Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guide by our researcher-writer, Daphne Thompson.
Alternative Hostel de Vieux-Montreal ($)
358 Rue Saint-Pierre; (514) 282-8069; www.auberge-alternative.qc.ca; reception open daily 7:30am-12:30am
We get from the composting and the mismatched furniture that you’re ~alternative~, Alternative Hostel de Vieux-Montreal—you didn’t need to put it in the name. Family-run and eco-friendly, this hippie hangout is located incongruously in the posh Vieux-Port near the Notre-Dame Basilica. A chipper multilingual staff sets out an organic breakfast (all you can eat for $6 CAD) and comes armed with budget travel tips. Private rooms and dorms—named for the color of their walls—are tidy and warm, and the communal kitchen is unusually well-stocked. The bright common room is a cozy space to play Catan at night or try to ignore that one guy who’s playing acoustic guitar. There’s always one of those.
Dorms from $23 CAD, private rooms from $55 CAD; some rooms minimum stay 2 nights; no wheelchair accessibility; Wi-Fi, breakfast available, towels and linens included
Auberge Saint-Paul ($)
347 Rue Saint-Paul Est; (438) 386-1339; aubergesaint-paul.com; reception open daily 24hr
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve walked into a start-up instead of a hostel at Auberge Saint-Paul—instead of the usual hostel-kitsch cacophony of colors, you’ll find exposed brick walls, sleek lighting fixtures, and a coffee machine whirring away. A clean and minimalist space in the bougie heart of Vieux-Montréal, this hostel feels a bit like staying in an IKEA, if IKEA offered a free toast breakfast and triple-level bunk beds. (The Packümmin?) The bilingual staff is perfectly helpful, if definitely too cool for you, judging by the constant pulse of French electro-pop in the lobby. Air conditioning is a huge plus in the summer and utterly useless for the other 10 months of the year.
Dorms from $25 CAD; some rooms wheelchair accessible; free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, towels and linens included
M Montreal ($$)
1245 Rue St Andre; (514) 845-9803; m-montreal.com; reception open daily 24hr
If London Tipton were to design a hostel, it might look something like M Montreal, a swanky and pristine hostel in the vibrant Gay Village. The sign outside says “Hotel,” and we won’t quibble with the dropped “s”: from its line of public iMacs to super-professional receptionists, M gives The Tipton a serious run for its money. Tidy dorms and plush private rooms are great places to crash, but you’ll probably spend your time in the Jacuzzis on the rooftop terrace (they come with a gorgeous view of the Montréal skyline). Though luxurious, the hostel is far from uptight—at Monday Karaoke Night, one song earns you a free shot; on Tuesdays, an 8pm beer tasting devolves into 9pm beer pong. Lone travelers will find plenty of friends through group outings to Montréal’s many festivals.
Dorms from $29 CAD, private rooms from $60 CAD; reservation required; wheelchair accessible; free Wi-Fi; linens and towels included; laundry, free breakfast, coffee, and tea available
Auberge de Jeunesse Alexandrie ($)
1750 Rue Amherst; (514) 525-9420; alexandrie-montreal.com; reception open daily 8am-11pm
Auberge de Jeunesse Alexandrie would like you to know that it’s not like a regular hostel—it’s a cool hostel. This laid-back space in the Gay Village, the fantastically chill (and bilingual) receptionists will repeatedly emphasize, is an ideal spot for travelers here for a good time, not a long time. Bunk bed dorms are spare but neat (though you’ll have to head to the basement for bathrooms), and the spacious common room hosts a comfy selection of mismatched furniture. Catch a group outing to whatever music festival’s in town this week, or join the weekly trip to see the Tam Tam drum circle in Mont-Royal. Be sure to stay for Sangria Night, when a buck gets you a cup of the fruity wine.
Dorms from $22 CAD, private rooms from $33 CAD; reservation required; wheelchair accessible; free Wi-Fi; linens and towels included, laundry, free breakfast
Just a small town girl livin’ in a lonely world, Daphne took the mid-morning train goin’ to the East Coast of the United States and Canada (fine, plus Chicago). She graduated Harvard in 2018 with a degree in Government, a law school acceptance letter, and an overwhelming sense of dread re: her all-too-fleeting youth, so she took off to the party capital of the Western hemisphere: Quebec City. The race against the cold, unfeeling march of time continued in Montreal, Toronto, New York, and Miami, a wildly diverse array of cities united by not-boring weather and stupid-high rents. Along the way, Daphne sampled legit Canadian poutine (squeaky), smuggled her notebook into nightclubs (sneaky), and lived on cheap falafel pitas (tzatziki). The Oshkosh, Wisconsin native finished her spirit quest back in the Midwest, where the Windy City welcomed her nasally accent back with open arms. When she’s not writing aggressively alliterative articles for Let’s Go, Daphne probably can’t be found. Don’t even try it, Internet creeps!