5 Damn Good Reasons to Make Montréal the Next City on Your International Itinerary
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Here, the Nomadic Boys Stefan and Sebastien take us on a tour of the Montréal gay scene.
Montréal is an awesome city and incredibly gay-friendly. We visited in August 2017 and completely fell in love with “The City of Saints.” It’s one of the few places in our travels where we felt comfortable holding hands in public. We also loved the huge variety of culinary discoveries, cultural attractions and festivals you can attend while there.
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Following our recent visit, we wholeheartedly think Montréal should be featured on every gay man’s bucket list.
Here are 5 highlights of the Montréal gay scene:
1. Explore the Gay Village
Montréal has one of the biggest gay villages in the world, and it’s the largest in North America. It’s literally an entire neighborhood, officially recognized in city maps and social media tags. This is also the heart of the Montréal gay scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, saunas, strip bars, cafés and more. Some of our favorite hangouts include Le Stud and Sky Bar.
The main highlight for the LGBTQ community of Montréal is the city’s awesome Pride event taking place in August. It’s one of the best Pride events we’ve ever been to, attracting a huge mix of people from all around the world. You can watch more about it, and more about the Montréal gay scene, on our vlog.
2. Go to a Festival
Also known as “The City of Festivals,” Montréal celebrates everything. There’s one happening almost every month of the year, even during the freezing cold winter months.
Igloofest, an annual one-month outdoor music festival, takes place at the Old Port of Montréal in January and February. Piknic Electronik is a weekly electronic music festival that takes place every Sunday during the summer months at the Parc Jean-Drapeau.
3. Nosh on Some Montréal Grub
Over the past few centuries, Montréal has experienced many culinary influences as a result of the large waves of immigration. Poutine — chips (fries) with gravy and cheese curd — is of European influence and the best hangover food!
The influx of Eastern European Jews in the early 1900s brought with it culinary gems like smoked meats and bagels. Schwartz’s is the most famous place to try the best smoked meat in the city — and it’s partly owned by Celine Dion. The Mile End neighborhood has some of the best bagel bakeries in the city. The recipe was brought over by Russian immigrant Isadore Safman back in 1919, who opened up one of the first bakeries here called Fairmont Bagel.
4. Experience Some Outdoor Art
Montréal is a city of art. There are always many outdoor displays featured throughout the city, usually outside of the Fine Arts Museum, the Musée des Beaux-Arts. This museum is also one of the most prestigious in the city and the most visited in Canada.
We definitely recommend devoting half a day to exploring the museum. It’s huge, spanning several buildings, and crosses the street as well. It features both Canadian artists and contemporary art, with some pretty impressive exhibitions, like Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Love is Love.
5. Take in Stunning Views of the City
Mont-Royal is an iconic symbol of the city, and it’s used by locals to help them get their bearings. It’s 765 feet high, and local laws dictate that buildings in Montréal are not allowed to be taller than this, making it the ideal place for sweeping views of the entire city.
You can hike up or drive to the Belvedere Observatory at the very top for the best views of the city.
Another place to get some decent views of the city skyline is at the top of the Au Sommet skyscraper in Downtown Montréal. It’s also got a fabulous restaurant, serving up delicious burgers with — you guessed it — poutine.
Watch the Nomadic Boys’ vlog depicting the Montréal gay scene: