Compared to most other North American cities, Montreal is pretty damn affordable to live in. Rent plays a big part of the city's affordability, as does the many cheap food options and free cultural and nightlife events. Even tourists reap in the savings when they visit the city, a fact BudgetTravel is trying to let the world know, as they ranked Montreal #1 on their list of 26 Awesome (and Affordable!) Alternatives to Pricey Vacation Hot Spots.
Being the most cosmoplitan city in North America with an active French culture, Budget Travel gave Montreal the top spot budget-friendly city to travel to, listing Montreal as an alternative to Paris. Really its kind of a backhanded compliment, telling people to just go to Montreal if they can't afford a flight to the City of Light, because in all honesty, people should always just come here instead. Montreal is just more fun than Paris.
While we're totally okay with Montreal getting the #1 ranking on any list that makes the city look good, we can't ignore the strange suggestions for cheap-but-fun spots to check out in the city made by Budget Travel. Included in the write up (read the full text here) is Café Grévin, Château Ramezay, and Laloux, all hailed for being affordable while being awesome, which isn't untrue, though there are definitely some better suggestions for the traveler on a budget.
Ignored are smoked meat sandwiches and bagels, two very cheap but delicious classic Montreal dishes, Mount Royal and the city's many murals, always free to enjoy, and the long list of free nightlife events and the cheap bars to be found in Montreal. Needless to say, our list of ideas for budgeted tourists would be quite different, and would probably include buying a 40 of beer at the dep. They're only $5, just saying.
Kudos to Tourism Montreal for pointing this article in our direction on Twitter.
26 other vacation alternatives were listed by Budget Travel, with Montreal at the top. See which cities came next in the full list below.
Montreal > Paris
Warsaw > London
Playa del Carmen > Cancun
Eleuthera > Nassau
Moorea > Bora Bora
Palm Springs > San Francisco
Desert Hot Springs > Palm Springs
Galway City > Dublin
Portland > Seattle
Twin Falls, Idaho > Niagara Falls, New York
The Cinque Terre > The French Riviera
Budapest > Prague
Big Sky, Montana > Aspen
The Albanian Coast > The Dalmatian Coast
Perth, Australia > Sydney, Australia
Portugal > Spain
Krabi, Thailand > Phuket, Thailand
Croatia > Italy
Montenegro > Greece
Guatemala > Mexico
Zambia > Zanzibar
Jacksonville Beach > South Beach
Rockaway Beach > Montauk
Philadelphia > New York
Myrtle Beach, SC > Charleston, SC
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While there are a million and one spots to enjoy a 5 à 7 in the city, not everywhere does happy hour quite like this Montreal restaurant in the Village.
Resto Keela serves $6 drinks from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., including house draft beer, house red or white wine, and speed rail mixed drinks, which is a choice of vodka, rye, rum, or gin — a pretty hard drink deal to beat.
As for food, you can go every week and try a different $6 dish at happy hour. "The $6 bites change from week to week but we always offer 3-5 options," owners Kristin Murphy and Johnny Hamilton told MTL Blog.
I went on September 10 and got to try green beans with a cashew romesco sauce and feta crumble, chorizo sausage, chicken Kaarage with kimchi cucumbers, and organic cherry tomato salad with blue cheese. And I kid you not when I say these dishes all take your taste buds on a culinary trip to heaven.
Keela's full menu is also filled with tons of unique dishes for you to try. The celery root carpaccio is hands down my favourite.
Every Friday night, you can hear the sweet voice of Bud Rice sing live at the restaurant.