Things to Keep in Mind When Visiting Montreal
Are you planning a trip to the capital of Quebec? Know that it’s one of the safest choices you can make.
For years, Montreal has enjoyed a steady decline in crime rates. That’s why it’s one of Canada’s safest cities and, not to mention, among the most exciting to visit.
It’s a culinary capital and a city that parties almost all the time, to start with. The city is home to some impressive sights and attractions you need to check out.
If you want to make the best of your trip, there are some things you should know about in advance.
It’s A Festive City
Long considered one of Canada’s liveliest cities, there’s not a month where you can’t find some exciting events to attend.
But it’s between the city’s warmest months of June and September that Montreal really comes alive. That’s when you can find something going on in almost any neighborhood. The city hosts open-air markets, music events, and so much more.
Old Montreal often hosts some of the city’s best outdoor festivals. And it’s also one of the busiest food centers. That’s why visiting it is a priority on the list of things to do in Montreal.
You Can Enter Bars if You’re 18
The legal drinking age comes a bit earlier in Montreal, compared to the rest of Canada.
Most regions in the country have a legal drinking age of 19. But here, you can start touring the city’s amazing pubs and clubs starting at the age of 18. It makes the city a highly attractive vacation destination for the younger crowds.
That said, it’s important to know that the local crafts are stronger than your average brews – make no mistake about it. Ordering a pint in most bars can have you taking in alcohol levels in the double digits.
It also pays off to know some of the signs when on a night out. For example, the 5-a-7 sign indicates Happy Hours. Keep an eye out for it if you’re traveling on a tight budget.
Mind the Traffic Laws
Montreal has some unique traffic laws. That’s why most people that book a trip want to know about the things to do in Montreal, especially in this aspect.
Well, here’s one thing you shouldn’t – taking a right turn on red.
It’s essential to keep in mind as it’s legal in many parts of the US and the rest of Quebec. It’s easy to get a ticket if you’re traveling by car and forget this law.
A Bilingual City
Most Canadian cities are bilingual, but Montreal does favor the French language. In fact, the city is the second-largest in the world that has French as its official language.
Granted, most statistics agree that around 60% of Montreal residents speak English. So it won’t be difficult to get around and converse with the locals.
But some basic French knowledge can go a long way towards ensuring you always get great service.
Not the Best Transport Infrastructure
Traveling around Montreal is not difficult, but it can be if you want to rely on a car. It’s because traffic can be difficult in some areas due to the narrower city streets.
Parking can also pose some difficulties. That’s why most tourists and residents prefer Uber, taxis, or the metro system. Public transportation has a nice flow and there are 68 metro stations in Montreal. Meanwhile, buses keep a strict schedule and come every 10 minutes.
Of course, there’s always the option to see the city on foot, which provides you with the best views. Just know that there are alternatives to hit all the hotspots if you’re not there for an extended stay.
It’s Cheaper Than Other Canadian Cities
Montreal is not one of the cheapest spots in Canada. But as far as popular tourist destinations go, Montreal is affordable enough.
There are tons of cheap activities in Montreal and even lots of free activities for kids. Accommodations, food, and drinks are affordable, too, even during peak tourist activity.
But if you’re not careful, you can easily blow your entire budget. Attending the city’s festivals can provide many opportunities to stock up on little trinkets and gifts for back home and you may not notice how much you’ve already spent.
When and How to Travel
The fastest way to get to Montreal is by plane. And its international airport, the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport, is less than eight miles outside the city.
There are also three ideal periods to visit the city if you want maximum excitement and great weather.
You can enjoy the warmest months between June and September. But some tourists prefer to visit between March and May or September to November. Even then, the relatively mild weather allows you to partake in almost any outdoor activities.
Besides, one of the best things to do in Montreal is to skate on the waterfront ice rink. So you might not want to cross out a visit during the cold months.
If you need another reason to consider a winter vacation, the higher number of vacancies outside the summer months should help you get a better deal on your accommodations.
Keep in mind that Montreal’s winter months can be harsh on those used to warmer climates. Although winter is beautiful in the heart of Quebec, not everyone can appreciate the cold. That’s unless the purpose of your trip revolves around skiing. In that case, Montreal is an excellent choice for a winter vacation.
Give It at Least Five Days
Montreal has its fair share of sights and attractions, not to mention activities. You simply can’t get a complete experience if you don’t spend enough time.
A five-day vacation is perhaps the minimum that you can stay there if you want to see and do a bit of everything.
Prepare to do some sightseeing and enjoy some of the best food in the world. The city’s devotion to international and local cuisine make it a central hub for foodies from all over the world.
Just don’t forget that the city has some unique quirks. Learning them will help you go through your vacation without hiccups.