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12 things to do in Montreal

Have a European-esque trip right here in Canada by heading out to Montreal. There are tons of family-friendly activities to do with your little ones!

12 things to do in Montreal

Things to do in Montreal

If that trip to Europe isn’t happening quite yet, a visit to Montreal is your family’s chance to experience a place that feels far away (People speaking French! Cobblestone streets! World-class restaurants!), but isn’t. The city is always buzzing with year-round festivals and packed with kid-friendly attractions. To boot, kids 5 and under ride free on the Metro, and the Family Outings program lets older kids ride free on weekends and school holidays. Here are the attractions your kids will adore.

Some of the writer’s costs were covered by Tourisme Montreal.

12 things to do in Montreal

Jean-Dore Beach

This large man-made beach on Parc Jean-Drapeau is comprised of a series of charming smaller beaches. One features a playground just steps from the water, another gives you access to Aquazilla, a massive floating obstacle course, while at another one you can rent stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. Although you can get there by ferry, it’s much easier to drive, or take the Metro-plus free-shuttle combo that drops you off in front of the beach entrance. Kids 2 & under free; Kids 3-13 $4.50; Adults $9; Family $22.50. Get more information: parcjeandrapeau.com>

12 things to do in Montreal

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La Grande Roue de Montréal

Soak up an amazing panoramic view of the city, from the shore of the St. Lawrence river atop Canada’s largest Ferris wheel—but trust us, it’s really not that scary! While the observation wheel is  60 metres high (think 20 storeys), you’re fully enclosed in a climate-controlled gondola, which makes this a doable adventure any time of the year.

Admission: Kids 3-12 $19.75; Students $21.25; Adults $25; Seniors $21.25; Family $77.50

Get more information: lagranderouedemontreal.com

A young boy and girl walking towards La Grande Roue de Montréal with their parents.Photo Credit: © La Grande roue de Montréal

Voiles En Voiles

This Old Port adventure park, newly opened in summer 2015, has a spectacular ropes course, including a 2-foot beginner version all the way up to a 35-foot advanced version. It’s all housed between two huge realistic-looking ships, and roving pirates, ready to challenge kids to a inflatable sword duel, add to the authenticity. They cap the number of kids who can be climbing at any given time, but jumpy castles and a snack bar keep your bucaneers occupied in the mean time. Non-adventurous parents can observe for free. $24 per person for unlimited ropes course; $74 per family; $12 for just unlimited inflatables. Get more information: voilesenvoiles.com>

12 things to do in Montreal

Old Montreal

Walking the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal gives you a true taste of the city, but be aware that many of the most picturesque side streets have narrow sidewalks without much room for a stroller. Stick to the wider Rue St. Paul and Place Jacques-Cartier if you’re pushing a pram. Must-see stops: the Notre-Dame Basilica for grandeur; Place Jacque-Cartier for street shows; Champ-de-Mars, Jardin du Gouverneur or Place Marguerite-Bourgeoys for green space; Saint-Amable and Saint-Vincent Streets for seeing artists’ original work; and Les Glaceurs for a cupcake break.

the streets of Old Montreal filled with people

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Biking Along Lachine Canal

The flat and mostly paved 14K trail along this waterway gives families a view of the stark beauty of industrial Montreal as bikers pass sea locks, graffiti, and factories. Make a stop at Atwater Market for gelato and a game of outdoor chess. Rent bikes, seats, tandems and trailers at one of two Ma Bicyclette locations: Right on the trail by Atwater Market or in Old Montreal. Get more information: mybicyclette.ca>

12 things to do in MontrealPhoto: Bernard Amiot

Jean-Talon Market

Play guess-the-strange-veggies with your kids at this expansive farmer’s market in Little Italy, where you’ll also find an amazing cheese and charcuterie selection. Stock up for a picnic, or eat at one of the surrounding cafes. Abundant free samples keep little ones fueled through your stroll. Open year-round. Hours vary by day. Get more information: marchespublics-mtl.com>

12 things to do in Montreal

Montreal Science Centre

Please touch—everything!—at this kids’ museum on the water in Old Port. The Science 26 area, named for exhibits that start with every letter of the alphabet, is for all ages, and has comfy chairs with a view for parents who need to take a load off. The permanent Cargo exhibit lets kids experience the inner workings of a port—especially apropos given the waterside setting. Kids 3 & under free; Kids 4-12 $8.50; Adult $11.50 Get more information: montrealsciencecentre.com>

12 things to do in MontrealPhoto: Miguel Legault

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Biodome

Wander through diverse habitats (that tropical rainforest feels good on a cold day) at this natural history museum. Get comfy at the popular penguin exhibit; your kids getting their fill of the birds waddling, swimming and diving is going to take a while. Make a day of it by visiting the other kid-friendly attractions that share the Space for Life campus: the planetarium, insectarium and botanical gardens. Admission free for kids under 5; Kids 5-17 $9.75; Adults $19.25. Get more information: espacepourlavie.ca>

12 things to do in MontrealPhoto: Pierre St-Jacques

Mont Royal

Kids with energy to burn will sleep well after climbing to the top of Mont Royal, Montreal’s highest point, with it’s killer selfie-ready view. Steps take you to the top fastest, but a winding path allows you to meander up and down with a stroller.

Get more information: lemontroyal.qc.ca>

12 things to do in Montreal

La Ronde

Canada’s second largest amusement park, Six Flags’ La Ronde, is located on Saint Helen’s island. A dozen or so low-thrill options keep little kids happy. If you can, try to hit the park on a weekday, when crowds thin out, and head to the most popular rides as soon as you get to the park. Strollers are available for rent if you’ve left yours at home.

Kids 2 & under free; Kids under 1.37m $44.99; Adults $61.99. Discounts available if you buy tickets online.

Get more information: sixflags.com/larondeen>

12 things to do in Montreal

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Parc Lafontaine

This charming park full of trails and playgrounds is gorgeous any season, but in the winter visitors can ice skate down meandering frozen paths; there are also oval rinks for hockey players. Be sure to bundle up (Montreal winters are no joke) and then warm up with a hot chocolate from nearby Espace La Fontaine.

Skating is free; skates available for rental

Get more information: montreal.com>

12 things to do in MontrealPhoto: Susan Moss
This article was originally published on Apr 23, 2018

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