Why you should go to Montreal!

On an island in the St. Lawrence River, Montreal is a rich center of culture and a cosmopolitan city of design steeped in European heritage. Today, it considered one of the world's most gay-positive cities.

The French colonists arrived in 1642, led by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, who founded Ville-Marie, today's Old Montreal. According to the Quebec Gay Archives, there was even a gay military drummer among the first settlers convicted of committing "crimes of the worst kind", whose life was spared upon agreeing to become the colony's first executioner. Some of the earliest buildings remain including the Sulpician Seminary next to the Notre Dame Basilica and Chateau Ramezay, but the French influence can still be found throughout modern Montreal's distinct culture, mixed with the influences of subsequent arrivals from Ireland, Italy, Haiti, Greece, Lebanon and China, to name just a few. The variety of cultures is perhaps most apparent in the city's wide culinary offer, but also reflected in the overwhelmingly welcoming spirit on the island.

Gay and lesbian culture also got an early start although clandestine at first. Gay men cruised Old Montréal's military Champs de Mars, today the area behind Montréal City Hall. The first known LGBTQ-themed magazine in North America, Les Mouches Fantastiques, was published in 1918, and an established gay scene began to flourish in the 1950s, although subject to raids up until 1990 when the police raided the Sex Garage loft party, regarded as Montreal's Stonewall, sparking the LGBT movement.

Not long after, the Black and Blue festival was born, with activism and pride paving the way for legal victories like same-sex marriage and the emergence of the Gay Village in Saint Catherine Street East, filled with magical pink lanterns and gay businesses. The Marche de Fierté gay pride in August is only one of over a hundred festivals including the world renown International Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs comedy festival.

Jean-Talon Market

Jean-Talon Market

Things to do

Founded in 1933 as Marché du Nord, Jean-Talon Market is one of Montreal's oldest public markets. It's open year round and open air, its arcades filled with local organic...
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2
Vieux Port (Old Port)

Vieux Port (Old Port)

Things to do

Montreal's historic port extends over a mile (2 km) along the St. Lawrence River, and was redeveloped as a recreational space when the shipping facilities were moved to...
View deals
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2
Montreal Botanical Gardens

Montreal Botanical Gardens

Things to do

With 181 acres (75 ha) of plantings in summer and 10 greenhouses open year round, the Montreal Botanical Garden is second only in size to England's Kew Gardens. It grows...
View deals
  • 5
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
Atwater

Atwater

Things to do

The Atwater farmers market has been operating inside a striking art deco building near the Lachine Canal since 1933 with a fine selection of fresh produce, butchers,...
  • 5
  • 1
  • 1
Bar Renard

Bar Renard

Nightlife

Bar Renard is a more recent addition to the Village, right next to the Beaudry metro stop. It's a neighborhood bar, an inviting space with brown leather banquettes, a...
  • 5
  • 1
  • 1
Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal)

Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal)

Things to do

Old Montreal, which was once enclosed by thick stone walls, is the oldest part of the city. Its chapels and stone warehouses stand as testament to the religious fervor...
View deals
  • 4.5
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1
Place des Arts

Place des Arts

Things to do

The largest cultural and artistic complex in Canada, Place des Arts is home to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra de Montréal, the Contemporary Art Museum and...
  • 4.5
  • 2
  • 2
Mount Royal

Mount Royal

Things to do

Mount Royal, from which the city draws its name, is a 764-foot hill west of downtown, topped with a 103-foot (31 m) illuminated cross and surrounded by nearly 500 acres...
View deals
  • 4.3
  • 3
  • 3
Bar Le Stud

Bar Le Stud

Nightlife

Le Stud opened in 1995 as "a male bar where men love men", at first drawing members of the Village's leather community but evolving into more of a bear club that is open...
  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
Barroco

Barroco

Restaurant

This rustic Spanish restaurant offers meat-heavy items such as a black truffle and foie gras guinea fowl duo, and seafood dishes such as a gilthead seabram. Prices are...
  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
La Ronde

La Ronde

Things to do

Built on 146 acres (59 ha) on the northern end of St. Helen's Island, the La Ronde amusement park first opened its fun fair grounds for the 1967 Expo. Top thrill rides...
View deals
  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
Damas

Damas

Restaurant

Chef Fuad Alnirabie is behind Damas, whose open kitchen puts out refined Syrian mezzes, grilled dishes and specialties, served to a repeat clientele in the...
  • 1
3734

3734

Restaurant

Decor at 3734 café-restaurant prioritizes white subway tile, industrial fixtures and bleached wood. Standouts on the simple Portuguese-influenced menu include the...
Abri du Voyageur

Abri du Voyageur

Hotel

This quirky hotel is above a sex shop and a short walk to landmarks such as Rue St. Denis, Old Port, McGill University and Mt. Royal. Chinatown and Old Montreal are...
View deals
Accueil Chez Francois

Accueil Chez Francois

Hotel

Francois, the owner, prepares breakfast personally for his guests, part of the warm welcome at this boutique bed-and-breakfast in a spacious house overlooking Park...
Aigle Noir

Aigle Noir

Nightlife

Montreal's Black Eagle may have lost a bit of its leather luster but is a popular and friendly bar with a pool table, good selection of beer and nightly DJs. The summer...
Alexandraplatz Bar

Alexandraplatz Bar

Nightlife

Alexandraplatz Bar is open summers in a converted warehouse next to a brewery in an otherwise industrial area of Mile-Ex. From Bernadette Houde, the co-founder of the...
ALT Montreal Griffintown

ALT Montreal Griffintown

Hotel

The hip and budget-conscious flock to ALT in Griffintown (and its sister in Brossard) because of the designer furniture, the expansive views of the city, the modern gym...
View deals
Anne Ma Soeur Anne

Anne Ma Soeur Anne

Hotel

This independent hotel is quaint and classic, but its biggest draw is the location on the busy shopping streets of St. Denis and The Main, close to many restaurants and...
View deals
ApartHotelMontreal

ApartHotelMontreal

Hotel

ApartHotelMontreal is a "unique Montreal downtown oasis" located next to McGill University and Place des Artes. The building is a historic stone structure overlooking a...
View deals
Au Pied de Cochon

Au Pied de Cochon

Restaurant

Guests should book their spot at Au Pied du Cochon months in advance to avoid waiting in a line wrapping around the block. The pig's head and bison tongue are said to be...
Auberge Bishop

Auberge Bishop

Hotel

Run by two self-described "hippies," this laid-back hostel offers spacious accommodations, complimentary breakfast and evening activities in a converted church with...
View deals
Auberge Bonaparte

Auberge Bonaparte

Hotel

Auberge Bonaparte has 30 rooms in a five-story historic building outfitted with Louis-Philippe style furnishings, hard woods and exposed brick under high ceilings. There...
View deals
Auberge De Jeunesse Alexandrie Hostel

Auberge De Jeunesse Alexandrie Hostel

Hotel

Auberge De Jeunesse Alexandrie in the Gay Village is a basic hostel with mixed and single-sex dorm rooms and private rooms with shared bathrooms. Guests have access to...
View deals
Auberge le Jardin d'Antoine

Auberge le Jardin d'Antoine

Hotel

The 25-room Auberge le Jardin d'Antoine has a prime location on Rue Saint-Denis, with shops, bars and restaurants on its doorstep. Inside, the inn is paired down but...
View deals
Auberge Les Bons Matins

Auberge Les Bons Matins

Hotel

This charming and eclectic bed and breakfast in a converted downtown Victorian townhouse offers rooms ranging from budget to family suite, decorated in bold colors and...
View deals
Auberge Royal Versailles

Auberge Royal Versailles

Hotel

The Royal Versailles is a budget hotel with spacious rooms, an outdoor pool and good WiFi. The St. Lawrence River, Olympic Stadium, Biodome and Loblaw's Grocery are...
View deals
Biodome

Biodome

Things to do

One of Montreal's most popular attractions, the Biodome Space for Life complex recreates the Laurentian Maple Forest, a tropical forest, the subpolar regions of the...
View deals
Bouillon Bilk

Bouillon Bilk

Restaurant

In its minimalist dining room, the neighborhood Bouillon Bilk serves an eclectic menu of French-inspired dishes prepared with ingredients from all over the world -...
Boustan

Boustan

Restaurant

The counter-service Boustan (which means orchard in Arabic) is a neighborhood favorite opened by a Lebanese engineer in 1986. It is often packed with regulars who stop...
Brit and Chips

Brit and Chips

Restaurant

Established in 2010, Brit and Chips is a traditional fish-and-chips shop with a little Montreal flavor. Cod comes battered in burgundy, haddock in maple syrup, salmon in...
Cabaret Mado

Cabaret Mado

Nightlife

Cabaret Mado does Cabaret in drag in a 1920s Berlin-styled club, outrageously animated by hostess Mado Lamoth and co-host Nana. The priority is always fun. Credit cards...
Café Cléopatra

Café Cléopatra

Nightlife

Café Cleopatra is fixture and a survivor in the city's historic red light district, a no frills strip club where an eclectic group of dancers takes the stage every day...
Cafe Replika

Cafe Replika

Restaurant

A quiet spot in the Plateau, Cafe Replica is popular with area university students who come for the sandwiches on simit bread, bold Turkish coffee and relaxed...
Campus

Campus

Nightlife

Open since 1996, Campus is a gay male strip club with young, muscled and friendly dancers and a crowd that tends to skew older. Sunday night is ladies night, but there...
Canadian Center of Architecture

Canadian Center of Architecture

Things to do

Built between 1985 and 1989 as an urban reconstruction project around the historically classified Shaughnessy House mansion, the Canadian Center of Architecture is a...
Carré Saint-Louis

Carré Saint-Louis

Things to do

Named after two of the city's most prominent businessmen, brothers Emmanuel and Jean-Baptiste Saint-Louis, Carré Saint-Louis is a charming European-styled square...
Cinko

Cinko

Restaurant

Everything on the menu costs $5 at Cinko, a Latin Quarter tavern done up in bold color blocks and graffiti. There's some standards like burgers, chili and Atlantic...
Circus Afterhours

Circus Afterhours

Nightlife

This cavernous multilevel club, complete with its Funktion-One sound system and high tech lighting, hosts some of the greatest trance, progressive, techno and house DJs...
Club Unity

Club Unity

Nightlife

Club Unity has a rooftop terrace and a multilevel dance floor, where it hosts international DJs, award-winning artists and up-and-coming performers from Europe and North...
Complexe Sky

Complexe Sky

Nightlife

A massive establishment in the village, Sky has three dance clubs - with anything from cabaret to dirty pop to hip hop to house to latin beats - and a rooftop terrace...
Epicerie HAO

Epicerie HAO

Restaurant

Opened by three siblings of Filipino origin, the minimalist Hao is sleek in design and specialized in take-away steamed buns, with a choice of braised pork shoulder or...
Fairmount Bagel

Fairmount Bagel

Restaurant

Established in 1919 by Isadore Shlafman, Fairmount competes with St-Viateur for the title of Montreal's best bagel. Bagels are hand-rolled, dipped in a honey and water...
Hotel Gault

Hotel Gault

Hotel

Guests at the Hotel Gault are welcomed by handwritten cards, homemade treats and a complimentary cocktail. Housed in former carpet factory, the interior is sleek and...
View deals
Hotel Nelligan

Hotel Nelligan

Hotel

Hotel Nelligan offers a taste of Old Europe in the heart of Old Montreal, set in a stone building on a narrow cobblestone street, where an old-fashioned bellhop greets...
View deals
La Récolte

La Récolte

Restaurant

Consistently voted Best of Montreal, this 40-seat restaurant uses locally-sourced, organic foods to create seasonal menus adept in flavor combinations. According to GQ...
Le 4e Mur

Le 4e Mur

Nightlife

Billed as a speakeasy bar for real cocktail amateurs, Le 4e mur is accessed through a hidden door in a brick wall. Inside, classic prohibition era cocktails, often with...
Le Belmont Sur Boulevard

Le Belmont Sur Boulevard

Nightlife

Le Belmont is an established live performance venue with a packed calendar and acts ranging from dubstep DJs to burlesque to drag and underground rock. Note the Mec Plus...
LHotel

LHotel

Hotel

In the heart of Old Montreal, LHotel has one of the largest collections of pop and contemporary art in North America, including works by Warhol and Botero. The eclectic...
View deals
M Montreal Hostel

M Montreal Hostel

Hotel

M Montreal offers tidy dorm-style and private rooms in a historic building in the heart of the Gay Village. The hip basement common room has free foosball and pool and...
View deals
Montreal Roller Derby

Montreal Roller Derby

Things to do

Founded in 2006 by Georgia W. Tush, Montréal Roller Derby (MTLRD) is the very first Roller Derby league in North America. Today, MTLRD comprises three home teams and two...
Notre Dame Des Quilles

Notre Dame Des Quilles

Nightlife

Often described as a hipster dive, Notre Dame Des Quilles is an unpretentious bar with two old school bowling lanes, comfort food and events that range from DJ nights to...
Notre-Dame Basilica

Notre-Dame Basilica

Things to do

Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica is an awe-inspiring Gothic Revival structure with two 228-foot (m) towers rising up out of Old Montreal. Inside, the deep blue ceiling is...
View deals
Pang Pang Karaoke Bar

Pang Pang Karaoke Bar

Nightlife

Just down the way from Ste-Catherine, Pang Pang has private karaoke rooms in true South Korean style, complete with a disco ball, drink service and thousands of pop hits...
Parisian Laundry

Parisian Laundry

Things to do

The Parisian Laundry art gallery features avant-garde work by Canadian and international artists on two floors of a former commercial laundromat. Although the rotating...
Play Montreal

Play Montreal

Nightlife

Opened in 2015, Play Montreal is a house music destination, a high-energy club backed by a high-end sound system and an extensive drink list with over 20 kinds of...

Quebec Gay Archives

Things to do

Founded in 1983, the Quebec Gay Archives preserve the history of the LGBT community of Quebec with an impressive collection of magazines, newspapers, books, videos, posters, photos and other items. Visitors can explore the materials in a comfortable and well-lit reading room, which also doubles as a gallery for some of...
Rue Sherbrooke

Rue Sherbrooke

Things to do

Boulevard Saint-Laurent divides Rue Sherbrooke, Montreal's second longest street, into East and West. An enclave for the city's wealthy in the early 20th century, the...
Saint Joseph Oratory

Saint Joseph Oratory

Things to do

The imposing Saint Joseph oratory, Canada's largest church and one of the world's most visited pilgrimage sites, sits on the slopes of Mont Royal, at the top of a steep...
View deals
Salmigondis

Salmigondis

Restaurant

Salmigondis opened in 2014 and was voted Best Breakout Restaurant the same year for its inventive Canadian cuisine served lunch, dinner and weekend brunch in a...
Silent Disco Squad

Silent Disco Squad

Things to do

The Silent Disco Squad is a massive silent synchronized dance party that takes to the streets several times a year. All participants slip on their headphones and listen...
Spa Scandinave Montréal

Spa Scandinave Montréal

Things to do

In the tradition of the public baths, this day spa rejuvenates through hydrotherapy in a relaxing setting outfitted with a Scandinavian bath, Nordic shower, Finnish dry...
St-Viateur

St-Viateur

Restaurant

Established in 1957 by Myer Lewkowicz, St-Viateur competes for the title of Montreal's finest bagel and serves over 12,000 hand-rolled Montreal-style bagels a day. The...
Ta Chido

Ta Chido

Restaurant

Ta Chido is short for "Está chido!" which is Spanish for "It's cool!". It calls itself a snack bar, with an ample selection of tostadas, tortas, chilaquiles, chapulines...
Taverne Normandie

Taverne Normandie

Nightlife

Established in 1981, Taverne Normandie has welcomed thousands of visitors and many a celebrity to its karaoke stage in the heart of the village. In 2015, a large terrace...
The Wiggle Room

The Wiggle Room

Nightlife

The Wiggle Room is a burlesque and cocktail bar right on St. Laurent Boulevard across from Schwartz's. Inside is a plush setting that pairs nicely with the frilly...
Théâtre Sainte-Catherine

Théâtre Sainte-Catherine

Nightlife

The paired-down Théâtre Sainte-Catherine hosts improv, film screenings, music and theater, with something scheduled nearly every night, as well as the annual Sketchfest...

15 community reviews / Montreal

General impression
Excellent
LGBT-friendly
Excellent
Billie wishlisted Montreal

Added 1 week ago

Mistersebas Allistor wishlisted Montreal

Added 3 weeks ago

Frankie Goldman has been to Montreal

Added 3 weeks ago

Kayleigh Blanchette Kingsbury has been to and reviewed Montreal

Added 3 weeks ago

Great food, great culture, beautiful architecture, fun LGBT scene

Genny Lanthier has been to Montreal

Added 3 weeks ago

Moises Olea has been to and rated Montreal

Added 3 weeks ago

  • Passport badge

    Earned the Passport badge!

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer badge!

Ja.juarez.cruz has been to and reviewed Montreal

Added 3 weeks ago

  • Reviewer badge

    Earned the Reviewer badge!

I'll be there in the pride, I want to know many friends and place hot to dance

Arthur has been to Montreal

Added 1 month ago

sporty wishlisted Montreal

Added 1 month ago

James Day has been to and rated Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Daly has been to Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Lin Yu Hen has been to and rated Montreal

Added 1 month ago

  • Passport badge

    Earned the Passport badge!

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer badge!

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer (Level 2) badge!

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer (Level 3) badge!

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer (Level 4) badge!

kimlou wishlisted Montreal

Added 1 month ago

MJ has been to and rated Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Israel Tour Guide Lorne Newman has been to and reviewed Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Having been to Montreal many times I can say that the food is truly one of the best things about it. The gay bar scene is thriving and I had a fun time exploring the city both during the day and at night.

Joanna wishlisted Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Sacha Georg Josef has been to Montreal

Added 1 month ago

  • City explorer badge

    Earned the City explorer badge!

Jhon-Alejandro Acevedo has been to Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Mark-Edwin Anger has been to Montreal

Added 1 month ago

Jean-François Cardin has been to Montreal

Added 1 month ago

  • Passport badge

    Earned the Passport badge!

Getting around

True to its French heritage, Montreal is a European-style walking city. In fact, neighborhoods such as Gay Village are closed to car traffic during the summer. Instead, visitors can rent bicycles and cycle along bike paths and shortcuts through Ville-Marie. There is also a well-connected subway and a bus system, and taxis can be hailed almost anywhere. The 747 shuttle connects Montréal-Trudeau Airport and Gare d'autocars de Montréal 24/7 and takes between 45 to 60 minutes, depending on traffic.

If you're driving into the city, take I-91 or I-89 from Vermont, I-87 from New York, and Autoroute 20 (also known as Autoroute Jean-Lesage) from Québec City. Note, however, that having a car in Downtown isn't ideal - garages are expensive and on-street parking can be a hassle. The city has a diligent tow-away and fine system for double-parking or sitting in no-stopping zones during rush hour, and ticket costs are steep. In residential neighborhoods, beware of alternate-side-of-the-street-parking rules and resident-only parking. In winter, street plows are ruthless in dealing with parked cars in their way. If they don't tow them, they'll bury them.

An extensive network of bike paths and relatively flat terrain make Montréal ideal for bicycles. The Bixi (a contraction of "bicycle" and "taxi") system-with more than 3,000 sturdy aluminum-frame bikes at more than 300 credit-card operated stands throughout the city-makes two-wheel exploring easy. For just C$5 you can take as many bike trips as you like over a 24-hour period, or for C$12 you can extend that to 72 hours. A one-way trip is C$2.75. Pay attention to the time, though: the system is designed for short hops; keep any one bike for more than 30 minutes, and you'll be charged extra.

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) operates the metro, which is clean and quiet (it runs on rubber tires), and with 68 stations, will get you to most of the places you want to visit. For those few places that are more than a 15-minute walk from the nearest métro station, bus connections are available. Bicycles are also allowed on board during off-peak hours.

Metro hours on the Orange, Green, Blue, and Yellow lines are weekdays 5:30 am to 12:30 am, with some lines extending to 1:30 am on weekends. Trains run every three minutes or so on the most crowded lines-Orange and Green-at rush hours. A single ride costs C$3.25 and one- and three-day unlimited-use cards are available for C$10 and C$18. Note that it's cash only at the booth, but machines take credit and debit cards.

Montreal has four different public bus systems: Local buses run every 10 minutes or less to stops around the city. All-night buses run continuously every day of the week, but on a less frequent schedule. Express buses use designated lanes and take fewer stops, and shuttle buses travel to and from the airport, and to select tourist attractions, such as Old Montreal and Old Port.

Visitors can pay per ride with exact change, or use their Opus card for a reduced rate. An Opus card is an electronic ticket that visitors can top up with money or with passes. For example, one bus trip costs C$3.25, but an Opus card holder can purchase ten trips for C$26.50, or a weekly pass for C$25.50. Opus cards can be purchased at any metro station from the machine or the booth; booths accept cash only.

Taxis in Montréal will charge a C$3.45 bas rate and an additional C$1.70 per kilometer (roughly ½ mile). They're usually easy to hail on the street, outside train stations, in shopping areas and at major hotels, or can be called for dispatch at no extra cost. A taxi is available if the white or orange plastic rooftop light is on. Uber also operates in the city.

Discover other cities