Montreal may be known for her impossible winters (the locals ski through the parks in skins to take walks in -40C because they are either crazy or bad-ass), but when the snow melts and the short-lived summer arrives, Montrealers make the most of it. From every music festival you can think of to drum sessions at the base of the Mont Royal, hip outdoor terraces and weekend national park adventures, this French-Canadian city is a ripper to while away your summer.
Downtown Montreal comes alive at the Quartier des Spectacles each summer for the Montreal Jazz Festivals, attracting internationally-renowned and domestic artists alike who perform over 10 days. There are free events as well as ticketed shows and loads of side activities.
Montrealears LOVE their outdoor terraces, but if you were hauled up in colder-than-Russia subzero temps for like, eight months of the year, you would be pumped about drinking outdoors every damn day of summer too. Our favourite hubs to enjoy an outdoor beer or vino are around the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal district (where the REAL Frenchies live and congregate), the Gay Village, and Old Port.
Montreal is a fab place for vegans, with a swag of great cafes and restaurants up for grabs all over the city. Our fav spots are Invitation V, LOV, Sushi Momo (hands-down the BEST vegan sushi place anywhere!), and Chuchai, but there are many more and we encourage you to explore them all!
The famed mountain Mont Royal (west of Downtown Montreal) is a buzz in summer, with Sunday drum sessions at the base and park-goers lapping up the sunshine walking, running, slack-lining and sunbathing throughout the expansive grounds.
This super cute, local coffee shop in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal district is a few minutes’ walk from the Mont Royal station, and situated close to two BIXI (read below) stands. Their chai and hot chocolates come in small soup bowls and their coffee is on point. Take your own reusable cup if you want to sit outside on the terrace.
A progressive, multidisciplinary arts and cultural centre, Phi is at the intersection of art, film, music, design and technology, and particularly known for its immersive Virtual Reality exhibits and experiences. Be sure to book in advance online as major exhibits fill up fast.
In summer this little basement Jazz club is where you’ll find local jazz lovers most nights of the week. Usually two sets are offered, with free entry for the earlier sitting and payment to the band by donation. A small cover charge might be required to stay for the second sitting.
Make sure you get out of town and explore some of the national parks just out of Montreal. We love the TURO car sharing app; renting on weekdays are a great way to get a beautiful car at half the price. Mont-Tremblant National Park is just under a two-hour drive from Montreal city with an array of summer activities on offer; we LOVE renting a canoe for the day and cruising up and down the river.
Forget the big fancy hotels, Air BnB has a great selection of modern properties – namely studios, condos and apartments – for rent in Montreal, with our favourites around the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal area. Here you’ll be close to local transport – get a metro pass and make use of the subway and local