Those of us who live in Montreal know what a great city we have. We’re a popular tourist attraction and we’re known around the world. But how many of you truly take advantage of all that Montreal has to offer? We take our wonderful city for granted and tend to stay within our comfort zones, keeping up with a routine of spots to visit (or not visit). So we’ve compiled a list of resolutions to make sure we get out there and enjoy all our city has to offer!
Try New Restaurants
New restaurants are popping up all over the city all the time; there will always be too many to actually dine at. Too many restaurants to try, not enough tummy space (or time). But this year you should make it a point to try at least one new restaurant that people are raving about. Antonio Park’s Kampai just opened and it’s garnering quite the buzz. LOV is a new vegan and vegetarian restaurant that has meat eaters and plant eaters alike scrambling for a table. Elda is a new bistro in the Mile End with delicious street food and seafood to keep you satiated.
Revisit Old Classics
Sure, the new restaurants in the city are delicious, but the ones that have stood the test of time are ones worth going back to. With restaurant turnover so high in Montreal, the ones who’ve lasted a decade or more are likely worth the hype. L’Express has been opened since 1980 and still provides the same delicious French bistro fare it did back then. Ristorante Lucca has resided in Little Italy since 1999 and has been serving incredible Italian dishes from a market-fresh chalkboard menu since its opening. Ferreira has been opened since 1996 serving scrumptious Portuguese seafood and dishes that everyone raves about.
Taste Something You’ve Never Tried Before
Montreal is the foodie capital of North America, so why the hell aren’t you going out there and experimenting with your taste buds?! We have every opportunity here, but a lot of us opt for the classic steak and fries or pasta dish instead of experimenting. At Caribou Gourmand, a newly opened French restaurant, you can try seal (baby seal-clubbing free – we promise they’ve been killed humanely) and foie gras crème brûlée. Or try a duck in a can at Au Pied de Cochon. We have so much for you to taste and discover!
Make Your Fitness Goals Fun
If you need a New Year’s resolution to motivate yourself to get into fitness, your sheer willpower may not be enough (sorry, but it’s true). Instead, try getting involved in one of the many fun fitness classes we have available here in Montreal! Work out on a trampoline at House of Bounce (it looks like a truly incredible time) or try your hand at pole dancing at Milan Pole Dance Studio and do things you never thought your body could do before. Climb up a silo at Allez-Up! and test your upper body strength with rock climbing. Working out doesn’t always have to mean hitting the gym.
Sure, it’s easy to head to big name stores and buy something on discount, but it’s much more satisfying to head over to your local shops and get an awesome piece you know you won’t see half of Montreal wearing. You’ll also feel great knowing that you’re helping other Montrealers thrive. For all your jewelry needs (men and women), try Ella Dugré. For Montreal souvenirs that don’t suck and will make you proud of our city, Main and Local is your best bet. Shop at Citizen’s Vintage for vintage finds you won’t believe aren’t brand new.
Discover Montreal Artists
Next time you need a new piece of art for your home, skip HomeSense. Montreal has an incredible array of talented artists who need you to keep doing what they love. Mimmo Scali blends street art and pop-up art for eye-popping paintings that are sure to get people talking. You’ve probably already seen Antoine Tava‘s Bleeding Hearts and bright caricatures all over town. Or check out Kéo Kosal‘s Montreal inspired art for a different take on our city.
Go to a Montreal Festival
You have no excuse with this one. We have a plethora of festivals in Montreal, and you should make it a point to go to at least one this year. Currently, Igloofest is keeping us warm in the frigid outdoors. We also have the world renowned Jazz Festival in the summer, the Just for Laughs Festival around the same time, and Osheaga at the end of the summer. But there are also lesser known festivals in the city, like the Burlesque Festival in the fall, or the Art Souterrain in the spring.Or visit Quartier des Spectacles at nearly any time of the year. You’re bound to find something happening!
Venture Out of Your Neighbourhood
It’s really hard to step away from your comfort zones. We know it. We’ve lived it. But your social life can’t simply revolve around your neighbourhood forever. Take that slightly longer drive and discover a neighbourhood in Montreal you’ve never visited. Walk the streets of the Gay Village, check out Little Italy, take in the sights and sounds of Chinatown, or (and this is for you suburbanites) go downtown! There’s a whole world out there!
Visit a Montreal Museum
Learn a bit about artists and cultures around the world by visiting one of Montreal’s many museums. Go back in time and see the wonders of the world, or the wonders of our own country. Learn something new. Learn your Canadian history at the Sir George Étienne Cartier National Historic Site. Visit a historical monument with Le Château Ramezay or an archeological site at Pointe à Callière. And don’t forget the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts‘ many exhibitions.
Partake in a Super Montreal Activity
Montreal may be a smorgsabord of cultures, but there are some things that we do that scream Montreal. Brave the harsh temperatures of winter and go ice skating. Cheer on a Habs game at a local bar or better yet, check it out at the Bell Center, and experience the supercharged atmosphere. Eat a dirty good poutine with gravy poured all over it. Go to a sugar shack (yes, it’s a Québécois tradition, not just Montreal, but we love it). Grab a steamie to go. Head over to the Tams on Mount Royal on Sundays in the summer.
Read a Book by a Montreal Author
Once again, Montreal is overflowing with talent. We can paint, we can cook, and we can also write. Mordechai Richler is a huge name coming from Montreal. Everyone knows his name, but has everyone read one of his books? Montrealer Heather O’Neill‘s Lullabies for Little Criminals is even set in Montreal. One of our favourite chefs, Michele Forgione, wrote an ode to Montreal’s Italian culture and food with his new book Montrealissimo. Delve into mysteries set in Montreal with author Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan. Or better yet, just read.
Now there’s no excuse. We’ve given you the tools, now get on out there!
Featured image by Eric Branover (@ericbranover).