Vacationing in Montreal?
April 4, 2011 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Thinking of taking the family on a vaca to Montreal this summer. Looking for recommendations for places to stay, things to do, etc. It would be great to stay somewhere we could cook our own meals. We are two adults, two teen girls and one 11-year old boy.

We're really interested in Just for Laughs but a little apprehensive about accidentally sitting through an Aristocrats-type act with the kids. Are there family-friendly JFL acts/activities?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Check the Montreal craigslist for vacation rentals. My wife and I found a rather large, fully furnished apartment with 4 bedrooms, which was way more than we needed, but it was available and the price was good. It had a kitchen, some dishes, and everything. Something like that sounds like what you need. I'm sorry I can't quote the exact price (don't have the records handy), but it wasn't bad at all. It was also within easy walking distance to the metro station "Jarry" on the Orange line, and while that wasn't the most exciting neighborhood, the place was close to a grocery store and plenty of other shops.
posted by Maximian at 9:01 AM on April 4, 2011

I stayed at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQUAM) dorms when in Montreal one summer. It was fantastic... modest accomodations, but neat, clean, and cheap. Plus there was a fridge and kitchenette, free internet, laundry facilities if you need them, and it was a relatively short walk to the Metro. I don't think they had pans/utensils, etc., so if possible you may want to bring a few things with you. Or call ahead and ask if they have any to lend you at the front desk.

They have both an East lodge and a West lodge. (I stayed at the East Lodge, which was close to St. Catherine Street -- one of the main drags. I should warn you that the section of St. Catherine near the dorm is sprinkled with adult theatres... it seems the Montrealais don't have hangups about this, as it's not a seedy or family un-friendly street at all aside from this.)

Oh, and you must visit the Jean Talon market! It's an outdoor farmer's market, essentially, and there are lots of neat little kiosks and stands where you can grab coffee, hot chocolate, samples, crepes... all sorts of great food to try. Don't miss out on the Quebec cheeses. And you can pick up some fixin's for a meal back in your room!

Montreal is also famous for their smoked meat. Schwartz's seems to be the grandaddy in that department. Lineups out the door when I went. Mounds of tender, flavourful half-fat smoked meat, stacked between 2 thin slices of rye with mustard. So good.

I swear I did other stuff in Montreal other than eat and stare at porn-y theatre ads. But those are the important bits. ;)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 9:29 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't know much about teenagers, and less about teenage girls. But the Montreal Biodome is pretty excellent if your kids like animals. It's kind of a re-imagining of a zoo, kind of an interesting ecology lesson. My wife and I went before we were parents and loved it. There are pictures of goddamn Caillou all over the place, but you're probably well past being sick of him if your youngest is 11.

Right nearby to that is the Montreal Botanical Gardens, which is truly excellent. That might even be free. That's a great walk if you have the kind of kids who would appreciate something like that.

Jean Talon Market is pretty awesome for produce and street food. And very Quebecois and a cool spectacle.

One of my favorite restaurants anywhere is Mazurka, a polish restaurant at 64 Prince-Arthur Street. Went the first time when I was in my teens (first time I had eastern european food) and twenty years later it's one of my first thoughts when I plan a trip to Montreal.

I don't know anything about self-service accommodation or the comedy festival, but it sounds like lots of people do. Hope your trip is fantastic!

Hope your trip is a great!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2011

We took a 12 year old two years ago, staying in a suite-with-kitchen building that had probably been converted from apartments (Le Roberval) that we found on Hotwire.

Biodome was good. NFB Cinematheque was cool. The Olympic tower was okay. The spouse went up to Schwartz's and brought back smoked meat. Exploring the Metro and the underground connections between buildings was cool, and Mont Royal would have been pleasanter in the summer rather than March. For a lot of the week, we took our cue from some of the excellent tourism guides the hotel provided and did pretty nicely out of it.
posted by thatdawnperson at 1:01 PM on April 4, 2011

Go here. Watch bagels being made. Eat bagels.
posted by equivocator at 8:48 PM on April 4, 2011

My friends and I usually stay at La Tour Centreville. It's cheap, very spacious and conveniently located near a lot of downtown activities in Montreal.

Although, some of the current reviews make me want to not go back (mice in the bed ...yikes!). I've been there 3 times and never had an issue.

I'm not sure when you're going in the summer, but if you're there late June/early July, Montreal has a killer jazz festival!
posted by VT@MU at 1:38 PM on April 7, 2011

There are lots of things to do in Montreal in summer: rafting and jet boating on the river, a show about archaeology with an Indiana Jones theme at the science centre in the Old Port; the La Ronde amusement park, the Biodome, the fireworks festival (you can take a cruise on the river during a show, or make like a Montrealer and saunter up onto the bridge to watch for free.)

My list of festivals may be helpful.

The big festivals tend to combine ticketed indoor events surrounded by large street fairs that are intended to be family-friendly. During Just For Laughs you won't suddenly come upon a standup comic doing adult material on a street corner. The descriptions of the shows will make it pretty clear if that's what's on the menu.
posted by zadcat at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2011

« Older Help me be Counselor to the Stars! (or to their...   |   Pimp my browser (again) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.