Downtown with friends

© Tourisme Montréal, Pierre-Luc Dufour - West Sainte-Catherine StreetMusée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Architecture John Londono - Musée d'art contemporain de Montré© Tourisme Montréal, Mario Melillo - Cours Mont-Royal
© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Chinatown

© Tourisme Montréal, Pierre-Luc Dufour - West Sainte-Catherine Street

June 18, 2013Fun and friendly downtown Montréal is always brimming with excitement, thanks to its free-spirited citizens and its streets lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. To get to know our bustling centre a little better, here are a few suggestions on what to check out.

Energetic and eclectic Sainte-Catherine Street is the undisputed pulse of downtown Montréal. You can have breakfast at the nearby Chez Cora or Ben & Florentine before perusing the mélange of shops that this lively thoroughfare has to offer, from major department stores (The Bay, Simons, and Ogilvy) to chic upscale boutiques. There’s something here to please every whim and wallet.

As lunchtime approaches, head to Crescent Street and take your pick from the many restaurants serving up a variety of delicious cuisine. Afterwards, stroll eastward along Sainte-Catherine to Cours Mont-Royal, a swanky historic hotel turned high-end shopping centre, from which you can access the miles upon miles of shops and boutiques that make up the Underground Pedestrian Network.

For cultural pursuits, downtown beckons your attention. Take in the latest show at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, a superb place to discover the wealth of Québec creativity and leading worldwide artistic trends, or experience life at the Place des Festivals, a dazzling site entirely dedicated to outdoor festivals, urban entertainment, and leisure. For avid filmgoers, the Cinémathèque québécoise projects more than 500 movies, television programs, and videos from across the globe yearly.

As the sun gently descends on the horizon, you’ll definitely want to be part of the city’s celebrated cocktail hour, or 5 à 7, as Montrealers gamely call it. Try drinks at Nyk’s, a cool pub (regularly frequented by post-work crowds) that becomes an epicentre of merrymaking during summer’s festival season.

For the evening, make sure to reserve a table at one of the city’s trendy restaurants. At BROOKE Restaurant + Bar, for example, you can enjoy a menu inspired by market fresh cuisine and local products, as well as the largest outdoor terrace in the heart of the city. Or, for a change of pace, you might also consider heading down Saint-Laurent Boulevard to colourful Chinatown and tucking into some yummy Asian treats. To cap off the evening, a stop at La Vitrine might land you a deal on last-minute show tickets, or you could swing by the SAT (Society for Arts and Technology) to catch the latest in the electronic arts scene.