Surprising, offbeat places for a date in Montreal next week?
July 14, 2022 10:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to see a friend in Montreal next week and am struggling to find some interesting activity to suggest. Some place quiet where you can talk for hours would be ideal, unless it's a performance. The weirder the better. Complications: no unmasking indoors, non-strict vegetarians who don't drink, after 6pm on a weekday, combined French vocabulary of <200 words.

Extra credit for something that involves animals not in cages or slightly transgressive stuff that isn't actually dangerous. e.g., a roof you can access by following someone into a building and opening unlocked doors. But, a nice park to have a picnic, a fun long walk or hike, street art, a great restaurant, dessert place, etc. would be welcome.

We've been to the big museums, seen all of McGill, eaten both bagels and an unhealthy amount of poutine, seen a fair bit of the underground mall thing. But, I'm not opposed to hearing about those. Especially if there's something new in the last 6 years.

I've read the previous askmes and might use some of those tips, but it's been a long time and they're less specific.

posted by eotvos to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You may find the outdoor events of local astronomer and space enthusiast Plateau Astro appealing. I can't say what he has planned (or what the universe has planned) for next week, but you can get an idea of the sorts of things he does from his feed. His events tend to take place in a park and/or on Mount Royal.

As for restaurants/dessert places, so very many spots offer outdoor dining at this point in the year that it pretty much leaves things wide open.

For walking, you may choose to pick a neighbourhood (maybe Rosemont -- maybe its La Petite-Patrie/Little Italy section? Maybe Plateau-Mont-Royal?) and explore its ruelles vertes (green alleys). You would probably catch some street art in and around those alleys too.
posted by fruitslinger at 4:19 AM on July 15, 2022 [1 favorite] might give you some ideas.

Other things I I enjoyed: the biosphere and, for minor transgressiveness, I rode a mountain bike around at least one lap of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve 20-odd years ago. Felt like I was breaking a law, but really it's just a public park if there's no F1 racing scheduled.
posted by adekllny at 5:18 AM on July 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This summer there are sheep grazing openly in Parc Maisonneuve. It looks like they stop around 7 PM and they'll occasionally run events like Sheep Yoga at 6 PM. Then stay in the park for a picnic afterwards.

Grab a Bixi because it's a huge park and the sheep are long walk from the station (or bike all the way from downtown on the Rue Rachel protected bike lanes).
posted by Gortuk at 5:52 AM on July 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There’s Le Café Chat L’Heureux on Duluth. It’s a cafe filled with cats. Haven’t been, but we walked by it all the time when my daughter lived on Coloniale a few years ago. Website says open Tuesday-Sunday until 8 and staff wear masks.
posted by chococat at 5:56 AM on July 15, 2022 [3 favorites]

The nick cave exhibit is still running
posted by brujita at 7:34 AM on July 15, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Start in Old Montreal or Chinatown (metro Place d'Armes) and walk north on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, which has a lot of street art, and plenty of other things of interest. You can hang a right at Mont-Royal, which is pedestrianized for kilometers eastward in summertime, and again, lots of things to look at, possible things to eat outdoors, free places to sit down, and so on.

Start at the Cartier monument (metro Place des Arts and bus 80) and take the footpath (you can't miss it) which winds back and forth to the top. Other walkers, as well as runners and cyclists, will be on the path, but there's not meant to be any motor traffic. At the top you can enjoy Beaver Lake or walk over to the Kondiaronk Belvedere (commonly known as the Lookout) and look down across downtown Montreal over to the river and the other Monteregian hills. If you've had it with walking the 11 bus will take you back down to a metro station.

Start in Old Montreal and walk west along the Lachine Canal. This will take you through the old industrial part of town, now gentrified, past Atwater Market, an excellent stop for ice cream or other foods, and into the Sud-Ouest borough, Saint-Henri, and beyond.

Get the full Plateau experience by walking along Rachel, getting a poutine from La Banquise or Ma Poule Mouillée, then going for a stroll around Lafontaine Park.

Take the metro to Jean Drapeau and explore the islands.

Take the metro to Henri-Bourassa, then the 48 bus to rue de Lille, and walk the short distance to Îles de la Visitation park, which is partly on an island in the Rivière de Prairies. This will have the virtue of being a place most of your Montreal friends won't have explored. There's a café terrasse next to one of the old mill races.

Useful site: for public transit
posted by zadcat at 7:38 AM on July 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

Oh, and thinking about it: Shakespeare in the Park is currently running in various locations. A few are outside town but most are in parks in the city. It's donation based.

If you happen to go to Lafontaine Park, note that it has a free open-air theatre with a varied program of performances.
posted by zadcat at 8:48 AM on July 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

My favourite thing to do in Montreal is so simple and delightful: buy yummy food and some drinks, and lie in a park eating, drinking, and chatting.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:42 AM on July 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for the great answers, both here and in private. I really appreciate it and there are many I would never have found on my own. (Sheep yoga?!)

In this particular case my friend's travel plans changed and we only actually overlapped in the city for 17 hours, nearly all of which was spent on inflexibly timed work stuff. We did manage to sneak in a two and a half hour lunch break. We did the obvious, nearby thing and ate Chinese bakery while walking by the river. I checked out a few of the other suggestions here on my own and they were great.

It might be weird to answer my own question, but in case it's useful for others searching in the future (including me), I stumbled upon another good answer while walking at random: The older parts of the Mount Royal Cemetery are great for a picnic. Sections A2, A1, and F8, in particular have densely tree covered open lawn surrounded by 1860s monuments and are discretely hidden from the graves of anybody with living grandchildren.
posted by eotvos at 9:56 AM on July 25, 2022

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