Summer 2024: Montréal cultural guide for families

Spring Culture, arts and heritage The city
  • Montréal complètement cirque
  • Shows de ruelle
Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard

Get your kids and teens hooked on culture! Here's an overview of cultural happenings specially designed for 0–17-year-olds going on across the island this summer. 

Rue Wellington / SDC - Festival Marionnettes Plein la rue

FESTIVALS

Montréal’s festival calendar may run all year long, but come summer, that’s when the city really shows off its international reputation as a festival city. From one tip of the island to the other, Montréal’s indoor and outdoor stages buzz with unique performances all summer long. Theatre, dance, music, circus arts,  comedy, cinema: the choice is yours! For fun quality time with the fam, be sure to check out the host of free, kid-friendly outdoor activities offered by the many festivals. Here's a few of our choice selections or consult our Montreal summer festival guide for more ideas. 

Petit Piknic – May 25, 26, June 16, July 7 and 14, 2024, Parc Jean-Drapeau
Original, festive and free, these lively afternoons are presented from noon to 3 p.m. on the Piknic Électronik site. On the agenda: electronic music, games, on-site entertainers, street food trucks and fun with other families. Don’t miss it!

MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE – July 4 – 14, 2024 
The MONTREAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE festival, presented in collaboration with Loto-Québec, celebrates its 15th anniversary this summer! Under the theme IMPOSSIBLE N’EST PAS CIRQUE (CIRCUS IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE) enjoy memorable performances by artists and acrobats from the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and Québec. Head to TOHU and Espace St-Denis for the indoor shows, and check out the packed free outdoor programme.

Les Lumières de Saint-Michel – August 9 – 11, 2024
For the second year running, the Les Lumières de Saint-Michel event returns to La TOHU's outdoor courtyard and the Welcome Pavilion in Frédéric-Back Park for three days of entirely free festivities: a grand nocturnal parade, an illuminated running race - La Foulée illuminée - shows, circus entertainment and more.  

Festival Marionnettes Plein la Rue – August 23 – 25, 2024
Promenade Wellington comes alive with puppets as grandiose as they are fascinating at the 13th edition of this festival, featuring 14 companies from Quebec and two from abroad. Let yourself be carried away by the magic of the 11th art with some 40 free shows of short duration. 

Festival des arts de ruelle de Montréal (FAR) – August 26 – September 8, 2024
Montreal's picturesque alleyways reveal all their charm and joie de vivre during the Festival des arts de ruelle de Montréal  (FAR). Now in its 8th year, the whole family can enjoy a varied and lively programme in the quaint, social backstreets of the city. 

JOAT Festival – August 27 – September 2, 2024, Club Soda
Celebrate street dance culture with your teenagers thanks to over 150 artists who will plunge you into the world of high-level battles, breaking, hip-hop, popping, krump and more. A chance to discover the Afro-American vernacular dances that have become popular the world over. 

Festival BLVD  August 29 – September 1, 2024 
Saint-Laurent Boulevard shuts off to cars and becomes a fully pedestrian thoroughfare for this major family celebration. On the programme: games, creative installations, treasure hunts and a relaxation zone for parents to cool off and rest. Perfect for a grand family festival!

FQD mini – September 5 – 14, 2024
For the second year running, the Festival Quartiers Danses (FQD)  will be putting on a special programme for children and their families, with the aim of democratising contemporary dance. Stay tuned! 

Théâtre de Verdure - Orchestre Métropolitain

THEATRE, CINEMA AND SHOWS

Théatre de Verdure – June 26 – August 29, 2024, Parc La Fontaine
At the heart of Parc La Fontaine, the Théâtre de Verdure offers free outdoor programming all summer long. Music, dance, circus, theatre performances and film screenings are presented throughout the summer.

Ciné-été – June 22 – September 1, 2024, Cinéma Beaubien
Discover a free programme of films for the whole family on Saturdays and Sundays at 9.30 am, offered by the Maison de la culture Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, in collaboration with the Cinéma Beaubien and the FIFEM.

FORTISSIMO! – June 28 – August 16, 2024
Presented free of charge by Théâtre La Roulotte, this French-language play for the whole family will be performed outdoors in parks across the city.

KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities – until August 25, 2024
Join us for a spectacular performance combining poetry, staging, daring acrobatics and technology at the heart of a hidden, invisible world where the wildest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting to be unleashed.

Place des Arts, Quartier des spectacles

Circus, theatre, dance, music and puppetry: a series of cultural events combining fun, emotion and discovery for the entire family! Your older teens, meanwhile, will appreciate the regular programming at Place des Arts, which offers a wide array of choices to pique their cultural curiosity. Concerts, comedy shows, live music or dance: choose a show and discover something new together!  

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS

Musée d’art contemporain, Downtown

En famille at the MAC exhibitions and activities are designed for children aged 6 and over and teenagers. Passionate art mediators are on hand to welcome and guide you and your family as you admire original works and open your minds to avant-garde creation. This summer, Friday and Saturday workshops in July and August will focus on the exhibition, femmes volcans forêts torrents where children can experiment with creative strategies for using recycled materials and express their environmental concerns through their creations. Free for under 18.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts , Downtown

In the heart of downtown’s historic Golden Square Mile, the MMFA hosts top international exhibitions, with free admission for 20 years and under. This summer, it offers the Mischief Welcomed! workshop, Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., where you and your family can create an extravagant collage scene. Or, gets your creativity pumping and your hands dirty with Museum’s Artcycle, offering outdoor art workshops summer in various parks and venues in Montréal.

Now on display: Wanda Koop – Who owns the moon (April 11 to August 4, 2024), 東海道 Tōkaidō – Dreamscapes by Andō Hiroshige (April 27 to September 8, 2024), Saints, Sinners, Lovers and Fools – Three Hundred Years of Flemish Masterworks (June 8 to October 27, 2024), The Pop of Life! (until July 2024).

The Little Prince - Place Bonaventure

Immerse yourself in the poetic and philosophical world of The Little Prince with this exhibition featuring sculptures, moving images, replica planes, film projections, audiovisual montages and testimonials from the author, his family and friends. Free for children aged 4 and under.

The PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art

Located in two heritage buildings in Old Montréal, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art is presenting a number of free exhibitions this summer. It's a great way to introduce young people to contemporary art, with workshops and guided educational tours given by PHI Foundation educators, in French and English. 

World Press Photo Montréal Exhibition – August 28 – October 14, 2024, Marché Bonsecours 

Bring your teens to the 17th edition of this prestigious exhibition showcasing photos of the 2024 competition winners, selected from tens of thousands of images submitted to the jury by photographers from around the world. Free for 10 years and under. 

OASIS Immersion - Dreaming Asia - Piying Dream

IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES

OASIS immersion, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Immerse yourself in the magical world of OASIS immersion! Three immersive galleries and two illuminated experiences fill this 2,000-m2 multimedia space with dazzling effects to delight all ages. This summer, travel to the cultural heart of China and Japan with Dreaming Asia or soak yourself in nature with Root for Nature, a sensorial experience created in collaboration with National Geographic to highlight conservation and sustainable development issues. Free for children 5 years and under.

Museum of Illusion, Old Montréal

An edu-tainment destination for all ages, the Museum of Illusion offers over 70 visual animations, exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions and immersive rooms designed to awaken the senses and play tricks on the mind. Free for children 4 years and under.

The AURA Experience at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal, Old Montréal

This multimedia experience created by renowned Montréal studio Moment Factory immerses the whole family in a captivating visual and musical universe, projected onto the neo-Gothic architecture of Montréal's Notre-Dame Basilica. Free for children 5 years and under.

SAT, Quartier des spectacles 

Exhibitions and immersive experiences come together in this creative laboratory dedicated to the development of digital culture. At the heart of the Satosphère, you and your teens and kids can enjoy a true audiovisual experience. This summer, discover Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon (until August 8, 2024), a mesmerizing show that juxtaposes striking images of space with the musical score of Pink Floyd's legendary album.

The Horizon of Khufu – until July 31, 2024, King Edward Quay,  Old Port of Montréal,  

Immerse yourself in the mysteries of the Great Pyramid of Giza and experience the funerary rites of King Khufu as you embark on a virtual reality expedition to discover ancient Egypt. Ages 8 and up.

McCord Stewart Museum - Exhibition view: Norman Parkinson: Always in style

HISTORICAL EXHIBITIONS

Musée McCord StewartDowntown

Here, you can explore the history of Montréal in all its diversity through exhibitions that often take an interactive approach. Numerous workshops and guided tours for the whole family are organised in parallel every. Don’t miss  the permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience , which explores the knowledge and history of Indigenous peoples, as well as the temporary exhibitions Norman Parkinson: Always in Style (until September 2, 2024), Presence of the past  (until August 18, 2024) and Portraits and Fashion – Quebec Photographers Beyond Borders (until September 29, 2024). Free admission for children aged 12 and under.

Redpath Museum, Downtown

Head over to the McGill University campus to discover incredible specimens of extinct animal species, fossils - including impressive dinosaur skeletons sure to impress young and old alike - and collections from ancient Egypt, including mummies. Suggested contribution of $10 (adults only).

Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, Old-Montréal

The Come aboard! Pirates or Privateers? permanent exhibition is sure to delight budding sailors aged 5 to 12 years old, thirsty for knowledge and adventure. More of a landlubber? With Archaeo Adventure youngsters can follow the steps of an archaeologist and experience a simulated archaeological dig through the construction site, the tent and the laboratory area. Still on display: The Heart and Soul of Saint Henri exhibition (until May 11, 2025) and Olmecs and the Civilizations of the Gulf of Mexico (until September 15, 2024). Free for children aged 4 years and under.

From now until September 3, 2024, Summer on the Point is back with a wide range of free, festive activities taking place outdoors in front of the Museum, a little urban oasis designed for families. Don't miss our Family Sundays, when we'll be showcasing Mexican artistic and cultural traditions through creative workshops, plus a whole lot more! 

MEM – Centre des mémoires montréalaises, Quartier des spectacles

This brand new, inclusive and innovative museum and civic space celebrates the voices of citizens past and present, highlighting the identities and stories that define "montréalité". Discover the exhibitions Detours – Urban Experiences (produced in collaboration with Urbania (until December 2025), in addition to the MEM's public spaces. Free admission for children aged 12 and under, and special rates for teenagers aged 13 to 17.

Château Ramezay – Historic Site and Museum of Montréal, Old Montréal

The permanent exhibition La vie de Château : grandeurs et misères en Nouvelle-France offers an immersion into 18th-century Montréal that's sure to intrigue children of all ages. Free admission for children aged 4 years and under.

Marguerite-Bourgeoys Historic Site, Old Montréal

Step back in time to the city’s beginnings and meet some of Montréal's most symbolic figures at this historic site. Take in the permanent exhibition, Meet Margeurite! where children can learn more about this extraordinary woman hailed as the “Mother” of the colony. Free for children aged 12 and under. 

Écomusée du fier monde, Village

At the heart of a spectacular public bath converted into a museum, youngsters can discover the industrial and working-class history of the Centre-Sud district. Free for children 6 years and under.

La Maison Saint-Gabriel, Pointe-Saint-Charles

Head southwest of Montréal to visit a three-hundred-year-old farmhouse, where you'll get a glimpse of rural Montréal between the 17th and 20th centuries. There are many family activities offered this summer in addition to guided tours for ages 6 years and up.

Jardin botanique de Montréal – Montréal Space for Life

SCIENCE AND NATURE

Space For Life, Olympic District

The largest museum complex in Canada devoted to the natural sciences, Space For Life encompasses the Biodôme, the Planetarium, the Botanical Gardenthe Insectarium, and the Biosphère (in Parc Jean-Drapeau). For all ages and free for children 4 years and under.

Montréal Science Centre, Old Port of Montréal

The Montréal Science Centre offers budding scientists fun and enriching exhibitions for all age groups. This winter, discover with your family the origins of biomimicry, or how plants and animals have inspired technologies to make transport more efficient and eco-responsible (until March 23, 2024). Your tickets also give you access to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition (until March 23, 2024) and  four permanent exhibitions.

Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, Saint-Constant

This museum on Montreal's South Shore offers permanent, temporary and virtual exhibits to introduce visitors to the fascinating world of railways. Children can climb aboard various train carriages, take a ride on a miniature train, and participate in the numerous thematic activities held throughout the year. Free admission for children 2 years and under.

Smith Houseon Mont Royal

Why not round off a wonderful walk on the “mountain” with a visit to Smith House to take in the free exhibition, The Thousand Faces of Mount Royal: Olmsted, the Visionary ? Here, you’ll experience an ode to the mountain and the photographers who have immortalized it through their lenses, from the vision of the architect of Mount Royal Park to the shots of celebrated photographer William Notman, with a few of today's Instagram photos thrown in for good measure. There’s no lack of things to do as a family on the mountain, with a Youth Cross-Country Ski Program showing youngsters the basics to get out on the trails, plus plenty of other fun activities designed to awaken your senses and help you get in tune with nature. 

Ecomuseum ZooSainte-Anne-de-Bellevue

The only outdoor zoo on the island of Montréal, here you can observe native Quebec animals in their natural habitat. Wolves, hawks, and other magnificent creatures: keep your eyes peeled! 

GENERAL CULTURE

Municipal Librairies

The libraries in Montreal's various boroughs are goldmines for reading, playing and listening to stories as a family. It's a simple (and free!)way to stimulate your children's curiosity. There’s even something for babies, with sensory books made just for them.

Les Maisons de la culture  

Thanks to the Maisons de la culture and their partners, the City of Montréal offers a varied and accessible cultural program throughout the year. Dance, theatre, concerts, visual arts exhibitions, cinema and more: consult the calendar.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are an excellent way to explore with the kids in tow. Haunted Montréal, foodie hotspots, a special "mural" open-air museum, nighttime projections: there's no shortage of choice, and some tours are suitable for all ages and even free for children under 12. Check out our recommendations here.

DAY CAMPS 

Every summer from the end of June to the end of August, most young Quebecers head off to day camp. Are you bringing your family to Montréal this summer? If your children want to experience Québec culture with locals, hone their artistic skills or learn a new language - all while you're wandering around the city - here's a selection of safe and fun Montréal day camps where you can enrol them for a day or a week. 

 

MORE IDEAS TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR VISIT:

Family-friendly hotels in Montréal;

Great places to eat with kids in Montréal

Experience Montréal as a family and save on all your activities

Indoor activities for kids in Montréal;

Things to do with babies and toddlers

Kid-friendly museums in Montréal

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard

Originally from Paris, Laure Juilliard made Montréal her home over 15 years ago and has never looked back. Won over by her new city's unique energy, cultural vibrancy and gastronomic effervescence, she loves exploring all the coolest spots. A writer and blogger specialising in lifestyle, culture, travel and gastronomy, she has lent her pen to Tourisme Montréal for more than 10 years, in addition to magazines such as ELLE Québec and Clin d'œil, as well as a variety of well-known companies and agencies. Always on the lookout for innovative concepts and the best addresses wherever she is in the world, she is also always planning her next trip.

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