National Geographic Traveler just launched a free iPad app, A Taste of Montreal, with a gorgeous new photo gallery to match (two must-haves before visiting this foodie paradise), so we asked the magazine’s editor-in-chief Keith Bellows to give his take on the best sites and scenes in his hometown of Montreal. In addition to running the magazine and writing “One on One,” a regular Traveler interview column, this proud Canuck has written for Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Parenting, among many others. Check out Keith’s recommendations for making the most of the city of a hundred steeples, then add your own two cents by leaving a comment.
Montreal is My City
When I crave smoked meat, I always go to Schwartz’s.
To escape downtown I go for a bike ride along the Lachine Canal.
If I want to unwind I go play frisbee on the downtown campus of McGill University.
For complete quiet, I can hide away in the small towns of the Laurentians, about an hour north of Montreal.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with a Montreal Canadiens hockey player.
Jean-Talon Market is my one-stop shop for great fresh produce and organic meats.
Locals know to skip places that serve pricey wines and head for one of the many BYOBs (bring your own bottle establishments), where you can drink with no corkage fee instead.
For a huge splurge I go to La Toque, one of Canada’s best restaurants.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Lady Gaga.
The most random thing about my city is its street life — it is a cavalcade of the unpredictable and eccentric.
My city has the most debonair men.
My city has North America’s most stylish women.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves rollerblading and biking along the St. Lawrence.
Les Enfants Terrible (among too many to name) is the spot for late-night eats.
You can tell a lot about my city from the nightlife on steroids that is just getting started around 10:00 p.m.
In the spring you should hang around near McGill and Prince Arthur, soaking up the sun and the street life.
In the fall you should take a date to the shores of Beaver Lake.
In the winter you should go skating on one the countless city rinks set up in parks everywhere.
A hidden gem in my city is the crazy quilt of corkscrew staircases and eccentrically day-glo façades of the townhouses east of St. Laurent.
The best way to see my city is on foot.
If my city were a pet it would be a Labradoodle — smart and cool.
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live on the Chesapeake Bay.
The birth of Cirque du Soleil could only happen in my city.
My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s the closest you’ll get to being in Europe without going there.