If you’re vacationing in Montreal, you’ve probably already heard about Mile End — the 40 blocks bordered north-south by Mont-Royal Avenue and rue Van Horne and east-west by Saint-Laurent and Parc.
Oui, this neighborhood is trendy and boho, a hip hangout with an industrial, working-class past. It’s your spot for haute design, edgy art, and craft coffee. Don’t miss these top things to eat, drink, see, buy, and do. But above all, take it easy. Slip into the Quebecois joie de vivre and savor the moment.
Mile End is filled with artist collectives and eccentric characters. Ask a local about which are the best to pop into — for example, the atelier of visual mixed media creative NADine Samuel, Art Hives, Red Bird Studios, or screen print master Chris Robertson’s workshop. Or, visit a more mainstream gallery like Galerie Simon Blais showing Quebec headliners, or Galerie-Espace with rotating featured artists.
First, pick up a cream cheese bagel at Anthony Bourdain haunt St-Viateur Bagel. Then, shop St-Viateur Street for everything you want, but don’t need: an artisan cappuccino at Café Olimpico, inventive women’s wear at Myco Anna from Quebec designer Christiane Garant, colorful home design accents, handcrafted furniture. Branch out to pick up a graphic novel at staple Drawn & Quarterly bookshop, browse vintage collectibles at Antiques Loft 9, and listen to a local act at Le Depanneur Café. You might find chatting with shopkeepers is as fun as the shopping itself.
Eat all day long
Try something new. Vegan is huge here — see: Soupe Soup (soup, obviously, and salad) or La Panthère Verte (falafel). Or for a sexy date night, sit at the bar of Hotel Herman, where food is art and you nibble on edible flowers. Quebec star-chef Danny St-Pierre reigns at La Petite Maison, where in an inviting stone cottage he delivers sublime dishes critics call “ingenious simplicity.” Mile End is your destination for a Montreal food tour, where you can delve into the astonishing range of low-budget eats to cutting-edge fine dining.
Stay up late
Play ping pong
Nosh on a mac ‘n cheese ball, milkshake, and alphabet soup, while challenging your partner to foosball, Jenga, or table tennis at Ping Pong Club, an it restaurant-bar and Montreal’s first foray into the international ping pong craze. Even if you lose, take solace in one of the tasty Slurpee-style cocktails, served ironically in paper cups. If playing is not your bag, just chill at this cozy spot fans call Montreal at its best.
Get to know Mile End, but you might need to return just to eat your way through all of Montreal, a city known for culinary indulgence and bold experimentation.
Get the inside scoop on more must-do’s at the Tourism Montreal website.