Montreal, in the Canadian province of Quebec, is a stunning mix of old Europe and glittering modernity. Whether you're in the old town or walking among the new buildings of downtown, you'll find that the city pulses with life and culture. From its ever-present festivals to its historic churches and bustling shops and restaurants, there's much to see and do in Montreal. For visitors from Vermont and New York, the city is just a short drive away.

A Straight Shot from New York

New York is physically the closest state to Montreal. Visitors coming from upstate are just a 45-minute drive from the city center once they cross the border. The best route is to take Interstate 87 north; once you've presented your passport at the border checkpoint, take Autoroute 15 north for 40 miles to exit 58 for Autoroute 10 west toward Center-Ville/Downtown/Montréal. This route puts you on the Champlain Bridge over the St. Lawrence River. Just across the river, keep following Autoroute 10 and you'll get to central Montreal.

Vermont Is Close to Montreal, Too

Vermont is to Montreal's southeast, so residents of the Green Mountain State have a slightly longer drive than those coming from New York. From the U.S.-Canada border at the northwest tip of Vermont, Montreal is about an hour's drive. Vermonters should take Interstate 89 north to the border, and follow QC-133 north from there. Take exit 55 to merge onto Autoroute 10 toward Montreal, again crossing the Champlain Bridge to arrive in downtown Montreal.

Montreal's Highlights

Among Montreal's must-see sights for visitors is the Notre-Dame Basilica, a striking cathedral built in 1829. To view the intense blue interior, visit during the sound and light shows held Tuesday through Saturday nights. While you're in the neighborhood, take a stroll around the Place d'Armes, the square the basilica faces. Here, you'll also find Montreal's best vintage architecture on display, from the city's oldest bank to its first skyscraper - and of course, the cathedral. The Biosphère is a nature center housed in a geodesic dome that creates its own geothermal energy. Exhibits teach visitors about urban ecosystems and the latest eco-technologies. Don't forget to stop in the upstairs gallery for an expansive view of the St. Lawrence River.

Canada Border Crossing Tips

U.S. citizens who cross into Canada must show either a valid passport or other accepted documentation to Border Patrol. Your other options include a passport card, which is wallet-sized and accepted at land and sea border crossings. You can also apply for a NEXUS card, which is designed for low-risk travelers who travel back and forth between the U.S. and Canada frequently. If you are traveling on a weekend or a holiday, allow extra time for crossing. You can check the traffic situation at any border crossing through the Canada Border Services Agency's website.