Hallowed Hotspots Melt the Frost
Americans may be surprised at how much fun lies over their borders—yes, even the northern one—but Canada has long been a hotspot for their leisure. Take Montreal, a historic provincial capital that earned a reputation for decadence during U.S. prohibition that hasn’t entirely faded even now. The bars are open late, the restaurants are superb, and you can practice your French with some of its friendliest speakers. The music and comedy scenes are especially robust, featuring indie sensations like Arcade Fire and stand-up events like the Just For Laughs Festival, which draws comedians like Jon Stewart and John Cleese. Round out your cultural tour with a stroll around the Quartier Latin to see inspiring European-style architecture and unmatched street performers. Cities like British Columbia’s Vancouver, meanwhile, offer a more bracing experience. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the proximity of Pacific Northwest beaches and the ski havens of the North Shore Mountains, not to mention the ecological wonder of Stanley Park, a forested 1,000-acre urban oasis—one of the largest in North America—for those who want a taste of Canadian wilderness without venturing too far from public transportation.