We stood huddled together under the safety of a bus stop, willing the bus to show up so we could escape the agony of the frigid temperatures. The bus stop protected us from the thick flakes of snow, but our wet clothes plus the negative temperatures meant we were still freezing.
“Explain to me again why we thought it was a good idea to come to Montreal in the middle of a Polar Vortex?!” Chris wondered out loud.
Let’s back up for a second.
On whim, in January of 2014, Chris and I decided to head over the border to our neighbors in the north for a quick trip to Montreal. We lived in Vermont, so jetting into Montreal was quick and easy and something we often did. This time, however, we failed to consider that this neck of the woods was in the throes of a polar vortex, a.k.a. the coldest air in the northern hemisphere.
The extreme cold and snow did not ruin our exploration of the city, and I am here to prove to you that it is possible to enjoy yourself in Montreal during any season!
Here is what we learned. The solution for not being tortured by the cold is a simple one. Get out of the cold!
This means you will be darting in and out of buildings all day trying to stay warm.
Luckily, Montreal is a pretty easy city to get around. Public transportation is accessible. Walking, even in a freezing cold blizzard, is doable.
Eat… A Lot
During our day in Montreal we ate a couple of breakfasts, a few lunches, and doubled up on dinner. Mostly because we needed to spend our time inside, and what better way to do that than to sit in a restaurant. Of the many places we discovered, the top meal of the day was at Schwartz’s, an iconic Montreal deli that serves smoked meat.
Drink… Even More
As much as we ate all day, we probably drank more! You can’t really argue with drinking to stay warm, so before we left any restaurant to venture into the cold, we had a strong drink! We also sought out a couple of breweries, and were not disappointed. Dieu du Ciel, a brewery with some sweet homegrown beers, and Benelux, a brewpub with a focus on Belgian and American brews, were two favorites.
Take Public Transportation
The buses access everywhere you need to go in Montreal. As someone who always chooses walking over hopping on a bus, the public transportation during this polar vortex was lifesaving. Not only were the buses running, but they were warm and clean and the perfect place to escape the cold for a bit. Make sure you have exact change for the bus.
Montreal is not always this cold, really! It is an amazing city with a ton of things to do for every kind of traveler, all year round. Even in the worst of the worst weather, Montreal proved it was possible to have fun.
Whenever you decide to visit, head over to Hipmunk to book a cheap hotel in Montreal.