The countdown has begun to Grand Prix weekend, only 11 days left to go! Nuts how time flies like that before you know it'll be August. Weep.
But let's channel our optimistic selves and say that the glass is half-full at the moment, and summer has just kicked-off. Woohoo!
That said, for some people, Grand Prix is an exciting time.
A weekend to party your face off guilt-free until you find yourself waking up Sunday morning with a pounding headache in a strangers bed. Whereas, for others, the thought of spending money on overpriced beer or cover charges, and being sandwiched shoulder to shoulder on the metro makes is enough to make their skin crawl.
If you find yourself in the latter camp, thankfully there are places in Montreal you can escape to! All these spots are known to stay calm and peaceful, even during the mayhem of Grand Prix weekend. And whatever you do, your best course of action to avoid tourists is to avoid downtown, Old Port, Plateau, and Little Italy. Good luck!
9. Notre Dame Street Ouest
Why it's the perfect escape: Although Saint Henri can be busy on the weekends for brunching and lunching, it's not exactly a touristy area. It's very local and sure to remain an oasis of calm during Grand Prix weekend. You can visit Magdalena - Bar à vins for a chill drink or visit Arthurs for Sunday brunch.
8. Westmount Park
Why it's the perfect escape: Westmount park is seriously an enchanting place. Equipped with a massive man-made pond and beautiful winding paths full of flowering blossom trees, even the smell of this park is intoxicating. Considering that it's in a residential area of the city, it's also very low-key and a spot where tourists are generally not known to go. Head to Victoria Avenue and visit Cafe Bazin for a bite afterward.
7. Monkland Village
Why it's the perfect escape: Monkland village is bursting with that Montreal charm without being overcrowded and gimmicky. There are tons of amazing restaurants and charming terraces in the summer, the street is buzzing with lively action every night. Check out the classic Monkland institution Monkland Taverne or try something new like rustic Italian eatery Porco.
6. Pointe Claire Village
Why it's the perfect escape: Tourist will almost never travel out to the suburbs unless they have to for family and friends. Point Claire Village is close enough to downtown so it's not a pain in the butt to get to, and with stunning waterfront views and cute restaurants and bars, it's the perfect area to escape if you loathe the F1 crowd.
5. Marche Atwater And Lachine Canal
Why it's the perfect escape: Although the Atwater Market is relatively popular with tourists, it's not going to be the number 1 priority of the tourist that are coming for F1. Grand Prix tourists are more into bougie restos, downtown partying, and late nights on Saint-Laurent. So a day on the Lachine Canal is safe.
4. Marche St-Eustache
Why it's the perfect escape: Why not just leave the island altogether and hit up a fun local flea market that's only open in the summer and on the weekends. Marche Aux Puces Saint-Eustache is a great way to experience Quebec without having to drive too far. You will find all kinds of hidden treasures and great "Casse Croute" foods like poutines and pogos to eat all day long.
3. Plaza St-Hubert
Why it's the perfect escape: This strip has been blossoming over the past years, with major restaurants like MTL Plaza setting up shop, Plaza St-Hubert is gaining momentum that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. And although it's risen in popularity, it has not yet fallen onto the tourist radar, so escape to the Plaza while you can.
Why it's the perfect escape: Visit Cotes-Des-Neiges but whatever you do, don't go to the St-Joseph Oratory if you want to avoid the crowds. Stay at the intersection of Cotes-Des-Neiges and Isabella and you should be fine. There are tons of fun places to drink like Resto-bar la Maisonnée and eat like Posher Sushi.
1. Rue Wellington
Why it's the perfect escape: Verdun isn't exactly a tourist destination - yet. Although it's quickly developing and there are tons of awesome bars and restos to eat at and enjoy, this beautiful neighborhood remains mostly local still. At Metro De L'Eglise it's only a few metro stops from downtown, so it's the perfect place to quickly escape the hectic F1 crowd.