Beyond Burlington: Top Ten Things To Do in Montreal This Summer

By Ruby LaBrusciano-Carris

       Although Burlington is not exactly an urban mecca, our quaint little lakeside town has the enormous advantage of being next to some of the most diverse and interesting cities in the world; Montreal, Boston, and New York—all of which I have the pleasure of visiting this summer. I don’t have a car, but between Megabus, Greyhound, Amtrak, and carpooling, it is still incredibly easy to escape Burlington for a bit and go explore some of the surrounding cities. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is hop on a bus and take it to the end of the line for an adventure, so if you’re feeling as stir-crazy or wanderlust-y as I am this summer, maybe it’s time to make that Montreal trip that you’ve been meaning to do…to get you started, here are my Montreal Top Ten, which straddle the gap between being both on, and off, the beaten path.

  1. Breakfast: Anecdote Café
    • This café and diner is an adorable yet modest retro throwback nestled away on the corner of two side streets. Red vinyl booths and papanecdote_a-la-mode-montreal.3er napkins accompany any cozy breakfast delight that you eat here—from omelets to crepes and back again. Especially delicious after a long weekend out on the town.
    • 801 Rue Rachel E
    1. (514) 526-7967
  2. Hostel: M Montreal
    • Although it is on the larger side, the M hostel still has an extremely friendly and cozy feeling. It is perfect for the college budget—between $20-$30 a night, and is clean, comfy, and very well put together. Extra pluses: breakfast is included, as well as free admission to the nightly music and events in the downstairs bar.
    • 1245 Rue Saint-André
  3. Nightlife: St. Laurent
    • As one of the most populous and diverse streets in Montreal, you really can’t go wrong with a walk down St. Laurent. During the day, there are all sorts of restaurants, boutiques, galleries, bookstores, etc. to peruse through, and during the night the upper half of the street comes alive as the city’s bars and late-night venues begin to open up and live music acts begin.
  4. Thrifting: Eva Bimage-6
    • For the eternally scavenging and adventurous of you out there, be sure to make it to the funkiest thrift shop in town: Eva B. It’s been going strong since the 80s, and is filled with amazing second-hand and vintage clothes. They’ll offer you free popcorn as you walk in the door and a
      complimentary cup of tea on the way out. Perfect.
    • 2015, St. Laurent Blvd.
  5. Exploring: Jean-Talon Market
    • This European style outdoor market has the best grazing in town, with its abundance of free samples thanks to vendors from all around the province. Take a stroll through the market to get some fresh air while munching on locally made honey, fresh cheese, homemade wine, and delicious bread.
    • 7070 Avenue Henri Julien
  6. Poutine: La Banquise
    • If you’re visiting Montreal, it is pretty much expected that poutine will be a part of the picture at some point. For the absolute best poutine, get to La Banquise, a funky, greasy, backdoor poutine joint in a remote part of the city, which has a line of poutine-lovers snaking out its doors every single night. They have more than 30 kinds of poutine, including a vegetarian version.
    • 994 Rue Rachel Est
  7. Picnik Electronik
    • During the summer, Montreal is home to one of the world’s coolest and most laid-back electronic music festivals. Piknic Electronik is only $10 a day for hours of music, and located conveniently in Parc Jean Drapeau. It’s a perfect way to soak up some sun, enjoy the city, and discover some new music all at the same time.
    • Every Sunday, May 18th-Sept 21st
  8. Festival: Montreal Jazz
    • Between June and July, Montreal becomes home to some of the latest and greatest touring musical acts around. Venues small and large, all across the city, open up and come alive in the spirit of the festival. Although it is specifically a jazz festival, it is not unlikely to see funk, blues, world, pop, and indie acts who still fall under the header. Check out their website to see who’s playing when you’ll be around.
    • June 26th-July 6th
  9. Art: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
    • This contemporary art museum hosts an incredible array of exhibitions in addition to their permanent exhibits, which make a visit entirely worthwhile. It is a truly unique experience for anyone and everyone—nobody will get bored at this museum.
    • 185 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
    • 514-847-6226
  10. Picnicking: Parc du Mont RoyalLac-aux-castors
    • The beautiful park sitting at the top of the hill that makes up Montreal is essentially Montreal’s equivalent to Boston Common or Central Park. Although it is by no means as big or well known, the Parc du Mont Royal is still a lovely spot for reading, picnicking, people watching and sun bathing. It is rarely very crowded, and embodies the laid-back spirit of Montreal perfectly.
    • 1260 Remembrance Road

If you make it up to Montreal this summer, be sure to take some pictures and let us know on Instagram with #boredonbreak ! We’d also love to hear how any of our suggestions worked out for you—be sure to comment on this blog post, drop us a line at [email protected], or find us on Facebook! Happy traveling!