Want to make the most of a beautiful Montreal morning, or just spend some quality time outside? Culture Trip’s local insiders share their favorite Montreal outdoor activities, from downtown to venturing a little further afield towards the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park or René Lévesque Park.
Decreed in 2005, the Mount Royal Heritage Site (or “the Mountain” to Montrealers) is a vast green space in the middle of the city. The expansive Parc Mont-Royal within the site offers sweeping urban forest and lakeside views, with paths for cycling and hiking. There are also a host of historically important buildings and cultural residential neighborhoods to explore. Climb to the top of the hill to take a look at the huge cross – one of Montreal’s famous sights – or head to the lookout for stunning panoramas across the city. Recommended by local insider Caitlin Stall-Paquet
Montreal is super bike-friendly, so exploring via two wheels is a perfect way to see more than you otherwise could. Find a bike-hire place for independent travel, or, if you’re looking to see the city from a local perspective, a Spade and Palacio bike tour will take you to treasures often overlooked by the main tourist crowd – all while riding a fetching bright-pink bike. All knowledgeable and friendly Montreal guides are more than happy to share their favorite spots and discuss everything they love about the city. Recommended by local insider Caitlin Stall-Paquet
Favorite local hotspot René Lévesque Park is a 20-minute drive from Downtown Montreal on a small peninsula with gorgeous views over the Saint Lawrence River. Take some time out from busy city life with a ride along the bike path or a walk on one of the park’s several trails. Alternatively, take a look at the arboretum before exploring the extensive sculpture garden attached to the Lachine Museum next door. Recommended by local insider Tess Boissonneault
Active types should head to Jarry Park for good running routes and plenty of sporting facilities. There are public soccer, softball and cricket fields; tennis and basketball courts; a skate park, a pool, numerous walking trails and a pond that turns into a skating rink in winter. It’s also home to the Stade IGA tennis stadium, which hosts the Canadian Open every August. Nestled between Montreal’s hip Villeray and Parc-Ex neighborhoods, Jarry Park is a great spot to put your feet up after a long day of exploring. Recommended by local insider Tess Boissonneault
If you want to leave the city limits behind and go into greener, less noisy surroundings, the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park is only 20mi (32km) from Downtown Montreal and offers scenic walking and cycling trails in and around five small islands on the Saint Lawrence River. Add something different to your adventure by opting to explore via canoe or sea kayak instead, or come in winter for exciting skiing and snowshoeing options. No matter how you decide to get around, keep an eye out for the resident white-tailed deer and over 50 species of birds. Recommended by local insider Tess Boissonneault