With COVID-19 restrictions largely scaled back, the arrival of summer in Montreal means the city will slowly but surely be filled with tourists from all over. While things can get busy, it's the perfect time of year for visitors to take in all that the 514 has to offer, that is if you plan your trip right.
While tourism gives the city a special spark, there are a few common mistakes that visitors to Montreal tend to make that we wish they knew beforehand. So, maybe don't make these errors on your next visit...Either way, bienvenue à Montréal.
Only Going To Old Montreal
Don't get me wrong, Old Montreal is BEAUTIFUL. And it's definitely something that needs to be experienced. But so many tourists come to the city and only go to our most European and oldest neighbourhood (and only go to the main square).
There's so much to see and do in the city, like the Plateau, the Mile End and Sud-Ouest to name a few. So, while Old Montreal is well worth the visit, be sure to expand your horizons and hit up some other eccentric and exciting neighbourhoods Montreal has to offer.
Getting Poutine From Just Anywhere
Did people really visit Montreal if they didn't get a poutine? For many visitors (and let's be honest, locals too), poutine is the number one thing they want to eat in the city.
Now if you're on the hunt for a standard poutine, please for the love of god do not go to McDonald's or just anywhere for your poutine fix. It's all about that perfect ratio of fries, to gravy, to squeaky cheese — which you can't just find anywhere.
Eat Only At Chain Restaurants
Speaking of food, every city should be experienced like a local, but when it comes to the food and drink scene in Montreal, the only way to find the best places is to ask Montrealers, themselves.
From hole-in-the-wall sandwich shops, to the best speakeasies for a 5 à 7, to the best upscale restaurants you'll want to book ASAP, taste your way through a whole different side of Montreal. Whatever you do, PLEASE do not come to Montreal just to go to the same chain restaurants you have at home.
Listening To Google Maps Driving Times
Montreal is definitely not a city that needs to be driven. In fact, it should be explored like Montrealers do: by foot, metro and bike. If you do choose to drive, the number one thing to recommend (and this cannot be said enough) is to never trust Google Maps driving time.
Give yourself AT LEAST an extra half hour. This will give you time for endless detours and the inevitable situation where you can't find parking. You may think, "Oh this is nothing. I come from a big city, too." Just you wait...
Not Packing The Right Clothes
It's no secret to anyone that Montreal gets cold. Like seriously cold. But Montreal also gets hot. Like seriously hot.
For a city that goes through these two extremes at the heart of winter and summer, trust me when I tell you if you don't check the weather and pack accordingly you're going to be miserable. Don't show up in the middle of the winter with a wind breaker or in July with anything but tees and shorts.
Then again, any excuse to go shopping, am I right?
Taking Your Sweet Time Walking Down Sainte-Catherine
Sainte-Catherine is definitely a hot spot any time of the year, but in the summer, oh boy is it ever busy! It's always easy to spot the tourists from the locals based on how fast someone is walking down the street.
So, pointer for your next trip, do not walk a glacial pace on Sainte-Catherine, and if you do like to take things slow, veer to the side of the walkway as many Montrealers like to get where they need to as fast as they can...