Top 14 things to do in Montreal during the Summer
You’ve started checking the humidity index instead of the windchill factor. Your favourite part of the day is hopping on your bike. You’ve invested in some super-low ankle socks. You’ve even attended a BBQ or two. Only one thing is possible: IT’S SUMMER!!!! Montrealers are a little bonkers for their 3 months of sun, which has made for many festivals, events, and activities. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll want to take advantage of this summer madness. Check out our list of best summer picks for 2016. Cover photo credit: Jean Michel Seminaro Photographe
14. Chill out at the one-of-a-kind Village au Pied-du-Courant
Photo credit: towertrip.com
The previously named Village Éphemère is back under the new label of Village au Pied du Courant. The boardwalk style “village” is a creatively designed mashup of all things Montrealers love: a local artisan market on Sundays, 5 à 7 on Thursdays, a biergarten, yoga, live music.. and the list goes on! Make your way here from Thursday to Sunday as of June 26th.
13. Treat yo’self! …and relax on a terrace
It’s no secret that summer in Montreal is synonymous with a nice cold beer on a terrace. Some terraces score higher on the chill factor than others, and some are simply off the charts. Here are 5 we like, chosen for both their drink options and vibes.
1. La SAT Terrasse Awesome food, great music and a central location.
2. St-Bock Bar. Great place if you like craft beer and good food. St-Bock has also recently renovated their bar and menu. (photo 2)
3. Hotel Nelligan This place is a classic! Offers the best view of the Old Montreal.
4. Alexandra Platz For the younger crowd who enjoy “off the beaten path” venues.
5. Terrasse St-Ambroise. Situated right at the Lachine Canal. The perfect terrace after a bike ride!
12. Discover the Old City with an Old Montreal Food Tour!
Photo by Gabrielle Royer
Food tours are an increasingly popular way to get to know a city, and no one’s wondering why. In only 3 hours, The Old Montreal Food Tour goes all out, taking you to a variety of food stops. These range from fish ‘n chips to Quebec’s classic poudding chômeur, and even a sneak peak and sandwich inside Crew Collective Café! The tour is also sure to stop at many historical landmarks, satisfying not only the foodies in your group but also the culture buffs.
Check out the website for more info: localmontrealtours.com
11. Celebrate your Sunday morning with brunch
Crédit photo: @Ondejeune
Sure, you can brunch during winter. But can you head to the park after to spend your food coma in the grass? Can you request a seat on the terrace? Nope and nope. Enjoy your summer Sundays brunching with your favourite people at one (or all?) of these brunch spots.
Maison Publique: A classic British tavern nestled right in the Eastern part of the Plateau, you might be surprised to find out that it is a project by Derek Dammann, an ex-chef from one of celebrity chef Jaime Oliver’s restaurants. Come savour the greasy meaty classics in all their glory on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm.
Chez José: Its location on Duluth, a cutesy colourful cobblestone street, makes this spot a perfect fit for summer. Galavant your way down to this vibrant eatery and enjoy a vegan or Portuguese breakfast, viennoiseries or a refreshing smoothie. This Plateau classic is a must. 8am to 8pm on weekends.
Dep le Pickup: Half dépanneur, half restaurant. Make this your Saturday brunch option if you’re in Little Italy, the Mile-Ex, or just willing to travel for some of the best noms in the city. Famous for their amazing haloumi sandwich and savoury brunch, there’s tons to sample here (including the goodies for sale in the dep section). Mon to Fri, 7am to 7pm; Sat 9am to 6pm.
10. Discover Rosemont, Montreal’s Mecca of Craft Beer
With a microbrewery every few blocks and a craft beer coop, it’s safe to say Rosemont is Montreal’s top spot for craft beer. Whether you want to spend all afternoon at a single one or make the full circuit, if you’re a beer lover you’ll wanna make your way there. Here’s a handy circuit we’ve put together for the hardcore craft beer lovers wanting to check them all out in one day. For the rest of you, here’s the lowdown on each awesome Rosemont brewery.
Harricana: Make your way here for the chic tavern decor, a glimpse at their brewing equipment, poutine “hot dogs”, and the beer and cheese pairing plate.
Vices & Versa: You’ll love the cozy terrace, the meaty poutine options, and their extensive selection food and microbrews.
Birra: Heading to Jean-Talon market? Make a quick stop here and try one of 17 local microbrews.
Isle de Garde: The happening atmosphere here is well paired with an extensive selection of brews on rotation, quality food options, and a little bonus.. home-brewed kombucha! Check out their frequently updated website for a current beer selection.
Mabrasserie: Brewing coop Mabrasserie is the first of its kind in Quebec. Aiming to be Montreal’s home for brewers, these guys share their space, equipment, and extensive craft beer knowledge. Some of the brewers (or breweries) that do call it home are Isle de Garde, La Succursale, Noire Blanche and Brouhaha. Convinced? Make your way to the increasingly-charming Rosemont, and check out their tasting space, where there are 48 beers are on tap for your taste budding pleasure. You can also take brewing classes and take it to the next level. Tasting room open form Thursday to Saturday, 3pm to 1am
9. Grab lunch at the new Crew Café, aka inside a former 1920’s bank!
When Crew was looking for a new office space, they probably didn’t plan on A) opening up one of the city’s most stunning cafés, and B) taking over an old 1920’s bank. But they did, and Old Montreal now has a force to be reckoned with. Not only is its design haunting and antique, but the minds behind the menu are ex-Pied de Cochon chefs, making for some seriously delicious nosh. Come take advantage of this freelancer’s haven (coffee, wifi, and outlets) or make it your next impress-a-date-spot. Pro tip: meeting rooms and various seating options are available with a coworking space membership.
Mon – Fri: 8 am to 10 pm
Sat – Sun: 10 am to 8 pm
8. Spend a day exploring Little Italy
Welcome to Little Italy, where pizza is in the air, and the sights are all a charm. This colourful neighbourhood is an increasingly popular spot for new homeowners, date goers, and visitors. Here are our suggestions for a day of walking around.
Breakfast pick: La Cornetteria
Remember the cronut craze? La Cornetteria took part in the wave by creating Montreal’s first cronut, attracting Montrealers from all over to try the yummy things. They’ve kept them ever since, and have a wide variety of flavours. Come sample ’em for yourself, and sip an espresso while you’re there. 6528 St-Laurent; lacornetteria.com
Café Oui Mais Non: This sassily named neighbourhood spot embraces vintage goods in its boutique, caffeine on its espresso machine, and even food and beer in between! Make your way here for a cute and cozy decor along with a meeeean espresso or a smooooth latte. 72 Rue Jarry E, cafeouimaisnon.com
Madonna Della Difesa church, also known as Notre Dame de la Défense, is an architectural sweet spot. It was built by Italian immigrants in 1919 to commemorate the miracle of Madonna’s apparition in Molise. The church is an authentic representation of the era it was built in, and is well worth a visit. 6810 Henri Julien
Pizza, of course:
Pizzeria Napoletana opened many moons ago in 1948, and claims to be the first pizzeria in Montreal! It evolved from a casual spot where workers would come to play pool and cards, to being one of the most popular eateries in Little Italy. Simplicity and authenticity make their pizzas a memorable affair. Oh and, it’s BYOW, so…get on it. 189 Dante Street; (514) 495-0079; napoletana.com
7. Go dining at one of Montreal’s best new eateries!
Photo credit: Tastet.ca
You’re going to have those evenings where the question where should we eat will become a central discussion. The phrase “I heard of this great new place” is always an easy sell, so let us help you and give you a few.
Otto Yakitori Izakaya: This new kid on the block is an Izakaya to be reckoned with. Montreal’s first Yakitori (an Izakaya that specializes in chicken skewers), features all kinds of roastable meat like chicken thigh, wings, tongue.. yum! A great pick for reasonably priced, delicious late eats.
Épicerie Hao: Rejoice! Épicerie Hao has come to rescue the Plateau from its steamed bun shaped void! Yep, right on Rachel street. The small eatery mimics the classic small spots found in big cities in Asia with its intimate and takeout friendly setup. Pork shoulder buns for meat lovers, shiitake mushroom buns for the veggies… come taste theses babies and you’ll be hooked.
6. Go watch the Montreal’s Metropolitan Orchestra
Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra’s artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been appointed to New York’s Metropolitan Orchestra, as of 2020. This new prestigious endeavor comes as no surprise as the conductor has been celebrated internationally for his opera interpretations and has lead many renown orchestras. You’ll want to schedule one evening catching Nézet-Séguin’s work this summer, before he leaves us! Perfect for luring that special someone out, or maybe thanking mom and dad for all their hard work!
5. Chill out in Laurier Park
Things you can expect at Laurier Park: ping-pong tables, petanque fields, picnicking, portable BBQ’s, a pool, and thousands of people! The number of Montrealers visiting this park has drastically increased over the years–it’s got that the whole neighbourhood is having a party here! feel. If you are visiting the Plateau Mont-Royal, plan yourself a few hours here. Pro-tip: Le Lapin Pressé next door makes a killer grilled-cheese, grab one for an express picnic!
4. Go on a guided fishing excursion on the St. Lawrence!
Fishing in the city? What? The St-Laurence is actually a great spot for catching Walleye, Bass, Sturgeon Monster, and more! This guided fishing service takes you out “to sea” on a luxury boat, provides you with fishing gear, and even guarantees you a catch! An awesome activity for those wanting a taste of nature not too far from home. And at about 100$ a person, it beats renting out a cottage for your yearly fishing excursion. Find out more at their website: fishingom.com
3. Savour Kem Coba Ice Cream
You’ll recognize Kem Coba by the long lineup that wraps around Fairmont and St-Laurent. Trust me and pencil in an extra 15 minutes to your ice cream excursion– it will be worth the trip to this artisanal ice cream shop. You can the sit and indulge on the colourful benches right in front, along with other ice cream lovers. Flavours are chosen seasonally, making for the freshest flavours and ingredients. Yum. Kem Coba is also famous for their flavour combinations, twisting sorbet and soft serve into divine concoctions.
2. Explore the Mile-Ex
The newly (but unofficially) named Mile-Ex area near Little Italy is just sprouting with fun new experiences. It’s no wonder people just won’t stop talking about them: a restaurant depanneur, a modern but cozy fine food experience at Le Mile Ex Restaurant, a backyard-party style ‘biergarten’ Alexandraplatz, and even something for third wave coffee fanatics at Dispatch Coffee. Take a look at our article on the neighbourhood to find out why a walk around the Mile Ex is a surefire way to impress a date, a new friend, or a someone in from out of town.
2. Festival du Nouveau Cinema should not be missed!
A major event on the Canadian cinema scene for 45 years now, the Festival du nouveau cinéma has proven its ability to continually adapt to the most avant-garde audiovisual practices in the field. champions the latest practices in cinema and new technology with an international program of films, multimedia installations, performances, conferences and events.
During eleven days of festival, it will be over 350 films (feature and short films) by Québecers, Canadians and internationals directors and artists, and more than 50 various activities that will be offered to the the people of Montreal and abroad.
1. Catch the Jazz Fest from June 29 to July 9!
Montreal’s number 1 event (after the Grand Prix…) is back this year, for its 38th edition. Expect great free concerts but also have a look at the alternative scene of the festival. Many fantastic events and parties happen at a venue called Le Savoy, located right on top of The Metropolis. This year, big names like Cat Power and Rufus Wainwright. Check out the full program here.
Get some gnocchi on the go!
La Drogheria Fine on Fairmont has added a brand new summer-friendly feature: gnocchi-to-go! Arguably the city’s best tomato sauce, La Salsa de la Nonna is served with only the freshest homemade gnocchi, in Chinese take-out style containers. The result? The perfect portable snack for your Mile End park hangs and bench chilling.
Eat at pop-up restaurant during Restaurant Day Montreal!
Source: Danielle Levy, daniellelevynutrition.com/blog
Source: Danielle Levy, daniellelevynutrition.com/blog
Montreal will have more than 150 pop-up restaurants open on November 12th. Restaurant Day is a food carnival when everyone is invited to create their own pop-up restaurant wherever they want and with the concept or the menu they decide.
Join the Bixi cyclist movement and discover new neighbourhoods!
Source: bixi montreal
With rentable Bixi bikes, Le Tour de l’Ile, and the increasing amount of bike paths in the city, summer is absolutely biking season. Take a ride up the mountain, down the Lachine Canal, or make it your main method of transportation as you explore the nooks and crannies of the city. Riding a Bixi should definitely be on your summer list to-do list! Here is bixis stations map