While most things to do in Montreal will be found on the island, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city for a short while — maybe just for an afternoon, or perhaps a few days — and see what the region has to offer. Below you can find a list of places, cities and parks you might visit while living in Montreal.
Things to do in Montreal: Parc Jean-Drapeau
Named after a former city mayor, this park comprises of two islands to the east of downtown between the Island of Montreal and the South Shore – Île Sainte-Hélène and the artificial Île Notre-Dame. The Park is essentially a giant playground for all ages. The Canadian Grand Prix is held here every June on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with many visitors combining a day at the track with an evening at Montreal Casino on Île Notre-Dame. The conspicuous ball-shaped thing is the Montreal Biosphère, which housed the American pavilion during the 1967 Expo and is now a museum dedicated to the environment. Parc Jean-Drapeau also has a beach, the allegedly haunted David M. Stewart Museum, Six Flags La Ronde amusement park and an aquatic complex. Many hiking and cycling trails criss-cross the islands, and the Vans Warped Tour as well as Osheaga and Heavy MTL music festivals are held here each year. Best of all, all of this is reachable on the yellow Métro line. (Métro: Jean-Drapeau)
Things to do in Montreal: Getting out of the city
Quebec City, about 3 hours to the north east on Highway 40, is almost but not quite a day trip (unless you hit the road very early).
Mont Tremblant, known for the famous ski resort of the same name, is a village that lies less than two hours north in the Laurentides.
The Eastern townships are two to three hours straight east.
Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is two hours west by car.
Toronto is more distant, but still a doable six-hour drive. The train journey is shorter.
The Adirondack Mountains are a two and a half hour drive to the south. Adirondacks is the largest park in the contiguous United States and offers outdoor activities like hiking, rafting and skiing.
Boston is a five-and-a-half hour drive to the southeast.
Between December and March there is good downhill skiing in the Laurentides and in the Eastern Townships. There are some very good night-skiing centres such as Ski Bromont and Mont-St-Sauveur.
Tadoussac, about six hours away by car, has great whale-watching.
New York City is only a six-hour drive directly south.