Gay Vacations in Montreal

Disco ball in a nightclub in Montreal, Canada
The nightclub scene in Montreal, Canada (Carlos Davila/Photographer's Choice/Getty)

Montreal Highlights

  • Go during high season. This may go against the grain of most travel advice, but Montreal is truly at its best in summer, from May through September, when the city erupts with sunshine, joy, and parties. Be sure to book your hotel early!
  • Watch out for July 1. For some strange reason, in this city of renters, nearly all leases end or start on July 1 (which happens to be Canada’s National Day holiday). Everyone moves out or in on this day, making for crowds and havoc all around town. Stay inside your hotel room if you can!
  • Don't cop an attitude. The Quebecois are ferociously friendly and social, so staying cool and above it all won't take you far in Montreal. You won't be able to stay that way for long anyway, since you’ll be quickly swept up in the irresistible, social fun.

The largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris has been a party getaway for Americans since the 1920s, when it was the only North American city serving up legal booze. The singular Quebecois are a breed unto themselves: creative, fun loving, some of the friendliest inhabitants of one of the friendliest countries on earth. The main strip of Sainte-Catherine that runs through the heart of the gay village (one of the largest in the world) is crammed with multi-story LGBT bars, sparkling-clean male strip joints, and patrons casually chatting as they wait in line at upscale bathhouses (there's no such thing as gay shame in Montreal!). Another gay-friendly area worth spending time in is Mile End, where cool lounges, avant-garde eateries, and intriguing boutiques flourish. And check out the live music at gorgeous Mount Royal Park, where gays lie out in their French bikinis–vive le Montreal!

What was once a downtrodden city plagued with political problems and unemployment is now a gleaming, hopeful, tolerant place. Montreal feels like a chunk of liberal France thrown into North America, and you’ll want to soak up its cafes and restaurants in architecturally magnificent Old Montreal, where you’ll feel like you are far, far from home. Jazz, a local music staple, permeates Downtown, Old Town and the Latin Quarter, especially in late June and early July during the renowned Montreal Jazz Festival. Other travel-worthy events are August's Divers/Cite, one of the most impressively professional pride events anywhere, and October’s Black & Blue Festival circuit party held at the gargantuan Olympic Stadium. Smaller but just as hopping parties include the New Year's Eve Bal des Boys, the Red Party for Valentine's Day, the Bal en Blanc (White Party) for Easter, and the Hot and Dry in May. But any time of year, Montreal's art, museums, and live music scenes are worth the trip.

Published: 16 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 9 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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