Montreal’s location makes it a great family destination. Its large size means there’s always something new for the family to try together, and its lakeside setting allows for a number of water activities (and a beach!). It’s a great destination for the family to visit together, and these are just 20 ideas of what you can get up to in Quebec’s capital.
1. Ride upside down at La Ronde
La Ronde is the second largest theme park in Canada and offers a plethora of rides – both thrilling and gentle. Among the rides is Le Monstre – which holds the record for being the highest double-tracked roller coaster in the world.
2. Rent a paddle boat at Beaver Lake
Right in the heart of Montreal, families can stop by Beaver Lake and rent a paddle boat or sit down with a picnic. In the winter the park changes scenery and offers skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing & sledding.
3. Feed baby goats at Granby Zoo
One of the country’s largest zoos, Granby Zoo is home 1,000 different animals. Allowing children to meet traditional zoo animals such as elephants and giraffes, there’s also a stingray tank and a petting zoo. In the summer, visitors will also find amusement rides and a waterpark.
4. Explore the Montreal Biodome
Part zoo, part eco-museum: the Montreal Biodome is home to 4,800 animals and 750 plant types. The real crowd-pleaser is the polar world exhibit where penguins waddle on land then dive like torpedoes under water.
5. Examine bugs at the Insectarium
If your kids (and yourself) aren’t freaked out by the small creatures found in the garden, get up close and personal at the Montreal Insectarium. From stick-insects to beehives – and the chance to try some “delicacies”.
6. Chase phantoms on a ghost tour
Montreal is home to several ghost tours, where phantom-seekers can learn about some of the most dramatic crimes that took place in the city.
7. Take science class at Montreal Science Centre
Learn how the world works in this fun and interactive science centre. Located on the King Edward Pier, the centre is also home to an IMAX theatre.
8. Skate at Atrium Le 1000
Located in Montreal’s tallest building, this ice-rink shimmers as the sun’s ray’s shine through the glass-domed roof. The ice-rink also hosts regular themed nights, such as 80s night and the Red Bull Music Academy Special.
9. Take them to a traditional ice hockey game
Local team Montreal Canadiens play their home games at Centre Bell, in downtown Montreal. They are one of the best teams in the country and have won the Stanley Cup 24 times. Making them the second most successful professional sports team of the traditional four major sports in Canada and the United States.
10. See a show at Place des Arts’ Junior Theatre.
The Place des Arts is the largest cultural and artistic complex in Canada. It regularly performs shows aimed at a younger audience, such as music, theatre, storytelling, dance, circus arts, song, cinema and puppetry. Shows are in French or English.
11. View the city below from the Montreal Tower/Olympic Park
Walk through the stadium which was built for the 1976 Olympic Games. Now used as a venue for fashion shows and exhibitions, there’s still an adjacent sports venue for anyone who wants to work out while on holiday. Attached to the venue is the iconic Montreal Tower, which is the tallest inclined tower in the world and offers a bird’s-eye view of the city from 165 metres in the air.
12. Play around at Récréathèque
Have a fun afternoon (or evening) in the arcade environment of Récréathèque. It’s the biggest arcade in Quebec and boasts more than 70 games. Including basketball, air hockey, snow mobile, boxing games, racing games, shooting games, and dance floor games.
13. Feed their dinosaur obsession at Redpath Museum
A museum concentrating on natural history with palaeontology as one of its specialities. Here dino-obsessed kids can awe at the Gorgosaurus skeleton and many other fossils.
14. Pretend you’re an astronaut at Cosmodome
Home to both Space Camp Canada and the Space Science Center, this is a unique experience within Canada. The Space Science Centre is the only one in Canada and houses one of two lunar rocks on display in Canada. On top of that the Space Camp is one of five space camps in the world.
15. Battle against each other at Laser Quest
Shoot each other with laser guns inside this five-level maze, and see who comes out top.
16. Attend one of the many family-friendly festivals
Montreal loves a festival and boasts many family-friendly events. Some of the best ones for children include Montreal International Fireworks Competition (June and July); the Montreal Complèment Cirque (July) La Fête des Enfants de Montréal (August) and the Montreal Jazz Festival (June and July).
17. Be amazed by the Cirque du Soleil
The world-famous show-stopping acrobatic performances of Cirque du Soleil were born out of Montreal. Keep an eye out for when they’re back on home turf.
18. Go for the Grand Prix weekend
On top of all the events we’ve mentioned, Montreal also hosts its own Grand Prix. The next one is held in June and for any families that are fans of car racing this is the best time to visit.
19. Visit a sugar shack and gorge on maple syrup
Maple syrup sugar shacks open up across the winter and spring months in Canada so sweet-toothed children can learn about the maple syrup production process. And pick up some candies.
20. Relax on the beach
Montreal is home to its own beach that is contained within Parc Jean-Drapeau on the St Lawrence River. Five minutes from downtown Montreal, the beach also allows for nautical activities such as beach volleyball and open water swimming.