If you just want to enjoy an idyllic afternoon in the Plateau, consider whiling away a few hours at one of the neighborhood’s many parks. These green spaces are a favorite resting place for locals, whether to sunbathe, have a picnic, play Frisbee, bring a guitar and play a few tunes or just sit and read a book in the grass.

If you have time to spare and want to spend it out in nature, here are five parks that won’t disappoint:

  1. Parc Lafontaine

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    One of the Plateau’s biggest parks, its main feature is a large serpentine pond with a small waterfall and a tall fountain at the center that sunbathers converge around. It also has plenty of bike lanes, a large playground and children’s pool and a theatre, the Theatre de Verdure, which is closed this year, but where various plays and shows are normally shown all summer long. With a few excellent takeout restaurants like La Banquise and Ma Poule Mouillée nearby, consider grabbing a lunch and eating it on the grass

    Where: Bordered by Rue Rachel to the north, Rue Sherbrooke to the south, Avenue du Parc LaFontaine to the west and Avenue Papineau to the East.

  2. Parc Jeanne-Mance

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    Right across from the mountain, Parc Jeanne-Mance is one of the city’s largest parks and runs alongside the mountain. It has tennis courts, a huge soccer field, a beach volleyball area, lots of green spaces to sit in and is often a host to various events and concerts in the summer, like community yoga, volleyball competitions, charity events, the annual Hare Krishna festival and much more.Where: Best accessible from Du Parc Avenue between Mont-Royal and Des Pins.
  3. Parc du Mont-Royal

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    If you want to plan a longer excursion, there’s no better place than taking a hike up the mountain or jumping on the shuttle bus that will take you to the very top. The Mont-Royal is at the centre of the city and its largest green space. At its feet, you’ll find the gorgeous George-Étienne Cartier monument where people congregate all summer long to relax and chat, and where a signature Montreal event, the Tam Tams, takes place every Sunday. If you feel like leaving the bustle of the city, walk upwards along one of the smaller trail or the main path that snakes its way up the mountain. You’ll hit several observation spots along the way from which you’ll be able to see a stunning view of the city from above. You can also take the 11 Parc-du-Mont-Royal / Ridgewood bus heading west anywhere along Mont-Royal Avenue to reach the top of the mountain where you’ll find Beaver Lake, a wonderful resting place featuring beautiful grassy slopes and a large lake that’s perfect for picnics, summer sports and games and relaxation. In the winter, don your skates and go ice skating on the lake, followed by a warm hot chocolate at the nearby lodge. And in the summer, if you’re a hardy hiker, you might even be able to make your way all the way up to the mountain’s trademark lit cross.

    Where: Best accessible from Du Parc Avenue between Mont-Royal and Des Pins.

  4. Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier

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    Smaller and quainter, Parc Laurier is great for those calmer summer afternoons where you just want to relax, take a jog and enjoy the warm weather. Its distinctive feature is that it has a public swimming pool which is free on weekdays, and also has a small outdoor gym area that’s great to do some exercises after a run.

    Where: On Avenue Laurier Est between Rue de Mentana and Rue de Brébeuf.

  5. Carré Saint-Louis

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    If you want something smaller, quieter and more picturesque, walk over to the famous Carré Saint-Louis, a small park right between the Plateau and Downtown in one of the neighborhood’s most beautiful historic areas. A pretty little square with a classic fountain at the centre and a small gazebo cafe surrounded by the Plateau’s most iconic Victorian houses where lived some of the province’s greatest artists and writers, including Émile Nelligan and Michel Tremblay. Get a coffee or sit by the fountain and let yourself have a real taste of the city’s history.Where: On Rue du Square Saint-Louis between Rue Saint-Denis and Avenue Laval.