Hi - We are planning to visit Montreal during mid august and would like some advice on "must do, must see" for first time visitors. Also looking for some hotel suggestion. We are 3 - Me, my wife and 4 yr old son. I am driving into canada from the US and mostly visiting Montreal from either Ottawa or from Quebec city. I enjoy scenic landscapes and natural spots (mountains, falls, etc..) while my wife prefers big cities, famous tourist landmarks etc...I am equally enthusiastic about big cities and historic spots as well. So would request for recommendations on both categories. We both also like some level of physical activity (read about speed boats somewhere). Thats about us. Here are some questions that I am trying to get answers for...
1. Most scenic route to drive into Montreal - from Ottawa and from Quebec? From another thread - I looked at http://tinyurl.com/mym3a7 and it sounds good...but didn't see any feedback from you experts. Also this person mentioned a 1 hour ferry ride...not sure which part of the route has a ferry ride
2. Hotel suggestions: I am looking for a clean budget friendly hotel (<$100 a day?) which is: close to public transport, offers included breakfast, free wi-fi and free parking. Don't have any big expectations other than a safe place to spend the night. I understand parking is a big deal in Montreal - free or not. I plan on leaving the car parked for the whole day or two while I am there - so this looks like where I need the most help?
3. Like to see the best of Montreal in 2 days max. I have approximately from Wednesday to Saturday to spend among Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec City. In this time I would like to do and see as much as reasonably possible. Driving time between the cities and the fact that my son may need his downtime has to be considered. Also, I want to spend time where it is worth and not rush through everything. If it is justified, I can extend my trip by a day and do Tuesday to Saturday. Plan on driving back to the US on Sunday morning. I almost forgot - I am a photography enthusiast - so any suggestions on best spots for pictures in Montreal is appreciated.
4. Any place considered specifically fun / interesting for my 4 yr old son?
5. Anything outside Montreal City worth considering (not more than an hour or two by car)?
This is what I have so far from my research on the three cities:
Ottawa - 1 day
Rideau Canal - Ferry ride here in August?
Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame)
Mont (Mount) Royal / St Joesph Oratory - how much time here?
Biodome - is it worth visiting / spending time in?
Walk around downtown at dusk / night?
Speed boat ride?
Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec)
Montmorency Falls Park/Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
Quebec - Levis Ferry
Observatoire de la Capitale
Thanks in advance...