We jumped on the 401 and headed east to la belle province. Five hours later it’s like we’ve been transported to Europe. From the streets of Vieux Montreal to cosmopolitan grit of Ste. Catherine, here are some must-visits when you’re playing tourist in Montreal.

Music and culture: Leonard Cohen exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain is a must-see and it was so powerful to see visitors of all ages taking in the music, writing and poetry of this Canadian legend. There are tons of interactive elements, like a room full of microphones where you can sing and listen to others around the world singing Halleluja and some virtual reality that will definitely intrigued the kids. On until April 2018.

Coffee and snacks: Just down the street from the gorgeous Basilique de Notre-Dame Cathedral (peek inside!) on rue Notre-Dame Ouest are two cool coffee shops. Read: skip MacDo and head to Crew Collective & Café, a new co-working space and coffee shop in the former Royal Bank Building. Lots of baking and some lunch options in a beautiful historic option. Also nearby is a bright coffee shop Tommy, serving the likes of lattes and hipster toast. We had some yummy pains au chocolat with our café.

View from above: The Montreal Observation Wheel (or la Grande roue de Montreal) is open year-round and is a beautiful sight even from the ground. It’s along the Old Port across from Les voiles des voiles, an aerial adventure course for kids on a pirate ship. For the big thrill-seekers, head to l’île Sainte Hélène, home to Expo 67, where you’ll find La Ronde, a huge amusement park and the Montreal Biosphere.

History and science: Montreal is so rich in history. The city’s birthplace is Pointe-à-Callière, the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History with lots of hands-on activities for kids in TOw. For more museum exploring, head to the Biodome, Insectarium and the Botanical Garden next to the Olympic Park and Montreal Tower.

Public Art: Montreal is very walkable and you’ll always come across some cool public art as you wander the city. (This Leonard Cohen mural was unveiled this November on the anniversary of his death.) This year in particular, there are some extra installations inspired by the history of Montreal (it just celebrated its 375th anniversary!). Cité memoire is a series of images, words and music that are projected on the walls, ground and parks in the city. You can download the app to find them all.

Bonne visite!