April 7, 2010 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in Montreal this weekend (April 9-11) and I'd like your advice on things to do. I've seen the previous "what to do in Montreal" threads but this question is a bit different.

I'll be in Montreal this weekend for a bachelor party. This will be my first visit to the city.

I've looked over quite a few of the previous threads asking this question. Since this is a bachelor party, I'm guessing that I won't have much time to take in the sights. However, I'll have all of Sunday (until 5p or 6p) to myself.

Is there anything in particular happening on Sunday (April 11) that I wouldn't normally have an opportunity to visit/see/do?

I've been hearing about Schwartz's again and again. I'll only have one meal (brunch/lunch) on my own, should this be it?

Since I have such a limited amount of time to explore are there any suggested itineraries or things that I must see?

Your collective wisdom is always appreciated. Thanks!
posted by ASM to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Tam tams on Mont Royal would be a good choice. I think they may have already started this year. It is quite a social event but still fun to wander around by yourself.
posted by unlaced at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2010

My one meal would be at Schwartz's for sure. And then if you're into the hippies sitting around and drumming, hackey-sacking scene, then yeah, Tam Tams is for you! If not, and you still want some "sights" continue right past it and walk and/or hike up Mount Royal, great views from the top! If you'd rather spend the day people watching, go to Prince Arthur near St. Laurent and sit outside on the cobblestone street and drink some beer, eat some poutine, and people watch. I'm very jealous.
posted by Grither at 10:05 AM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Where are you from? Where are you staying? If you have limited time, you might want to stick close-ish to your hotel, or at least do a bunch of stuff in the same neighbourhood.

I don't know if Schwartz's would be my choice for Sunday lunch, especially if it's sunny. You'll waste a bunch of time waiting in line, but it is really good. As mentioned in a bunch of other threads on Montreal, if it's crowded, walk across the street to the Main restaurant. You won't have the Schwartz's experience (crowded tables, cherry coke, constant in-and-out) but the smoked meat will be worth it.

If you're staying in the western part of downtown, be sure to grab a cup of coffee at Myriade. Not only is the coffee the best in Montreal, but it's a great spot to people-watch. From there, I would walk through downtown on Sainte-Catherine and head to the Old Port for sightseeing, and maybe take the bus up St-Laurent from there to visit the Plateau.
posted by OLechat at 10:24 AM on April 7, 2010

go for a walk in Mile End and buy some bagels at Fairmount or St-Viateur bagels to bring home ( half poppy seed, half sesame seed ).

great brunch at SenZala ( although the service can be BRUTAL )
posted by dawdle at 10:53 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Everyone talks about Schwartz's, but I was there recently and it didn't come close to living up to the standard it has set itself. If you really want smoked meat I would go across the street to The Main. Less crowded and the food is arguably better than Schwartz's.

If you get up to Mile End I would suggest The Sparrow (St-Laurent below St-Viateur), but it can be brutal to get a table on the weekend. EM Cafe (on du Parc below Bernard) is a local place that's pretty good.

Many love the Tam Tam but I am not (or, am no longer) among them. Going by but then walking up the paths to the top of the mountain and then wandering about up there is a great idea. Take a book and sit on some grass somewhere and hang out. Take a small bottle of wine, some sausage and cheese and read and totally bliss out. If that kind of thing appeals to you.

Pick up a copy of Hour or the Mirror when you get to town to see what else is going on. There are bound to be dozens of galleries you could visit, for example.
posted by mikel at 11:03 AM on April 7, 2010

Jardin Nelson in Old Montreal is a great place for a drink if the weather is nice...

and if you want a truly hedonistic, stuff your face full of shrimp, ribs, lobster, omelettes, waffles, pastries, pies, cakes, and anything else you could ever possibly want to eat type meal, then go to the Restaurant Du Vieux Port for the Sunday brunch extravaganza... bring a friend or two and see how many plates you can kill...
posted by dawdle at 11:06 AM on April 7, 2010

Often there will be a long line at Schwartz's. If so, go across the street to The Main.
posted by mhum at 11:26 AM on April 7, 2010

Where are you from? Where are you staying? If you have limited time, you might want to stick close-ish to your hotel, or at least do a bunch of stuff in the same neighbourhood.

I live in Washington, DC though I consider Anchorage, AK and Seattle, WA home as well. We're staying at the Westin Downtown.

Thanks for all the recs so far!
posted by ASM at 11:48 AM on April 7, 2010

Your hotel is on the edge of Old Montreal. Just walk up the hill towards the waterfront and look around you. You might want to pop into Notre Dame for a look at its neogothic splendours, but the square itself is in the midst of renovation and even Maisonneuve himself is off his plinth, which is just weird, if you live here.

Old Montreal has a lot of old buildings and pretty architecture and some cafés and things around Place Jacques-Cartier and along Saint-Paul. There's a science centre with an IMAX cinema on the old port, and a history museum righ nearby (the café upstairs has a nice view). If you can handle another church, Notre Dame de Bon-Secours (also facing the old port) has some great views of the area from up around the steeple. Near that church is the Marché Bonsecours which has boutiques offering local design of various kinds, also I think cafés facing Saint-Paul.

If the weather is nice you can take a calèche ride (horse and carriage) around this part of town, but honestly everything I've described so far is within 15 minutes' walk of your hotel.

Further uptown there's a Tiffany glass exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts which is supposed to be quite good and as much shopping as you can stomach along Ste-Catherine and throughout the underground city (which I admit can be useful when the weather's bad).

Schwartz's is OK but you're so close to Chinatown you could have dim sum for lunch. It's a traditional Sunday treat.
posted by zadcat at 2:13 PM on April 7, 2010

St-Viateur bagels are just more ... bagel-y than Fairmount. The shop is also a lot cooler, too.
posted by kuppajava at 6:10 PM on April 7, 2010

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