So you're parents are coming to visit, yay. Or, if you're like me, you're filled with a strange sense of excitement and dread, as you welcome the fact that the folks who gave birth to you are going to once more take care of all expenses for a weekend, but you're also quite apprehensive of all that one-on-one (or two) time.
Making matters worse, you're supposed to play tour guide during the parental visit. Again, your emotions are split, as you look forward to showing your parents around the city you love while hating the idea of doing anything overly touristy. Except your parents are tourists, and that's the stuff they want to do.
But you can strike a balance. With the following spots, you can have fun showing your parents around Motnreal without being bored out of your mind like at the usual tourist traps. Check 'em out below.
Take 'Em To House Of Jazz
Equal parts kitschy, entertaining, and parent-friendly, the House of Jazz is a Montreal institution, and while you may not go there for a night out with your friends, your 'rents will definitely enjoy the over-the-top decor and old school ambiance. And with live shows pretty much every night, you're guaranteed a good time with the parentals.
Discover Montreal On An Audio Tour
Honestly, if you're familiar with Montreal, you could be just as good of a tour guide as some of the ones you see taking droves of tourists throughout the Plateau. But even if you're not, I think taking a guided tour through a Montreal neighbourhood is a little bit of a scam, especially when there are amazing (and free!) audio tours available.
Take your parents on a stroll through an iconic borough at your own pace, all while learning stuff about the area you never could have known on your own. Audio (or just self-guided) tours available include Old Montreal, Chinatown, Griffintown, and more.
Enjoy Smoked Meat At Lester's Deli
No doubt that if you're parents have yet to enjoy a smoked meat sandwich, they'll be clamoring to try one, and probably suggest Schwartz's. Nip that tourist trap in the bud and head to Lester's instead. By far a better deli, Lester's also has the boon of being in the incredibly aesthetically pleasing borough of Outremont, the perfect area for a post-smoked meat stroll.
Grab A Drink At La Distillerie Or DDC
Spending abundant amounts of time with your parents almost requires a bit of alcohol to help you get through the whole trip. They're probably feeling the same, so don't feel guilty.
Depending on whether your 'rents are more into cocktails or beer, La Distillerie or Dieu du Ciel are great choices, respectively. Both are a solid blend of trendy, hip, and low-key with a varied age-range of clientele, so your fam-jam won't look super out of place.
Explore Montreal's Secret Cave
If you happen to have mildly adventurous parents, then use their visit as a solid excuse to finally check out Montreal's secret cave. Otherwise known as the Cavernicole Cave, the subterranean expanse lies at the centre of Park Pie-IX in St. Leonard, which can make it kind of a trek, but one that's totally worth it.
See The Butterflies Go Free At The Botanical Gardens
Honestly, Montreal's Botanical Garden is a great place to take the parental units any time of the year, but if yours are visiting anytime between now and April 28th, then you simply must go to see the annual "Butterflies Go Free" event. 20,000 butterflies of 50 different species are released 100 at a time during the breath-taking showcase of nature's beauty, a spectacle you'll want to see even if you're not accompanied by your mom and dad.
Caffeinate At A Cat Cafe
You've no doubt thought about heading to one of Montreal's cat cafes at some point, but couldn't bring yourself to do it. Enter your feline-loving mom or dad, the perfect excuse to head to a cat cafe without seeming like a crazy cat person. They'll enjoy the sheer novelty of having cats run about with a latte in-hand and you'll finally be able to cross off "cat cafe" from your Montreal bucket list. Double-win.
Explore All Things Culinary At Marché Jean-Talon
Even if your parents are visiting, you're probably not going to get a home-cooked meal. They're on vacation too, after all. But you can subtly trick them into it by heading to Marché Jean-Talon, easily the best farmer's market in the city. Not only is it a tourist destination worth checking out in itself, but you can stock up on so much fresh produce and food items you wouldn't be able to get elsewhere. Then you can subtly hint to your 'rents how all this food shouldn't go to waste, invite them over for a meal at your place, and swindle them into doing most of the cooking. It's the perfect plan.
Take A Journey To Saint-Joseph's Oratory
Okay, so I know I said I wouldn't include super-overdone tourist stuff on this list, but in truth, Saint-Joseph's Oratory is just too great an experience to pass up. Not only is the basiilica (which is Canada's largest church) simply breathtaking, you can walk up to the Oratory via Mount Royal, a Montreal must-see. After you're done checking out the Oratory and its amazing view, you're then in Côte-des-Neiges, a borough worth exploring with your parents, mostly because there are some amazing restaurants to check out.
Grab A Souvenir At Artpop
There truly is only one respectable place to get a Montreal souvenir in this city, and that vendor is Artpop on Mont-Royal avenue. Selling artistic works that are odes to the city, Artpop has some really cool stuff, with everything from prints to mugs to pillows. Don't get swindled into paying for overpriced Montreal merchandise at some gift shop, just head to Artpop.