So you need to get away for a few days. Maybe you’re looking for a mini-adventure, a small repose or a three day party. Look no further than Montreal and its dramatic Gay Village! Montreal lies within spitting distance of huge urban centres like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Toronto and Ottawa. It’s easy and affordably accessible for a quick and fun weekend getaway…
The best part about visiting Montreal is exploring this massive city from corner to corner. However if you only have three days to make the most out of your trip, consider some of my suggestions for optimal fun and excitement. All my recommendations are flexible and should be used to guide you through a few ideas. Two things are for sure: you’ll wish you had more time to stay and you’ll look forward to coming back again. So follow me through some of the basics…
SLEEP: Unless you have lots of generous friends or family living in Montreal, you’ll need to find that “home away from home”. A place to rest your head and regenerate, or to be used as a catch-all for whatever you got up to that night. What’s great about actually staying in the Gay Village during your stay, is that you’re not only in the centre of the action of the Village, but the best areas in all of Montreal. Within a 10 minute walk from the Gay Village, you head south to the Old Montreal, West to the Quartier des Spectacles and Downtown, and north to the Latin Quarter and the Plateau.
The Gay Village is dotted with many cute Bed & Breakfasts, or “auberges” as they call them in Quebec. One that really stands out among them is Studio Living. Studio Living is a modern Bed & Breakfast just a three minute walk from Sainte-Catherine, the main artery of the Gay Village. The design is totally zen and the owner is about as nice as they get. Four studios are available, all complete with a full kitchen, bathroom and queen size bed. A continental breakfast every morning will be your fuel for the morning as you blast off from this perfectly place launch pad.
EAT: Montreal has carved its name into the plaque of Culinary Capitals. The food here really does rival the best in the world. So when looking to coat your tummy with some yummy grub, you’ll be faced with the task of choosing a place from Montreal’s more than 5,000 restaurants. No easy feat. Since we’re staying in the Gay Village this weekend, I can narrow it down to two places: Nuvu Bistro Experience and Saloon.
I suggest hitting up Nuvu for dinner and saving Saloon for brunch. Both places have that undeniable cool factor and all the staff are extremely enjoyable to gawk at. If those places don’t tickle your fancy, then maybe a stroll down Sainte-Catherine or St-Denis (located 5 minutes away) will give you plenty of dining options to pick from. Discovering new places, taking chances, and stepping outside your comfort zone is what Montreal is all about.
PLAY: Montrealers play as hard as they work. That’s why the nightlife scene here is so full of vim and vigour! In the Gay Village, there are plenty of places to go out and party. Whether you want to drink, dance, chat, meet new people or watch a show. For the weekend, I suggest trying out two of the Gay Village clubs. One is an iconic landmark, the other is brand new! Unity has been around for years and always promises the most consistent fun. The music is good, everyone is dancing, and it’s always a safe bet. Apollon just opened a few weeks ago and is creating lots of buzz around town. Apollon definitely has that “wow” factor from the outside and the inside is brimming with infectious beats and a electric crowd. At Apollon, you can head down into the basement Katakombs for a change of scene and pace.
Other highlights of the Gay Village include Sky, Cabaret Mado and Drugstore. Like I said before, it’s fun to just wander in and out of these places to find the one that best fits your mood! There are no bad choices in the Gay Village, just ones that are more fitting for your desired vibe. Also check out some of the cool outside the gay village places and parties here.
gay village, montreal, clubs, restaurants, accommodation
Studio Living B&B, 1831 Montcalm, (514) 249-8099
Nuvu Bistro Experience, 1336 Sainte-Catherine East, (514) 940-6888
Saloon, 1333 Sainte-Catherine East, (514) 522-1333
Unity, 1171 Sainte-Catherine East, (514) 523-2777
Apollon, 1450 Sainte-Catherine East