This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg.
I’m writing this from Vancouver airport and am on my way back to my hometown of Montreal for the first time in 2011. While wintertime is quite cold, there are kilometers and kilometers of tunnels linking much of the downtown core, and the city can be enjoyed at any point during the year. Here are my Top 5 things to do in Montreal:
1. EAT! Yes, I tend to be biased because I write a lot about food. But the food options in my city are plentiful and varied. For starters, Schwartz’ Deli offers smoked meat that is very different from corned beef or the smoked meats available elsewhere. Open late, there’s a line up outside the door at all hours of the day. Montreal is also known for its bagels and Fairmount or St. Viateur are each an ideal place to sample Montreal-style bagels, which taste different from all others I’ve tried (they’re much thinner, crunchy outside and soft inside – and in my biased opinion, much better!). You can’t come to Montreal and not eat poutine, our provincial dish of cheese curds, gravy and french fries. The best place in town: La Banquise. Finally, there’s a great group of BYOB restaurants on Duluth Street – but more on these later this summer when I round up the specifics of great food in Montreal.
[Photo Credit: Adie Reed]
2. BIXI THROUGH THE OLD PORT A Bixi bike ride around the Old Port and surrounding areas is an ideal welcome to Montreal. In the summer months, Sundays include the fun outdoor party at Piknic Électronik on Île Ste.-Hélène. The tiny island adjacent to Montreal easy to find (use your Bixi bike!) and a perfect place to relax. You can take the bike through Montreal’s downtown core and around the Lachine Canals off of Atwater Market – great way to cover ground and enjoy the sun.
[Photo Credit: Joe57Spike]
3. MOUNT ROYAL. I’d also recommend visiting Mont Royal, the tiny mountain looking down over Montreal. You can walk your way to the top, visit Beaver Lake and see the sunset over the city. In the summer, you can partake in a huge, free drum circle called Tamtams in Mont Royal park, happening every Sunday afternoon.
4. ART MUSEUM. I can spend hours strolling through the Musee des Beaux Arts for an ever-compelling series of art exhibits. Until June 26, the museum houses The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army exhibit, well worth seeing, as well as the ‘Earth is Blue Like an Orange’ exhibit with quirky photos, installations and sculptures showing a different way to see the world (through September 4, 2011).
5. FIRE FOUNTAIN. Unique and fun: my city has a Fountain of Fire named La Joute. Created by Jean-Paul Riopelle in 1969, the fountain spews fire on the hour and makes for quite a spectacle. It’s located in Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle in the Quartier International de Montreal. Worth a walk to view, especially when lit up at night.
More from Montreal later this summer, including the world-famous International Jazz Festival that runs every June/July.