Fun family activities in Montréal this summer

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

Summer in Montréal is abuzz with all kinds of things to do with kids, from activities in the parks to festival entertainment. Jump-start your family’s summer fun by exploring different parts of the city together, from nature parks you've always meant to visit to boat rides on the St. Lawrence River to that ice cream shop just off the beaten path. Now's the time to plan  fun-filled family adventures right here in Montréal.

Playtime in the park

With all kinds of activities and incredible views of Montréal, Mount Royal Park lets families experience nature without the effort of leaving the city – walk around Beaver Lake and fly a kite nearby, explore forest trails, have a picnic and more (and always important for a day out with kids: restrooms and cafés are open in the Beaver Lake Pavilion and Mount Royal Chalet).

You can also head to Jeanne-Mance Park right across from Mount Royal Park’s George-Étienne Cartier Monument, where you’ll find a huge playground, or picnic in Parc La Fontaine and many other Montréal parks and green spaces – some with fun splash pads for cooling off. Hop in the water at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Verdun Beach and other nearby places where pools and beaches are now open for the season, with new health measures in place.

Outdoor family adventures & festivals

With plants and trees from across North America, Asia and the world, the Montréal Botanical Garden at Space For Life is an expansive natural oasis currently in full bloom. Also reconnect with nature in the Space for Life Biodôme's five ecosystems, and explore the universe in the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium’s immersive films and exhibitions.. And visit with Québec wildlife from hawks to wolves outdoors at the conservation-focused Ecomuseum Zoo. Go cherry, apple, pear and plum picking and explore a corn maze not far from the city at Labonté de la Pomme. Get fitted out in a cave helmet and go exploring underground at La caverne de Saint-Léonard. Meanwhile, for the thrill-seekers in the family, stay tuned for summer opening announcements from amusement park La Ronde.

Outdoors is also the place to be for Montréal’s summer festivals this year! Circus performances of all kinds make TOHU – MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE a must from July 8 to 18, with indoor shows and surprise outdoor antics. Science for all ages fills the program at Festival Eurêka! from July 14 to 18. And in the heart of downtown Montréal, the Quartier des spectacles surprises with outdoor circus, theatre and dance performances, multimedia projections, and art installations that double as urban oases – all part of Les aventures du cœur de l’île, enlivening the city centre. And roam the city’s summertime pedestrian-only streets, including Saint-Laurent Blvd., Wellington St. in Verdun, Masson Street in Rosemont, Place du Marché-du-Nord in Jean-Talon Market, Ontario St. E. and more.

Rediscover the city at any age

In the picturesque Old Port of Montréal, stroll the boardwalk or ride along it on a quadricycle. See the city from far above on the Observation Wheel. Climb high at the Voiles en Voiles family adventure park or find your way through the SOS Labyrinthe. Older kids (and parents!) can try out MTL Zipline. Or play in the sand and watch the boats go by at Clock Tower Beach

Create your own treasure hunt for Montréal murals! Find massive, colourful murals on the sides of buildings, in parks and every neighbourhood thanks to MURAL Festival, LNDMRK, MU and other expert Montréal mural artists.  Learn more about the Montréal’s unique history and culture on private walking tours for your family with knowledgeable local companies. Jardins Royalmount is both a drive-in showing films for all ages and an open-air event space for live music, comedy, theatre performances and other activities this summer.  Or change your family's scenery entirely with a staycation at one of many family-friendly Montréal hotels

Bike rides and boat trips

Stretching for 15 kilometres along a still-functioning boat canal, from Old Montréal to the Musée plein air de Lachine in the west, the Lachine Canal is ideal for short bike rides or longer treks : hop off for a bite to eat at Marché des Éclusiers in the Old Port, Atwater Market in Saint-Henri or homemade ice cream at Riverside. At the other end of the city, ride through the landscape of Frédéric-Back Park near La TOHU circus complex. Explore more of Montréal on two wheels with our guide to all things biking, including kids’ bike and trailer rentals

Go on a memorable boat ride across the St. Lawrence River with Navark, offering trips to large nature parks, from Boucherville to Îles-de-Boucherville, Lachine to Châteauguay and Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot to Pointe-des-Cascades – bring your bikes too and go exploring! Or discover the beauty of the Old Port and the St. Lawrence River by boat with Croisières AMLBateau-Mouche and Petit Navire  Even go jet boating on the river with Saute-Moutons and Jet Saint-Laurent!

A wide world of indoor activities

Among many Montréal kid-friendly museums with new health measures in place, the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex lets kids play on the high seas in Pirates or privateers?, experience an archaeological dig, explore a (clean) sewer dating back to the 1830s, and peek into the fascinating world of model trains in A Railroad to Dreams.

For artistically inclined families, a summer visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a must, where you can currently see Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures,  Ecologies: A Song for our Planet and many more exhibitions. Beyond museums, Montréal isn't short on rainy-day indoor activities for kids, with many familiar spaces reopening this summer, including indoor skate and scooter park TAZ.

Kid-friendly places to eat

Plan a picnic in the park or do dinner differently at home with restaurant meals for take-out or delivery. Grab a coffee, hot chocolate and babyccinos at indie coffee shops and baby-friendly cafés. Pick up something sweet or savory at Montréal's best bakeries and pastry shops. Stop for bagels, sandwiches, burgers or poutine or dine on the terrasse at a wide variety of places to eat with kids. And, of course, we can't forget ice cream: what would summer in Montréal be without locally-made ice cream from the best ice cream shops in town? Have fun out there!

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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