Montreal, Quebec, Canada is a cultural goldmine. Raised in the steaming cauldron that was French and English relations throughout its tumultuous history, Montreal has emerged out the other side as a cosmopolitan city that has embraced the best of both worlds.
Art, fashion, and food are on full display 24/7 with entire neighbourhoods showcasing specific styles and gaining reputations as go to districts for niche shoppers. While shopping is easy in Montreal, figuring out which neighbourhood you should target may be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the retail landscape of Montreal. To find out I spoke with the online travel company JustFly. They gave me the rundown on the best ways to shop in Montreal.
The Plateau is the hipster capital of Montreal. A tremendously youthful area, The Plateau statistically is the most “millennial” borough in Canada according to JustFly’s review. A labyrinth of tiny one-way streets, the joy of exploring this neighbourhood is finding its unique pop-up shops and small secondhand stores.
In addition to these smaller spots, the main streets of this neighbourhood, Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis, are home to designer shops and more conventional stores. In addition to clothing, this area also features plenty of antique shops, record shops, and book stores to help you complete your collection.
Montreal’s downtown is a vast network of both above ground and underground malls. While the selection is fairly limited to your standards, they are certainly all in one place. If you are looking for something beyond the more traditional brick and mortar experience, your best bet is to stay above ground where independent boutiques can be found.
If you just want to explore and partake in conventional retail therapy JustFly recommends you start on Saint Catharine street at the University of Concordia and head East (the direction of traffic on this one way street). Speaking of streets, take Montreal’s STM public transit network to head downtown, as parking can be both pricey and limited.
Located North of The Plateau is the Mile-End. A little bit on the grungier side, this neck of the woods is Knockturn Alley if The Plateau is Diagon Alley (if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, well, I can’t help ya). Featuring numerous secondhand shops and antique shops, you are more likely to find more 90’s drab compared to The Plateau’s more flower child aesthetic. This is also in the heart of Montreal’s start-up district, so, if you’ve spent all your money, maybe you can get a job so you can spend some more!