Mont Royal should be on everyone's list of things to do. The park is very pleasant and the summit affords great views of the City. There are terrific open air markets also if you enjoy that sort of thing. Premier Moisson is a great bakery (with 22 stores in the surrounding area no less) but there are others that are probably just as good if not better. Basilica De Notre Dame is also a must visit. Rue St. Crescent, especially near the art museum should be checked out as well. Enjoy!
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How are you getting here, plane, train or automobile?
There is so much to do and see in Montreal during the summer the question is where to start?
Audiophile things to do and see:
There are a lot of good record shops, the one I highly recommend is "Au 33 Tours". It is located in the heart of one of the trendiest boroughs Plateau Mont-Royal on Mount-Royal street east. Once on the street there are all kinds of shops restaurants to check out. Here is the link to the shop http://www.aux33tours.com
Audio shops, again we have more than our fair share in this city. A great one to check out which is close to the Jazz fest site is Coudre de Foudre Audio. It is located three blocks south of the Jazz Fest site on Bleury street. Here is the link http://www.cdfaudio.com/. From there it is few more block south to China town.
I gotta go now, but I'll post more suggestions later.
Stay within walking distance to the event. Believe me, there's way too much going on to be staying 50-60km away. This is the biggest jazz festival in the world. I've been several times. I'm not going this year because I have too much work around the house but give me a day or two to gather some information for you. The hotel we stayed at last year was great and was not too expensive. We could walk to the venue in 20 minutes and could walk to Old Montreal in about 20 minutes. China Town was about 10 minutes on foot. Are you of an age where you can handle a 20 minute walk through a city? They have an amazing bike program in Montreal where you can rent bikes all over the city with several points to drop them off as well.
Don't spend time seeking out audiophile type things. This is a music festival. Forget about that stuff and enjoy some great jazz and amazing world music. There's free shows at this event that can accommodate 20,000 people and those shows will be packed. It's the most organized, friendly and accommodating festival you'll ever attend. It's totally kid /family friendly. I brought my dog last year.
You've made a great decision to go to Montreal. I'll gather some I formation for you in the next coup,e of days.
I haven't made any accommodations as of yet. I'm in my mid-40's and still run 5...6km daily outdoors so walking 20m is a joy. Riding bikes is also great and I'll definitely get on to it.
Possibly picking up an adventurous music female student to accompany my trip:-) I'd possibly know of some friend who would throw me an empty apartment key on my arrival and the apartment is in the heart of downtown. Otherwise I'd look for descent hotel *** or better. There's still plenty of time to get accommodations straightened out. My objective is to see Chucho Valdes, Bireli Lagrene and Bill Frisel. The only audiophile thing I would look forward to do is to take a look at vinyl records if I find any of my taste price and condition. Obviously no equipment shopping as I'm all set in this case with my recent purchase of Mytek DSD DAC-preamp/headphone/Beyerdynamic t70.
Okay. The past couple of years we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at 155 Blvd Rene-Levesque East, Montreal QC H2X378 phone1-514-448-7100. The rooms are decent but could use some updating. Free breakfast is included and they have under ground parking. Cost is around $120/night. The best thing about this hotel is the price and the location. You can walk to the festival from here in 10 minutes and to Old Montreal in 20 minutes. You can walk to China Town in 5 minutes.
Prior to staying at the Holiday Inn Express we were staying at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain. 1050 de la Gauchetiere West, Montreal, QC H3B4C9. Phone 1-514-878-9000. This is a very nice full service hotel and the pricing this June is pretty decent at $224/night. They have a restaurant with a bar and the breakfast is fantastic (not free). The location gets you to the festival by foot in 20 minutes and to Old Montreal in 25 minutes. We love this hotel but decided that since we never spent any time there except to sleep, we would stay somewhere less expensive.
If you need to cab around the city it's usually about $10 CAD. Russel and Nick gave some great suggestions of sights to see in their posts above. You'll notice Celine Dion playing over the PA system outside of Notre Dam. She got married there and they're very proud of that.
There's a couple of dishes you may want to try while dining out. One is called Poutine which is French fries covered in fresh cheese curds and hot poultry gravy. Some restaurants have jazzed up versions of it with additional toppings. It's very popular and you will see this everywhere. The other item you'll see advertised is smoked meat. This is similar to pastrami in NYC but they use brisket and more aromatic spices to cure the meat. It's served as a sandwich on rye bread and typically slathered with mustard. Other than these 2 things, you find many excellent dining options with a bit of a European flare. I really like the area in and around the old city. There's a lot of great dining options and its beautiful.
Enjoy yourself there. I hope you like Montreal as much as I do. I'll be back in 2014 for sure.
Don't forget to take advantage of the bikes that are available throughout the city. It's a great system.