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As a local resident for all my life (24 years), I’ve seen the 2 sides of Montreal, the touristic and local, which I both love.
Some tips about how to be a local are:
1. Language: Know that some places use french and other places serve in english. Knowing both languages is good, however I know a lot of people who only know 1 and do pretty well living here. A myth buster might be that you need to know french.
2. Travel: Depending where you are located, Public Transit can be faster and more affordable. If you are going to live away from a metro line, buses can be a pain, but are relatively fast compared to other regions. If you are from the suburbs an automobile may be required if you want to move quicker. We also have a surface train service (AMT) which reach out to the far out suburbs. Wherever you will be staying I recommend you get the OPUS card which store your transit fares (and give reduced fare in some circumstances). Rush hours are in the morning until 9ish am and evenings until 6:30ish pm, keep that in mind, it may save you on time.
3. Food: What I hear usually hear from visitors that we have the best food. If you are looking at an inexpensive dining experience avoid touristic areas such as the Vieux Montreal. However, the experience might be different having meals there as the ambiance changes to a more elegant environment. Montreal has fine dining almost anywhere you go. If you plan on doing groceries, visit Atwater Market or Jean Talon Market for a local farmer’s market. Or not you will find a variety of grocery stores all over. One that has been booming a lot and liked (especially if you want a cultural experience) try Addonis (now newly located Downtown). Something that is more stereotypical is the MTL Beagle shops and Poutine. It might be just me, but living here all my life these were not the highlights of my day, however again visitors seem to like them a lot, so give it a try
4. Sightseeing: This section is less local and more touristic and I’ve only experience some of these later in my life even if I was born and raised here.
- Mont-Royal: Nice nature walk, nice views of the city
- Plateau Mont-Royal: Authentic shopping, nice atmosphere, very community based
- Vieux Montreal: you have to see how somewhat the city looked like before
- The Olympic Stadium and Botanical Garden
- Oratoire St. Joseph
- The Orange Julep (Thursday nights, classic car shows, metro Namur)
- Museums and art scenes
- The Village
- St. Catherine Shopping
- A lot of festivals, some more hidden then others (check youtube.com/whatsupmtl for more)
5. General Experience: Expect cold snowy winters and hot humid summers. Montreal is known for fashion and arts (festivals). People are generally friendly. The nightlife is a thing and becoming a was, however enjoy it while it’s still here. We also have shopping consumer right provincial laws which has come useful to locals, make sure to know them.
There is something for anyone, any taste.
Share your experience by submitting us your stories (located on our page called Share Your Experience), we would love to know how your things have been going for you in Montreal.
- Baghdig Balyan, Production Coordinator of “What’s Up Montreal?”