Photo cred - Cleo Fysh
Being a tourist in Montreal isn't the easiest, simply because there is so much to do and see. You could probably say that about any city, but also like any other metropolis, there are the attractions worth going to, and those that are simply tourist traps. Locals know to avoid these spots, but tourists aren't quite so initiated in all-things Montreal, and flock to tourist traps at their own peril.
Montreal is home to more than a few tourist traps, attractions that are popular by reputation but suck in reality. Some aren't so bad (being just lesser versions of other spots) while others are totally at "avoid at all cost" status. If you're a tourist, pay heed, if not, see if you agree with our list of Montreal's biggest tourist traps.
Photo cred - When I'm on vacation
Bring on the hate, but no smoked meat sandwich is worth waiting in a 40 minute line that is always full of tourists, which is a solid signifier of trap-status. For those who disagree and think this is blasphemous, read my previous rant about Schwartz's being sub-par, and if you still don't agree, well, just have fun waiting in line.
Photo cred - Andrew Mastard
For whatever reason, tourists only seem to know about Crescent street, thinking it is the hottest spot in the city. While Crescent is home to some solid bars, it pales in comparison to St. Laurent or St. Denis streets. On second thought, tourists can stay on Crescent, so better spots don't get too jam-packed.
Photo cred - Tom Freda
Besides cobblestone streets, cool architecture, and horse-carriage rides, Old Montreal doesn't have much to offer. Nearly all the restaurants are grossly overpriced, simply because they're in the area, and so are the bars. God help you if you go into a souvenir shop, the embodiment of a tourist trap. There are exceptions the Old Montreal-rule (as some restos/bars are pretty legit) but all in all, you can find cooler and cheaper spots elsewhere.
Photo cred - C Mac
The Underground City
Montreal's underground network of shops, metros, and food courts is a major draw for its ranking as one of the largest below ground complexes in the world. Once you check it out though, you realize the whole thing is basically just a series of malls interconnected and government buildings interconnected via tunnels. Sure, the underground city is pretty handy for shortcuts and avoiding bad weather, but exciting is is not.
Photo cred - Disco Kev
Club Super Sexe
Strip clubs are many a Montreal tourist hit-list, with Super Sexe being the most renowned, while also being the biggest rip off. Yes, there's some glitzy production value to the place, but you're gonna pay through the nose for what really isn't anything that sexy. Skip Super Sexe if you're planning a bachelor party, or get that level of drunk to go to a strip club, and head to a smaller place that isn't on St. Cats. Or, you know, skip the strip club entirely.
Photo cred - Russell Tiffin
The Olympic Stadium
It isn't much of a secret the Olympic Stadium has seen better days, and those were back in the 70s. Forty years later, visitors still hit up the Big O, and unless there's an event like First Fridays going on, they're gonna find a serious lack of things to do. At least now there's the adult gymnast park.
Photo cred - Andre Rivest
What was once one of the best markets in Montreal has now become a little too commercial, with most of the produce sold tacked with the same sticker you'll find at a standard grocery store. Some independent farmers are still around, but the quality of goods has seriously dropped in recent years, with most Montrealers totally unaware as well. Head to Jean-Talon instead, and don't get snared in this tourist attraction.
Photo cred - Mina Guib
Saint-Catherine Street (Downtown core)
Citing St. Cats in entirety as a tourist trap would be wrong, but the stretch from McGill College to Guy is basically just chain stores and overpriced restaurants, all designed to lure in tourists or money to spend. You can't help but hit this stretch up, but there is cooler places to walk 'n shop in Montreal, places you won't see so many tourists actually obeying traffic lights and blocking up the sidewalk.
Photo cred - Jordana Z.
Before you start pouring out the hater-aid, note that no one is saying La Banquise isn't epically delicious. No argument there, because La Banquise is great, but its rep as "best poutine in Montreal" has made it a serious tourist destination/trap. Tourists should hit up La Banquise, but the vibrant resto with exotic poutines isn't exactly in line with the classic poutine experience, namely eating poutine in a sketchy diner at 4am. You can eat a poutine at La Banquise at any hour, but it doesn't have that grimy charm.
Photo cred - Don Lusignan
The Montreal Forum
What was once the home of the Montreal Canadiens has now become a glorified theatre complex which is barely even worth visiting. Hockey fans may visit in hopes of reliving hockey history, but their hopes will be crushed once they realize how the forum has become a corporate entity entirely. Yes, it is an official National Historic Site of Canada, but that doesn't make it worth visiting, unless you're going to see a movie that is.
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