Stroll Through Montreal's Bohemian Plateau District
One of the first things I learned about Montreal while attending McGill University is that the tourists head to the Old City and western parts of town, while the locals go east. Vieux Montreal, while quaint and cobblestoned, is an overpriced tourist trap, and the Crescent Street drag is often overrun with American kids looking to capitalize on Quebec's drinking age of 18.
Instead, venture east to Montreal's boho heart, Le Plateau. A hotbed of art galleries, vintage shops, bars and restaurants, you can spend an afternoon, evening or an entire weekend strolling the streets, tasting cuisine from around the world and participating in some top-notch people watching as the young and trendy saunter up and down Boulevard St. Laurent like it’s their own personal catwalk.
A particularly charming street to explore is Avenue Duluth lined with Portuguese bakeries, “Apportez Votre Vin” restaurants, microbrew bars and yes, cobblestones. For lunch, head to Cafe Santropol at the corner of Duluth and St. Urbain, a quirky restaurant with bohemian decor, a garden terrace filled with wildflowers, and some of the freshest, most unusual sandwiches in the world.
Take some time to appreciate the eye-popping murals of Le Plateau. The urban art seems to be the local artists’ way of fighting back against the bleak, white slate that a six-month winter brings to this city. Another thing I learned at McGill is -40 degrees is where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet. Trust me on this one, visit in the summertime.