Tuesday, 23 September 2014

10 Things You Need to Know for Your First Trip to Montreal

Having recently returned from an extended weekend in Montreal (original story here), I sat back and reflected on it as a whole. I had a lot of fun while there but also wished I had been given a heads up or researched deeper into things I'd need to know. With that in mind I have decided to share some things you need to know before you go.

10 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Montreal

1. If you are driving, don't make a right turn at a red light. It’s illegal. I did know this going in, but after being so accustomed to doing this driving maneuver it was frustrating to be held up at the lights.

Inside the Acura RLX Elite
Don't turn that wheel to the right on a red light!

2. "DĂ©ppaneur" and "Couche-tard" is what you will be looking for when you need a convenience store. Also, beer is sold until 11pm in most of these stores! Awesome!

3. It's quite a small city, you can honestly walk 30 minutes in each direction from the core and be where the tourists want to be (the exception is Mount Royal Park). With that they also have an extensive Metro for any longer hikes.

4. If you are staying on a Sunday or Monday night plan to eat early. We learned the hard way that most bars and restaurants close at 10 or 11pm. Our saviour was Dunn's on Metcalfe south of St.Catherine on a Sunday night after walking around.

Smoked Meat Burger from Dunn's
Smoked Meat Burger from Dunn's
5. St. Dennis has slightly better bars than Crescent. Crescent is cool with all of its patios and what not, but the slew of drunken McGill students really ruined the vibe for me. St. Dennis is a good 20 minute walk away and is loaded with brew pubs that take the art of beer seriously. Definitely a must area to crawl for beer enthusiasts.

6. If you need to leave the island of Montreal with a cab, good luck getting back. We used Uber to lure a cab driver to take us to a wedding across the river in Khanawake, but coming home took far more effort.  Which included a shuttle bus ride to a dilapidated motel where we woke up the concierge to call us a cab. $80 and an hour later we were back at our hotel.

Uber logo
Uber Logo
7. If you don't speak French fluently, don't speak it at all. Unlike most other places I've visited, Quebecers don't seem to thrilled that you tried to speak their language. If anything they seem frustrated. Montreal is a dual language city and you will be fine with just English. Off the island though...you're on your own.

8. Montreal is very bike friendly, if you have the opportunity bring or rent a bike and cruise around.

9. You cannot skip hiking in Mont Royal and taking in the stunning views of the city. You simply cannot.

10. This is silly but still important, Jean Coutu is a pharmacy, not a cheap clothing store. We overlooked this and spent far too long looking for a pharmacy when there was a bunch close by. Silly mistake.

There you have it, 10 things to make your visit to Montreal slightly better!  I hope that these tips will be beneficial on your first or next visit. Have any other tips? Let me know in the comment section below or on twitter.



  1. Very useful tips, especially 10th ha-ha. Now, I know where to seek Alka-Seltzer. :-)

  2. In hindsight I can't believe we over looked it for as long as we did. Oh well, live and learn.

    Thanks for the comment Victor.

  3. Thanks alot but thankfully I'm going to visit my uncle there so my trip might be better ahah lol.

  4. Thanks will be my first visit in july, I can put away this can french for dummies book!

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