Most events and meetings delegates tend to stick to the centre of Montréal, home to the convention centre and so many great hotels. But there are about a million and one reasons exploring some of the nearby neighbourhoods is a must. Montréal nearly topped the WalkScore Index of Canada’s most walkable cities because everything is so picturesque, so close, and each neighbourhoods is so unique. Here’s a quick list of popular hoods — complete with historic architecture, cool sites and great restaurants — that are sure to give you a real sense of Montréal à la local.
Business and entertainment — together.
Montréal’s downtown core is compact enough to be explored by foot but packs a multitude of options to discover. The city’s financial hub is also home to three universities, three major museums, and Montréal’s entertainment district, the Quartier des Spectacles, where major festivals like the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal take place. For research-based meetings, planners can choose from one of the many venues available on the city’s handsome campuses. For a product launch or exhibition space, reserve La Grande-Place in the heart of one of the city’s much-loved retail locations, Complexe Desjardins.
Charming history meets cutting-edge culture.
Visitors love Old Montréal because most of the city’s historic landmarks are packed in the enchanting neighbourhood that has been known to mimic a European city in countless movies and shows. History buffs will appreciate the cobblestone streets and 400-year-old buildings, which charm and transport visitors to the very beginnings of Montréal. For stunning river views, the fresh and modern Grand Quay hits all the right notes. To simultaneously broadcast your event, the innovative and world-renowned Phi Centre offers tech-forward amenities.
Instagrammably quaint and packed with cafés.
Many images that emerge from Montréal are of candy-coloured houses adorned with typical spiral staircases. They come from this bohemian neighbourhood. The Plateau-Mont-Royal is trendy, artsy and inspiring. It exudes the patented Montréal joie de vivre and an elegant European way of living. For a heavenly event, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church offers space for nearly 3,000 attendees (and is a popular venue for live concerts). You’re in good hands at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, where groups can take a cooking class — or simply indulge in premium catering.
Creative. Compelling. Cool.
Often included on lists of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, Mile End has been described as the Greenwich Village of Montréal. It’s a favourite among creative types working for the numerous tech industries established here, but you’ll find bohemians with asymmetrical haircuts along with a mélange of Orthodox Jews, generational Greeks and shy video game programmers. Plan a literary event at the neighbourhood’s most beloved bookstore, Drawn + Quarterly. The halls of the Rialto Theatre harken back to the Opéra de Paris, making them perfect for concerts or cocktails.
Les Quartiers du Canal
A foodie’s paradise by the waterfront.
Three southwest neighbourhoods are rapidly becoming the trendiest neighbourhoods in Montréal: Griffintown, Little Burgundy and Saint-Henri. These historically working-class hoods are brimming with architectural gems and beautiful green spaces. Take advantage of the area’s prime location along the Lachine Canal to rent a kayak or canoe or to simply enjoy the pristine biking and running trails. Arsenal is a rentable contemporary art space housed in a former 19th century shipyard. For a stunning cocktail party, opt for Salon Richmond 1861, which is a living piece of history.
For everyone — the more the merrier.
Montréal’s LGBTQ+ Village is one of its liveliest neighbourhoods and the beating heart of the city’s queer life. This diverse and inclusive area is one of the largest in North America. The Village is home to outstanding restaurants, galleries and clubs, and, in the summer months, is pedestrian-only for a dozen blocks, which makes it perfect for promenading. The queens at Cabaret Mado — the city’s best drag queen bar — will help you organize an unforgettable party. (What happens at Mado’s stays at Mado’s.) Fully restored to its Art Deco splendour, Cabaret Lion d’Or offers an auditorium and reception hall ideal for a chic gathering or a swinging electro-jazz soirée.
Little Italy and Villeray
Market day with a side of shopping.
Attention gourmands, this will surely be your favourite spot in the city as it’s home to the Jean-Talon Market, the largest farmers market in the city (and one of the largest in North America). This area is also home to some great Italian restaurants, pastry shops (cannoli, anyone?) and half-a-century old cafés where senior Italian men meet to reminisce (loudly!) about the old country. Take some time to browse the nice boutiques along St. Lawrence Boulevard. Gather your gang for a beer tasting — or simply a mingle — at the airy Brasserie Harricana.
Olympic proportions with the venues to match.
Known locally as HoMa, this primarily working-class neighbourhood is home to the iconic Olympic Stadium (built for the 1976 Summer Olympics) and its inclined tower, the world’s tallest. The attractions continue with the Space for Life museums. In addition to some stellar sports venues, HoMa is also home to many small bistros, quaint cafés and crafty boutiques. For easy, breezy garden events, look no further than the Botanical Gardens.
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