New York City Vs Montreal: Which City Is Right For You?

With their vibrant cultures, world-class cuisine, and endless things to see and do, New York City and Montreal are two of the most exciting cities in North America. For those trying to decide between these amazing metropolises, here is a comprehensive comparison to help you determine which is the better fit.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Montreal tends to be more affordable than New York City and has a more laidback vibe, while New York City offers more job opportunities, diversity, and a fast-paced lifestyle.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, we will compare New York City and Montreal across factors including cost of living, job market and economy, transportation and layout, culture and diversity, nightlife and entertainment options, and more. With detailed information on the pros and cons of each city, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to decide whether the Big Apple or La Metropole is the right place to call home.

Cost of Living

Housing Costs

When comparing the cost of living between New York City and Montreal, housing costs play a major role. In New York City, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $3,000 per month, while outside of the city center, it can still range from $2,000 to $2,500 per month.

On the other hand, in Montreal, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is significantly lower, at around $1,400 per month, and outside of the city center, it can be as low as $900 per month.

This significant difference in housing costs makes Montreal a more affordable option for those looking to save on rent.

Everyday Expenses

Aside from housing costs, everyday expenses also contribute to the overall cost of living. In terms of groceries, both cities have a wide range of options with varying prices. However, according to a study by Numbeo, the cost of groceries in Montreal is generally lower compared to New York City.

Additionally, dining out and entertainment expenses tend to be more affordable in Montreal, with a diverse culinary scene and a range of cultural events to enjoy at more budget-friendly prices. On the other hand, New York City offers a wider array of options and experiences, but at a higher cost.


When considering the cost of living, it is important to take taxes into account. In New York City, both state and local taxes can be quite high. The state income tax rate ranges from 4% to 8.82%, depending on income brackets. Additionally, the city imposes a local income tax of 3.876% for residents.

In contrast, Montreal has a lower tax burden, with a provincial income tax rate ranging from 16% to 25.75%, depending on income brackets. While taxes should not be the sole factor in determining where to live, it is worth considering the impact they may have on your overall cost of living.

Job Market and Economy

When considering a move to either New York City or Montreal, it’s important to evaluate the job market and overall economy of both cities. This will help determine which city is the right fit for you in terms of job opportunities, key industries, and salaries.

Job Opportunities

New York City, being one of the largest financial and business hubs in the world, offers a plethora of job opportunities across various sectors. From finance and technology to media and entertainment, the city attracts top talent from around the globe.

The presence of major corporations and startups creates a dynamic and competitive job market, making it an attractive destination for ambitious individuals looking to advance their careers.

Montreal, on the other hand, is known for its thriving technology and gaming industries. The city is home to numerous video game studios and tech companies, making it an ideal choice for those interested in the tech sector.

Additionally, Montreal has a strong cultural and creative scene, offering opportunities in fields such as arts, design, and media.

Key Industries

In terms of key industries, New York City dominates in finance, advertising, media, and technology. The city’s Wall Street is synonymous with the global finance industry, while Madison Avenue is renowned for its advertising agencies.

The presence of major media conglomerates, such as NBCUniversal and Viacom, also contributes to the city’s vibrant media industry. In recent years, New York City has also become a hub for startups and tech companies, with Silicon Alley rivaling its West Coast counterpart.

Montreal, on the other hand, has a strong focus on aerospace, gaming, and artificial intelligence. The city is home to several aerospace companies, including Bombardier and CAE, and has a well-established aerospace cluster.

Montreal’s gaming industry is also thriving, with companies like Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment having a significant presence in the city. Moreover, Montreal has become a hotspot for artificial intelligence research and development, attracting top talent and investment in this field.


When it comes to salaries, it’s important to consider the cost of living in each city. New York City is known for its high cost of living, which is reflected in higher salaries compared to other cities.

However, it’s important to note that the cost of housing, transportation, and other expenses can offset the higher salaries. Montreal, on the other hand, has a lower cost of living compared to New York City, resulting in relatively lower salaries.

However, the lower cost of living can provide a higher quality of life for individuals with lower incomes.

According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary in New York City is $78,000 per year, while in Montreal, it is $54,000 per year. It’s worth noting that these figures can vary depending on the industry, job position, and level of experience.

Transportation and Layout

Public Transportation

When it comes to public transportation, both New York City and Montreal offer extensive options for residents and visitors. In New York City, the subway system is a popular mode of transportation, with its vast network of trains covering all five boroughs.

The subway system in New York City is known for its efficiency and frequency, making it easy to get around the city. Montreal also has a well-developed public transportation system, including a metro system that serves the city and its surrounding areas.

The metro in Montreal is known for its cleanliness and reliability, making it a convenient option for commuters. Both cities also have bus networks that provide additional transportation options.

Walkability and Bikeability

When it comes to walkability, New York City takes the lead. The city is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets, with many neighborhoods offering sidewalks lined with shops, restaurants, and parks. In addition, New York City has implemented bike lanes throughout the city, making it easy for cyclists to get around safely.

Montreal, on the other hand, is also known for its walkability, with many neighborhoods offering a mix of shops, cafes, and parks within walking distance. The city also has a bike-sharing program, making it convenient for residents and visitors to explore the city on two wheels.

Access to Other Cities and Regions

Both New York City and Montreal have excellent access to other cities and regions. In New York City, three major airports (John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport) provide easy access to destinations around the world.

The city also has a well-connected train and bus system, making it easy to travel to nearby cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Montreal also has an international airport (Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport) that offers flights to various destinations.

The city is also well-connected by train and bus, making it easy to explore other parts of Canada, including Toronto and Quebec City.

Culture and Diversity

When comparing New York City and Montreal, one cannot overlook the rich cultural and diverse experiences that both cities offer. From language to cuisine, arts and entertainment, and overall diversity, both cities have much to offer.


While English is the primary language spoken in New York City, it is not uncommon to hear a myriad of languages being spoken on the streets. The city’s diversity is reflected in its linguistic landscape, with over 800 languages spoken by its residents.

In Montreal, the primary language spoken is French, making it a unique and vibrant bilingual city. French is widely spoken, but English is also widely understood and spoken, particularly in tourist areas.


New York City is known for its diverse culinary scene, offering a wide range of international cuisines. From street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, the city is a food lover’s paradise. Montreal, on the other hand, is renowned for its vibrant food culture with a strong focus on French and Quebecois cuisine.

The city is famous for its bagels, poutine, and smoked meat sandwiches. Whether you’re a foodie or simply looking to explore new flavors, both cities offer a plethora of options to satisfy any palate.

Arts and Entertainment

When it comes to arts and entertainment, both New York City and Montreal are cultural hubs. New York City is home to Broadway, the world-renowned theater district, offering a wide array of musicals and plays.

The city also boasts world-class museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Montreal, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year.

The city is also home to a thriving indie music scene and has a strong presence in the film industry.


Both New York City and Montreal are melting pots of cultures and ethnicities. New York City is often referred to as the “capital of the world” due to its unparalleled diversity. People from all corners of the globe call the city home, creating a vibrant and multicultural atmosphere.

Montreal, while smaller in size, is also known for its diversity and inclusiveness. The city prides itself on being a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds.

Nightlife and Recreation

Bars and Clubs

New York City and Montreal are both known for their vibrant nightlife scenes, offering a wide array of bars and clubs to suit every taste. In New York City, you can find world-famous establishments like The Boom Boom Room, known for its stunning views of the city skyline, or the legendary Studio 54, which defined the disco era.

Montreal also boasts a thriving nightlife, with popular spots like Le Rouge Bar and Club Unity. Whether you’re looking for a trendy cocktail bar or a high-energy dance club, both cities have plenty to offer.


When it comes to dining out, both New York City and Montreal are culinary hotspots. New York City is home to a diverse range of cuisines, from Michelin-starred restaurants to street food vendors. You can indulge in a slice of authentic New York-style pizza or savor a fine dining experience at a world-class restaurant.

Montreal, on the other hand, is known for its vibrant food scene, particularly its iconic smoked meat sandwiches and poutine. The city also offers a wide variety of international cuisines, reflecting its multicultural population.

Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a delicious meal, both cities won’t disappoint.

Museums and Galleries

For art and culture enthusiasts, both New York City and Montreal offer an abundance of museums and galleries to explore. In New York City, you can visit iconic institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), or the Guggenheim Museum.

Montreal is home to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which houses an impressive collection of artworks from various periods and styles. Additionally, the city has a vibrant street art scene, with numerous murals and public art installations to discover.

Both cities provide endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the world of art and culture.

Green Spaces and Outdoor Activities

While both cities are known for their bustling urban environments, they also offer plenty of green spaces and outdoor activities. In New York City, you can take a stroll through Central Park, which spans 843 acres and offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

The High Line, a unique elevated park built on a historic freight rail line, is another popular spot for leisurely walks. Montreal boasts beautiful parks like Mount Royal Park, where you can enjoy picnics, hiking trails, and stunning views of the city.

The city is also known for its extensive bike paths, making it easy to explore the outdoors on two wheels. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk in the park or an adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventure, both cities have something to offer.


Both New York City and Montreal offer world-class dining, culture, entertainment, job opportunities, and more. While New York may be best suited for those who thrive in a fast-paced environment and want unlimited career options, Montreal appeals more to laidback travelers looking for an affordable home base with a European vibe.

By weighing factors like cost of living, professional prospects, lifestyle pace, and recreational amenities, you can determine which of these amazing cities most closely aligns with your needs and preferences. With this comprehensive comparison as your guide, deciding between New York and Montreal will be easy.

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