In my opinion, my trip to Montreal, Canada had to be one of the greatest experiences in my college life so far. The city is friendly, vibrant and easy to explore. From free outdoor festivals, speakeasies and happy hour (which Boston does not have for the 21+ crowd), to the Biodôme, basilicas and great food. Here are some unique places I found along my journey. (And it’s 18+ for most of their activities, so all college students can go and try it all).

Icehouse

This is Tex-Mex, which you wouldn’t think would be great in Canada, but it was phenomenal. Order the fried chicken, they dump it out in front of you on a sheet of wax paper. It was incredible. They also have oysters, gumbo, burritos and basically anything you could want at 12 a.m. on a Thursday night.

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Le 4e Mur

This was a speakeasy. It was located behind a door that said “Detective Agency,” and the next door was a brick wall. If you’re bold enough to try to get through both doors, the steps leading to the basement take you to a 1920s-themed bar. They have live jazz shows, Burlesque dancers and a candlelit lounge. Probably one of the nicest experiences I’ve had at a bar. The best part was that no one got weird or creepy toward the Burlesque dancer. And their servers are so friendly, offering unique and less touristy places to try on your trip to Montreal.

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Bar Cloakroom

This is a tailor and barber shop by day and a bar behind the wall at night. The entrance is behind a mirror, and if you didn’t know it was a bar back there, you would probably never wander into this place if you are a woman. They have no menu and are ridiculously small, but the friendly ambiance is unbeatable. Instead of ordering off a menu, just give them flavors or drinks you like. They’ll make it for you with a fun twist.
The Biodôme

Getting away from food and beverages, the Biodôme is INSANE. They have four ecosystems in one building. The first, the rainforest, is 80 to 90-something degrees, and the monkeys and birds are just playing around over your head. According to my boyfriend, I spent a full hour staring at Tamarind monkeys, but they’re so cute, orange and playful. So how could I not? Besides my obsession with small rainforest critters, they have a Canadian ecosystem with playful otters that love the human attention. They have a small aquatic ecosystem as well and, of course, penguins. The New England Aquarium can’t even compare to this place, and the animals actually looked happy which was a bonus for this animal lover.

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Nuit Blanche

Canada knows how to throw a free event. This was free outdoor curling, zip-lining, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, dancing, Lumin-Art and, of course, food and local Quebec ciders. Zip-lining was definitely the highlight of this event. I was quite proud that I survived the ride, especially because I am terrified of heights. Curling was also a true Canadian classic.

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If ever in Montreal for spring break, just remember to eat all of the poutine, and the trip will be amazing.