Missed your flight to Punta Cana? Staying in town for the holidays? Here are ten ways to stave off seasonal depression, experience the True North Metropolis and get more out of your winter break than just a chronic hangover.
Urban Living Rooms: Tea Houses and Cosy Cafes
If you don’t want to end up like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, it’s important to leave the house once in a while. Avoid Cabin Fever and frostbite by taking a brisk walk from one comfy couch to another. These “urban living rooms” are great places to read a book, chat with a friend, or simply watch the snow fall outside as you sip a delicious cup of something warm.
1. Tea Houses
351 Rue Émery
True to its name, Camellia Sinensis offers a serious selection of teas (no chocolate nibs or dried papaya here). Enjoy a top-notch infusion in a space that, with its soft lighting and wooden tables and wall paneling, epitomizes the classic-contemporary of Montreal-chic.
4050 Colonial Ave
How about hot chocolate with rose hips and a lavender-lemon muffin? Epicerie Fleur Fuchsia uses floral ingredients in all their tea house fare. The room features refurbished chairs and a bold antique sofa just like the one in your Aunt Mildred’s salon.
2011 St-Denis St.
Read a graphic novel or relive the good old Pokemon days with your cuppa.
2. Game Rooms
Picking up in popularity, Game Rooms are a great way to spend a snowy 5 a 7 (or 7 a 12). Here are three game rooms where you can sip on gin’ n juice and play old favourites like Monopoly and Scrabble, or discover something a little more eclectic.
2041 St-Denis St.
From the popular Apples to Apples to lesser-known Telestrations or Jaipur, Randolph’s has a game for every mood.
4217 St-Laurent Boul.
In this small tea and Chess joint old Portuguese men and Philosophy students alike duke it out for the title of Grand Master. They also have Backgammon if that’s more your speed.
Multiple flat screens, old fashioned pinball machines, and a live DJ, this basement gaming bar’s combination of grimy and futuristic reminds me of something out of Blade Runner .
Get Cultured: Museums and Movie Theaters
Put down the finance textbook over winter break and soothe your cultural soul with some fascinating films and exhibits.
3. Museums and Movie Theaters
185 St-Catherine St.
Two of their current exhibits explore Quebecois and Canadian artistic identity: “Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop, and Aboriginal Culture” juxtaposes urban culture with Aboriginal identity and “A Matter of Abstraction” spans Quebec’s search for abstract artistic expression.
3536 Saint-Laurent Boul.
Catch buzz-worthy Hollywood releases like “American Hustle” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” along with lesser-hyped “Un Chateau en Italie”, and the Quebecois “Ressac” in this cool movie theater.
3575 Park Ave
This cinema features classic oldies, independent films, documentaries, opera screenings and more right in your neighbourhood. This holiday season, Parc is having a “Coen Weekend” showing films like True Grit and The Big Lebowski.
Ditch the Blanket and Hot Water Bottle: Face the cold
If you’re here for the winter, you are going to have to face the cold that Montreal is famous for and try out some winter sports. Don’t forget to layer up; wear tights under your pants, multiple shirts, and never underestimate the insulating power of a scarf.
The Bonsecours Basin rink is open late into the night so you can start your own dance party on ice with great playlists that change depending on the day of the week: “Urban sounds Wednesdays”, “Romantic Thursdays” or “French Music Sundays”. Perfect for a corny Canadian date or simply admiring the view of the Old Port from the Quay.
You don’t have to leave the city to experience all the excitement that winter has to offer: cross country, tubing, sledding, skating, and snow-showing. Wholesome outdoor fun at affordable rates is just a few slushy steps from McGill.
Embrace “chill” nightlife at some of Montreal’s winter festivals.
6. The “Merry Montreal” Festival in the Old Port
Stroll around the old city and the Comfort Team will be there offering hot cocoa and mulled wine. Their Vibrant Weekends activities feature choir performances, street performances, and more.
1201, St-Laurent (3rd floor)
Students at SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) collaborated with their culinary laboratory Foolab to bring you a unique epicurean experience. Feast on gourmet Nordic treats in a modern yurt on top of the city. Open Tuesday – Friday from 5pm to 10pm.
8. Karaoke Scene: Night-Life Caroling
Casual: les 3 Minots
Unleash your inner rock star at Les 3 Minots, where the owner is just as happy to ply you with alcohol as he is to get up on stage and do his best rendition of “Billie Jean”.
Hip Hop: The Belmont
4483 St-Laurent St.
Give us your best Biggie rendition at Hip Hop Karaoke every Thursday at The Belmont
Feeling kinky? NDP des Quilles
32 Beaubien Est
Let it all hang out at (Strip)ster Bareoke at NDP des Quilles on Sundays
9. Plan a day trip to Ottawa or Quebec City
Take the opportunity to explore Canada’s capital or Quebec’s old city (a UNESCO World Heritage site.) One way VIA Rail tickets start at 30$ for students and the two to three hour trip is well worth it.
10. Night skiing on Mont St-Sauveur
The day doesn’t end at Mont St-Sauveur when the sun goes down so don’t be upset if you can’t get there before six. Night skiing is fun and affordable. Equipment rental, on the other hand, is a hassle and expensive so ask your friends to borrow their equipment or, check out kijiji, craigslist or Poubelle du Ski to find lower priced gear.