51 of the best things to do in Montreal for the whole family

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When it comes to family-friendly vacation destinations, there are countless options, and after our Montreal family vacation, I’m here to report I am utterly in love with this quirky, dynamic, and diverse city!

Everything you need to know about exploring Montreal with Kids - over 51 fun things to do, foods to eat and sights to see in the City of Saints

Montreal Activities for Kids

After only a week-long visit, Montreal has found a place in my heart due to it’s unique culture, amazing food, and the vibrance of its people.

While I think Montreal flies under the radar for a lot of families planning trips, I strongly encourage you to check out the hidden treats that await you in the second largest French-speaking city in the world. I’ve listed out 51 (!) of them below, but there are so many amazing reasons to visit the city that didn’t make it on to this list. Consider it a jumping off point to planning your own Montreal family vacation.

A note about the language difference: you do not need to speak a word of French to have an amazing time in Montreal, however some of the smaller cities that surround Montreal are strictly Francophone and you will have a harder time navigating them without at least a French translation app.

I think a visit to Montreal is a great excuse to learn some introductory French and practice it. As in Paris, I found that people in Montreal were very gracious and appreciative toward my broken attempts to parle Français. I strongly believe that at least learning common phrases (such as greetings or Please/Thank You) shows respect for any culture that you are a guest within, and it’s never a wasted effort.

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Check out my list of the best things for families to do in Montreal – ooh la la!

  • Grab a bagel for breakfast at the Fairmount Bagel Bakery, and you’ll know why they’ve been a favorite since 1919 – the bagels have even been to outer space!
  • Sip a cup of tea while you browse an endless array of Manga books at Otaku Lounge.  Curl up in the reading lounge or take your favorite home with help from their passionate staff. 
  • Winter and summer Ile de la Visitation Nature Park offers unique points of view to enjoy the 300-year-old historical site.

  • The Montreal Biodome was hands-down Ella’s favorite attraction during our visit. It contains four replica ecosystems, complete with play spaces for kids and plenty of animals to watch. It’s just one part of the sprawling Space for Life, the largest natural science museum complex in Canada.
  • Another part of the “Montreal Space for Life,” the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium connects you to the stunning landscape of space in an all-ages show.
  • Experience whitewater rafting at Rafting Montreal.  Kids 6 and older are welcomed but make sure you book reservations for your group in advance!

  • The Chateau Ramezay is a historic residence with ties to the American Revolution and is one of UNESCO’s top places to visit before you die – don’t miss it! 
  • You’ll want to be hungry when you stop in at Schwartz’s, the oldest deli in Montreal with smoked meats of all kinds.
  • No matter what the weather, it’s always right for ice skating at the indoor Atrium le 1000 rink.

  • The Pointe-à-Callière Archeology and History Complex connects you directly to the people of Montreal – from the first Indigenous settlements to the modern day.
  • Share Portuguese tapas and more at restaurant Helena – see their mouth-watering menu that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
  • As a jumping off point for an entire days’ worth of activities, you can’t go wrong with the options at Parc Jean Drapeau.  Choose from outdoor sports and activities, art and music or just people watching.

Planning a family vacation to The City of Saints? Here are our top recommendations to make the most out of your visit - including the best foodie-family spots the city has to offer!

  • Through art, food, and deep connection to history, Montreal’s compact and vibrant Chinatown is a fantastic neighborhood to explore. 
  • Voiles en Voiles Rope Courses are unique to anywhere in the world.  Scramble aerial rope obstacle courses that bring out your inner pirate.  There are courses for anyone in the family! 
  • Kick back with a cocktail while the entire family enjoys favorite local BBQ at Dinette Triple Crown.

  • Laid back dress and upscale food are on the menu at Jamie Oliver-backed Maison Publique – great for brunch or dinner.
  • Train for your next space mission at Cosmodôme Montreal, a hands-on and immersive space experience. 
  • If visiting in the summer months, don’t miss one of Montreal’s many unique summer festivals.  See the season’s schedule online.

  • At the Biosphere Environmental Museum, explore our connection to a healthy planet and environment in the shadow of the Buckminster Fuller dome created for the Expo 67 World’s Fair.
  • The hands-on attractions at the Montreal Science Center are second to none, and the website even offers educational games for kids to play while they wait for the trip! 
  • Just off Old Port Montreal, SOS Labrynthe is a 2km maze full of traps, surprises, and unforgettable memories for the entire family.

  • Dinner at Restaurant Europea is truly fit for a king – the dishes take center stage in a fine dining experience that is designed to impress.  Consider getting a local sitter to watch the kids for dinner or have them join you for lunch!
  • Follow the stories of those persecuted by the Nazi’s at the Montreal Holocaust Museum.  However, exhibits are not appropriate for kids under 8.  Check the website for free admission days, usually Sunday.

  • During the summer months, Fort de l’Île Sainte-Hélène plays host to reconstituted 18th century regiments that perform daily military maneuvers
  • For over 40 years Place des Arts Junior Theater have been offering theater productions designed to get kids excited about theater and performance.

  • Enjoy a luxury spa treatment or ride the Montreal Observation wheel at the Old Port of Montreal – the perfect place to start exploring this neighborhood.
  • Serving as the home base for a set of unique and immersive historical attractions, Lachine Canale Historic Site should certainly be on your list.  Visit The Fur Trade and walk the canals.
  • For something unique, hone your lightsaber skills and fight for light or dark sides of the force at the Force Academy.

  • Take a break from the bustle of the city on Montreal’s Mt. Royal, a beloved mountain in the heart of Montreal. 
  • Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts might at first seem not-ideal for families.  But with regular family events and activities and even an art therapy space, even kids will love this art museum.
  • Visit La Belle Province and enjoy a satisfying quick meal at the first location of the beloved Canadian chain.

  • Enjoy a classic, and sure-to-please Montreal favorite for dinner – La Banquise has something the entire family will love.
  • Try another of Montreal’s favorite bagel cafés, St-Viateur Bagel.  With two locations it’s easy and convenient.
  • Take a self- or guided- tour of the stunning Notre Dame Basilica.  The stunning architecture and gentle admission prices will make this a favorite stop for all.

  • Butterflies, lush greenhouses, and cultural gardens are a welcomed break from the rush that traveling can sometimes feel – don’t miss the Montreal Botanical Garden.
  • Take a stroll through the Parc La Fontaine and enjoy local art exhibitions, shows and entertainment, and a meal at the café nestled in the greenery.
  • Enjoy classic Canadian food at Chez Claudette – a quaint neighborhood spot locals and tourists keep coming back to again and again.

  • See Montreal from the sky at the Montreal Tower at Olympic Park – 360° views overlooking the former Olympic Stadium are just some of the stunning sights that await.
  • An entirely different Montreal awaits you, underground!  Check out the underground city map and explore from a new vantage point.
  • Share in the magic of the reinvented circus and other dramatic performances at La Tohu, a conscientious performance space designed to bring people together.

  • Enjoy a light French crepe alongside Espresso, a craft beer, or classic cocktail.  Order your crepes sweet or savory – the choice is yours at Une Crepe.
  • MTL Zipline takes ziplining out of the woodlands and into urban Montreal.  Safe and unforgettable for riders between 50 and 250 pounds.
  • When the kids need a sightseeing break, stroll the endless aisles at the toy store Boutique Citrouille.  Or, check out an incredible collection of puzzles and games at Le Valet D’Coeur.

  • After you taste the monster cookies and fudgy brownies at Juliette et Chocolat, I can promise you’ll want to pick up some for later – you can’t ship to the US from the online store.
  • Explore one of Montreal’s best neighborhoods – Jardin Nelson.  Stroll, shop, enjoy live music, and incredible food in the heart of Old Montreal.
  • Take an evening tour of incredible projected art at Cité Memoire – enjoy with a self-guided tour using their app or join a guided group. 

  • The Redpath Museum at McGill University is a natural history museum with views of Mt. Royal and a scavenger hunt to keep kids busy while the family explores.
  • Bring your sweet tooth and an empty stomach to Le Glacier Bilboquet, the heavenly dessert and ice cream shop you’ll likely visit more than once!
  • Full of fresh and beautiful twists on dishes we all love, Garde Manger is a perfect place to unwind and share your stories of the day.

  • Au Pied de Cochon features upscale but traditional food made for relaxing and indulging.  Family-friendly menu options and seasonal farm-to-table features make for an unforgettable meal.
  • Learn everything to know about natural maple syrup at the Sucrerie de la Montagne, a maple “sugar shack” that is open year-round. 
  • See Montreal from a different perspective – by bike!  Either rent and explore on your own or join a bike tour – they have bikes for riders of all abilities and sizes.  Book online for an extra discount.

What are your favorite spots in Montreal? If you have any questions, I’m happy to do my best to get you the information you need for planning your family’s Montreal vacation.

For more Montreal family vacation planning, check out our Top 10 Montreal Restaurants for Foodie Families.

 

Everything you need to know about exploring Montreal with Kids - over 51 fun things to do, foods to eat and sights to see in the City of Saints  Planning a Montreal Family Vacation? We've collected 51 amazing activities, family foodie spots, and gorgeous views for you to explore with the whole family

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5 Comments

  1. I’m from Montreal and you surprised me with at least half of the things on the list! I should really start getting out more in my own city 😛 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Right? I can be guilty of the same thing – I research my travel destinations to death, but then am blissfully ignorant when it comes to some things in my own backyard.
      I’d love to know if you have a couple places I should add?

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