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 may look a little different this year, but there's still no shortage of things to do with kids. 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 the family staycation of your dreams right here in Montréal.

Playtime in the park

With all kinds of activities and incredible views of the city, 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 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 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

With plants and trees from across North America, Asia and the world, the Montréal Botanical Garden is an expansive natural oasis currently in full bloom – now open with timed tickets and free entry to children 17 and under. See 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.

Rediscover the city at any age

In the picturesque Old Port of Montréal, stroll the boardwalk or ride along it on a quadricycle, climb high at the Voiles en Voiles family adventure park, find your way through the SOS Labyrinthe, older kids (and parents!) can try out MTL Zipline & Quick Jump, or play in the sand at Clock Tower Beach

Montréal's MURAL Festival is a sight to behold along Saint-Laurent Boulevard and its side streets all summer: watch mural artists in the process of creation and spot new and classic murals. Spend a family evening at the drive-in: Royalmount Drive-in Event Theatre screens Hollywood movies and more, with food trucks, window service and private bathrooms onsite all 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.

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 AML. Explore more of Montréal on two wheels with our guide to all things biking.

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, gaze at Into the Wonder Room's cabinet of curiosities, and step way back in time with The Incas, Treasures of Peru – pick up local snacks at the on-site market too.

For artistically inclined families, a summer visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a must, where you can currently see Paris in the Days of Post-Impressionism: Signac and the Indépendants 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?

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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