeliers and large courts where you can see events like fashion shows and expos like SpaDiva and ExpoBarbie.
Local shoppers find their style at Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Sarah Pacini, and Inwear as well as vintage items at Citizen Vintage, Ex-Voto, and Empire Exchange. The building also holds festivals, concerts, and holiday features all year long. The local shoppers will tell you that a trip to Le Cours Mont-Royal is worth it.
Alexis Nihon Complex
Named after the Canadian inventor Alexis Louis Nihon, the Alexis Nihon Complex has 100 retailers and eateries from A+ Products to Zara Fashion. The building has more than 2.4 million square feet of shopping space as well as a cineplex where you can catch a movie, an optician and dentist in case you need some work done, and the GA Bar where you can drink a beer and play video games.
If you are looking for a sandwich, Dagwoods, Subway, Cultures, or Shawarma Plus are great choices. Or grab some Asian food at the Sushi Shop, Thai Express, Domo Grill, or Le Poke Station. They even have a McDonald's if you are having a Big Mac attack.
Wherever you decide to do your shopping in Montreal, you will be spoiled for choice with so many different shops, boutiques, and malls. From Holt Renfrew for beautiful clothes to local artisan boutiques for jewelry, bags and more, you won't go home empty-handed! While you are in the city, take a break from hitting the stores and be sure to visit some of the major attractions like the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, Mount Royal Park, the Biodome, or the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.