Montreal's nightlife has been famous for the last century - ever since it was known as a 'sin city' during Prohibition in the 1920s - and even today the city is arguably home to Canada's hottest nightlife.
One of the best areas for a night out is St-Laurent, with trendy, fashionable clubs and bars that are constantly being reinvented. Crescent is a popular area with those wanting an evening out involving conversation and is hence a good choice for couples and diners. The Latin Quarter lives up to its name with a lively party scene, attracting students and tourists in substantial numbers in the summer months when the good times spill into the streets. The Gay Village is a very lively cocktail of charming cafés, pumping nightclubs and gaudy strip joints, and it enjoys a reputation as having the most raucous nightlife among both gay and straight crowds.
Be aware that Montreal has some fairly advanced public health regulations that mean smoking cigarettes in bars or even near them is strictly forbidden. Do so at the risk of a whopping fine. A draw-card for visiting Americans is the legal drinking age of 18, as opposed to 21 across the border.
Bars in Montreal close at around 3am. Clubs tend to open late and close around dawn. Entrance fees are charged, but these can be avoided by calling ahead and talking your way onto the guest lists, not nearly as hard as it sounds.
Montreal is a cultural paradise as well. The city has its own symphony orchestra, dozens of theatres, and countless venues for live music concerts ranging from intimate clubs to international arena tours. The Cultural Window of Montréal sells tickets to many cultural events, and sometimes has last-minute deals. The city also hosts a number of internationally regarded festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreal Film Festival, the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, and the Montreal International Fireworks Competition.
To see what's on during your visit see the listings sections of the free alternative weeklies The Mirror and Hour. Also worth a look is Nightlife Magazine, published quarterly.
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