Last summer I spent a weekend in Montréal with two friends, and it was the most memorable weekend of that summer. It was the first time each of us had ever been to Montréal, so we couldn’t wait for the adventure to come. We decided to go for the Osheaga Music Festival and also to explore Montréal.
On a Friday morning 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 was about 5 hours. We drove through the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, a drive I’ve made countless times before but it’s a view I will never tire of.
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. We then 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 with bright colours, 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.
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 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 Montréal. 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 Montréal, which can seat 3,200 people. 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.
The music festival was in Parc Jean Drapeau on St. Helen’s Island. On this island is the Montréal 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.
Montréal is one city everyone should visit at least once. It’s an historic city with lots of festivals throughout the year, a vigorous nightlife, and delicious cuisine. That weekend was one for the books.