9 things to do around the city during Montréal Pride!
With Montréal Pride in full swing, there’s no shortage of LGBTQ-inspired events in and around the city to keep you going for ten days. Beyond Pride, Montréal is an inviting city with a rich culture and plenty to keep you occupied should you wish to come up for air for a day of site seeing, people watching or taking a little time for yourself. Here are nine ideas that will entice you to step out and see a little more of Montréal!
L’Observatoire Place Ville Marie
Get a breathtaking 360-degree view of Montréal and beyond. The observatory and museum on top of Place Ville Marie (one of Montréal’s tallest buildings) allows you take in vistas that stretch out as far as the eye can see. Grab a glass of wine or a bite to eat at Les Enfants Terribles while you’re there and let the views really soak in. Buy tickets here.
Casino de Montréal
Suit up and strap on your heels for a sophisticated night out at the Casino de Montréal. The beautiful space (which was originally the French Pavilion during Montréal’s Expo 67) has recently undergone a stunning renovation and features Canada’s only L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurant. Grab a drink and pull up to one of the many games tables featured or take in a show. The retro nights at the Casino de Montréal make for a perfect evening of pop music fun.
A day at the museums
Montréal is a city in tune with its artistic side with a fine collection of museums that caters to all tastes. A visit to the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex is an excellent way to learn a little about Montréal’s colourful history or get regal with an in-depth look at the Queens of Egypt. If fashion is more your thing, you can enter the world of designer Cristóbal Balenciaga at the McCord Museum. From the edgy Musée d’art contemporain (Museum of Contemporary Art) to the refined Montréal Museum of Fine Arts to the kitschy Grévin MONTREAL and many more, there’s something for the art (or pop culture fanatic) in everyone.
Visit Old Montréal
A day spent in Old Montréal will be a day filled with beautiful historic buildings, long walks along cobblestone streets and more than you could ever fit into a single day. Take a break and relax while slowly climbing to the top of La Grande Roue de Montréal, the highest observation wheel in Canada. Or see history come to life at night with Montréal en Histoires - Cité Mémoire as you take an immersive walk through Old Montréal, as ghostly projections tell poetic stories from the city’s past. See the spectacular architecture of the Notre-Dame Basilica in a new light with AURA, a multi-sensory experience designed by Moment Factory. From exquisite dining to an exciting nightlife, from a man-made beach at the Clock Tower to ziplining and so much more, you’ll be glad you took some time to explore one of the oldest neighbourhoods in North America.
Parc Jean-Drapeau and Saint Helen’s Island
Parc Jean-Drapeau is only a metro ride away (or if you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can walk there along the Jacques-Cartier Bridge) and there’s enough on Saint Helen’s Island to keep you busy all day. Take in a day at the Jean-Doré Beach or hike through the old Expo 67 site that still features a few of the original pavilions from the World’s Fair. The iconic Biosphère, Environment Museum, the former United States Pavilion, has found a new vocation as a museum dedicated to the environment. Before returning to Montréal, take in a roller coaster or two at La Ronde. You’ll be glad you did, but you might want to fix your hair before returning to your regularly scheduled Pride activities.
Montréal is an island, so if you are looking for fun on the water, we have you covered. Go for a swim at the impressive Aquatic Complex at Parc Jean-Drapeau, or tame a few rapids with the jet boat rides of Saute-Moutons. If you want to take it easy and soak up a little maritime atmosphere, there’s nothing like brunch or dinner on a river cruise. Bateau-Mouche, Croisières AML and Navark offer outings to fit every taste.
Discover natural wonders
The Space for Life museums, located at the Olympic Park, offer a deep dive into our natural world. A peaceful walk through the Botanical Garden is the perfect calming cure for the wonderful craziness of Pride. Stop by the Insectarium and learn about the stunning diversity of the insect world. Or travel to the stars at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, which features spectacular shows like the breathtaking Aurōrae.
Go climb the mountain
Outdoor adventures in Montréal often involve sidewalks, but not in Mount Royal Park. This oasis of green right in the centre of the city allows you to leave the hustle and bustle behind for an hour or two and commune with nature. Popular stops are Beaver Lake, the Mount Royal Chalet and the Kondiaronk Belvedere with its spectacular view of downtown. Returning to the city – and Pride – is a breeze and the fresh air feeling of the park will stay with you all day.
Eat, eat and eat some more
Montréal is a food city famous for its internationally-inspired cuisine, but we are probably most well-known for iconic foods like smoked meat, wood-fired bagels and, of course, our drool-worthy poutine. If you’re a diehard foodie or you’re looking to live like a local, Montréal has something just for you. Learn more about what makes our bagels so great, why people still line up for Montréal’s smoked meat and how poutine can change the way you see fries and gravy, one cheese curd at a time.
Click here for more insider’s tips on how to eat like a local while staying in Montréal! Bon appétit!
Blair Dohey, writer
Blair Dohey is a Canadian writer and blogger who relentlessly tracks down the coolest things to do and see in Montréal and loves discovering amazing restaurants and bars in the city. When he’s not writing about his travels through Montréal, you’ll probably find him sitting at a bar, chatting with friends and laughing at his own jokes.
To see the list of our regular contributors, click here.