You can totally get by without speaking French — Everyone speaks English in the parts of town you’re most likely to visit. Menus are also available in English. But it doesn’t hurt to know a few words, especially merci (thank you) and bonjour (hello).
Avoid Crescent & Peel Streets — Two downtown blocks between Sherbrooke and Ste-Catherine are full of restaurants and pubs that draw a fratty, anglo crowd (kinda the worst of Montréal, tbh). Skip them and head to Old Montréal, the Plateau, Mile End, Little Burgundy, and beyond instead.
Montréal vs New York Bagels — Montréal’s bagels are smaller, flatter, craggier, and a bit sweeter than NYC’s. They’re also boiled in sweetened water and baked in a wood oven. And trust me: When fresh out of the oven, they can be eaten straight out of the bag, with nothing whatsoever on them at all.
This is a great music town — Jazz Fest runs for two weeks every June & July over multiple blocks & venues downtown. You can chill out to house vibes on summer Sunday afternoons at Picnik Élecronik in Parc Jean Drapeau. Countless global musicians and DJs drop by regularly; check what’s on before you go.
Montréal is also great biking town — The local bike rental scheme is called Bixi. Download the app to access wheels from kiosks all over town. Rentals start at just $1 for a one-way trip.
☞ Speaking of tips, if you’ve found these recommendations useful, you can support this project by buying me a beer.