As a Montreal native, I constantly find myself telling people where to go and where not go when visiting our city.  

The island of Montreal has so much to offer tourists and there are so many things to do and see when visiting our welcoming home.  

Like anywhere else in the world Montreal, has certain activities and foods that every tourist must try, but we all know the struggle of travelling and falling into a tourist trap.

This is why I wanted to create a guide that tourist will love and locals are going to agree with. I truly want every tourist to fall in love with Montreal the way I have and truly appreciate all that this city has to offer. This is an authentic guide to avoid the tourist traps while gaining the most of your stay.  

From smoked meat and poutine to where the true, best view of Montreal is, this guide will help Montreal natives and visitors alike when touring our city.  

Why spend your time being a tourist when you have the chance of living like a local while you're here!

Smoked Meat at Lester's 

Smoked meat is an essential for anyone coming to Montreal. And although Schwartz is famous around the globe as being Montreals go-to smoked meat place when visiting our city, I tend to stay away from this local trap, because in all honesty I hate waiting in lines. 

As tasty as Schwartz is, when I am craving smoked meat I always go to Lester's Deli.

The quality is just as good and the fact that there is no line around the block makes it even better. This eatery has stood the test of time and it is loved by locals and tourists alike. 

Find them here!

 


Have a Poutine at Orange Julep 

Poutine is without a doubt the food tourists love to try the most when visiting our Island.

The fresh French fries combined with squeaky cheese curds and piping hot gravy is one of the most decadent and flavour-filled foods you can get in Montreal.

Most tourists go to Frites Alors or La Banquise when wanting to indulge in one of these masterful dishes but the reality is, locals prefer Orange Julep.

The Orange Julep is a classic in Montreal and is a favourite to many locals. The poutine they serve is authentic, big and has the ideal cheese to sauce ratio, which we all know is the most important part of any poutine.    

Find them here!

Have a Steamie at Montreal Pool Room 

Steamies are a fan favourite throughout our city. This simple yet delicious way of cooking up hot dogs is loved by so many of us.

La Belle Province is a huge chain throughout Quebec and although they serve up a decent steamed dog, Montreal Poolroom does it so much better.

Montreal Poolroom is one of the oldest establishments in Montreal and they are known for their famous hot dogs.

This eatery totally lives up to the hype and I recommend it to any tourist looking to dig into a classic steamie.    

Find them here!


Grab a Dagwoods sandwich on the run

Out on the town and desperate for something to tide you over until dinner? A sandwich is a safe bet, and although Subway is everywhere, it does not stand a chance when put up against Dagwoods. 

Dagwoods is a Montreal based chain that serves some of the freshest and flavour-filled sandwiches you will ever have.

Not only are the meats sliced right in front of you but they also have a secret sauce that is to die for, which is called Dagwood Sauce. Recently, they even added a spicy Dagwood sauce to the mix, for those who want to add a little kick to their meal.   

Find them here!

Eat at St-Viateur on Mont-Royal 

There is a fierce debate that happens between Montreal locals when the topic of bagels come up and it always comes down to St-Viateur or Fairmount.

Although both cook up fresh and authentic Montreal bagels, I personally believe St-Viateur takes the cake. Yes, you can go pick up the bagels on Saint-V, but at their Mont-Royal location, you have the choice of actually eating in. None of that travel-pack sized cream cheese... get the full lox experience at their location on Mont-Royal.

Here is a little trick: slice the bagels in half and stick them in the freezer to be able to enjoy a Montreal bagel even after saying goodbye to our city.

Find them here!


See the city from the Summit Circle outlook

Every city has that spot where tourists gather to take photos of the view. The Montreal Observatory is a famous spot that tourists go to in order to see some of the best views of Montreal.  

The reality is, to us locals, we know that the Summit Circle Lookout, located in the prestigious area of Upper Westmount, is really the place to go when looking for kickass views in our city. The view is different at Summit Circle but it is much cleaner and there are a lot fewer raccoons looking to attack.  

This is also a great location to watch the sunset or bring your dog, not to mention it is pretty romantic. 

Find it here!


Dance to a local band in the Plateau

Montreal is known as a city that is oozing with artistic talent. As a tourist, instead of opting for a big and expensive show at the Bell Center, why not check out a local band. Venues like Casa Del Popolo and La Sala Rossa are small spaces known for featuring local talent.  

These concerts will give tourists a true glimpse into Montreal’s thriving music scene and are a great way to meet locals and get swept up in the city's nightlife.

See who's playing here!


Stroll along the Lachine Canal

Many people are surprised when they learn that the city of Montreal is, in fact, an Island. One fantastic thing about living on an island is being surrounded by water. Although the canal is incredibly polluted and we can’t swim in it, it is still beautiful to look out at.  

Tourists tend to go walk along the water in The Old Port of Montreal and although it is a beautiful walk, you can experience the same beauty somewhere else, with way fewer people in the way.  

Lachine Canal is one of my favourite spots in the city. The natural beauty that surrounds on-lookers is truly breathtaking. 

This is also an ideal spot to go for a bike ride, which is an awesome method for any tourist to use if you are looking for a first-hand look into what Montreal is all about.  Just grab a BIXI and go!

Find it here!

Pack up a picnic and dîner dans un parc 

Did you know that it in Montreal, it is legal to drink in public spaces? Well, there are some rules, but it's still one of the many reasons why people love our city.

People come to Montreal for many things and drinking is one of them. There is something about the energy of Montreal that fills you up with the want to enjoy life to the fullest... with a bottle or two of wine, that is.

Since our city is filled with so many lovely parks, one thing Montreal locals love to do is pack up a picnic and enjoy themselves in the great outdoors.

Why eat at an overpriced restaurant and pay for expensive drinks when you can do the same thing for a fraction of the cost, plus you will be living like a 514 local!

Find your new favourite park here!


That's this local's guide to experiencing Montreal like a real local. 

Things to do, places to go and, most importantly, where to get some great meals...

Now go out there and enjoy this amazing city!

Are you a Montreal native? Tell us what we missed on Instagram or Twitter.


All research done in this article is by the author. Businesses never pay to be featured on MTL Blog's "Best Of" lists; furthermore, this list represents a showcase of great spots, and is not a numbered ranking.

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