Dubbed the “Heart of the Townships,” Sherbrooke Quebec is a fun city to explore in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. This city of just over 160,000 people is located at the confluence of the Saint-Francois and Magog Rivers. Sherbrooke is the largest city in the Eastern Townships. And among the amazing things to do in Sherbrooke Quebec, you’ll find the cultural, artistic, and culinary center of much of this beautiful region of Quebec. This walkable city is amazing to explore on its own. And if you spend some time here, Sherbrooke Quebec is a perfect place to base yourself for some of the incredible activities that the Eastern Townships has to offer.
Cities like Montreal and Quebec City get most of the attention in the province of Quebec. But areas like Sherbrooke and the Eastern Townships, Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean, Gaspesie, and Perce and Bonaventure Island offer some of the most incredible experiences in the province and are just as deserving of attention as the big cities.
About Sherbrooke Quebec
The history of Sherbrooke Quebec dates back between 3,000-8,000 years when the First Nations of Canada first settled here. When settlers arrived in the 1600s the region was the place of many territorial battles between the Mohawk and the Abenaki. The Sherbrooke region was under Abenaki control until the late 1700s when Loyalists began to explore the region and set up agricultural operations. A great place to learn more about this part of Abenaki history is at the Abenakis Museum in Odanak Quebec which we visited during our Quebec Aboriginal tourism tour.
Since that time Sherbrooke has grown into the cultural, industrial, and education engine of Southern Quebec. Because the waters of the Magog River never freeze, the areas along the river were prime industrial real-estate. Work didn’t need to stop during the cold Quebec winters. By the late 19th century colleges began to fill the city and Sherbrooke was transformed into the college town that still fuels much of the business today.
Today, Sherbrooke things to do include cultural, historical, natural, and family-friendly activities. It’s a wonderful place to spend time and experience the beauty of Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
Fun Things To Do In Sherbrooke Quebec
Stop At All the Amazing Sherbrooke Murals
During a tour of downtown Sherbrooke, it is hard not to notice many of the 17 beautiful murals that bring life to buildings around town. Many of these murals show the history, culture, and arts that make all the things to do in Sherbrooke so incredible. If you get as lucky as we were, you may even see some of the murals being painted or restored. The Sherbrooke Murals are a tribute to the creative arts that thrive here.
Commune With Nature At Parc du Mont-Bellevue
One of the most popular urban parks in Sherbrooke Quebec is Parc du Mont-Bellevue. Parc du Mont-Bellevue boasts ski hills, tennis courts and more. These fun activities are boosted by an incredible series of walking, biking, and hiking trails that transform to cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in the winter. Having an alpine ski resort within the bounds of a city the size of Sherbrooke is pretty amazing. And when you combine this with all of the other incredible things to do in Sherbrooke, you have the makings of an amazingly liveable city.
Examine The Nature And Science Museum
The Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science sits on the shores of the Magog River. A visit to the museum is one of the most popular things to do in Sherbrooke Quebec, especially for those with a love of nature and science. The Sherbrooke science museum offers rotating exhibits on animals, natural history, and regional science. The exhibits span multiple floors of the building and houses over 65,000 pieces.
Walk the Trails Around Lac des Nations
The trails and boardwalk surrounding Lac Des Nations are one of the most popular things to do in Sherbrooke Quebec for both visitors and locals alike. The boardwalk starts just steps from the Sherbrooke downtown core. At all times of the year, you can find people walking, biking, and enjoying the beautiful Sherbrooke waterfront. The area is both an urban park with natural-inspired landscaping that allows visitors to escape the urban center of Sherbrooke without having to travel too far. The 3.5 km loop also offers a great way to taste some of the nature that surrounds Sherbrooke.
Additionally, Lac des Nations is a popular spot for Sherbrooke festivals including Marche de la Gare, a foodie-focused market. On Saturdays, during the summer, the local farmers market takes place here. On the far side of the lake is Parc Jacques-Cartier where many of the summer music festivals take place.
Enjoy The Beauty of Cathédrale St-Michel
I love exploring churches in many of the towns that I visit. They often have some of the most beautiful architecture as well as showcasing much of the area’s culture. The Cathedrale St-Michel is the archdiocese of the region. The stone veneer of the Sherbrooke cathedral stands out in contrast to the brick buildings that spread through the rest of the city.
Watch The Power Of the Magog River
The Magog River courses through the heart of Sherbrooke Quebec. One of the best places to see the power of this Sherbrooke river is the mill dam just below the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science. At the base of a set of stairs is a dam and walking path where you can walk out where the water surges down towards the Grand Forks.
Fun Things To Do Near Sherbrooke Quebec
If you’re spending more than a day in Sherbrooke Quebec you may want to experience some of the exciting things to do near the city. There is an amazing selection of parks and natural attractions throughout the Eastern Townships. From Sherbrooke to Piopolis, here are a few of our favorite things to do near Sherbrooke Quebec.
Explore Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook
Coaticook is a small town just a few minutes from Sherbrooke Quebec. One of the top Sherbrooke things to do is to head over to nearby Coaticook and explore the Parc de la Gorge. This popular four-season outdoor destination has beautiful hiking and walking trails and one of the most famous suspension bridges in Quebec. This beautiful bridge spans the Coaticook gorge offering amazing views on all sides.
Those visiting Sherbrooke in the summer can also take part in the amazing Foresta Lumina. This illuminated and interactive nature show follows some of the most popular trails in the Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook and tells an immersive story complete with incredible sound, visuals, and more. It’s very similar to the Lumina Borealis experience that we took in in Kingson, Ontario. You can find out more about Foresta Lumina here.
Study The Skies At Mont Megantic National Park
Just an hour from Sherbrooke Quebec in Notre Dame de Bois is the majestic Mont Megantic National Park. This sprawling mountain park has everything from waterfalls to hiking trails and more. But beyond earthly nature, visitors will love the celestial tourism at the Mont Megantic observatory and ASTROLab. Make sure you get an appointment for the virtual reality experience. It’s only offered in French, but it’s worth it even if you don’t speak the language. You can find out more about Mont Megantic here.
Connect With Nature In Piopolis Quebec
If you’re looking for a break from the every day, head over to the small town of Piopolis Quebec. Piopolis is about an hour and 15 minutes from Sherbrooke Quebec. And while this tiny town on the shores of Lac Megantic may not seem that much upon a first glimpse, there are a lot of things to do in Piopolis. I highly recommend booking a night at Hebergement Aux Cinq Sens. Here, owners Paule and Benoit take visitors on forest walks, stargazing, and indigenous inspired activities. The goal of Hebergement is to get visitors to slow down, unwind, and gain a better appreciation for the natural world that surrounds them. You can find out more on their website here.
Where To Stay In Sherbrooke Quebec
If you’re exploring all the amazing things to do in Sherbrooke Quebec you’ll want to stay in a great Sherbrooke Hotel. Luckily there are lots of great places to stay in Sherbrooke Quebec for every style. Here are some of my favorite Sherbrooke accommodations.
Grand Times Sherbrooke
If you’re looking for a great upscale hotel right in the heart of Sherbrooke, the Grand Times is a great option. This modern hotel located right near the Lac des Nations boardwalk offers a continental breakfast, spacious rooms, and ample parking. Parking at the Grand Times is subject to an additional charge. You can check out their availability here.
OTL Gouverneur Sherbrooke
One of the highest-rated hotels in Sherbrooke Quebec is the Gouverneur Sherbrooke. This hotel offers easy access to Mont Bellevue. It’s one of the best options for those looking to explore the outdoor activities in Sherbrooke. You can find more information about OTL Gouverneur Sherbrooke here.
Ile de Garde B&B
If you’re looking for something quaint, private, and authentic, Ile de Garde B&B might be the perfect option for you. This historic European-style house is just minutes from the Museum of Fine Arts. The bed and breakfast is a destination for both couples and families. There is a playground out back for children. You can find out more about Ile de Garde B&B here.
Have you ever experienced the best things to do in Sherbrooke Quebec? Did we miss something? Drop us a comment below to tell us about your visit. Or drop us a message on Instagram and share one of your photos. We would love to share in your travels.
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