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Montréal Gay Travel

Montréal gay travel advice for hotels, where to stay, gay bars, clubs, bathhouses, the gay village & pride!

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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.

things to do in Montreal

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.

church doors
things to do in Montreal
church doors

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.

where to stay Montréal

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.

where to stay Montréal
Montréal neighborhood
Montréal neighborhood

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.

I recommend the 4-star boutique St. Paul Hotel if you do decide to stay downtown.

parc du mont royale

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.

gay village
montreal rental luxury

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. 

Montréal gay village nightlife

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.

montreal vacation rental luxury

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.

outdoor activities Montreal

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.

bike race Montréal

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.

Montréal gay travel experience
Parc du Mont Royale
Montréal gay travel experience

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.

Parc du Mont Royale

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.

Montréal gay traveler
parc du mont royale
Montréal gay traveler

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.

Montréal biosphere

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.

Montréal biosphere

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.

cafe titanic
cafe titanic
Chinese tea house

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!

Chinese tea house

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.

Montréal gay travel
Montréal gay traveler
church in downtown area

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!

Montréal gay traveler

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.

Montréal gay bars
Montréal gay bars

Bar Renard

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. 

bar renard

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.

bar renard
bar renard
bar renard

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!

Complexe Sky club
Complexe Sky club
Complexe Sky gay club

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.

Complexe Sky gay club
Montréal gay nightlife

Club Unity

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.

club Unity

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.

LGBT nightclub
club Unity
LGBT nightclub

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.

local bar

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. 

Montréal gay bathhouse
campus strip club
Montréal gay bathhouse

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.

campus strip club

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!

colorful building Montréal
downtown Montréal
colorful building Montréal

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!

Montréal gay traveler

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. 

Montréal gay village
Montréal gay village

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!

On the bright side, 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.

canadian flag

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.

canadian flag

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.

church in downtown area
gay village
Montréal gay travel experience

Canada decriminalized same-sex activity 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.

Montréal gay travel experience

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.

snowy street

Overall, Canada is one of the more progressive Countries in the western world with regard to homosexuality and LGBT rights! I personally can’t wait to explore more of the country.

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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.

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