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Plateau Mont-Royal is best-known as the hipster district of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It’s all old stone buildings with plenty of bars and restaurants, and a thriving arts scene. Read on for Culture Trip’s top recommendations of things to do and see here.
Barbossa (formerly Blizzarts) is a popular party destination for Plateau Mont-Royal residents and Montreal in general. Perfect for a quiet drink or a dance, it’s a great mix between a lounge and a club. Local up-and-coming DJs perform here, with different nights of the week offering different music genres.
If you’re into microbrews, then add Dieu du Ciel to your list. It offers a wide selection of house brews and exotic imports, making it the perfect place for beer lovers. One favorite is the slightly acidic, gorgeous-smelling Rosée d’Hibiscus, a wheat beer that gets its rose coloring from the hibiscus flowers added during the brewing process. Aside from the beer, the venue has a lively and vibrant atmosphere – reason enough to make a trip.
The Rialto Theatre concert and event venue, a National Historic Site of Canada, was once a movie palace. It was built in 1923-4 by Montreal architect Joseph-Raoul Gariépy, who was inspired by the neo-baroque style of the Palais Garnier in Paris. With ornate architectural details, this Montreal landmark is a must-see. Visit the theater’s website for more information on live performances.
Mtelus’s (formerly Métropolis) started life as a skating rink. Since then, the venue has been a theater, a cinema and the victim of two fires since opening its doors in 1884. It’s now the home of great live music, hosting concerts by the likes of David Bowie, Prince, Beck, Radiohead and Björk, and among Montreal’s best venues, with a capacity of 2,300.
Built in 1921, Bagg Street Shul is Quebec’s oldest synagogue still operating and recognized as a heritage site by the province’s Minister of Culture and the City of Montreal. While it’s a plain brick box from the outside, you’ll find beautifully carved and intricate decor inside. Bagg Street Shul is a popular spot on tours around the city, including those run by Marko Kulik, an experienced Montreal photographer.
If you want to relax a bit in Plateau Mont-Royal, Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier is a stone’s throw from Laurier metro station. Regularly frequented by Montrealers, it’s a peaceful escape from the city’s bustling tourist crowds, with a lush garden and an array of large, shady trees. The park also has a soccer field, two baseball fields, a public swimming pool, a horseshoe pit, a dog park and a playground. If you’re visiting during the summer, you can also catch one of its outdoor movie screenings.
As well as being known for its artistic flair, Mile End is recognized as one of Montreal’s top foodie destinations. Discover the neighborhood from an insider’s perspective on a guided walking tour, discovering the best restaurants and cafes in the area. From locally raised meats at Boucherie Lawrence to vegan treats at La Panthère Verte, the eateries in Mile End cater to every palate. Don’t miss St-Viateur Bagel for a taste of an authentic Montreal-style bagel. Tours are run by the likes of Local Montréal Food Tours; alternatively, explore at your own pace on a self-guided tour.
What better way to spend a rainy day in Plateau Mont-Royal than catching a movie at an independent cinema? Cinéma du Parc is an underground theater showcasing rare and international films, from classics starring Hollywood heroes to foreign features worth the subtitles. There are also midnight showings. Decked out with cafeteria-like tables and old-fashioned seating, it is like stepping into a time machine. There’s also a mezzanine art gallery – a free exhibition space for independent artists.
Additional reporting by Emma Gibbins