Eat, drink and party in this lively center of Montréal’s cuisine and nightlife. See why the city’s gay district is thought to be one of the largest in the world.
Also known as the Gay Village, this area north of the Quartier Latin is so LGBT-friendly that even its metro station has rainbow pillars. Although the Village is the epicenter of Montreal’s gay scene, just about anyone would enjoy the festive atmosphere. Due to low rents, a young population and a high density of cafés, restaurants, bars and clubs, the Village is one of Montréal’s most exciting areas.
The Village is centered on St. Catherine Street. From June through September, this street is closed to traffic, so the whole neighborhood feels like a vast plaza. Walk along St. Catherine Street and notice the professional street art lining the façades. On a sunny day, sit out on one of the many restaurant terraces for a cup of coffee and watch the fashionable crowds.
There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from in the Village, each of those varying in uniqueness and popularity. You can get anything from a cheap dinner, in a bistro with in-house DJ, to a pricier meal based on the nouveau-French cuisine in an elegant décor.
Most locals hit the bars at just before midnight, which is a good time to hop around between the many different nightlife options. Catch a cabaret show performed by the Village’s most flamboyant drag queens. If you rather have a chat over a cocktail, visit one of the many gay bars in the area. And, if you are enjoying yourself, party until the next morning at a late-night dance club.
The best time to visit the Village is during one of its famous week-long parties. Divers/Cité is the neighborhood’s spectacular annual festival, which lasts a week between July and August. It culminates with the gay pride parade. Watch Mascara, the world’s largest drag show, which takes place during this festival. Black and Blue is a week-long series of big techno parties during Canadian Thanksgiving throughout various venues in both the Village and other parts of Montreal. Get tickets for these festivals in advance, because they are world-renowned, and fill up fast.