An introduction to Montréal's most popular neighbourhoods
Every neighbourhood in Montréal exhibits a unique character of its own, encompassed in its historical sights, restaurants, hotels and art galleries, nightlife, parks and people. From West to East, we’ll introduce you to the neighbourhoods that form the core of urban Montréal, before circling outwards in additional articles to introduce more neighbourhoods.
Where historical New France meets the modern world, cobblestone roads intersect with digital art installations and celebrated chefs astutely twist traditional dishes, Old Montréal embraces a unique blend of old and new. Walk along the Saint Lawrence River boardwalk in the Old Port, with views of Habitat 67 and Parc Jean-Drapeau, Bota Bota spa and more. Step back in time in the gorgeous Notre-Dame Basilica, Chateau Ramezay and Pointe-à-Callière Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History and leap into the present at the PHI Centre and DHC/ART gallery. Find luxury and boutique hotels along quaint, narrow streets lined with excellent restaurants such as Accords Wine Bar and Restaurant, Le Club Chasse et Pêche, Restaurant Les 400 Coups and Taverne Gaspar.
The heart of Montréal’s entertainment district, the Quartier des Spectacles, centres on downtown’s Place des Arts, where world-class music, opera, dance and more grace the stages and festivals take over the streets every summer. Nearby, incredible art, culture and history exhibitions make the Montreal Fine Arts Museum, the Musée d’art contemporain and the McCord Museum must-sees. Shop along Ste-Catherine Street and in the Underground City, and find designer-label boutiques, fine dining and top hotels in the Golden Square Mile along Sherbrooke near McGill University. Stop in for a bite and a drink at restaurants and bars throughout the area, from Crescent Street to Taverne Square Dominion to Toqué!
The restaurants, bakeries and shops of Montréal’s Chinatown bustle day and night, serving up everything from dim sum to Szechuan, ramen to pho, sushi to banh mi. With its iconic red gates installed at René-Levesque Avenue and Viger Street along St-Laurent Boulevard, Chinatown also acts a corridor linking downtown and Old Montréal.
For decades, Montréal’s Village has welcomed LGBTQ travellers from around the world – it’s not only the hub of the city’s Pride festivities but a hotbed of activity throughout the year. The Écomusée du fier monde, Galerie de l’UQAM and the Mtl en Arts festival maintain the avant-garde in art, while restaurants and cafés delight with daily new creations, and bars and clubs like Sky, Unity and Cabaret Mado keep patrons happy until after-parties start at Stereo and Circus.
Further east from the Village, the city becomes more residential into Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, yet here’s where several exciting new restaurants and cafés have popped up in the past few years to join the Marché Maisonneuve market on Ontario Street. Ho-Ma is also where you’ll find the Olympic Park, including the iconic Stadium and esplanade, always a busy place for festivals during the summer. And nearby, it’s easy to spend an entire day at the expansive, family-friendly Space for Lifecomplex – home to the Botanical Garden, Insectarium, Biodôme and Planetarium.
Plateau Mont-Royal, Mile End and Outremont
Seemingly forever young and vibrant, brimming with chill clubs and pastoral parks, these neighbourhoods form a kind of trifecta of Montréal cool. Walk up beautiful Mount-Royal and into Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau, shop and eat along Mount-Royal Avenue, and dig into the days of Leonard Cohen or catch the newest bands during POP Montréal. Sip the best lattés and wines, discover local designers at Frank & Oak, General 54 and Unicorn, go on a record-buying spree and even go vegan in the most delicious way in Mile End and Outremont. Walkable and friendly, these neighbourhoods make for a lovely day out or a night of indulgences.
Robyn Fadden, blogger
Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.
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