How I Survived May Semester in Montreal
Choosing to do May-mester was like someone patted me on the back and said "Congratulations, you’ll finally have some time on your hands!" Suddenly though, after a week of Netflix binging and liming with friends, I began to not know what to do with this surprising amount of time. Let’s be real. Doing a May course doesn’t feel like 'school'. Sitting in class for only 3 hours a day can leave a lot of time on one’s hands.
Though May is far gone, it is one of the most refreshing months in Montreal. After a brutal winter, it finally feels like spring is approaching. (And by spring I mean summer, because let's be real: spring in MTL is not spring.) People are finally out and about in the streets, outdoor activities are reopening and many of the city’s university population has escaped.
Like always, most experiences in Montreal are determined by what the weather forecast predicts. This may be tricky to navigate knowing Montreal’s ever-changing patterns. Although this May was shockingly hot (hello…even I was out here struggling) and the rest of the summer seems to be looking up from here, I’ve attempted to compile the perfect list full of options no matter the time, place or weather.
WARM & SUNNY?
Picnic in the Park
Why sit home and be bored, when you can sit in a park and be not ~as bored~? Having a picnic in the park with friends (or alone) is the perfect cure to the afternoon blues- especially after a boring class. No basket, red-and-white checkered blanket, or fresh baguettes necessary. Just good food, good friends and good weather...and great dog-spotting abilities. Simply spreading a blanket from home and lying down to bask in the radiant sunlight is simply enough. Catch your girl out at Jeanne-Mance Park almost everyday looking like an oiled snack trying to tan.
Miles Guide tip: Wanna ~snazz~ up this picnic? Get yo drank on!! Buy some vino and make the picnic a party. Just be wary, in order to drink alcoholic beverages in parks in Montreal, the drinks must be accompanied by meals. So buy a sandwich and sip that vino.
Not your average kind of 'picnic'. Hidden away at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Piknic is a life changing experience only a few Metro stops away. Take the yellow line and hop off at Jean-Drapeau station and experience the ~Saint Helen's island life~. Every Sunday (up until September 30th), go outdoors and rave to amazing electronic sets by notorious DJ’s. If I, as a dancehall and soca strictly gyal, am able to enjoy this you know it's worth it.
Miles Guide tip: Buy tickets in advance online to save time and make sure to purchase a drink at the Bucket Bar. Share with a friend or get a bucket for yourself of delicious alcoholic beverages. Best part? These buckets are reusable and if you're dedicated enough you can bring them back weekly. Piknic constantly take steps towards sustainability; check out more information here.
Hungry? Thirsty? Wanna flex with your friends and get IG worthy pics? An outdoor terrace...or bonjour/hi a ~terrasse~ is perfect for you. When the temperature rises, the rooftops open. Night or day, a terrasse is the most aesthetically pleasing way to eat or drink in style in Montreal. As the sun rises, feel the rare warmth on your body, and as the sun sets, see the twinkle under the city’s lights. Gather up your girl group and channel Carrie Bradshaw in Montreal for just a few hours.
Miles Guide tip: Some of the best rooftop terrasses are in (but not limited to) Old Montreal. With views to die for, Terrasse Nelligan and Terrasse William Gray truly highlight the beauty of Montreal and give you a glimpse of a faux summer Euro-trip in Montreal.
CHILLY & GLOOMY?
"Oh how original, Sarah- the movies!!" Nothing is wrong with going to the good ol' movie theatre. If you know me, you know that I am a frequent guest at Scotiabank Theatre. Sometimes your computer screen can get tiring and there's nothing as satisfying as seeing a new movie on the big screen. In an age where everything is so easily done at home, it's refreshing to leave the house (even for just two hours) and support the people who allow these films to be made. Plus, wouldn't you want to see Michael B. Jordan in 3D too?
MilesGuide Tip: Tuesday is half-off, baby. Perfect for a student on a budget, or for feeling like you're not unnecessarily spending on something you could finesse online. On top of that, make sure ro get a Scene card if you're really bout dat life in order to get free rewards (including potential free movies).
Montreal is so rich in culture, and has multiple museums to prove it. The city offers so many indoor museums with pieces and exhibits from all over the world. Both the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal are located in the heart of downtown. One can spend hours roaming and leave more ~cultured~ than ever before. Screw small talk, we going straight to the "Did you have an opportunity to see the 'That's How the Light Gets In' exhibition at the MAC?" talk.
MilesGuide Tip: Every May, Montreal offers Montreal Museums Day. Take advantage of the fine art the city has to offer at no cost what-so-ever. Perfect for the art junkie on a budget, various museums across the city take part and one can truly finesse a full day of activities for no cost while leaving #culturallyaware. Mark your calendar for next year from now.
Oh a Montreal treasure, Tam Tams. Even as an outdoor activity, Tam Tams is not restricted to literal sunshine- because it brings the sunshine. Honestly, so much is happening at Tam Tams I don't even know how to describe it. From drumming to LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) to dancing, attending this weekly festival will put the biggest smile on your face. Go up Mount Royal Park and you'll find the best kind of people nestled around the George-Étienne Cartier Monument- trust me it's hard to miss.
MilesGuide Tip: Go in with an open mind and heart. All kinds of people, from various walks of life, go to Tam Tams and are so welcoming and inviting. Do likewise and embrace all that is Tam Tams. Also, if wary of second hand smoke...maybe bring a gas mask.
Spa Trip to Bota Bota
Ok, this one may be pushing it BUT in the words of Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford: "TREAT YO' SELF". Located in Old Port, Bota Bota is a spa (literally) on the water. From a water curcuit, to facial treatments- there are endless possibilities to feel bad and boujee. Bota Bota is perfect when Montreal is a bit gloomy, giving one the feeling of curling up in bed on a lazy day (but even better).
MilesGuide Tip: The water circuit seems most appealing or reasonable to someone on a budget. Improving circulation, releasing stress and tension and more, who knew cold water could feel so good? Try and go on a weekday on a 'layover' before 11:00 a.m. in order to only pay $40! In order to avoid high season rates check out their website.
Make the most of your May semester and MTL in the summer. At times it'll feel long and unnecessary, and you'll wish you just went home asap AND wonder why you voluntarily stayed for an extra month...but trust me it's worth it. You need to do a May-mester before you graduate. You never know, you may just happen to enjoy it.