Guidebook for Montréal

Marie & Charles
Marie & Charles
Membre depuis 2016
Marie & Charles

Guidebook for Montréal

Food Scene
Great surf & turf, kitchen open late, fully bilingual staff. Validated parking, or choose to take a 10 minute metro ride (entrance conveniently located across metro station).
Firegrill Montréal
1490 Rue Stanley
Great surf & turf, kitchen open late, fully bilingual staff. Validated parking, or choose to take a 10 minute metro ride (entrance conveniently located across metro station).
This is the "Katz of NYC". Smoked meat essentially is thick slices of pastrami. Served on rye with homemade pickles and mustard. My suggestion: wait in take out line and get brisket (sliced), rye bread, and mustard to go. Bring it home and lightly toast in oven. It will taste exactly the same. The interior is beat up and crowded, service is mediocre at best. FYI: outside waiting lines are usually 1 hour minimum. Try going really early.
460
habitants recommandent
Schwartz's Deli - Smoked Meat - Sandwiches - Steaks
3895 Boul St-Laurent
460
habitants recommandent
This is the "Katz of NYC". Smoked meat essentially is thick slices of pastrami. Served on rye with homemade pickles and mustard. My suggestion: wait in take out line and get brisket (sliced), rye bread, and mustard to go. Bring it home and lightly toast in oven. It will taste exactly the same. The interior is beat up and crowded, service is mediocre at best. FYI: outside waiting lines are usually 1 hour minimum. Try going really early.
It's 4am. You can't fall back asleep. You want to surprise your family with their favorite "Lox & Bagel". You got the fish, cream cheese, capers and onions. Just missing the fresh bagels! Luckily, you have this 24 hour bakery 10 minutes drive from my house with free neighborhood parking. You walk in to the aroma of freshly baked goods in a old fashioned fire kilned brick oven. You mix a bag of your family's assorted flavors and go home smiling. Happy wife....happy life!
335
habitants recommandent
St-Viateur Bagel
263 Rue Saint Viateur O
335
habitants recommandent
It's 4am. You can't fall back asleep. You want to surprise your family with their favorite "Lox & Bagel". You got the fish, cream cheese, capers and onions. Just missing the fresh bagels! Luckily, you have this 24 hour bakery 10 minutes drive from my house with free neighborhood parking. You walk in to the aroma of freshly baked goods in a old fashioned fire kilned brick oven. You mix a bag of your family's assorted flavors and go home smiling. Happy wife....happy life!
Heart Attack Grill meets Cheesecake Factory. Health is of no consideration, and would be your main sacrifice in dining here. A nightmare for most Muslims, The "Pig's Feet" title says it all. Fois Gras Fries, slow roasted pork roasts are just some of the "nutrition" intake in this busy yet moderately spaced establishment. Portions are generous but slow service. Somewhat bilingual staff.
180
habitants recommandent
Au Pied de Cochon
536 Avenue Duluth E
180
habitants recommandent
Heart Attack Grill meets Cheesecake Factory. Health is of no consideration, and would be your main sacrifice in dining here. A nightmare for most Muslims, The "Pig's Feet" title says it all. Fois Gras Fries, slow roasted pork roasts are just some of the "nutrition" intake in this busy yet moderately spaced establishment. Portions are generous but slow service. Somewhat bilingual staff.
Located off a busy bike path, this 24 hour hipster joint is famous for its poutine. Let's face it, who can resist soggy fries and chewy cheese curd? Suggestion: ask for extra sauce and WAIT couple minutes before digging (let the cheese melt to a stringy texture).
577
habitants recommandent
La Banquise inc
994 Rue Rachel E
577
habitants recommandent
Located off a busy bike path, this 24 hour hipster joint is famous for its poutine. Let's face it, who can resist soggy fries and chewy cheese curd? Suggestion: ask for extra sauce and WAIT couple minutes before digging (let the cheese melt to a stringy texture).
Repeat these 5 words to the waiter: "SALT AND PEPPER PORK CHOP". Tell him you want the special combo with fried rice, vegetables, and pan fried egg. Of all the Chinese restaurants, this is by far the most well known. Open til 4 am on weekends, I recommend getting there before to avoid the 3am night clubber rush. Located in heart of Chinatown minutes walk from Old Port. P.S.: Don't take out, changes the flavor. Bigger parties can order only pork chop as "a la carte".
Amigo
1027 Boul St-Laurent
Repeat these 5 words to the waiter: "SALT AND PEPPER PORK CHOP". Tell him you want the special combo with fried rice, vegetables, and pan fried egg. Of all the Chinese restaurants, this is by far the most well known. Open til 4 am on weekends, I recommend getting there before to avoid the 3am night clubber rush. Located in heart of Chinatown minutes walk from Old Port. P.S.: Don't take out, changes the flavor. Bigger parties can order only pork chop as "a la carte".
Tofu that tastes like duck, beef, and chicken? This is ChuChai. A great place for a VEGETARIAN dinner after a stroll on St Denis Street boutiques and shops. Intimate setting, small terrace, rustic interior. Just the right amount of chic without breaking the bank. Dinner service is a short 5 hours. Reservations recommended.
34
habitants recommandent
Chuchai
4088 Rue Saint-Denis
34
habitants recommandent
Tofu that tastes like duck, beef, and chicken? This is ChuChai. A great place for a VEGETARIAN dinner after a stroll on St Denis Street boutiques and shops. Intimate setting, small terrace, rustic interior. Just the right amount of chic without breaking the bank. Dinner service is a short 5 hours. Reservations recommended.
One of many popular chains, this BYOW "Bring Your Own Wine" fine dining restaurant doesn't break the bank. It offers great tasting food with consistent flavors made mainly by apprentice chefs, hence the name "The Academy". The lunch menu offers a great variety of choices, and you may bring beer or wine. There no hidden fees to open or chill bottles. It set the benchmark for BYOW dating back as early as the mid 80's. Located next to Galleries d'Anjou, 10 mins drive from my house. Reservations recommended for dinner service.
Restaurant L'Académie
7275 Boulevard les Galeries d'Anjou
One of many popular chains, this BYOW "Bring Your Own Wine" fine dining restaurant doesn't break the bank. It offers great tasting food with consistent flavors made mainly by apprentice chefs, hence the name "The Academy". The lunch menu offers a great variety of choices, and you may bring beer or wine. There no hidden fees to open or chill bottles. It set the benchmark for BYOW dating back as early as the mid 80's. Located next to Galleries d'Anjou, 10 mins drive from my house. Reservations recommended for dinner service.
Famous for its ribs, steaks, and chicken tenders. Generous portions, and bilingual staff. Upon busy nights, the chef may "drop the ball" once in a while, but management will usually compensate. Kid friendly, reservations recommended. Located in Galleries d'Anjou, with separate entrance after mall closing hours.
Bâton Rouge Steakhouse & Bar
7999 Boulevard les Galeries d'Anjou
Famous for its ribs, steaks, and chicken tenders. Generous portions, and bilingual staff. Upon busy nights, the chef may "drop the ball" once in a while, but management will usually compensate. Kid friendly, reservations recommended. Located in Galleries d'Anjou, with separate entrance after mall closing hours.
Greek restaurant located in a small residential area called Parc X. Known for its generous portions (1 portion=1.5 pers). Though it is a bungalow with dated decor and you might share a table, steaks are juicy and booze is cheap. Long lines, poor service, and cash only could make it undesirable to some, but try lunch time to avoid the rush and "maybe" luck out on a nice waiter before he goes crazy on dinner rush.
21
habitants recommandent
Restaurant Marven's
880 Avenue Ball
21
habitants recommandent
Greek restaurant located in a small residential area called Parc X. Known for its generous portions (1 portion=1.5 pers). Though it is a bungalow with dated decor and you might share a table, steaks are juicy and booze is cheap. Long lines, poor service, and cash only could make it undesirable to some, but try lunch time to avoid the rush and "maybe" luck out on a nice waiter before he goes crazy on dinner rush.
Sightseeing
Not only is this an iconic structure of Montreal symbolizing the 1976 Olympics, it also connects to the Botanical Graden, Biodome, Insectarium, and Planetarium...all with 5 minutes walk from my house. In addition, enjoy the exercise facilities or take a dip in the newly renovated Olympic size pool (kiddie pool available) with a day pass!
310
habitants recommandent
Stade Olympique
4141 Avenue Pierre-De Coubertin
310
habitants recommandent
Not only is this an iconic structure of Montreal symbolizing the 1976 Olympics, it also connects to the Botanical Graden, Biodome, Insectarium, and Planetarium...all with 5 minutes walk from my house. In addition, enjoy the exercise facilities or take a dip in the newly renovated Olympic size pool (kiddie pool available) with a day pass!
You have not been to Montreal until you have visited "Le Vieux Port" (the old port). Whether by metro (recommended) or car, this place has stone paved streets and boutiques reminiscent of European lifestyle. Restaurants, entertainment, live music can be easily found (with a HEFTY price tag).
30
habitants recommandent
Old Montréal
303 Notre-Dame Street East
30
habitants recommandent
You have not been to Montreal until you have visited "Le Vieux Port" (the old port). Whether by metro (recommended) or car, this place has stone paved streets and boutiques reminiscent of European lifestyle. Restaurants, entertainment, live music can be easily found (with a HEFTY price tag).
Built in 1904 and designated a National Historic Site of Canada, this is a must see. Stunning views from top and monumental chapel makes this a great tourist attraction. Not overcrowded, and parking is free. Would definitely recommend driving, since it's accessible by bus only.
224
habitants recommandent
L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
3800 Chemin Queen Mary
224
habitants recommandent
Built in 1904 and designated a National Historic Site of Canada, this is a must see. Stunning views from top and monumental chapel makes this a great tourist attraction. Not overcrowded, and parking is free. Would definitely recommend driving, since it's accessible by bus only.
Brooks saddles, Sturmey archer gears and stylish 3 speeds are what you will find at this small iconic bike shop near the plateau. I recommend their bike tours for 3 reasons: VERY knowledgeable staff who takes pride in their work, VERY courteous staff who takes pride in their work. NO chance of a VERY drunk staff after 3 brewery tours! Though the tours might be pricey for some, consider getting ripped off without the guide by someone who is NOT bilingual.
14
habitants recommandent
Fitz & Follwell Co.
1251 Rue Rachel E
14
habitants recommandent
Brooks saddles, Sturmey archer gears and stylish 3 speeds are what you will find at this small iconic bike shop near the plateau. I recommend their bike tours for 3 reasons: VERY knowledgeable staff who takes pride in their work, VERY courteous staff who takes pride in their work. NO chance of a VERY drunk staff after 3 brewery tours! Though the tours might be pricey for some, consider getting ripped off without the guide by someone who is NOT bilingual.
Roman Catholic church built in the 1800's, situated in Old Port. The church depicts no biblical scenes, instead the history behind the great city of Montreal. Admission is around $10 adults, be careful taking photos inside.
68
habitants recommandent
Basilique Notre Dame de Montréal
110 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
68
habitants recommandent
Roman Catholic church built in the 1800's, situated in Old Port. The church depicts no biblical scenes, instead the history behind the great city of Montreal. Admission is around $10 adults, be careful taking photos inside.
Parks & Nature
Less than 8 minutes walk from residence, an ideal place to picnic, stroll, Rollerblade, or bike (my personal preference). The park has huge suntanning chairs, indoor washroom facilities, indoor and outdoor water fountains, picnic tables, and separate walk / bike paths. It is a 3km loop with 2 direction bike lanes. A celebration for St Jean Baptiste holiday (June 24th) can be seeing here in the evening.
173
habitants recommandent
Parc Maisonneuve
4601 Rue Sherbrooke E
173
habitants recommandent
Less than 8 minutes walk from residence, an ideal place to picnic, stroll, Rollerblade, or bike (my personal preference). The park has huge suntanning chairs, indoor washroom facilities, indoor and outdoor water fountains, picnic tables, and separate walk / bike paths. It is a 3km loop with 2 direction bike lanes. A celebration for St Jean Baptiste holiday (June 24th) can be seeing here in the evening.
Nadal, Federer, Williams, and Sharapova. You guessed it, this is where the Rogers Cup is held, usually end of July. Courts are available to rent (but I have a better place with NO cost :)
307
habitants recommandent
Parc Jarry
307
habitants recommandent
Nadal, Federer, Williams, and Sharapova. You guessed it, this is where the Rogers Cup is held, usually end of July. Courts are available to rent (but I have a better place with NO cost :)
From the west side entrance, you will be close to St Joseph's Oratory. From the east, you will be within walking distance of St-Viateur bagels and other boutiques. The "look-out" point in the middle is where you want to be. Driving there is recommended since it will be a long hike, and a tiring bike ride. There is a small trail that leads further up the mountain with additional look-out points, and parking is free. Try not to go at night. Though views are spectacular, bad elements make it intolerable and could be troublesome.
465
habitants recommandent
Mont Royal
465
habitants recommandent
From the west side entrance, you will be close to St Joseph's Oratory. From the east, you will be within walking distance of St-Viateur bagels and other boutiques. The "look-out" point in the middle is where you want to be. Driving there is recommended since it will be a long hike, and a tiring bike ride. There is a small trail that leads further up the mountain with additional look-out points, and parking is free. Try not to go at night. Though views are spectacular, bad elements make it intolerable and could be troublesome.
This is a beautiful park that comes to a crescent turn with stunning views of the St Laurent River. Picnic tables, lounge chairs, and public toilets are located on site. Parking inside the park is paid, and could be confusing with a distant pay station. To avoid, Look for close by residential streets where you may park all day for free. Continuing along west of the trail will offer more splendid scenery, with a few ice cream shops along the way to quench that sugar thirst. FYI: bike rental available at park entrance.
17
habitants recommandent
Rene Levesque Park
398 Chemin du Canal
17
habitants recommandent
This is a beautiful park that comes to a crescent turn with stunning views of the St Laurent River. Picnic tables, lounge chairs, and public toilets are located on site. Parking inside the park is paid, and could be confusing with a distant pay station. To avoid, Look for close by residential streets where you may park all day for free. Continuing along west of the trail will offer more splendid scenery, with a few ice cream shops along the way to quench that sugar thirst. FYI: bike rental available at park entrance.
Arts & Culture
With a classic theater located inside metro level, this is home to the "Jazz Festival" (summer) and "White Night" (winter), just to name a few.
277
habitants recommandent
Place des Arts
175 Rue Sainte-Catherine
277
habitants recommandent
With a classic theater located inside metro level, this is home to the "Jazz Festival" (summer) and "White Night" (winter), just to name a few.
One of the more prominent museums in Canada, special events and exhibitions are constantly on changing display. Avoid long lines by early admission, and enjoy FREE entry on MUSEUM DAY on May 29th, 2016!
401
habitants recommandent
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
1380 Rue Sherbrooke
401
habitants recommandent
One of the more prominent museums in Canada, special events and exhibitions are constantly on changing display. Avoid long lines by early admission, and enjoy FREE entry on MUSEUM DAY on May 29th, 2016!
Drinks & Nightlife
Why hang on with drunk college kids? Casino is open 24 hours and a great place to kick back and relax in their many lounges. Brunch and dinner buffets offered. Located near the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, free indoor parking year round. Shuttle service from Metro station available.
94
habitants recommandent
Casino de Montréal
1 Avenue du Casino
94
habitants recommandent
Why hang on with drunk college kids? Casino is open 24 hours and a great place to kick back and relax in their many lounges. Brunch and dinner buffets offered. Located near the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, free indoor parking year round. Shuttle service from Metro station available.
Semi casual night spot located on busy Crescent Street in the heart of MTL. It is a bar before a nightclub so don't let the bouncer fool you. Terrace seating on upper level adds a nice touch if you want to check out the locals! Usually pretty long lines, drink are mediocre at best. Remember: you're paying for location and the crowd!
31
habitants recommandent
Sir Winston Churchill Pub
1455 Rue Crescent
31
habitants recommandent
Semi casual night spot located on busy Crescent Street in the heart of MTL. It is a bar before a nightclub so don't let the bouncer fool you. Terrace seating on upper level adds a nice touch if you want to check out the locals! Usually pretty long lines, drink are mediocre at best. Remember: you're paying for location and the crowd!
Located in the heart of plateau, this unique bar features gummi bears and gumball machines. Drinks are interesting, pricey, but good. Decor however....like an "Austin Powers" movie (if that's your thing).
24
habitants recommandent
Candi bar
1148 Avenue du Mont-Royal E
24
habitants recommandent
Located in the heart of plateau, this unique bar features gummi bears and gumball machines. Drinks are interesting, pricey, but good. Decor however....like an "Austin Powers" movie (if that's your thing).
Like beer? Want a "happy hour" break with your buddy while wifey continues shopping with girlfriend? This is your spot. Restaurant themed brewery, with sports events and other specials broadcasting loudly over the crowd. Food is pretty good, and beers are adequately priced. Knock down a few mixed samplers!
7
habitants recommandent
3 Brasseurs
105 Rue Saint Paul Est
7
habitants recommandent
Like beer? Want a "happy hour" break with your buddy while wifey continues shopping with girlfriend? This is your spot. Restaurant themed brewery, with sports events and other specials broadcasting loudly over the crowd. Food is pretty good, and beers are adequately priced. Knock down a few mixed samplers!
A well known local Quebecois bar close to UQAM, its main attraction is the enormous patio which seat hundreds. Majority are friendly, although not bilingual. Service slow but good place to mingle for younger professionals.
36
habitants recommandent
Le Saint-Sulpice
1680 Rue Saint-Denis
36
habitants recommandent
A well known local Quebecois bar close to UQAM, its main attraction is the enormous patio which seat hundreds. Majority are friendly, although not bilingual. Service slow but good place to mingle for younger professionals.
Entertainment & Activities
A hidden gem east of Montreal. For tennis lovers, there are 8 open courts hidden behind a school. Safe, fun, and most of all..FREE. Doors unlock at 9am and night lights turn on automatically until 10pm. Porta potty and water fountain on site, and 2 professional practice walls make this a unique and awesome
15200 Rue Sherbrooke E
15200 Rue Sherbrooke E
A hidden gem east of Montreal. For tennis lovers, there are 8 open courts hidden behind a school. Safe, fun, and most of all..FREE. Doors unlock at 9am and night lights turn on automatically until 10pm. Porta potty and water fountain on site, and 2 professional practice walls make this a unique and awesome
The Aquatic Complexe located at Parc Jean Drapeau is open from end of May to early September. Hours differ depending on month, usually 10am/noon opening to 7pm/8pm. Its main feature is the outdoor pool facing the famous Biosphere. Rates are reasonably priced (ie: family 2 adults+2 children=$17 tax in), and accessible by car, bus, or bike through the Jacques Cartier bridge. Calling ahead or checking on website is recommended due to closure when Grand Prix is in town.
126
habitants recommandent
Parc Jean-Drapeau
126
habitants recommandent
The Aquatic Complexe located at Parc Jean Drapeau is open from end of May to early September. Hours differ depending on month, usually 10am/noon opening to 7pm/8pm. Its main feature is the outdoor pool facing the famous Biosphere. Rates are reasonably priced (ie: family 2 adults+2 children=$17 tax in), and accessible by car, bus, or bike through the Jacques Cartier bridge. Calling ahead or checking on website is recommended due to closure when Grand Prix is in town.
Take the family on this great day outing to an indoor ice skating rink. Toddler friendly with many safety amenities. Accessible by metro (parking rate are horrendous), this rink is located at 1000 de la Gauchtiere. Rates are reasonable (ie: $20 family), skate rentals ($7), and about a dozen restaurants in the food court surrounds this rink. Usually between 12pm-6pm, open later on weekends. Please check schedule prior to arrival.
13
habitants recommandent
Atrium Le 1000
1000 Rue de la Gauchetière O
13
habitants recommandent
Take the family on this great day outing to an indoor ice skating rink. Toddler friendly with many safety amenities. Accessible by metro (parking rate are horrendous), this rink is located at 1000 de la Gauchtiere. Rates are reasonable (ie: $20 family), skate rentals ($7), and about a dozen restaurants in the food court surrounds this rink. Usually between 12pm-6pm, open later on weekends. Please check schedule prior to arrival.
Shopping
8 minute metro ride from my house, this indoor mall has 3 levels with connecting tunnels leading to additional shops and amenities. Would recommend you buy a day metro pass, since you will be taken different colored lines and transfer time is limited.
201
habitants recommandent
Montreal Eaton Centre
705 Rue Sainte-Catherine O
201
habitants recommandent
8 minute metro ride from my house, this indoor mall has 3 levels with connecting tunnels leading to additional shops and amenities. Would recommend you buy a day metro pass, since you will be taken different colored lines and transfer time is limited.
Walking distance from Lionel Groulx metro (junction of the Green & Orange line), lies this niche indoor / outdoor market with fresh produce, charcuterie, and other tasty delights. The Lachine canal is conveniently located next door if you fancy a walk after. Approx 40 minute scenic bike ride from my house!
446
habitants recommandent
Marché Atwater
138 Avenue Atwater
446
habitants recommandent
Walking distance from Lionel Groulx metro (junction of the Green & Orange line), lies this niche indoor / outdoor market with fresh produce, charcuterie, and other tasty delights. The Lachine canal is conveniently located next door if you fancy a walk after. Approx 40 minute scenic bike ride from my house!
Less than 10 minutes walk south situates this market which opens daily at 7am. Fresh produce, daily baked goods (see Premier Moisson) can be found here at very reasonable prices. Take a stroll and sit down at the exterior cafe in the square for a nice morning capuccino! A small park with playground adds a real family touch.
134
habitants recommandent
Marché Maisonneuve
4445 Rue Ontario E
134
habitants recommandent
Less than 10 minutes walk south situates this market which opens daily at 7am. Fresh produce, daily baked goods (see Premier Moisson) can be found here at very reasonable prices. Take a stroll and sit down at the exterior cafe in the square for a nice morning capuccino! A small park with playground adds a real family touch.
This famous bakery is one of many locations inside the Maissoneuve Market. Fresh daily baked bread can be found here starting 7am daily. We sometimes will leave clients with vouchers for freebies!
8
habitants recommandent
Boulangerie Première Moisson
4445 Ontario St E
8
habitants recommandent
This famous bakery is one of many locations inside the Maissoneuve Market. Fresh daily baked bread can be found here starting 7am daily. We sometimes will leave clients with vouchers for freebies!
Across from Galleries d’Anjou, is this mixed down to earth marketplace, where locals get great bargains on fruits, cheese, boulangerie, and even meats. A barber shop, medical clinic, and shoemaker are some of the essential services when needed. Dollarama is also a huge plus when getting those everyday items without breaking the bank! Opens 9am weekdays, 10am weekends.
Halles d'Anjou
7500 Boulevard les Galeries d'Anjou
Across from Galleries d’Anjou, is this mixed down to earth marketplace, where locals get great bargains on fruits, cheese, boulangerie, and even meats. A barber shop, medical clinic, and shoemaker are some of the essential services when needed. Dollarama is also a huge plus when getting those everyday items without breaking the bank! Opens 9am weekdays, 10am weekends.
Less than 10 minutes drive east is this newly renovated shopping mall. Home to retail giants like H&M, Hudson's Bay, and local fashion designer Simons. Upscale restaurants such as Baton Rouge and Zibo offers fine dining, while the food court with surrounding food chains satisfy those quick bits. Open 10am-9pm weekdays, until 5pm weekends. A great place to discover with friendly bilingual staff!
14
habitants recommandent
Les Galeries d'Anjou
7999 Boulevard les Galeries d'Anjou
14
habitants recommandent
Less than 10 minutes drive east is this newly renovated shopping mall. Home to retail giants like H&M, Hudson's Bay, and local fashion designer Simons. Upscale restaurants such as Baton Rouge and Zibo offers fine dining, while the food court with surrounding food chains satisfy those quick bits. Open 10am-9pm weekdays, until 5pm weekends. A great place to discover with friendly bilingual staff!
For those extra last minute needs, 10 minutes drive north you will find the Place Viau Walmart Supercenter. It is newly constructed from the ground up, with a Michaels, Marshalls, and free underground parking. Opens daily at 8am.
Walmart St. John's South Store
7600 Boulevard Viau
For those extra last minute needs, 10 minutes drive north you will find the Place Viau Walmart Supercenter. It is newly constructed from the ground up, with a Michaels, Marshalls, and free underground parking. Opens daily at 8am.
Northbound is a fairly new renovated mall with over 350 stores. Many find beautiful decorations and activities during the holidays, alongside upscale and general fashion stores. Indoor parking is free, but avoid during holidays!
Carrefour Laval
5048 Boulevard Sainte-Rose
Northbound is a fairly new renovated mall with over 350 stores. Many find beautiful decorations and activities during the holidays, alongside upscale and general fashion stores. Indoor parking is free, but avoid during holidays!