Mile End, Montréal
Concierge.com's insider take:
The Orthodox church on St. Viateur Street signals that this artsy, hipster enclave was once a Polish ghetto. Although it's now home to indie rock bands like the Arcade Fire, Islands, and Wolf Parade, Mile End still hangs on to its past. After Sunday services, aging Poles mix with local creative types to slurp borscht at Euro Deli Bathory (115 St. Viateur St. W.; 514-948-2161). And members of the large Hasidic population run errands along Park Avenue, oblivious to the twentysomethings and young parents sipping cappuccinos or waiting in line at St. Viateur Bagel (263 St. Viateur St. W.; 514-276-8044; www.stviateurbagel.com). If you feel like picking up a pair of Françoise Hardy–style vintage boots or a postcard from the 1970s, head to Local 23 (23 Bernard St. W.; 514-270-9333); for new Montreal designer threads (Fairyesque, Anatasia Lomonova), head to its sister store, General 54 (54 St. Viateur W.; 514-271-2129; www.general54.blogspot.com). There are also some concert halls in the area, such as the Mile End Cultural Centre (5390 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-285-2611; www.mileend.ca), but to experience life like a true local, walk along one of the neighborhood's colorful alleyways, where you'll cross paths with little kids playing catch and university students strumming guitars on their fire escapes.