Sun, sand and drinks?
Parasols, beach bars, lounge chairs and the sound of waves gently lapping are beckoning. Here are our top spots for sunning and sipping cocktails at the heart of our urban scene.
In the Old Port
Lounge chairs, soft sand and blue parasols are yours to enjoy down in the Old Port, just a stone’s throw from downtown. Getting hot? You can’t jump in the St. Lawrence, but you can cool off at its very handy misting stations. Ahhhhh!
Moored in the Old Port, this ferry-turned-deluxe-spa offers beautiful views of the St. Lawrence River and the city. Get your skin tingling on its thermal circuit and take advantage of its decks, bridges, gardens and cabins with portholes. Paradise on water.
The fabulous terrasse of this seasonal market is just the thing for drinks and a bite to eat, and a big pull is the sweet views of the Jardin des écluses and the water. The ultimate hang-out spot on warm summer evenings.
Make the most of your waterside experience by reserving a tent for two nights in the comfort of the Jardin des écluses at the heart of Old Montréal. Just pack food, a cooler and sleeping bags (you can rent bedding) and your night out will be stellar.
More reading: Montréal’s water fun is absolutely splashing
Along the Lachine Canal
Move over, California and your turquoise pools and pink flamingo floats. Near the Atwater Market, on the banks of Pointe-Saint-Charles, you can rent giant swan pedal boats that will make a huge splash on the canal’s smooth waters. Or try out a little electric boat to admire the lush and industrial decor of the surroundings.
Place des Bassins along the Lachine Canal is a great new outdoor space that features four old blue MR-63 metro cars where you can sit and chill. Order an iced tea from a car-turned-café, and sip away while you gaze at the water. Beyond cool.
Anchored a few metres from the Atwater market, this floating café, which used to be an old barge, exudes a certain Parisian or Dutch je ne sais quoi. Enjoy cocktail hour on the roof with waves gently lapping in the background. A must!
A hop and skip from the Atwater Market, pull up a chair on a pretty patio that features a wine bar and ice cream stand, sample fresh market products and bask in the sun. Kids will dig the onsite sandbox too.
At sunset, historic industrial buildings make a perfect backdrop to this popular terrasse. Nothing beats relaxing near the water, cold craft beer in hand.
At Parc Jean-Drapeau
Hop on the metro and cool off at the beautiful green Parc Jean-Drapeau. Sandcastles, volleyball games and sun are all on the program, as are canoe, kayak, pedal boat and SUP rentals. Kids will have a hoot on the inflatable structure that features obstacles, slides and platforms.
East of downtown
Not far from the Jacques Cartier Bridge, facing La Ronde amusement park, this industrial-space-turned-beach-bar is now a go-to for outdoor fun along the St. Lawrence River. Hammocks, screenings under the stars, yoga at sunset and hitting the dance floor are all on the program this summer.
More reading? A guide to Montréal's seasonal outdoor markets and spaces.
A little further out
To get your green on without leaving the island of Montréal, hop on a bike or bus or take a car to Parc-nature du Bois-de l'Île-Bizard and Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques, both west of the city. In Verdun, docks on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, on LaSalle Boulevard, give you direct access to the river. Hours of frolicking fun on the horizon!
More good aquatic stuff here: The ultimate guide to beaches and pools in and around Montréal.
All this summer fun making you hungry? Check out Taste the tropics in Montréal for delicious, sun-kissed fare!
Laure Juilliard, blogger
Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.
To see the list of our regular contributors, click here.