Last summer I spent a weekend in Montreal with two of friends, and it was the most memorable weekend of that summer. It was the first time each of us had ever been to Montreal, so couldn’t wait for the adventure to come. We went there for the Osheaga Music Festival and also to explore Montreal.
On a Friday in August, the three of us packed up the car and started our journey. We left from our hometown of Acton, MA, so the drive would be about 5 hours. We drove through the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, a drive I had already made countless times before.
The first thing we did was check into our hotel. Since we were on a budget, our hotel room was very small, but we didn’t need anything fancy. Then we went out to have a few drinks. This was exciting for us because we were 20 at the time, and the legal drinking age in the US is 21, so this was the first time we could order drinks at a bar. First we went to Bily Kun, which has a very chic interior and a fun crowd. After that we went to Candi Bar, which looked like it was right out of a fairytale. The bar was lit up bright colors, and there were candy machines everywhere, serving sweets like gumballs and gummy bears. The cocktails were candy-themed; needless to say I satisfied my sweet tooth that night!
The next day, we explored the city. First, we walked up Mont Royal, which rises 233 m over the city. Mont Royal is right in the heart of the city, and has an amazing 360 view of the skyscrapers surrounding it. The nature was a refreshing escape from the business of the city.
Photo by Daniel Baylis
After hiking up and back down that hill, we were hungry. We all wanted to try poutine, one of Quebec’s most famous delicacies. Poutine consists of french fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. I did not know what to expect from the combination of these ingredients, but I am happy to say that it lived up to its reputation. When in Quebec, poutine is one thing you have to try at least once; it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
After that, we stopped by Old Montreal. We went down the cobblestone Saint-Paul Street, which is home to many historic shops and cafes. We also saw the massive Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, which can seat 3,200 worshippers. Built almost 200 years ago, the architecture was years ahead of its time. After all this, we were exhausted. We went back to our hotel to get some sleep before our music festival in the morning.
Photo by Annie Spratt
The music festival was in Parc Jean Drapeau on St. Helen’s Island. On this island is the Montreal Biodome. This is a massive clear dome that looks like nothing I’d ever seen before. The weather was warm and sunny, and the island was packed with music lovers.
First we saw Vance Joy, which brought indie pop vibes. Next, we went to Flatbush Zombies, an edgy rap group. They have such a unique sound that was great to see live. That night, we saw Toronto native the Weeknd, who was performing his new album Starboy. That was the most packed venue of the day, but I think it was the best live music I’ve ever experienced.
Photo by Sean
Montreal is one city everyone should visit at least once. It’s a historic city with lots of festivals throughout the year, a vigorous nightlife, and delicious cuisine. That weekend was one for the books.