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10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

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posts: 22
reviews: 22
10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

This is my second trip to Montreal and despite having spent over a month here in total so far I really feel like I am missing the essence of the city.

When I normally travel I like to walk around and soak up the atmosphere but that hasn't worked for me here.

Back in October I did make my way to the tourist office where I had a very strange encounter. The tourist office employee told me that I had picked the worst month to come and not much was happening. When I asked him to recommend a few things to see and do he told me I really should figure that out myself. When I asked for advice where to eat etc he said he could not tell me as it was against the rules and I could be a spy sent from restaurants trying to catch him out!

I am sure you will all be more forthcoming.

I am looking for advice on where to eat and where to get the best take out.

I am young(ish) female travelling alone so I am not going to eat dinner out at night by myself thus any good take away or delivery options downtown would be appreciated as would lunch recommendations.

I would like to do some cultural and historical activities. Maybe a walking tour of the city or Old Montreal if such a thing exists. When I visited Old Montreal in October it was sweet but like a ghost town.

I don't want to travel too far as I am relying on pubic transport.

All the activities would preferably be executable during the daytime. As a lone female traveller I never feel comfortable out after dark regardless of the city I am in.

Any suggestions fro gifts that I could bring back from Montreal that or typical to the area or typically Canadian? Bearing in mind that I have a modest budget.

Also where are all the supermarkets? The ones I have visited so far are more like convenience stores. Is this because I am in downtown? They all seem quite small.

There are probably more things I should be asking so if you think there is anything I haven't asked but I should have then let me know!

And if you could get rid of the rain that would be a great help...

Quebec
Destination Expert
for Mont Tremblant
posts: 6,764
reviews: 17
1. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

My fav delivery system for food is a la carte express, they are a service that delivers for many down eateries. The latest one I tried on their list was Gourmet Burger, yummy and a good price. A la carte has all the menus online and you can order from more than one rest for the same deli dry fee.

Take Tristou up on his offer for a tour, he will be able to show you some great sights. The rain makes it no fun for anyone, hopefully the sin will start to shine and you can enjoy some of Montreals great sidewalk cares, a cheap and relaxing way for a single to chill and people watch.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 3,154
reviews: 37
2. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

Oh my that is a lot of questions.

First off, what HAVE you done so far? Any typical tourist attraction you've knocked off the list?

-WHAT TO DO-

I am sure you already know of TA's page "Things to Do" for montreal. If not you can find it on your left.

Here is my own list of suggestions. There is repetition with the official things to do:

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i22845-Top_Thin…

As a lone traveller, i recommend museums a lot. As for walking to get a sense of the city, you need to venture outside the downtown core.

Try going to Jean-Talon market, and enjoying a coffee and croissant. In addition, it's also a good place to find foodie gifts. Maple products are very popular and you can find more ideas in Le Marche des Saveurs.

More walking: Saint-Denis street has a lot of character. I suggest you walk anywhere between Mont-Royal street and Berri-Uqam. Some parts are dingy, some very cute, some modern. You'll come across all sorts of people on a sunny day.

The Tam Tam Jam, in Parc Mont-Royal near jeanne-Mance, is suppose to start this weekend. You wanted to get a "feel of the locals", this is IT. There may also be some medieval combats going on but i am unsure when that starts. While you're in that area, i suggest you pickup cupcakes from Cocoa Locale and Chicken from Romados.

Walking in Old Montreal is fun on a sunny day. At the moment the weather is crud but you're in luck because they are predicting sunshine this weekend.

-EATING SOLO-

When eating solo, i like to sit at the bar sometimes. It may spark up a conversation with the barkeep. Otherwise, i, like you, just takeout. As for recommendations for takeout, what hotel are you staying at?

I already mentionned Romados chicken and Cocoa Locale cupcakes as takeout.

In Old Montreal i recommend MuvBox (should open soon), Brit & Chips, Aziatik and Les Glaceurs (the last being for cupcakes and gelato).

In the Western part of Downtown, i suggest Kazu Izakaya. If you like (or want to try) persian food, try Maison du Kebab, but you must pay in cash. Although i work downtown and practically eat out here every day, i have no real GREAT recommendations that come to mind right now. If i remember something ill post it later.

For pizza delivery i like Pinoli's and Frais et Fabuleux.

Breakfast or brunch i really suggest Byblos. It'S a great place to enjoy a book alone. Very cosy. Another good brunch is Le Laurence or Lemeac.

I am running out of time, but i'm sure others will chime in to add some suggestions.

PS: That tourism office clerk was AWEFUL, wow how do they hire these people?

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 4,426
3. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

Yes, indeed, take me up on my offer. I give a very good tour of Old Montréal and Le Plateau -- not as full as dates and names as the professional guides, and I like architecture and urban spaces so many of my comments are skewed in that direction, but I'll also show you some of the more interesting bits and give some history of the city... send me an private message if you like and we can arrange the time.

And downtown doesn't have many supermarkets, given that it's a business district. Depending on where your hotel is, the closest ones would be on Parc just above Sherbrooke, the IGA in the Complexe Desjardins at Saint-Urbain and René-Levesque, or possibly a string of them where downtown becomes more residential just west of Guy, such as Murelatos, Provigo, or PA.

For eating: again, it depends on where your hotel is -- who wants cold take-out (as it's called here) food? Let us know and we can point you in the right direction. Most of the restaurants downtown cater to the business crowd and pay high rents, so most are middle-of-the-road, and the nicer ones are more expensive. Another option is the food courts -- Eaton Centre is the largest, but Industrielle-Alliance foodcourt under Simon's is higher quality and has many independent foodsellers rather than chains.

For exploring the city: Montréal is surrounded by some very nice inner neighbourhoods, with some quirky and interesting shopping streets and pretty sidestreets. I say the Plateau is the best neighbourhood to check out -- you could hop on the métro to the Mont-Royal station and then head either left or right along Mont Royal or down Saint-Denis, for example. Or take the #80 Parc bus up to, say, Laurier Street or further to Saint-Viateur and explore the Mile-End district, stopping by Fairmount or St-Viateur bagels and having them hot is a very Montréal thing to do.

The most typically Canadian things would be maple syrup or candies -- alas, hard to find cheap -- or inuit statues or amerindian dream catchers sold at tourist stores. However, there are other alternatives, such as (more expensive but more creative) locally-made t-shirts with typically Montréal images on them, for example. In Old Montréal, there is Mortimer Snodgrass on Saint-Paul that carries a few.

posts: 22
reviews: 22
4. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

Wow thanks for all the help. I'm staying in a little apartment on Rue Simpson this time. I have looked at the a la carte menu but there is so much choice I don't know where to start. I really like Italian and Lebanese food but as long as something isn't spicy I am a happy camper.

I haven't been to Mont Royal yet as the weather hasn't permitted it.

I have visited Old Montreal and the Basilica but not yet on this trip. I have also gone to the Beaux Arts Museum. And I have spent some time in Chinatown.

I appreciate your tip about eating at the bar but I don't drink alcohol and when I have been in bars I have been approached by the wrong sort (although this was in France and Italy).

I have been to the foodcourts but again I have been overwhelmed by the choice so to my shame I went to the brands I recognised like MacDonalds,

I am going to go to the Plateau this weekend if the weather picks up and if I can figure out how to get there!

I also like the sound of the Jean Talon market, any directions please? I have an STM card from my last visit so that makes it easy enough.

Last time I picked up some Maple Syrup lollipops and chocolate flavoured bars but people didn't seem to appreciate it. I think I must have gotten the usually below standard touristy fare rather than what the locals eat!

Merci beaucoup!

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
posts: 10,379
reviews: 54
5. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

Hello Aine1984

This week-end will be Mother's Day and Old Montreal would be quite lively then. Also make sure that you stop and visit Notre-Dame Basilica and Pointe-à-Callières Museum. Yes it is a bit deserted during the bad season but will sprint back to life very quickly in May.

IGA at Compexe Desjardins, already mentioned and also one large supermarket in the Plaza Alexis Nihon with direct access to the métro.

I would suggest a visit of the Botanical Garden but much later in the month, if not June as it is still bare now.

I have no problems eating alone in a restaurant, this is more of a mindset, bring a book or newspaper with you and take time to look at your neighbours. Counter/bar service can be a good option too. At l'Express on Saint-Denis I do both counter and tables and really like it as there is so much "action" going around as this is the hangout of the francophone intelligentsia. Eat some rotisserie chicken at either Saint-Hubert (the classic) or newcomer Scores. Well there is a Scores downtown and they offer a huge soup/salad/fruit bar that is free with the chicken and usually I end up eating so much of the free stuff that I ask for a doggie bag (in this case a box) to bring home most of the chicken and fries. There is also the possibility of having deliveries from both places.

Take copies of Hour and Mirror newspapers and look at all the entertainment possibilities. Montreal has some of the best cinemas on the planet (I am talking of the buildings). Yes the Imperial is a georgeous old cinema with great acoustic and Ex-Centris with the most modern ones in the world. Imperial is not used all the time but Ex-Centris is the home of Cinéma Parallèle if you want to see off the beaten track movies. Also Cinémathèque Québécoise presenting repertory films. Montreal has a world wide reputation for animation movies and Cinémathèque presents them often.

Nightime if you want to be naughty you could certainly pay a visit at Club 281 for the, ahem, "dancers"! Also why don't you try a drag show at Chez Mado? On Friday and Saturday night it is like 60% straight clientele.

Later in May will be Museum Day (on a Sunday) and there will be action all around. There will be bus circuits and you can visit quite a few places free. There will be more than one circuit and they will probably all start at Dorchester Square. Avoid the big museums like the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and seek less known spots like the beautiful Ferme Saint-Gabriel.

Finally even if you state that you don't want to venture so far because you rely on public transit both Québec City and Ottawa have great bus service from Mtl, every hour, on the hour departures all day long. So a day visit to Ottawa is an easy affair while Qc is a bit far at 3h20 from Mtl but I have done a day trip there many times.

Edited: 11:27 am, May 05, 2011
Montreal
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 4,426
6. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

If you head over to www.walkscore.com and type in your address, it will give you a quick view of what is around you -- not always completely accurate, but it helps you get your bearings.

For food and budget, you're in luck in this area: it's full of students and cheap eats. You must try Bangkok, the thai restaurant in the food court upstairs at the Faubourg Sainte-Catherine -- the green-and-glass building on the south side of Sainte-Catherine between Guy and St-Marc. Their Pad Thai is among the best I've had, even including many I ate in Thailand, and you can order it not spicy. Al-Taïb on Guy just north of de Maisonneuve has Lebanese pizza things, and Nulifar on Sainte-Catherine has cheap and home-made falafels. Close to there is La Rotisserie Italienne, cheap and good and family-run.

Montreal
posts: 316
7. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

Obviously your last 10 days will be more enjoyable if it ever warms up and stops raining! A lot of good suggestions already. Defiantly go back to Old Montreal, if it isn't nice out you can go to the Pointe-à-Callières Museum ( I love it) as rickb suggests, but on a nice day you can just wander and enjoy the area. In post 3 tristou tells you how to get to the Plateau. As for Jean Talon market, just metro it to Jean Talon station. Do you know you can use google maps for information like this? Click on the bus icon to get public transit directions. What about exploring by bike? You can use a bixi (https://montreal.bixi.com/) for getting from area to area. For grocery stores near you Provigo on St Catherine near Fort and PA on Fort just north of St Catherine are both good.

posts: 22
reviews: 22
8. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

Evening all. I had a pleasant day in Montreal.

I went to the Jean Talon market and it was nice. Lots of fruits and veg and flowers on sale. It felt like I was in the real Montreal.

I went to Mont Royal and it was the highlight of the trip. Really pretty.

I also ordered food from Gourmet Burger and it was yummy.

I think Montreal is a city for living in but still not sure about it being a city for tourists.

MA
Destination Expert
for New England
posts: 4,085
reviews: 136
9. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

If you enjoyed Jean Talon Market also try the Atwater market. You can Google it to find out more. Opposite the market is also a big grocery store. If you want to treat yourself to a delicious meal, reserve a seat at the bar (not an alcohol bar, it is near the kitchen and people sit there to eat, it is not a "pick up" place) at Au Pied de Cochon in the Plateau. I know you say that you are worried about eating alone, but this restaurant is so busy and bustling that you will have plenty to watch. Their poutine is delicious! Do you like shopping? St. Denis (above Sherbrooke) is lined with small boutiques and also along Mont Royal which crosses St. Denis. Montreal is such a lovely food city that it is such a shame to waste even one meal at McDonalds. If you like fast food, at least try a Frite Alors!, there are several on the Plateau. Are you planning to walk around Old Montreal? If so, Olive and Gourmando

is a nice cafe for lunch with good sandwiches. Hope the weather changes for you!

posts: 22
reviews: 22
10. Re: 10 days left in Montreal,what to do?

I don't mind eating alone during the day so I might check that out!

I think I am going to go to Old Montreal tomorrow. When I went in October it was very quiet so can't wait to go and experience the hustle ad bustle.

I will definitely check out Olive and Gourmando.

Alas I like shopping at little too much so I am trying to resist for as long as possible although I'm sure I'll crack soon.

Thanks for the tips!