Montréal Gay Travel
Montréal gay travel advice for hotels, where to stay, gay bars, clubs, bathhouses, the gay village & pride!
The Gay Travel Experience: Montréal, Canada
Montréal’s gay life is found in the popular gay village, located in the east of the city near the Latin quarter. The gay village has increasingly been promoted as a tourist destination over recent years.
I have personally found more and more of my friends taking trips to Montréal for a good time!
Gay-owned restaurants, clothing stores and bars line the streets beneath festive hanging balls. This rainbow art installation that has become symbolic of Montréal’s gay life. The city is one of the best lgbt-friendly destinations for gay travelers who want to visit Canada.
You will find a mix of Anglo and Francophone gay guys here. It’s a great way to practice that French you learned! Nonetheless, just about everyone speaks perfect English. The French influence is certainly magnificent, though.
I had a blast during my short trip to this wonderful city. Vibrant and filled with young people, there was much to keep busy with, both indoor and out.
Gay Montréal: Hotels & Where to Stay
I stayed in the trendy Le Plateau neighborhood. Not only was this area charming and authentic, but it was cheaper than staying near gay village. Plus, my friends and I could get a spacious apartment with more space to spread out.
I highly recommend VRBO rentals in Le Plateau/Mont-Royale for a few different reasons. The Montréal gay village and other popular Montréal destinations are a short drive away and you have various cafés nearby.
While you can find some great hotels and apartment rentals in the city center/downtown, I personally think other neighborhoods outside the city’s core provide a better experience. Sometimes staying close to highly commercial areas like this can feel a little lifeless.
Montréal has a great metro system, so neighborhoods outside the downtown can be easily reached at low cost. In my opinion, staying along the Orange Metro Line is a good bet. The area around the Mont Royal metro stop is energetic and pleasant.
The Montréal Gay Village
Montréal has a pretty legendary gay village. All the gay nightlife is in this part of town and the area is a fantastic place to hang out, with tons of bars, restaurants and boutique stores lining the main street. The vibe is undeniably awesome.
While I personally preferred to stay in Le Plateau for the relaxed vibe, many gay travelers do book vacation apartment rentals in the gay village to be closer to the gay nightlife.
You can snag some luxurious apartments that offer some sweet amenities, too. Many rentals include access to rooftop pools and/or fitness centers in the building.
Montréal Gay Travel Experiences
No matter what kind of traveler you are, Montréal has something to offer. The city has several impressive museums if you prefer indoor activities, cafés and patisseries for the foodies, and plentiful park space for the outdoorsy types.
Parc du Mont Royal (Mount Royal Park)
Parc du Mont Royal is a scenic vista on a cliff, high above the city. It is easily accessible by car or by foot. Both tourists and locals capture snapshots of the drastic elevation change. Montréal’s skyscrapers offer the perfect backdrop.
Walking up is pretty easy and relaxing. There is a huge park and lake on the way up the mountain. There are also some restaurants with outdoor seating. Parc du Mont Royal has probably the best view in Montréal, so you should definitely make a trip here.
Try Kouign Amann
Have a sweet tooth? Visit Patisserie Au Kouign Amann. Here you can order some classic Kouign Amann, a pastry rarely baked anymore. The recipe originated in France back in 1860.
My friend Taylor found this small bakery that is one of two establishments in the entire world that continues to bake this fine snack. Kouign Amann is not made often because it is labor intensive, with so many layers of delicious butter-soaked flakes.
The Biosphere Museum
Architecturally stunning, the Montréal Biosphere Museum at Parc Jean-Drapeau has some interesting history behind it. While the site is currently an environmental conservation museum, it was originally built for the World’s Fair Expo 67.
When originally constructed, the sphere’s shell was composed of acrylic panes held between a steel lattice, which could carefully control the internal temperature. These panes unfortunately burned away in a building fire, but the trusses withstood the blaze.
The Biosphere Museum hosts dozens of exhibits focused on topics such as ecosystems, climate change, marine environments, neighborhood design and planetary phenomena.
Also, while you’re in the beautiful and modern Parc Jean-Drapeau, walk through Espace 67 and take a look at the Trois Disques sculpture.
Restaurants & Cafés in Montréal
Give Café Titanic a try for a relaxed lunch option. It’s a convenient stop while exploring the downtown area. They have a coffee and wine bar as well. It’s a higher-end cafeteria style place where you bring your food to a table.
Ming Tao Xuan Tea House was also one of the highlights of my trip. I have never been to an Asian tea house before, but for my first time I had a stellar experience!
A server prepared the first bit of tea in our individual teapots, and my friends and I sat and talked for hours.
The arrangement of the room was so peaceful. So much so, that we all felt relaxed afterwards. Ming Tao Xuan is more than just a place where you can enjoy tea in a relaxing environment.
A big portion of Ming Tao Xuan’s business is selling loose tea. Some loose tea might make a perfect gift for someone back home!
Café Replika is worth a visit if you’re in the Le Plateau neighborhood. They have iced macchiatos that will knock your socks off. If Turkish coffee is something you enjoy, they have that too!
Montréal Gay Bars & Clubs
There’s no shortage of gay bars and clubs in Montréal. The city has a wide range of options, from large dance clubs to cozy, intimate spots.
Bar Renard is a mixed, gay-friendly Montréal bar. While it’s not branded as a gay bar, all the gay guys in Montréal hang out there.
It is there perfect place to start your night out in the gay village. A classy spot with great cocktails and a comfortable vibe, you can dance a bit without feeling too crowded. The venue is dimly lit and quite clean.
They were playing a mix of pop music when time I went, as well as the most popular Eurovision songs. I’ve recommended many people to this bar, and they all have told me they loved it! See events on Bar Renard’s Facebook page.
Complexe Sky Montréal
I had the best time at Complexe Sky, a Montréal gay club notable for poppy beats and live DJs. The space is super fun for dancing because everyone gets up on the platforms around the bar. The fog machine is always pumping and the bartenders are always pouring!
While Complexe Sky tends to err on the side of pop music, they are always hosting nights with a specific genre of music. Their DJs range from EDM to Latin to Urban in specialty.
Club Unity was so much fun! They’re a massive gay club in Montréal. So big in fact, that multiple dance floor rooms were empty. Bar service and music were perfect.
18 to 21-year old patrons frequent Club Unity, so the faces were young! If you typically prefer a more mature crowd, you might prefer my next recommendation.
Le Stud Leather Bar
Le Stud is the perfect gay bar option for those who enjoy a mature crowd. While I did not visit this spot myself, it definitely tops the list among local gay bars based on other travelers’ opinions.
Le Stud has a lot of themed nights going on during the week, so if you’re in Montréal only for the workweek, Le Stud may be a great spot to try.
Montréal Gay Bathhouses
Montréal is quite popular as a gay travel destination, not only for the gay clubs, but also for the gay saunas and bathhouses. They’re also quite easy to get to, located right in the middle of the gay village.
Sauna Oasis & Sauna G.I. Joe
You can’t miss Sauna G.I. Joe, with their famous illuminated male figures on the front windows. Sauna G.I. Joe is one of the most popular cruising spots in Montréal.
Sauna Oasis is one of the best gay sauna I’ve ever been to. They have a huge, multi-level space with a modern jacuzzi. Everything was acceptably sanitary and fairly priced.
Both of these Montréal gay bathhouses are within close proximity to one another, as well as to the gay bars, on St. Catherine Street East in the Gay Village.
Campus Male Strip Club
Men at Campus, Montréal’s infamous male strip club, love showing off. These guys can dance like you’d never imagine! While it’s a bit of seedy fun, gay travelers love stopping into Campus.
Even though the Campus Facebook page may seem to be oriented toward women, you’ll surely notice almost all the patrons are gay guys and their friends.
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Montréal Gay Pride: Défilé Fierté
Closing down streets all around the city’s historic gay village, Montréal gay pride is an enormous event. The week of events take place each August, where this Canadian city is beautifully warm. FYI, défilé fierté is French for pride parade.
I definitely want my next visit to Montréal to be for their pride events. As you can see in the video above from Montréal Pride parade in 2016, it’s quite a celebration! Diverse, proud community members show so much love and dance the nights away at some epic parties.
Montréal Travel Tips
The largest French speaking population in the world outside of France is right here in gay-friendly Montréal. Even with this massive Francophone population, almost everyone knows English.
The city has an astonishingly high rate of bilingual residents. This is not entirely surprising, though. They all learn French in school from a young age!
Montréal gets its name from a variant of the words “Mont Royale,” a sort of contraction that, over time, took on the shape of one word. A semi-European vibe permeates some parts of the city with many cafés and patisseries to try!
For many years, strings of rainbow-colored balls hung over St. Catherine Street East, which is the heart of the gay village. This art installation created a beautiful symbol of how gay-friendly the city truly is.
The City of Montréal sadly took down the hanging balls in September 2019. The motive was to seek a new artistic chapter for the area. Many people were upset about the decision, wondering why anyone would desire to remove something so iconic to the area.
On the plus side, you can now actually purchase original rainbow balls that once hung proudly above St. Catherine Street!
The City of Montréal will sell these iconic balls while the next project design is chosen. Some will also be kept for display in the Espace Village Gallery.
Canada Gay Rights
Canada granted fundamental rights to the LGBT community in the country’s constitution as of 1982. A whopping 80% of Canadians favor are accepting of homosexuality (as of 2013). This statistic grows higher when you narrow the age group further to Millennials and Generation X.
The Canadian government recently surveyed citizens about their overall comfortability about having a LGBT neighbor. Completed in 2019, results showed a heartwarming 91.8% rate of comfortability, a huge success for Canada.
Canada decriminalized homosexuality back in 1969. Since 1996, sexual orientation has been included in anti-discrimination protections and more recently, gender expression since 2017. LGBT people are able to serve openly in the military as of 1992, and gay marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005.
Lastly, here’s an interesting LGBT-related Canadian fact. The Inuit, or the indigenous people of Canada that settled farthest to the north, embraced gender nonconformity in their culture!
The Inuit people (at this time no longer formally known as Eskimos) had words for describing those individuals who did not conform to their gender at birth. Read some more on this if you like; it’s quite fascinating.
Overall, Canada is one of the more progressive Countries in the western world with regard to homosexuality and LGBT rights!
Next, check out wolfyy’s Syracuse Gay Travel Guide. This mid-size city, adjacent to a beautiful college town, is not too far away from wonderful Montréal.