I didn't think I would be traveling again so soon after coming back to Europe, but I decided to head to Montreal, Canada after a short hiatus at home! A few good friends and I took a long road trip up and had a really fun short weekend exploring a city none of us had ever been to before. In this post, I talk about some of the things we did, and what I recommend if you ever decide to hit the town for a few days. I was really excited to come to Québec since I was in France for such a long time with Mel last month. I miss it so much and loved that Montreal brought back some great memories I had when I was there. Hope you enjoy!
THINGS TO DO
Festival of Mode and Design This annual festival took place from August 15th - 20th, and it was an awesome coincidence that we got to catch the very end of it! Runway shows, pop-up shops, and cool workshops all take place at the Quartier Des Spectacles in downtown Montreal. I loved being so up close and personal with the models, and only wish I had more time to watch more of the dozens of shows that took place this week!
I am a huge sucker for markets, and this one is a haven for those who love fresh fruits and vegetables. I love that they have samples of the fruit on plates so you can try before you buy. Everything we had was delicious and perfectly ripe, from the mangos to the pineapples.
We stopped by Gay Village since we knew there were going to be thousands of suspended pink balls over St. Catherine St. (170,000 to be exact). "Pink Balls",. designed by landscape architect Claude Cormier, was put into place during the summer season, and its fun to walk up this main street since only pedestrians are allowed!
Something I really miss about Europe is the architecture, and being in Old Montreal really reminded me of certain neighborhoods in Italy and France. We roamed around for a while, checking out the Notre-Dame Basilica de Montreal and walking along the cobblestone streets and port. I was especially excited to see horse carriages, since they bring back even more memories of my time spent in Prague and Vienna!
This viewpoint is a must-do since you can see the entire skyline of Montreal at the top of the hill. Take the path up by getting off at the closest station (Pell or McGill) and use Google Maps to guide you to the base of the hill. It's pretty hard to miss the opening! I recommend going for the sunrise or just before sunset so you can see the sky change different colors of the rainbow. The walk up takes about 20 minutes and isn't too bad with proper shoes and some willpower. There are a ton of steps, but it's definitely doable and so worth it :)
Montreal has some seriously good food, and here is a collection of the tastiest dishes we had during our long weekend! I totally recommend every one of these.
Lola Rosa Cafe
I've been to my fair share of vegetarian and vegan restaurants despite being a meat-eater, and I have to say that this is probably one of the best I have been to. We ordered the potato skillet with goat cheese (top), the half order of nachos with guac (middle), and the hemp burger with chickpea fries (bottom). I honestly don't know which was my favorite because they were all extremely delicious and generous in portion size too! There are two locations of Lola Rosa, and I recommend reservations if you're going to head here since wait times get pretty lengthy at peak hours.
Kem Coba is known around town for its ice cream, especially its specialty twist soft serve cones that change flavor regularly. The flavor of the day was honey and blueberry twist, which all of my friends and I had. It was pretty pricey at over $5/ cone, but extremely delicious and light for an afternoon treat.
La Banquise (Poutine)
This place always came up when I did research about the best Poutine in the city. We walked quite a while to get here, but it was so worth it! We ordered a large portion of the LaMatty poutine, which has bacon, mushrooms, and peppers. I've had poutine before, but never like this. There are so many different toppings to check out that it makes the decision ten times harder.
I never knew Montreal was famous for its bagels, until my friend (hi Meghan!) told us about these two famous places from her research. This mom and pop shop is tiny but very popular, since crowds form all throughout the morning and early afternoon. I had a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and give it a thumbs up. It's extremely chewy in texture, which is unique and different than bagels I am normally used to eating.
If you can't tell, I really love ice cream! La Diperie is also a local institution here, and you can choose between two dozen flavors to dip your vanilla soft serve in (Coffee, Caramel del sel, Pina Colado - you name it, they got it!) There are also a variety of toppings like oreos, nuts, and sprinkles you can add on top for a sweet afternoon snack.
I looked forward to coming here for the longest time, because I am a huge fan of matcha, and they had a matcha milkshake that I fell in love with on Instagram. I can confirm that it is even more delicious than it looks. We also shared the red velvet milkshake and white chocolate waffle with berries. Fun fact: We had this for dinner.
Thanks for checking this post out everyone! Montreal is such a beautiful city and I wish I had a few more days to check it out. I'll be back here for sure, even if it's just for the chocolate and ice cream. Special shout-out to my homies on this trip, I love you guys! Love Always,