© La Grande roue de Montréal
Old Montréal and the Old Port
The gigantic, graceful Grande Roue de Montréal is a definite can’t-miss. Not only will kids enjoy spectacular views, but they can try naming the city’s different monuments when they reach the ride’s apex.
Thrill seekers big and small can unleash their inner superhero when they go flying down the MTL Zipline, while teens will love the Quick Jump bungee jumping experience. Voiles en Voiles lets swashbucklers weave their way through ropes and platforms connecting two majestic ships, while at SOS Labyrinthe, the whole family can crack cases as they move from one challenge to the next. In nice weather, boat tours and quadricycle rentals are excellent ways to take advantage of Montréal. With this many activities, the Old Port keeps everyone entertained.
Looking for some exhibitions? The Château Ramezay, a historic site and museum in Old Montréal, presents Life at the Château: Splendour and misery in New France, which takes visitors time travelling back to life in Montréal during the 18th century. Budding swashbucklers will love the Come aboard! Pirates or Privateers? exhibition at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, swordfights (of the foam variety) and adventure guaranteed. Your budding scientists will love the Montréal Science Centre offering fun and rewarding exhibitions for kids of all ages. Little history and archaeology buffs, will love the Marguerite Bourgeoys historic site, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River: an outstanding heritage site that offers sweeping vistas from its tower.
© William Choquette
Downtown and the Quartier des spectacles
Downtown shopping malls are teeming with treasures for your back-to-school bounty. Young fashionistas will love looking for a new outfit, school supplies or a brand-new backpack along Sainte-Catherine Street or at the Complexe Desjardins, Centre Eaton, Place Montréal Trust, Cours Mont-Royal and Alexis Nihon. You can also browse the boutiques in Place Ville Marie and wrap everything up in the enchanting beauty of the OASIS immersion experience at the Palais des congrès.
Thanks to Les aventures du cœur de l’île, downtown and the Quartier des spectacles have been transformed into a giant playground for the whole family—check out the weekly programming here.
On the stage, La Maison Théâtre, young Montréal theatregoers’ place of predilection features magical programming of close to 15 shows for one-year-olds and older. For a well-deserved snack, head to Café Sfouf on Ontario Street, an eatery designed with families in mind that offers an excellent menu of Lebanese specialties.
Place des Arts also has over twenty shows each year designed for children aged 2 to 12 including "Sons et brioches" mornings where muffins, croissants, juices and coffees are served in the entrance hall when the theatre opens, 45 minutes before the start of the performance.
On weekends, at Musée des beaux-arts all visitors with a general admission ticket can take part in various creative family workshops in connection with current exhibitions. Take a look at the What a face! and Summer is for playing! workshops: first come, first served!
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
The giant Espace pour la vie museum complex will wow kids wee and old. The freshly revamped Biodôme invites children to observe lynxes, monkeys, exotic birds and a raft of penguins in their brand-new homes. At the Insectarium, which was also renovated and reopened in April 2022, children will have the opportunity to discover thousands of naturalized or living insects. Bring your older kids to see the Birth of Planet Earth ultra-high-definition experience at the Planetarium. Grab you picnic basket and set out for a stroll among the gorgeous colours of the immense Botanical Garden. Dreaming of your next getaway? Go to the Gardens of Light for inspiration, while the Magic Steps Circuit course will be an excellent demonstration of their skills in the heart of a course strewn with surprises.
Then head to the grounds of the Parc olympique where children can have fun in the bouncy castles and playground of Îlots76. Right next door is Parc Maisonneuve’s 63 hectares of greenspace: an ideal spot for your nature break and fun for the whole family.
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
From the Plateau to Villeray to Rosemont
A definite must-see is Mont Royal, our giant green lung of the city, is perfect for hanging out, walking, biking or jogging. Keep up to date on activities for children here. And gorgeous fall walks at Parc Jarry, Parc Laurier or Parc La Fontaine are best enjoyed with coffee, hot chocolate and churros.
Get a fresh new look at the lively Plateau Mont-Royal with Les Fouines du Plateau, an outdoor activity that links nine can’t-miss neighbourhood attractions between Saint-Denis Street and Coloniale Street. Indulge in public art, architecture, gourmet and educational stop-offs as you roam the Plateau’s pretty streets and back alleys at your own leisure. On Mont-Royal Avenue, treat the kids at Café boutique les Malins with a play space, accessible by slide of course! For a cool hands-on activity, stop at the Céramic Café on Saint-Denis Street, a ceramic painting studio for both young and young-at-heart creatives.
Pop Montréal International Music Festival is back from September 28 to October 2, 2022 and offers various family activities as part of Kids Pop, located at L'Entrepôt77 in the Mile End.
A little further north in Little Italy, roll up your sleeves for a special kid/parent pottery workshop at the charming Les Faiseurs café. A little further east, in Petite-Patrie, step into Café des Habitudes, an environmentally-friendly and vegetarian café designed for today’s family, then check out the next-door Heureux de Nature boutique, which offers yoga, music, philosophy, art, conscious communication and ecology classes for kids from 1 to 10.
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
In Villeray, TOHU is back on the scene with highly anticipated and appreciated shows that will wow old and young alike. You can also stroll through the huge Parc Frédéric-Back, an ambitious environmental rehabilitation project in Montréal with a truly unique atmosphere.
Outremont and Westmount
In Outremont, the Casteliers theatre company, which is dedicated to marionette arts, showcases highlight productions from here and around the world. The Théâtre Outremont also offers a great youth program this fall. Over in Westmount, the Théâtre Geordie offers theatre classes for kids.
As part of the FIKA(S) Festival, at the Maison internationale des arts de la marionnette (MIAM), on Sunday, October 23 at 11 a.m., storyteller Saulo Giri, accompanied by musicians Marthe Halvorsen and Sandra Boulanger, who will perform two Norwegian-inspired concert tales for children aged 6 to 12.
Quartiers du Canal and Pôle des Rapides
In family-friendly Verdun, enjoy a vegetarian break at Café Chato, surrounded by cats and kittens. The kids will love it! Next, go for a stroll Promenade Wellington, (voted the world's coolest street in 2022, according to a survey by Time Out magazine) which is dotted with great restaurants, and have a seat at one, like the popular Janine Café Brunch.
You’ve still got time to rent a pedal boat or a small electric boat and go on a mini cruise with the whole family along the Lachine Canal. Later on, stock up on delicious foods from Notre-Dame Street West: L’Avenue St-Henri, Barley – cereal bar, Arthurs, Maman Montréal, Resto-Café Quoi de N'Oeuf or Spanel Crêpes & Gourmets.
© La Ronde (Member of the Six Flags Family), Carlos Richer
Parc Jean-Drapeau and La Ronde
With easy métro access and just minutes from downtown, Parc Jean-Drapeau offers a variety of activities in a picturesque setting. Go on a discovery ride aboard an electric vehicle as you learn about the park’s history and islands, get an eyeful of public art that showcases talented local and international artists, or go hiking or biking for a full day of fun. At La Biosphère, every weekend, children from 3 to 5 years old are invited to l'Heure du conte to listen to stories about ature and the environment on the upper floor of the museum with a breathtaking panoramic view!
An amusement park paradise for kids, La Ronde is finally welcoming back thrill-seeking families.
© Charles-Olivier Bourque
All over Montréal
Guided tours are a great excuse to explore with your children. Haunted Montréal, bike rides, culinary tours, special open-air mural museums, video and light projections at dark: there is so much to choose from and some tours are adapted to all ages and are even free for children under 12.
No matter the weather, Montréal offers a host of indoor activities, be they physical, playful or educational. Plan for your great day out here and here.
Of course, there is still time to enjoy the best seasonal outdoor spaces that the city offers for picnicking, strolling, shopping or gardening.
What to do on a chilly day? Swap ice cream for delicious hot chocolate in the city's cafés. The tenth edition of MTLàTABLE will be held from November 3 to 13, 2022 to explore Montréal's culinary scene with your family. Finally, take a look at our guide to family-friendly restaurants and our selection of the best bakeries and pastry shops to fill up on delicacies!
© Victoria de Martigny - Creative Perspectives Photography
A little farther out
For a green getaway just a few kilometres from the city centre, the Îles de Boucherville National Park is lush oasis that offers walking trails, fishing, water activities and campgrounds. Bring your whole family on this Montréal-adjacent adventure! With its miles and miles of walking trails and ecological farm, the Parc-nature du Cap–Saint-Jacques is also worth the detour. You can also see the fauna of Québec in a natural setting at the Ecomuseum Zoo, about 30 minutes from downtown.
Laure Juilliard has been writing for over 10 years. She specializes in lifestyle, tourism, travel and food, she writes for the media as well as for different companies, agencies, freelancers or associations. Always in search of innovative concepts and top places to be at, she is also constantly preparing her next trip.