Planning a visit to Montreal anytime soon? Here is Sofia's list of must-dos in Montreal this summer. Thanks Sofia!
Often referred to as a hybrid of New York City and Paris, Montreal is one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in North America – making it a prime destination for a vacation or road trip. Summertime in the city doesn't last long so when it does arrive, people flood the streets and outdoor activities are in full swing. From festivals to simply enjoying a drink on a terrace, see why Montreal is the ideal spot for your summer travels.
1. Hit up a Terrace
Montrealers take «terrace-ing» very seriously. Patios simultaneously open while patrons occupy sidewalks and balconies as soon as warm weather sets in. A few terraces worth checking out are: Sainte-Élisabeth pub, la Buvette Chez Simone, Dieu du Ciel, le Saint-Sulpice, and Café Santropol. These are just some bars and cafes that offer ample outdoor seating, but of course, you can easily find a terrace by simply walking down virtually any big street.
2. Take a Walk
Certain main streets like boulevard Saint-Laurent, rue Saint-Catherine, and avenue Mont-Royal are open to pedestrians during summer, turning into sidewalk sales that attract tourists and families alike with discounted (at times designer) merchandise. Restaurants, bars, and cafes also set up shop outdoors. It’s a great – and free – activity, as well as delightful way to pass the afternoon.
3. Get Festive
Known for its abundance of festivals (many held outdoors at the restored Quartier des Spectacles at Place des Arts), June to August are prime months to get a taste of what the city has to offer. Fashionistas, the Festival Mode & Design – a free, outdoor event on avenue McGill College corner rue Saint-Catherine – hosts plenty of local (and international) talent on the runway, while Just for Laughs and the Grand Prix attract celebrities from all over the world. If you enjoy a cold beverage or two, the Mondial de la bière (Beer Festival) allows for sampling brews from across the globe. Finally, the Jazz Festival and Osheaga are perfect for music buffs, and les FrancoFolies is the world’s largest French-speaking music festival.
4. Go for a Ride
One of the best ways to quickly discover the urban center is by biking your way through it. Montrealers are avid bike riders – pathways dedicated to cyclists can be found downtown and throughout most boroughs. The metropolis even founded BIXI, a public bicycle rental system now found in many cities throughout the world. For a scenic route, the Lachine Canal, Parc Lafontaine, and Mount Royal provide spectacular views. So, rent a BIXI and tour the town like a local; there are numerous docking stations throughout the city where you can rent and depose bikes.
5. Get High
High up that is. Montreal has a breathtaking panoramic skyline. What’s better than grabbing a drink or bite on a rooftop while taking it all in? If you are looking to see Old Montreal, Terrasse Place D’Armes and Terrasse Nelligan are wonderful spots that attract young professionals and urbanites. Located at Place Ville Marie in the heart of downtown, Altitude 737 delivers gorgeous views of the city and when the sun goes down, the party doesn’t stop.
6. Soak up the Sun
Yes, you can find sandy paradise steps away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The attraction, which opened up one year ago in the Old Port near the Clock Tower, is considered an «urban beach.» Although there is no swimming, there is a boardwalk, bar, and cool-off station. Grab your towel and catch some rays near the Saint-Lawrence River while overlooking the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
7. Follow Your Palate
Montreal food is more than smoked meat, poutine, and bagels – so much so that Anthony Bourdain recently praised its thriving culinary scene. Joe Beef, Toqué!, Maison Boulud, Europea, Garde Manger, and Au Pied de Cochon are just a few of the acclaimed restaurants the city prides itself on. For a more budget-friendly experience, try L’Avenue, Brasserie T! (Toqué!’s sister establishment), Taverne Gaspar, Le Boucan, or Le Gros Jambon. All are great options that offer traditional French and/or Quebecois fare.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure or to simply sightsee, the city’s European charm will surely lure you. With plenty to do come summer, if you haven’t thought of visiting Montreal yet, it should definitely be on your bucket list. Where will you be traveling to this season?