These are the coolest neighbourhoods in the world—Montreal didn’t make the top 20

Time Out polled more than 12,000 city-dwellers and grilled local experts to rank the greatest places for fun, food, culture and community and Montreal barely made the cut.

Laura Osborne
Written by
Laura Osborne
Editor, Time Out Canada
Downtown Montreal
Photograph: Stéphan Poulin / Tourisme Montréal

The official ranking is in. 

Time Out has published the coolest neighbourhoods in the world — areas with accessible, cutting-edge culture and nightlife; next-level and affordable food and drink; lively street life and big community vibes.

They are destinations that you can walk across in no time, but could spend a whole day exploring. They also happen to be excellent areas for people to live, visit and stay, and are places that blend the best of the old with the new.

Every year Time Out asks its international audience to nominate the areas in cities that meet this criteria. This year, Time Out asked more than 12,000 people about the coolest neighbourhoods in their city. The selection is then decanted using the insight and expertise of Time Out’s global network of city editors and local experts who know their hometowns better than anybody else. To create and rank the final list, Time Out editors considered factors including community and social ventures, access to open and green space, and thriving street life.

What is the coolest neighbourhood in the world?

Who snagged the top spot? Laureles in Medellín, Colombia, for all the incredible reasons you'll find here.

Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood garnered the top 5 spot last year, which came as no surprise to virtually anyone who has visited the coolest neighbourhood around. Mile End brings a cool factor that transcends any ranking thanks to its unique combination of fun, food and fabulous. 

Arcade Mile-X
Photograph: Arseni Khamzin | Arcade Mile-X

The pocket north of Mont-Royal Avenue is home to some of the city’s world-famous institutions (best bagels; best bakeries; best restaurants and best coffee) as well as some epic new spots.

St-Viateur Bagel & Café
Photograph: © Alice Gao/Commission Canadienne du Tourisme

Verdun’s Rue Wellington also made some noise, ranking as the number one coolest street in the world (yes, in the world!), for a list of epic reasons that blew all the other coolest streets in the world out of the water.

Rue Wellington, Montreal
Photograph: Caroline Perron

In 2023, Downtown Montreal came in at 36 (two spots ahead of Toronto, which is obvious to anyone who has been to both cities) but we’re confused. Montreal's downtown core is going through a renaissance and is cooler than ever.

Photograph: Eva Blue

Not only is Downtown home to some of the best restaurants (and best new restaurants in the city), it’s also home to the highest (and sexiest) rooftop with the most stunning views in town and some of our favourite food festivals

Photograph: Hiatus

Cue the Santa Claus parade, which is taking a new route this year while sprinkling holiday magic across the downtown core. 

Santa Claus Parade
Photograph: Eva Blue | Santa Claus Parade

Downtown is where you can find the city’s most luxurious secret spa, some of the best speakeasies and nightclubs around and where you can spend the night in a Barbie Dream Suite—literally the stuff dreams are made of.

Barbie Dream Experiences
Photograph: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth | Barbie Dream Experiences

And we haven’t even talked about the free circus performances, mini-golf or parks. Or (wait for it) Montreal Grand Prix weekend.

Crescent Street Grand Prix Festival
Photograph: www.Photodr.caCrescent Street Grand Prix Festival

Come Halloween, downtown is home to some of the best free Halloween events around. And during the winter, Downtown Montreal puts on a show like no other with a gigantic free illuminated skating rink, disco bumper cars and free maple taffy pop-ups. It’s where to go to spot the best holiday lights, and where to find the city’s top notch museums and art galleries.

L'Esplanade Tranquille
Photograph: Ulysse Lemerise

Best of all, in the heart of it all is Time Out Market Montréal, home to some of the best chefs and restaurants in the city under one roof. The Market is the definitive spot to grab dinner and drinks after shopping at the new flagship Nike store, or winding down from a free yoga session or before seeing a concert at the Bell Centre. And if you haven’t been to Time Out Market Montréal's new wine bar, check it out here:

With new projects on the horizon—like the opening of the 9th Floor of the Eaton Centre, new innovative outdoor workspaces and community programming from the city that is guaranteed to bring more magic and excitement downtown than ever before.

Le 9e
Photograph: Le 9e

Downtown Montreal, you’re number one in our books. And you’ve never looked so good.

Full guide to the best things to do in Montreal
Best things to do Downtown Montreal
Best restaurants in Downtown Montreal

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