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What to expect when you visit Montréal for the first time

For years you’ve heard that Montréal is a cool city. Perhaps someone has described it to you as the love child of Paris and New York. Maybe you had a friend gush about how the city is both exotic and affordable. Or perchance you saw this tweet from Kevin Hart or heard that Kelly Rippa always comes to Montréal for her honeymoon (well she did, until she kept getting pregnant). Whatever the reason, now you’re ready to visit. However, you’re still wondering what to expect on the ground? We’re here to help. Let’s explore some normal reactions to visiting Montréal. When you finally buy your ticket to Montréal. When you’re riding the city’s 747 airport express bus into the city. When you check into your hotel. When you go for dinner and realize that most everyone in Montréal is able to speak English. When you start strolling through Old Montréal. When you see your first Montréal hottie. When you’re promenading through Parc Mont-Royal (the city’s biggest park). When you’re having a fine beverage on Crescent Street. When you taste Montréal poutine. When you’re dancing at an outdoor festival When you realize you have to go home again. When you decide… / Read More →

Your Montréal bachelor party plan of attack

Montréal is tailor made for bachelor party action, and planning is key if you don’t want the big night out to devolve into another episode of herding cats. When devising your game plan, we suggest you break the night down into three distinct phases: First: A bit of manly competition to kick things off It’s always best to work up a bit of an appetite before heading out on the town, and Montréal is far from short on bachelor-party-appropriate activities to get the ball rolling. (And let’s be honest: there’s no joy quite like the joy of beating your best buds in front of your best buds.) First off, the new Maniax “friendly urban axe-throwing” sport centre bills itself as “like darts, but a hundred times more awesome,” and we won’t beg to differ. Bachelor party packages are available. Still on the exertional side, the athletically inclined bachelor gang will want to raise their gaze to the Horizon Roc Climbing Centre, which offers more than 300 routes on over 27,000 square feet of climbable surface. Also amazing is their indoor “Acro ∞ Parc,” featuring a high-ropes course (tree-to-tree style, up to 40 feet high), a zipline and slacklines. If the guys are… / Read More →

A selection of our favourite Montréal pizzerias

It seems like Montréal has been developing a love affair with all things pizza in the last couple of years. Parlour after parlour keep opening up and thriving. Whether you prefer Neapolitan, Roman, New York, Montréal or a very unique style to your pizza, below are some of our favourites organized by neighbourhood. DOWNTOWN Fiorellino Fiorellino offers great Neapolitan-style pizza cooked in a wood burning oven. Café Parvis A unique decor, a hip and unpretentious ambiance, great coffee and delicious pizze, including a breakfast one for weekend brunch. La brigade Neapolitan style pizza with a twist in the heart of downtown Montréal where you customize your pie from a variety of toppings available. Enoteca Mozza Pizzeria If you find yourself craving a pizza while walking around downtown Montréal, this dynamic spot is just what you’re looking for.   LITTLE ITALY Bottega Pizzeria Bottega is a Little Italy favourite and serves great pasta dishes, gelato and of course, lovely, Napoletana-style pizza made in their famous, red-tiled, wood burning oven. Pizzeria Gema Try the classic 1889, the bitter and tangy Menina (my favourite) or go for the ever-surprising pizza of the month inspired by great culinary talents such a as local chefs… / Read More →

Free things to do in Montréal this spring

There’s always something going on in Montréal whether the snow is falling or melting, and while many of those things come with a cost, all kinds of them don’t! We’ve got you covered for things to do in Montréal for free with friends, kids or on your own – from the first day of spring to the last. Free for the family Energetic kids can swing and make music at the same time on the 21 Swings art installation right downtown on De Maisonneuve Boulevard outside Place des Arts starting April 11, and if you’re here on May 20 skip over to Parc Hydro-Québec for the Grand Pique-nique Urbain for parents-and-kids yoga and more free activities. Curious kids will love the hands-on Eurêka Festival, featuring over 100 thought-provoking demonstrations, workshops, performances, magic shows and more, outdoors in the Old Port, June 10 to 12. Delve into Québec’s varied history, art and culture with a museums pass, taking advantage of the fact that kids 12 and under have free admission at many of the city’s major museums and galleries, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (which hosts several workshops and tours for kids and where admission to the permanent collections… / Read More →

Your Montréal Digital Spring Survival Guide

When it comes to creative high-tech, Montréal ranks among the top cities in the world, often being called the capital of the digital arts in North America. New digital arts projects, video game production, the visual effects industry and virtual reality innovations all thrive here and are among the many reasons why Montréal Digital Spring has garnered international attention. The annual citywide event promises to free your mind and your body with interactive exhibitions and audio-visual performances, architectural installations and contemporary creations that cross artistic and scientific currents. Rules are meant to be broken during Digital Spring, so follow our Survival Guide to see the city of the future, now. THE EVENT  The 3rd edition of Montréal Digital Spring digital arts and culture initiative, at various locations throughout Montréal from March 21 to June 21, 2016. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO Whether you’re a forerunner in cutting-edge technology or your kids just figured out your smart phone for you, Montréal Digital Spring can take you however deep into the high-tech arts rabbit hole you desire. Also known as Printemps numérique, Digital Spring partners with local arts and culture organizations – meaning the whole city gets in on the act, from… / Read More →

Your Montréal Nuit blanche Survival Guide

Calling all nighthawks, night owls and burners of midnight oil. The once-a-year, all-night, nearly citywide arts, culture and performance party that is Nuit blanche is nearly upon us. It’s a vast undertaking with almost innumerable options and opportunities, and with that in mind, we offer you this guide to one of Montreal’s brightest winter nights. THE EVENT The 13th edition off Nuit blanche, part of the annual MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at locations all over downtown Montréal and surrounding neighbourhoods, starting on February 27 and ending in the wee hours of February 28. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO One of the highlights of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is the always illuminating, always epic Nuit blanche all-nighter. Nuit blanche (“white night”) invites all comers to partake in upwards of 200 (mostly free) activities this year, including live music, film, dance, performance art, interactive installations, storytelling, digital and visual art, and great food to match a great night. IT’S WHERE EXACTLY? Almost everywhere MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s family-friendly free outdoor site in the downtown Quartier des Spectacles is the central hub from which all the action radiates. The site features a giant outdoor stage, interactive installations, dining areas, numerous fun activities (we don’t need… / Read More →

Your Spring Break guide to eating, drinking and partying, Montréal-style

Spring Break amazingness? You can have it all in Montréal. With its 3 a.m. closing hours, drinking age of 18 and hugely depreciated dollar (the whole city is basically a 30% off sale), Montréal is a win-win-win Spring Break party proposition. Let the following be your guide to doing it up right. Eats and pre-drinks There are those of us who would argue that the eating and pre-drinks portion of the evening is the most critical phase: not only are you laying a base for the remainder of the evening, you’re setting the tone. If you’re starting out on the Plateau Mont-Royal, imaginative hipster magnet and oyster/cocktail bar Le Majestique is all eye candy and killer cuisine. Fab fun food and drinks are also the raison d’être of L’Gros Luxe (Caesars topped with hamburgers, ’nuff said), and Big in Japan’s delectable small plate menu and vibrant vibe have also made it big in Montréal. If downtown, head to Sainte-Catherine Street West for Imadake, another Japanese small plate pub with a fun bordering on raucous atmosphere (which may have something to do with their signature “sake bombs”). Dominion Square Tavern is a must if only for the beautiful 1920s setting, though the… / Read More →

Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / Read More →

Become A Montrealer contest

Would you like to live the glamourous life of a jetset VIP in cosmopolitan Montréal for a year? Then enter Become A Montrealer, a once-in-a-lifetime international competition to find a Montréal ambassador for Montréal’s blockbuster 375th anniversary celebrations, a full year of festivities from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017. Hosted by 375MTL and Montréal International, the winner will not only enjoy VIP access to the hottest events, immersed in the city’s culture, creativity, food, fabled history and nightlife, music and general excitement during its 375th celebrations, but will live in a Prével luxury apartment in Old Montréal and get paid a competitive salary! The winning ambassador’s role will be to share Montréal’s year-long party by tweeting, blogging, snapping photos and shooting videos about all the fun they are having. If you would like to live and party like a Montrealer for a year, submit your application along with a short video by March 1, 2016, explaining why you love Montréal and why you are the perfect candidate for this once-in-a-lifetime dream job. Be creative, showcase your winning personality and enthusiasm, and share the exciting news with your friends. Encourage your network to watch your video as… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: December 18 to 24

In the week leading up to Christmas a lot of us are either rushing around getting things done or winding down at last – whether you need to go gift shopping or just want to relax at a show, there’s plenty to do in Montréal right up to Christmas and beyond. Merry days and nights Celebrate the season in season in Montréal style at Merry Montréal throughout Old Montréal where you can warm up at fires, drink free hot chocolate, see Santa at the Christmas market at Place Jacques-Cartier, watch Christmas-themed films and more. Over at downtown’s Place des festival, let the kids loose and your inner child play at the glittering Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal outdoors on the Esplanade of Place des Arts. Also outdoors at Place des Arts, play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie, on until January 31 along with animated digital art projected onto nearby buildings and throughout the Quartier des Spectacles. And Le Festival Noël dans le parc lights up Parc des Compagnons-de-St-Laurent (Mont-Royal Avenue at Cartier) with activities and music on weekday evenings and in the afternoon and evenings on weekends to December 25. More holiday fun For hours… / Read More →