This former industrial hub, once the stomping ground of Irish immigrants, is named after Mary Griffin, a firecracker who illegally took hold of the land in 1799 and then mapped out the streets herself.
1. Designer decor
From quirky installations to retro sofas, Ludovik stocks the kinds of unique items that make you want to redecorate. Follow the lead of local interior designers who pass through looking for inspiration. You’ll want to snap photos of wish list pieces like wall sconces, fireplace grilles and sculptures. 1318 Rue Notre-Dame O.
2. Delicious date
One of the first eateries in the area, the Griffintown Café is still the ultimate weekend brunch spot. Hot on the menu are breakfast burgers—a combo of beef, duck and lamb — with sunny side up eggs and aged cheddar. And the exposed-brick walls, wood floors and live piano playing add a touch of romance. 1378 Rue Notre-Dame O.
3. Vintage haven
Packed with treasures from the 1920s to the 1990s, E.R.A. Vintage Wear is the place to pick up a frock, clutch or wrap for wedding season. This high-end second-hand store has Montrealers squealing with delight over couture labels like Valentino, Dior, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent for a fraction of the original cost. 1800 Rue Notre-Dame O., 514-543-8750.
4. Arty party
The Montreal Art Centre is a refurbished ironworks built in 1879 that now houses four fab galleries. Take in the building and the talent by strolling past the resident artists at work — many leave their doors open for curious passersby. 1844 Rue William.
5. Neat eats
A trio of new restos will tantalize your taste buds. Find the best steak frites in town at Bistro Duo.D, an intimate French place with a small, succulent menu. Hit Grinder Viandes & Vins for juicy grilled meats and refreshing tartars on the buzzing patio. Or reserve a table at Nora Gray, where the authentic Italian risotto, pasta and gelato deserve to be famous. Bistro Duo.D, 1380 Rue Notre-Dame O. Grinder, 1708 Rue Notre-Dame O. Nora Gray, 1391 Rue St-Jacques.
6. Time out
Relax and read the paper at Parenthèses-Montréal, a tranquil café with a chocolate shop hidden inside. Véronique Raymond’s artisanal truffles, cupcakes and macarons are made on site daily. The red velvet cupcake is to die for, as is the house cocktail, the Parentini. Yes, it has a liquor licence. 1384 Rue Notre-Dame O.