Montréal neighbourhoods explained!
Part of Montréal’s charm is that its neighbourhoods are so diverse. Some are lively and feature unparalleled architecture, others are more subdued and offer fascinating historic sites. Which will be the best for your event? It depends!
This is a quick list of eight neighbourhoods that are popular with visitors. We’ve included a couple of venues for each district, simply to help you to imagine the possibilities.
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 iconic McGill campus. 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.
The charm and the history keep visitors coming back.
Visitors love Old Montréal because most of the city’s historic landmarks are packed in the enchanting quartier, one that often doubles as 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.
An iconic residential neighbourhood (with the aroma of baking croissants).
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 are in good hands at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, where groups can take a cooking class — or simply indulge in the 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 melange of Orthodox Jews, lively 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
Get front row to the waterfront.
Three southwest neighbourhoods are rapidly becoming the trendiest quartiers in Montréal: Griffintown, Little Burgundy and Saint-Henri. These historically working-class neighbourhoods 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. Home to many editions of C2 Montréal, Arsenal is a private contemporary art space housed in a former 19th century shipyard. For a stunning cocktail party, opt for Le Salon 1861, which is a living piece of history.
For everyone, wherever they are on the spectrum.
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 reception or a swinging electro-jazz soirée.
Little Italy and Villeray
It’s more than just great food, capeesh?
Attention foodies, 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, pasticcerias (cannoli, anyone?) and half-a-century old cafés where senior Italian men meet to reminisce (loudly!) about the old country. Never Apart, one of Montréal’s most innovative galleries, makes an impeccable backdrop for a workshop or educational seminar. Gather your gang for a beer tasting — or simply a mingle — at the handsome Brasserie Harricana.
A historic neighbourhood with huge venues.
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: the Montréal Botanical Garden and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. In addition to some stellar sports venues, HoMa is also home to many small bistros, quaint cafés and crafty boutiques. If you really want to “wow” your attendees, reserve The Observatory, the room at the top of the Olympic Tower. For easy, breezy garden events, look no further than the Botanical Gardens!
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