After being convinced by ALT Hotels to actually leave Montreal and spend a weekend in the suburbs –not a simple feat for the hardcore urbanite that I am– I figured I might as well make the best of it while I was there. And even though I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I loved everything about my suburban experience, many of the establishments at DIX30 surprised me in a positive way. Here are a few of my favorite things to do at DIX30.
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Things To Do at DIX30 – SHOP
Who said grocery shopping was boring? Characterized by once of the largest selection of organic and fair-trade produce in the region, Avril is a healthy supermarket where indulgence doesn’t have to include trans fats or pesky chemicals. They even have a range of naturals and organics cosmetics and makeup, with specialized beauticians on site that can help pick the right products for your needs.
The more affordable branch of the typically upscale department store just opened at Dix30 in all of its 30,000 square feet glory. This new division is stocked with lower-price or secondary labels from many of the same designers and brands that usually supply Holt Renfrew, but with a smaller price tag. Heaven on Earth? I think so.
The home decor shop that made Rachel and Phoebe crazy with want only has one branch in Quebec, and it’s at Dix30. With such lovely items on sale, I will definitely make the trek to Brossard when the need to redecorate occurs.
The second branch of the famous high-end kitchenware and home furniture store in Quebec offers an incredible variety of luxury items that would make any apprentice-baker green with envy. Enter at your own risk!
Things To Do at DIX30 – EAT
My favorite cupcake shop in Montreal has a location at Dix30! Needless to say I was ecstatic when I found out about it, and I did go and indulge on their holiday treats, which included an eggnog cupcake. Delicious!
I’m a big fan of this chain bakery not only because of its vast selection of artisan breads and sweets (and the Dix30 branch is ginormous), but also because all of their wheat is locally-sourced from different providers, and because each branch generously gives all unsold products at the local homeless shelter every night. Their olive chives ciabatta is simply amazing.
The Belgian-master trained chocolate maker as nourished a passion for chocolate for as far as she can remember, and opening her own shop was the only thing she ever wanted to do. Some of her signature creations include Caramel-Gianduja, a caramelized hazelnut butter, as well as her legendary hot cocoa.
One of the largest cheese store I have ever set foot in. The aggressive yet succulent aroma that invaded my nose upon entering took me back to the days where I called France home, and where cheese shopping was nothing short of a pilgrimage. Their 6-month manchego is absolutely delicious.
Who knew England was just a few minutes outside of Montreal? This authentic English pub with a modern, rustic twist is everything this anglophile hoped for. The pub was opened by a group of friends who used to meet at the poplar tree that used to stand on this very spot before it became a shopping mall, in remembrance of their childhood tradition.
Oh, and they have duck confit poutine. This alone is worth traveling to the suburbs for.
Their Sunday brunch is quite legendary in the area. For just $25, it is possible to enjoy a waffle and pancake bar, fresh fruits, ample cooked meats and omelettes, as well as staples of the fine Québécois cuisine. By far the best brunch option in DIX30!
Things To Do at DIX30 – RELAX
Anyone who says relaxation obviously says spa. SkySpa is famous for its open air thermal experiences, hot tubs and Nordic waterfalls, as well as numerous treatment rooms for maximum pampering. I strongly recommend their signature massage, specifically created and developped by SkySpa, which features a mixture of four different techniques from around the world.
I had heard of VIP cinemas from my friends based in Southeast Asia — plush, large recliner seats with a cocktail and nibbles menu served by a personal waiter in an intimate, adult-only 30-seats only sounded just too good to be true on this continent. But as it turns out, there is such a thing at Dix30, and it’s fabulous. Movie theaters will never be the same for me.
Of course, if one plans to try out all the restaurants and shops listed above, one needs to get a bit of rest. And ALT Hotel offers just that, with their stylish, no-frills rooms that are also extremely comfortable, as I explained here. The ideal base for exploring all the establishments listed above.
Disclaimer: While I was a guest of ALT Hotel, I did not receive any form of compensation for listing these shops and restaurants. I found them all on my own ;-)