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11 Fantastique Things to Do in Montreal with Kids

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Montreal with kids is truly fantastique. As the largest French-speaking city in North America, Montreal stands out as a unique and historic metropolitan area. Its French Canadian charm is mixed with many immigrant cultures, making this city in the Quebec province a lively mix of people, food, and attractions. This list of 11 fun things to do in Montreal, Canada is sure to keep any family happy on holiday.

Place Des Arts Square in Montreal with kids
Place Des Arts Square in Montreal with kids (Photo credit: aetb, Depositphotos.com)

1. See the stained glass windows at Notre-Dame Basilica.

First up, explore the towering Notre-Dame Basilica. Stop into this church to view the unique stained glass windows and impressive altar. This 19th-century cathedral was built in English Gothic Revival style, on the site of the former chapel founded in the 1600s. The interior and statuary are made from wood imported from France. Interestingly, the cathedral’s stained glass panes feature the history of the founding of Montreal, rather than the usual biblical scenes of saints and miracles.

 
Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal in Canada
Notre-Dame Basilica (Photo credit: worldpitou@gmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

2. Zip and climb above the Old Port.

If your family is feeling adventurous, then take a ride on Canada’s longest zipline. Get a bird’s eye view of the Old Port as you soar through the sky. Skip the line with this Montreal Old Port: Urban Zipline Skip-the-Line Ticket.

The Voiles en Voiles aerial park and ropes course is located just next to the MTL Zipline tower. Challenge any fear of heights on a pirate ship-shaped adventure course. It is 32 feet high and includes seven aerial routes, connecting two huge sailing ships.

Tyrolienne MTL Zipline
Tyrolienne MTL Zipline (Photo from Get Your Guide)

3. Learn history at the Montreal Museum of Archeology and History.

The Pointe-à-Callière is the birthplace of Montreal and home to the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History. This fabulous museum offers loads of hands-on opportunities for curious would-be historians and anthropologists. Don’t miss the 30-minute multi-media show illustrating the 375-year history of the city through videos and animation.

An archeological workshop with kids at Montreal Museum of Archeology and History
An archeological workshop with kids at Montreal Museum of Archeology and History (Photo credit: Pointe-à-Callière)

4. Get schooled at the Montreal Science Centre.

A visit to the Montreal Science Centre in the Old Port presents another interactive, kid-friendly environment. In the Fabrik – Creativity Factory, kids aged 6+ use their hands and minds to craft Derby cars, parachutes, catapults, floating vessels, and whatever their imaginations dream up. For smaller children (aged 4-7), there’s Clic! The Zone for Curious Young Minds, where children can build a house, design a roller coaster, and mix colors. Among other permanent and traveling exhibits, the IMAX Telus Theatre features films that fascinate all ages.

Kids learning through play at the Montreal Science Centre
Kids learn through play at the Montreal Science Centre (Photo courtesy of Tourism Montreal)

5. Meet the animals at the Montreal Biodome.

Take the Metro from Old Montreal to the site of the 1976 Olympic Games. At the Montreal Olympic Stadium complex, the Montreal Biodome showcases an indoor encapsulation of our natural world. There are several biospheres to walk through, including a rain forest, the Laurentians Mountains, a polar area, and the St. Lawrence River. View more than 4,000 types of animals and plants, including lynx, beaver, and penguins. The Biodome is a manageable size, not so big that young children tired quickly and not so small that bigger kids get bored.

Montreal Biosphere
Montreal Biosphere (Photo credit: citylights, Depositphotos.com)

6. See stars at Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

Next door to the Biodome is the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, a fabulous place to visit in Montreal with kids. The planetarium has two unique theaters for introducing space enthusiasts to the wonders of astronomy and our solar system. Filmgoers can lie back on bean bag chairs or sit in comfortable seats to watch the universe unfold around them. The shows differ seasonally and are offered in both English and French.

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium in Montreal
The outside of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is as futuristic as the interior! (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

7. Attend a festival in Montreal with kids.

Montreal is known as a festival city, particularly in summer. From food and art fairs to music, sports, and comedy festivals, there’s something to please your family. Check out Tourisme Montreal’s festival guide for information about what’s happening when, and to purchase tickets.

Festival on Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal with kids
Festival on Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal (Photo credit: izik_md, Depositphotos.com)

8. Ride bicycles up Mount Royal.

Rent bicycles in Montreal to take a serene ride along the Lachine Canal. Infant seats and children’s bike trailers are available. Bike up the road to McGill University and Mount Royal, the mini-mountain with lovely green spaces, Mount Joseph Oratory, and Beaver Lake for impressive views of the city. For a guided bicycle tour of Montreal with teens aged 13+, take a look at this Montreal: Guided Bike Tour of City, Old Port & Plateau.

Montreal: Guided Bike Tour of City, Old Port & Plateau
Montreal: Guided Bike Tour of City, Old Port & Plateau (Photo from Get Your Guide)

9. Embark on a site-seeing cruise on the St. Lawrence River.

Explore Montreal by water aboard Le Bateau-Mouche St. Lawrence Sightseeing Cruise. During summer months, vacationers enjoy cruising from the Old Port and along the St. Lawrence River. Take in pretty views of the city and learn about Montreal from a bilingual local guide. Expect to see sites like the Clock Tower, Jacques Cartier Bridge, and Habitat 67. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase.

Le Bateau-Mouche St. Lawrence Sightseeing Cruise
Le Bateau-Mouche St. Lawrence Sightseeing Cruise (Photo from Get Your Guide)

10. Thrill the kids at La Ronde amusement park.

After a few days of city exploration and educational fun in Montreal with kids, thrill them with a visit to La Ronde amusement park. Part of the Six Flags family, La Ronde is located on Île Sainte-Hélène, a small island near downtown Montreal. Daredevils have plenty of options. Slingshot catapults riders 245 feet in the air. Meanwhile, the Vampire is a roller coaster that reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour…in reverse! More timid park-goers can stick to mellow options like bumper cars and a Ferris wheel. There are plenty of kiddie rides for little ones, too.

La Ronde Amusement Park
La Ronde Amusement Park (Photo credit: marcbruxelle, Depositphotos.com)

11. Eat classic French Canadian cuisine.

Montreal is home to many culinary sensations. Look for poutine, smoked meat sandwiches, Montreal-style bagels, crêpes, and more.

Poutine

Poutine is a kid-pleasing, finger-licking sensation made of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. There are many places for poutine in the city. When searching for one of the best, check out La Banquise. If you’ve never enjoyed poutine, then try the classic to start before venturing into the more adventurous toppings and flavors.

French Canada's beloved dish, Poutine
French Canada’s beloved dish, Poutine (Photo credit: fudio, Deposiphotos.com)

Smoked Meat Sandwiches

The huge smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s Deli are simple but delicious. Expect rye bread, yellow mustard, and a massive helping of savory smoked meat. The big portion sizes mean sharing is more than acceptable.

Montreal-Style Bagels

We can’t forget the amazing Montreal-style bagels. Compared to traditional New York bagels, these goodies are thinner, sweeter, and always baked in a wood-fired oven after being boiled in honey-sweetened water. There are many bagel spots in the city, but your family won’t regret a stop at Fairmount Bagel Bakery. Pack a half-dozen for the drive or flight home.

Montreal-style bagels at Fairmount Bagel in Montreal
Fairmount Bagel Bakery (Photo credit: aetb, Depositphotos.com)

Refined Fare for Families

For more refined fare, choose lunch or dinner in the charming, flower-filled garden of the Jardin Nelson restaurant in Old Montreal. The extensive bistro menu features sweet and savory crepes, a memorable duck leg confit salad for the grown-ups, as well as kid favorites like pizza, pasta, and sandwiches.

A tempting selection of breakfast pastries at Le Place d'Armes Hotel in Montreal
A tempting selection of breakfast pastries at Brasserie 701 at Le Place d’Armes Hotel (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Where to Stay in Montreal with Kids

A stay at Le Place d’Arts Hotel and Suites puts your family just a few steps from Old Montreal and attractions like Notre Dame Basilica. This chic, urban oasis has a Kids in the City concierge team that can tailor your holiday to meet the needs of smaller guests. The hotel is located in a 19th-century Neo-classical building with all the modern comforts like a spa, restaurants, a bar, and spacious rooms. And, it’s just one block from the Metro station. 

Enjoy a continental breakfast and café au lait in the charming on-site brasserie, Brasserie 701. Kids will love the pains au chocolat (chocolate croissants) and cereal selection. Read more reviews of Le Place d’Arts Hotel and Suites and book your stay via Travelocity. Take a look at additional family-friendly accommodation options in Montreal.

Le Place d’Armes Hotel in Montreal
Le Place d’Armes Hotel (Photo credit: Le Place d’Armes Hotel)

Getting to Montreal

Fly into Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport (YUL) and catch a cab into Old Montreal. You will not need a car during your stay since most attractions are within walking distance or easily accessible via Metro.

Bring the taste of Montreal home with maple syrup souvenirs
Bring the taste of Montreal home with maple syrup souvenirs (Photo courtesy of Tourism Montreal)

Make the Most of Montreal with Kids

To make the most of your Montreal family vacation, buy the Montreal Passport. It provides access to 28 attractions including the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and Biodome, plus unlimited public transportation.

Want to learn more about visiting Montreal with kids? Consider purchasing Fodor’s Montreal & Quebec City. It receives 4.5 stars on Amazon and features full-color maps. This guide also offers all sorts of tips for Montreal’s best sites, hotels, and restaurants.

Get kids excited for their Montreal vacation with My Travel Journal for Kids Montreal. Inside kids will find prompts, journal pages, and drawings to keep kids engaged while exploring the city.

Explore more Montreal attractions and guided tours with our partner, Get Your Guide.

 
Say Bonjour to Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival mascot
Say Bonjour to Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival mascot (Photo credit: Francis Gagnon, Office du tourisme de Québec)

Explore More of Canada

Located just 155 miles from Montreal, Quebec City is another delightful vacation destination. Discover all sorts of winter activities in Quebec.

For an array of outdoorsy adventures for families, take a peek at our guide to Whistler in summer.

Maple syrup festivals take place across Canada each spring. Learn about what to expect at Canadian maple syrup festivals.

Canada’s capital is particularly pretty in autumn. Read about fun things to do in Ottawa in fall.

Fabulous all year long, discover the wonders of Nordic spas in Canada, many of which are family-friendly.

Things to Do in Montreal with Kids

Save These Things to Do in Montreal

Dreaming of a Montreal family vacation? Be sure to keep this list of kid-friendly activities in Montreal for future reference. Just pin the image above to Pinterest. Go ahead and follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Do you have any questions about visiting Montreal with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Curious Travel Mama: Tourism Montreal hosted my visit to Montreal. As always, my opinions are my own.

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons. She started traveling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about the travel experience and the value of traveling as a family. She is the founder of claudiatravels.com, and contributes to many online and print media publications around the world. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom or Instagram as @itsclaudiatravels.

Comments
  1. Love how the article had a variety of different things to do with kids from educational to fun to eating! Just what I needed for planning our trip to Montreal with our kids.

    • So glad that you enjoyed the piece! I had a great time revisiting Montreal, the city where I was born!

  2. Marianne says

    What a great guide! So many fun things to do with the kids!

  3. I had no idea their were so many kid friendly experiences in Montreal. We went several years ago without kids, I think it’s time to go back and take them with us!

  4. I visited Quebec this winter with my eldest and am now longing to return in the summer months. Looks like I’ll have to tag on a trip to Montreal too! What a beautiful city full of fun, educational activities for families. Love it.

  5. Sarah Ebner says

    So many things we’d love to do here – try out the science centre, see the animals, go to the theme park and (for me especially) discover the history. Would love it, I’m sure!

  6. Dave-Guidetotravelling.com says

    Montreal Has so much to offer The planetarium looks massive and the Notre Dame Basilica is well worth investigating too. Excellent post thanks

  7. I haven’t been to Montreal since I was a kid, and your pictures make me want to return with my son sometime soon! I remember loving all of the architecture. It’s such a beautiful city!

  8. I just want to eat and walk through this gorgeous city! So different from the rest of Canada!

  9. Pilar Clark says

    Montreal is on my must list, Claudia, and I had no idea there was such a wealth of historic/adventurous/nature-minded/playful options in one city! I call field trip!

  10. Having visited Montreal many times with my young son, I can vouch that this is an excellent list. Planetarium was great. Metro is easy to navigate. I’d add some ice cream/frozen custard to a trip. Also, if traveling from NY there are some creameries & cheese shops worthy of a stop.

  11. Great article!
    What are your thoughts on travelers who want to visit Quebec City as a day trip from Montreal? I’m planning to visit Montreal in April, 2017 with spouse and two boys, ages 9 and 13. We will be driving from NYC to Montreal, I guess I want to know if going to Quebec City on four day trip is practical. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Hi Janet, The drive between Montreal and QC will take approximately 3 hours one way, depending on traffic of course. It is certainly possible, though it would make for a long travel day. It’s a personal decision on much of your four days you want to spend on the road between cities. If you only have four days in Montreal, there’s more than enough to do there for that amount of time, especially this year as the city is celebrating its 375th anniversary. Good luck with your decision!

  12. The Lincoln Apartment Bakery is a baking school that hosts baking classes for families. They are so much fun and would be a great activity in Montreal

  13. The view of this city is breathtaking. I am complete amused by the decoration of festival.

  14. Irene Wang says

    Hey Claudia, i love your writing and i want to translate it into Chinese and publise to a Chinese website called “Zhihu”, is it possible? please reply me, thank you!

    Love,Irene.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Irene – We are glad you enjoyed Claudia’s story but it is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced anywhere else in any language.

  15. Hi
    Can you help us with specific tours in the winter , around Christmas time.
    Like Larond so many friends suggested it to us but I don’t think we can go in the winter !!

  16. Montréal is also a good place to travel with kids during winter.
    They can go sledging or ice-sKating in Mont Royal and they have so much fun.
    Montreal has a special event in Winter named “Fête des neiges” with a lot of activities. Kids will loved it.

    • Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama says

      Hi Vincent, Thanks so much for highlighting the winter fun to be had in Montreal!

  17. Montreal is really fantastic. I went there with my hubby last winter and it was still good. I have not been there any other seasons but yes, your photos tell me that they ARE good. Vincent above me seems to be talking about the merry fair that happens biennially in Montreal. It is a perfect picnic spot for kids, I agree.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      So glad you had such a great time in Montreal in winter. Now it’s time to plan a spring or summer trip! 🙂

  18. Thanks Claudia – this article along with many others on this site is helping me to put together a great list of places i want to go on our upcoming Canada/US road trip.

  19. Flyingkids says

    Montreal is a fabulous place. Great guide!

  20. Anna Alvarado-Bower says

    Traveling to montreal in november with my 4yr old very active son looking for activities that will encourage exploration and more of the physical activities as well. will be staying with a family friend for the weekend.

  21. Hi! I enjoyed your article so much. We’re planning on traveling to Montreal or Quebec City for a month in the summer with three little kids. Do you have any recommendations on what areas of the city we should look for accommodation? We were thinking about renting a villa or an apartment in a kid frandly area, where ideally we won’t need a car. TIA

    • Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama says

      HI Lumi, Here are some suggestions of cool neighborhoods in Montreal for you and your family. Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is in the east end of Montreal near the Olympic Stadium, and has lots of Airbnbs, or the Hotel Universel. You can use the subway to get around. Same for Plateau Mont-Royal is another cool hood with Airbnbs and the ITHQ Hotel. The Old Port is in walking distance to downtown with lots of kids activities, museums and hotels – like Place d’Armes, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, and Saint-Sulpices. Happy planning and enjoy a wonderful time in Quebec!

  22. Hi!
    There are so many great options in this article but are these activities good for toddlers? I have a 2 and 5 year old. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Jenny, Thanks for your question. I would suggest that zip lining and Bixi biking are not appropriate with toddlers, but you can certainly visit La Ronde, the Planetarium and the Biodome. There’s also fun to be had at some of the summer festivals, especially those that involve street music and food. Have a great trip to Montreal!

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