10 tremendous enjoyable locations in Montreal to take your mother and father with when they’re visiting
So your parents are coming to visit, yay. Or, if you’re like me, some strange excitement and anxiety fill you as you welcome the fact that the parents who gave birth to you are going to cover all of the cost of a weekend again, but you’re pretty worried about too all these one-on-one times (or two).
To make matters worse, you are supposed to play tour guides when visiting parents. Again, your emotions are split as you look forward to showing your parents the city you love while you hate the idea of doing something overly touristy. But your parents are tourists, and that’s the stuff they want to do.
But you can balance it out. With the following spots you can have a lot of fun showing your parents Motnreal without getting bored with the usual tourist traps. Check them out below.
Take them to the House of Jazz
Equally cheesy, fun, and parent-friendly, the House of Jazz is a Montreal institution, and while you may not go out with your friends, your “rentals will definitely enjoy the over-the-top decor and old-school” feel. And with live shows almost every evening, a good time with parents is guaranteed.
Explore Montreal on an audio tour
In all honesty, if you are familiar with Montreal you could be as good a tour guide as some you see leading the multitudes of tourists around the plateau. But even if you aren’t, I think taking a guided tour of a neighborhood in Montreal is a bit of a scam, especially when there are amazing (and free!) Audio tours out there.
Take your parents on a stroll through an iconic neighborhood at your own pace while learning all about the area that you could never have seen on your own. Audio (or just self-guided) tours are available: Old Montreal, Chinatown, Griffintown, and more.
Enjoy smoked meat at Lester’s Deli
No doubt parents who have never eaten a smoked meat sandwich will try one and likely recommend Schwartz’s. Nip the tourist trap in the bud and head to Lesters instead. Lester’s is by far a better deli and has the advantage of being in the incredibly aesthetically pleasing Outremont district, the perfect area for a stroll after your smoke.
Get a drink at La Distillerie or DDC
If you spend a lot of time with your parents, you almost need a little alcohol to make the whole trip through. You probably feel the same way, so don’t feel guilty.
Depending on whether your rental is more about cocktails or beer, La Distillerie or Dieu du Ciel are good choices. Both are a solid mix of trendy, hip, and low key with a different age group of clientele so your fam jam doesn’t look out of place.
Explore Montreal’s secret cave
If you happen to have somewhat adventurous parents, use their visit as a good excuse to finally explore Montreal’s secret cave. Also known as Cavernicole Cave, the underground expanse is at the center of Park Pie-IX in St. Leonard, which can make it kind of a trek, but it’s worth it.
See the butterflies set free in the Botanical Garden
In all fairness, the Montreal Botanical Gardens are a great place to take the parenting units with you any time of the year, but if yours is visiting between now and April 28, all you need to do is check out the annual Butterflies Go Free event. 20,000 butterflies of 50 different species are released 100 at a time during the breathtaking showcase of nature’s beauty, a spectacle that you will want to see even if you are not accompanied by mom and dad.
Caffeine in a cat cafe
You’ve no doubt thought about going to one of Montreal’s cat cafés before, but couldn’t bring yourself to do it. Step inside your cat-loving mom or dad, the perfect excuse to go to a cat café without looking like a crazy cat person. You’ll enjoy the sheer novelty of running cats around with a latte in hand and you’ll finally be able to cross “cat café” off your Montreal bucket list. One-two.
Discover all culinary things in the Marché Jean-Talon
Even if your parents are over, you probably won’t get any homemade food. After all, they are also on vacation. But you can subtly get them to do this by going to the Marché Jean-Talon, by far the best farmers market in town. Not only is it a tourist destination well worth visiting, but you can also stock up on so much fresh produce and groceries that you would not get anywhere else. Then you can subtly hint to your tenants that all this food shouldn’t be wasted, invite them over to your home for a meal, and get them to do most of the cooking. It’s the perfect plan.
Take a trip to the Oratory of Saint-Joseph
Okay, so I know I said I wouldn’t include any over-the-top tourist stuff on this list, but the truth is, Saint-Joseph’s oratorio is just too grand to be passed up. Not only is the basilica (Canada’s largest church) simply breathtaking, you can also walk across Mount Royal to the oratory, a must-see in Montreal. After exploring the oratory and its breathtaking views, you’ll find yourself in Côte-des-Neiges, an area to explore with your parents, largely because there are some great restaurants.
Grab a souvenir at Artpop
There really is only one respectable place in this city to buy a Montreal souvenir, and that seller is Artpop on Mont-Royal Avenue. Artpop sells artistic works odes to the city and has some really cool stuff from prints to mugs to pillows. Don’t be fooled into paying for overpriced Montreal merchandise at a gift shop, just head to Artpop.
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