Montreal has lots to offer – it is the cultural capital of Canada after all! With a balanced mix of North American hustle and bustle and European joie de vivre, it’s a dynamic melting pot of culture, history and language. While tourists flock to the Olympic Stadium and the Old Port, locals know how to sift through the gems that dot the island. For those of you who wish to step off the tourist trail, our Montreal local Sofia has shared five alternative ways to explore her vibrant hometown.
1. Uncover the city through its cuisine
When in Montreal, do as Montrealers do and relish the local cuisine. Bagels, smoked meat and poutine may be first on your list, but be sure to make room for all the other delicacies the city has to offer! Apart from having a great brunch and coffee scene, Montreal is lauded as a gastronomic destination with the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America. Try La Sala Rosa, Pizzeria Magpie, L’Express, Kazu, and Malhi.
Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski
2. Hop on a bike
Montreal is known as the Amsterdam of North America, with plenty of paths dedicated to cyclists. From business people on their way to work to parents with children on board, bike riders aren’t scarce in this city. If you’re feeling ambitious, ride all the way up to Mount Royal for the ultimate panoramic view of the city. Don’t have a bicycle? No worries, simply rent a BIXI.
Photo credit: Tourisme Montréal
3. Discover local fashion
Although Montreal’s fashion scene is small, there are many one-of-a-kind labels to discover. Mile End and Old Montreal are local fashion hubs and where you’ll find “made in Montreal” goods. Drop by Harricana, m0851, Unicorn and Boutique 1861 to find a variety of homegrown brands.
Photo credit: REV Communications
4. Hit up a terrace
Terrace-ing is something of a competitive sport here in Montreal. Whether it’s a rooftop terrace overlooking the Old Port or a concealed garden in the heart of the city, terraces aren’t scarce – and they’re definitely where you’ll find the locals once the temperature warms up.
Photo credit: Terrasse Nelligan
5. Check out the street art scene
Cities like Paris, London and Sao Paulo are known for their street art, but Montreal is slowly catching up. With its own budding scene, Montreal hosts a mix of local and international artists like En Masse, WIA (aka whatisadam), and Stikki Peaches from Montreal, along with Paris’ Le Diamantaire. To see the city’s best street art, head over to Saint-Laurent Boulevard and then stop by the street art gallery Station 16 to purchase some works of your own.
Photo credit: Station 16
Sofia is a freelance writer and copywriter with an affinity for travel and a love for her hometown of Montreal. She enjoys exploring her city, whether it be discovering hidden gems or wining and dining on a sunny terrace.