8 Things to Do in Montreal This Summer
There’s no city with more joie de vivre than Montreal in summer. Between the festivals, beaches, and outdoor terraces, Canada's cultural capital truly reaches a whole new level of awesome during the warmer months. If your head is spinning from all the options, check out our list of recommendations on 8 essential things to do in Montreal this summer 2017.
Go shopping at Jean-Talon Market
On weekend mornings, locals flock to this massive year-round farmer’s market in Little Italy to stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and quell their appetites with goods from regional food purveyors. Of some 250 stalls at the market, standouts include La Fournée des Sucreries de l’Érable, a bakery known for its maple syrup pie, and La Boîte aux Huîtres, an oyster shop carrying 25 varieties from all over the world (the ones from Prince Edward Island are our favorite). Don’t leave without sampling some of the province’s gastronomic specialties like smoked meats, cheese and beer and maple candy at Marché des Saveurs du Québec.
Eat at Kampai Garden
Kitted out with geometric floors, living walls, neon art, and vintage furniture, this downtown hotspot looks more like it belongs in Los Angeles than Montreal. Nevertheless, the restaurant and beer hall is one of this year's most buzz-worthy openings, drawing a cooler-than-thou crowd of hipsters and young professionals. Go early to grab a seat at the bar (where all the action's at), and order the Lucky Peach, a refreshing mix of Beefeater gin, white peach, ginger, mint and goji berries. There’s Asian fusion fare (think: crispy pork dumplings with ponzu sauce and chili oil) courtesy of Antonio Park, one of Montreal’s top chefs, and pool tables if you want to keep the party going post-dinner.
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Tan at Clock Tower Beach
Despite being an island, Montreal has a surprisingly lack of good beaches. The exception is Clock Tower Beach, a stretch of fine white sand in city’s historic Old Port. Park yourself under a blue parasol and take in the stunning views of the Jacques Cartier Bridge and Île Sainte-Helene. Swimming in the river is off-limits, but visitors have access to a boardwalk, showers, a snack bar and a refreshment stand.
Cheers to the season at Terrasse Nelligan
Montreal winters are long and cold. So when the sun comes out and temperatures soar, locals spill into the parks and outdoor terrasses to toast the season. One of our all-time favorite places to celebrate? Terrasse Nelligan, a rooftop hang that overlooks the Notre Dame Basilica and the St. Lawrence River. Order L’assassin, a potent cognac-based cocktail with lemon juice, strawberries, and fresh mint, and if you're hungry, try the braised pork poutine (a Québécois speciality) or the smoked bison tartare.
Have a boozy picnic in the park
Of all the reasons we love Montreal in the summer, the city’s “picnic law”—which states that consumption of alcohol in a park is legal so long as it’s accompanied with a meal— takes the cake. Toast to the awesome bylaw by stocking up on supplies (baguette, cheese, and a bottle of red wine are de rigueur) and heading for one of the city's many grassy expanses. Our go-to is Westmount Park, where there are cobblestone paths, a tranquil lake, expansive lawns and mature trees offering plenty of shade.
Reenergize at Crew Collective & Café
Montrealers take their coffee very seriously. For proof, look no further than this gorgeous coffee shop and co-working space in the heart of the city’s historic centre. The former headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada, the stately space features original details like custom brass light fixtures, an ornate painted-plaster ceiling, marble floors, and teller stands. Go early in the morning to grab a pastry and espresso and watch the golden morning light pour in through the towering arched windows.
Party at Village au Pied-du-Courant
This summer boardwalk village has it all: art installations, food trucks, cafes, live music, film screening, a licensed bar. On Thursdays and Fridays, the scene is tailored to a young party crowd, with live music, DJs, cocktails, and drinking games, whereas on the weekend, it’s all about family fun (think: yoga workshops, bocce ball, sand castles).
Pregame at Agrikol
Arcade Fire’s Rêgine Chassagne and Will Butler are behind this sexy Haitian restaurant in Montreal’s Gay Village, which is known for its rum (Barbancourt), rara music, and authentic Caribbean eats (fried plantains, accra fritters, goat). Sit at the bar to watch a bartender whip up a ti-punch, a French Caribbean staple of rum, sugar and lime juice, or outside, in the twinkle-light strewn courtyard, where there are picnic tables and an expressionist mural. The restaurant has a fun, raucous energy that sets the tone for a night out on the town.
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