Things to do in Montreal
July 31, 2009 6:28 AM   Subscribe

Things to do in Montreal and vicinity, next week?

Going to be in Montreal Tuesday to Friday of next week. Anyone local or familiar with the town have any suggestions of good stuff going down? Good places to eat, good museum exhibits (contemporary art, especially), decent day hikes near the city, fun walks, and (given my interests) any sort of First Nations/indigenous events, exhibitions, etc. within driving distance . . . Thanks in advance!
posted by fourcheesemac to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It's more exciting in the winter when a full minute outside will have your teardrops freezing onto your face as you cry from the pain, but the Underground City is so bizarre that you have to take a quick visit.

The MACM is a great contemporary art museum, conveniently located at an entrance to the Underground City.

Brutopia, mmm, delicious.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:54 AM on July 31, 2009

I enjoyed Speed Limits at the CCA.
posted by betsybetsy at 7:37 AM on July 31, 2009

I live in the Old Port, which is great for just walking around and going to cafés. I recommend Olive & Gourmando, 351 St. Paul, in particular, for spectacular coffee and sandwiches, but don't go between 12 and 2 because it's too crowded. Or you could go to Aszu for wine tasting.

WorldCon is on at the Convention Centre (Palais des Congrès) from the 6th through the 10th.

Bike along the Lachine Canal from the Atwater Market and go to the Atwater Market for lunch. You can get a $5 Bixi bike day pass and bike everywhere, dropping off one Bixi bike whenever you find some place nice and picking up another Bixi bike from a stand for your next destination. If you have an iPhone, get the iBixi app to tell you where the stands are and how many bikes are in them.

Montreal has a Class 3 rapids, I'm told. The Saute-Moutons boats leave from the Old Port, power up the river and run the rapids. You'll get wet. You'll have fun. There's also a standing wave in the river which some people like to surf.

Au Pied du Cochon is a spectacular restaurant serving gourmet French peasant food. Well worth the damage to your arteries.

I think Dieu du Ciel! has more exciting beers than Brutopia does. For ice cream, Péché Glacé on Mont-Royal.

There's an indoor ice rink at 1000 La Gauchetière.

There's an Olympic swimming pool at the Olympic Stadium (the Big O). Nearby, the Botanical Gardens and Insectarium are beautiful.

Hike up the Mountain to Beaver Lake!

Take the ferry to Isle Jean Drapeau and go kayaking on the canals! There's a freshwater sand beach there, too.

Also, odd are, there's a festival going on. Montreal Highland Games on the 2nd. Italian Week. St. Jean sur Richelieu Balloon Festival the 8th-16th.

I love my city!
posted by musofire at 7:40 AM on July 31, 2009 [6 favorites]

I was there last week. For this trip I tossed my bike in the back of my car. I was glad I did.

I'm coming from Toronto. Here bike paths mean painted lines on the street that suddenly end without connection to other paths. Montreal has fully networked paths that cross the island, in most places separated from automobile traffic. On the first day I started out riding from the Old Port down the Lachine Canal to Rene Levesque Park, then back along the bottom of the land mass to view the rapids and the bird island. There's a bike path across a bridge used I think as an ice dam that is otherwise only open for service vehicles. It's a cool lonely ride over a good stretch of water. That path exits on to a long strip of land between the waters. It will take you to Jean Drapeau Park and the Expo buildings. There you can cycle the Grand Prix track with the spandex crowd.

There is an active bike share program in Montreal. Many people seem to be using the bikes. They're available all around the core of the city. Prices seem to rise over half hour intervals, so those bikes are probably best for short trips. Other suggested rides along the bike paths: Up Berri and across to the Park Lafontaine, along Maisonneuve to Westmount.
posted by TimTypeZed at 7:41 AM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Many thanks all -- keep 'em coming! I loves me some AskMe!
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:59 AM on July 31, 2009

The Bixi bikes cost 5$ to be allowed to use them. The first half hour of use is free, the next half hour costs 1.50$, the next more, etc. I believe there is no restriction on the amount of time between uses, so you can just put one back and take another out.

The contemporary art museum is free Wed nights, the CCA is free Thurs nights.

Nice places to walk include the Old Port, St-Laurent between Sherbrooke and St-Joseph, St-Denis between Sherbrooke and St-Joseph, Mont-Royal anywhere between Parc and Papineau. Walk next to the Lachine Canal from the Old Port to the Atwater Market and get gelato at the market (Havre au Glaces, also at the Jean-Talon market) The mountain is nice to walk on, though it's not a real hike. St-Joseph's Oratory (hint: this is absolutely nowhere near the street named St-Joseph) is also nice, and near one of my favourite places to get croissants, Duc de Lorraine.

The Jean-Talon market is very nice.

I like L'Avenue for breakfast. I like Juliette & Chocolat for hot chocolate drinks. I like Patio (836 Mont-Royal E) for ice cream. I like Fairmount bagels better than St-Viateur. I like restaurants near Jean-Talon and L'Acadie for Indian food. There are lots of good restaurants in general, so more detail on the kind of food you eat is helpful there.
posted by jeather at 8:42 AM on July 31, 2009

Reading TimTypeZed's post made me realize that, yeah, Montreal has really improved its bike paths in the last few years. Definitely take advantage of them, as he suggests.

If you're staying downtown, definitely check out Myriade coffee, at 1432 MacKay. The staff is super knowledgeable, and they have some fancy ways of brewing (Siphon and Eva Solo). Their hot chocolate is great.

I would avoid driving as much as possible. Montreal has a great metro and bus system, and you can get week passes for under twenty dollars. Take the metro to Jean-Drapeau (yellow line) and walk around Ile Sainte-Hélène. Take it to Jean Talon and go to Jean-Talon market, to sample all kinds of local food. If you want to have poutine, go to La Banquise (994 rue Rachel Est). They have something like twenty kinds, they have a good beer selection, and they are open 24 hours.
posted by OLechat at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2009

If you like fish, I cannot recommend Le Poisson Rouge enough. They are BYOB and have an excellent prix fixe, made from the catch of the day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on July 31, 2009

If you go to the Botanical Gardens (and I highly recommend it) you can visit the First Nations Gardens. Tours in English at 2:30 on the days you will be in town. The Gardens are at Metro Pie IX. If you would like to try something a little different, Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, is excellent. It's about 40 minutes from downtown, on the South Shore.

For yummy, cheap eats (less than $10) try Boustan (Lebanese) (2020A Crescent, corner of de Maisoneuve), Bangkok Cuisine (a take out counter on the upper floor of the Faubourg but don't let that scare you away) (1616 St. Catherine, corner Rue Guy) or Bombay Mahal (1001 Jean Talon Ouest - if you do make it to the Jean Talon market). Have a wonderful time.
posted by Cuke at 5:56 PM on July 31, 2009

World Science Fiction Convention starts Thursday :)
posted by legotech at 2:18 AM on August 2, 2009

Thank you very much, everyone. We had a good time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:26 PM on August 6, 2009

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