Via Lee Siegelman: The top 5 college towns in North America.
If you can handle the frigid winters, Montréal is a great place to be a college student. Located just seven hours from New York City, Montréal has the second highest number of post-secondary students in North America, making for ample opportunities to meet college students from all over the world studying at one of Montréal's two dozen institutions.
There are a few reasons Montréal trumps other North American cities in its college-student friendliness. First, studying in Montréal is a bargain. For Americans, tuition is significantly less than at other private colleges -- international students pay about $12,000 for tuition at McGill University, widely considered the "Harvard of Canada." Also, with a student ID, students can use Montreal's extensive public transportation system, the STM (La Société de transport de Montréal), at a 50 percent discount.
Second, there is really no city in the United States that so fluidly combines European charm with North American pragmatism. Because Montréal is a truly bilingual city, students will not need to enroll in French classes to learn the language. Students here are independent and do not confine themselves to their campuses; you'll see students shopping and clubbing on St. Catherine Street and sipping coffee in the Latin Quarter at all hours of the day.
Finally, Montréalers know how to throw a party. World-class jazz, film and comedy festivals and the only Grand Prix event in North America make four years in Montréal one hot experience.