Montreal visit, brief, help me plan
January 1, 2013 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations on everything from places to stay to things to do in Montreal. Nightlife, possibly with partner, and Sunday tourism. Help me put some structure to my rough outline of a visit.

I've neglected nearby Montreal for too long, so I'm taking a one night trip up this coming Saturday to start exploring. The only pinned event is a first date dinner and drinks via online dating. So, I'm looking for fun flexible plans that would be good recommendations for if the date goes well, and also for some fun if it does not. Dinner itself will be downtown near Station Guy-Concordia.

I won't be able to make it up to Montreal until a couple hours before dinner at best, but would like to check in to a hotel and have some thoughts on what to do if I have time to kill. I'm not averse to some window shopping and people watching.

As to nightlife, I love live and/or danceable music. Rock, to mellow jazz to hip-hop and dubstep. In the event I'm heading out alone, I'm looking for recommendations on places a single guy can feel comfortable wandering in on a whim.

And then, I'm wide open for cultural and tourism attractions that I really ought to check out Sunday. Art, architecture, cultural history all fascinate. My ideal trip has me arriving, parking the car at a hotel and not driving again until I need to come back to Vermont Sunday afternoon.
posted by meinvt to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I can't help much with the nightlife, but I highly recommend Auberge Les Bons Matins as a place to stay. It's very close to Guy-Concordia and even closer to another Metro station, so it's easy to get around the city once you park your car in their lot. The included breakfast is delicious, and you should by all means take advantage of the free glass of port wine included in the room cost.
posted by maxim0512 at 11:26 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Canadian Centre for Architecture is out a few blocks southwest of the main downtown area. It has a museum with rotating exhibits and a bookshop.

When I was there around a decade ago it was for a wedding, so all I know about nightlife is dated and bachelor party related, but I had some fun wandering around the city in the time surrounding the actual festivities - I was mostly scouting around in the old part of town and on Mount Royal, but I didn't get too far afield. I would have liked to have seen the Expo grounds and the Fuller dome, but missing them wasn't too big of a deal for me.
posted by LionIndex at 11:29 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's an amazing archaeology museum inside an old bank in Old Montreal that was discovered to have been built directly over the original settlement of Montreal. You can tour the site underneath the building, and there are also displays on the history of the city. One of the coolest museums I've ever visited, as a total museum geek and history/archaeology nerd.
posted by Sara C. at 12:13 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you're at all interested in good beer, you should make a pilgrimage to Dieu du Ciel, where the Route des Épices pepper rye is extraordinary. I got a little lost when I visited, and the nearby neighborhoods struck me as quite lovely, with cool shops/restaurants/bars although I can't offer specific recommendations on what else to see/do in that area.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:23 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My favourite Montreal coffee shop, Cafe Myriade, is near metro Guy-Concordia. It's a good spot to kill time, and they make excellent coffee.

I second the recommendation for Dieu du Ciel, though that's in a totally different neighbourhood (near-ish to Laurier metro)

Where is your hotel? If you're staying downtown (again, near Guy-Concordia metro) there will be a hundred clubs where a single guy would absolutely not be out of place. Crescent and Stanley streets are your best bets for clubs (that's the downtown, touristy, mostly anglophone area).
posted by third word on a random page at 1:52 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: All great answers so far, thanks! Not sure they'll all make it into this one weekend, but I'll keep the ideas stocked for future trips. So keep them coming.
posted by meinvt at 3:41 PM on January 1, 2013

Best answer: Turtlegirl and I go to Montreal on occasion and we always stay at HÔTEL CHÂTEAU DE L’ARGOAT. Clean, modern with a hint of the historic. Free parking. Nice staff. Continental breakfast. We walk everywhere from there easily.

I have some nightlife, and other suggestions but am about to head to bed. MeMail me if you want me to share more. We found a neat little jazz place on St Denis last time where we not only enjoyed the music but also the food.
posted by terrapin at 6:43 PM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Seconding terrapin's hotel recommendation. I stayed there last December, and they were great!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:02 PM on January 1, 2013

Best answer: meinvt did, in fact, MeMail so, I decided to just post it here... Ok.
So here a few suggestions based on our experiences in Montreal. First, everything I know about Montreal I learned from MeFites googly and picklebird. The rest was just exploring and walking. There is so much to do and see. Anyway, when we go to Montreal we usually only have a few days. Our must-do list is short:

* Go to Le Réservoir. As a craft beer fan and homebrewer I adore most everything by Dieu du Ciel, but the bar is often extremely packed. Elbow room even. Le Réservoir is a much smaller brew pub/bistro. Their food is outstanding, and served on a big personal chopping block. The beers are excellent. I especially love their Noire. A delicious oatmeal stout. Anyway, I have no idea if craft beers are your thing, so I won't babble on. As for Dieu du Ciel, most beer shops will sell their line of beers in six packs. And we always pick up a few mixed cases by stopping by ...

* Marche Jean-Talon. We drive to Montreal, so our last stop as we leave is to this indoor/outdoor market. It is a fun place to just see and smell. Lots of cool stuff. Grab a coffee, sample cheese, smell soaps from France, etc, etc. Romantic, even. Speaking of which ...

* Our favourite romantic dinner place is Le P’tit Plateau. I will always love picklebird just for suggesting this small (10-12 tables?), wonderful French restaurant. In addition to awesome French food, ambiance, and character, it also doesn't have an uncorking fee. So swing by the SAQ around the corner and pick a wine you like and bring it with you. They do the rest.

Then we pick things that look interesting. The botanical gardens take more than just one visit which is why we like to go in the winter too. The greenhouses are really cool. There are other indoor exhibits too. One of the best botanical gardens in the world.

Last visit we decided to check out a local jazz club, and stumbled on Diese onze. It is below street level and is a wonderful little club. Subtle placement of mirrors help the small space seem larger. Lots of little booths line the wall. Not a bad seat in the house as there is a TV that displays a camera view of the stage. We were at the back of the house and could hear the music well without feeling it was too loud. We could peek at the TV if we wanted or just listen. The band this night is like many of the bands that play, led by a local musician who may also teach at one of the many universitys in the city. We also had dinner there. We really enjoyed the meal. The staff are nice and attentive. The bar staff knows their stuff too.

We also went to the Museum of Fine Arts. There are some interesting free collections. Other exhibits can be a bit pricey, so it will depend on your interest and time.

Honestly, if you just wander around the Plateau neighbourhood you will find something interesting to see, eat or drink.

Have FUN!
posted by terrapin at 6:00 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm visiting Montreal right now and came back to this to borrow some of the advice. Just wanted to add that my gf brought me to Reservoir brewpub on Sunday and it rocked. It was quiet when we ducked in around 4pm, but jam packed by the time we left around 7. Tried the Noire and IPA brews and they were both amazing, also not too expensive (4 pints came to around 20$).

Today I tried to hit up the archaelogy museum Sara C. recommended but they were close to closing so I didn't want to pay admission, but the building is amazing from the outside and right next to the old port. Also according to their website, on weekends in January & February, they offer a 'below zero' discount - the price goes down according to how many degrees below zero it is outside. Such a cool concept.

Tomorrow I hope to hit up Dieu du Ciel.
posted by mannequito at 9:29 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

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