After attending AFAR Experiences Montreal, I realized Montrealers have a special place in their hearts for summer. I’m not sure if it’s because their winter lasts so long and they are glad it’s over, or because their summer days are so long that they have plenty of daylight to enjoy. Perhaps a bit of both?
Either way, summer is a fantastic time to visit this city in Quebec—so here are five tips on how to spend summer in Montreal like a local.
1. Picnic in the park
Montreal has wonderful parks, and there’s no better way to enjoy them than with food and drinks in the sunshine. I visited Parc La Fontaine, and loved sitting by the lake (which turns into an ice-skating rink come winter). Insider tip: You are allowed to drink beer or wine in the park if you have food to accompany it, so pack a picnic, grab a beer, and enjoy!
2. Hike Mount Royal
In the center of Montreal you will find Mount Royal, the city’s namesake “mountain.” Although it provides activities for locals year-round, summer means warm days to hike, explore, forage for mushrooms, and enjoy the Montreal Tam-Tams drum circle (every Sunday, weather permitting).
3. Check out a festival (or five)
Summer in Montreal means festival season! Celebrating art in every form, there are so many festivals that I’m not sure it’s possible to name them all, let alone visit them all. Topics range from murals (pictured above) to jazz, circus acts, beer, comic-con, comedy, film, and the Grand Prix, to name just a few….
4. Celebrate Canada and Quebec Days
Montrealers have the benefit of celebrating two holidays just one week apart. Quebec day, or Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, is celebrated on June 24 in the province of Quebec. One week later, on July 1, Canada Day is celebrated throughout the country. While in Montreal, enjoy summertime parades, parties, and events in honor of both holidays. (Photo from Wikipedia.)
5. Visit Marché Jean-Talon
Although Marché Jean-Talon, in the heart of Little Italy, is open year-round, the summer months provide a wider variety of delicious local produce. Must try? The cheese stand. Quebec cheese does not have to be pasteurized, which means it cannot be exported— and yes, you can really taste a difference.
All photos by author unless otherwise noted.