Parks and nature
In summer or in winter, there's always something to do with kids on a family vacation in Montréal. The city's many parks and green spaces provide places for free-form play for the small set. Any time of year, explore Mount Royal Park, whether you stroll its winding path to the top or bus up to Beaver Lake and the Kondiaronk lookout, where you'll not only find an incredible view of the city but a café, seating and bathrooms in the chalet. Picnic and play in the playground in Parc Jeanne-Mance at the base of the mountain or go over to Parc La Fontaine in the Plateau, where you can see performances at the park’s open-air Théâtre de Verdure.
All year round, families flock to the environment-focused Space For Life complex: walk through the Montréal Botanical Garden’s sprawling grounds outdoors – see brightly-hued lanterns in autumn. Watch the antics of lynx, otters, bats, penguins and more wildlife at the Montréal Biôdome, reopening in 2021 after extensive renovations. Or go for a dip at the Olympic Pool’s indoor wading pool next door. And over in the West Island, spot all kinds of animals native to Québec at the conservation-focused Ecomuseum Zoo.
Outdoor events and markets
Montréal's public markets and seasonal outdoor markets and spaces offer a variety of local food, drinks, entertainment and family-friendly activities.
Escape the city in Parc Jean-Drapeau, a short metro ride away and host to numerous events.
When it comes time to wind down and get a bite to eat, Montréal has parents covered. Melons & Clementines in the neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, west of downtown, and Westmount, are an upbeat oasis for parents of babies and small children. More excellent places to feed babies and for toddlers to eat and play: Café Bébé Lala in the Plateau; Caffe della Pace in Outremont; Cafe Sfouf and Le Milieu café and art studio in the Village; and Bouge Petit Café on Papineau Avenue. Or try some of these great places to eat with kids in Montréal, and, of course, locally made ice cream and other frozen treats! At the end of the day, sleep tight at family-friendly hotels.
Wading pools and splash pads
In summer, beat the heat at the city's swimming pools and beaches and at splash pads and wading pools. Find wading pools at centrally located Parc Jarry, Parc Jeanne-Mance and Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier as well as in neighbourhoods across the island, including at Parc Jean-Drapeau's Aquatic Complex and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce's Trenholme Park. Check out splash pads at Parc Sœur-Madeleine-Gagnon in Little Italy, Parc Saint-Michel in Mile End and Parc Luc Durand behind Bibliothèque Marc Favreau, as well as even bigger splash pads at Parc du Père-Marquette, Parc de Normanville and Parc Lalancette.
La TOHU hosts circus shows and activities made for high-energy toddlers. Geordie Theatre specializes in theatre for kids. Maison Théâtre programs events and shows for toddlers, pre-schoolers and older kids. Take a break with a book and stay for story time at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (one of the city's many great bookstores), at the Grande Bibliothèque downtown or any of the Montréal's kid-friendly libraries.
Babies and toddlers aren't left out of the many indoor activities for families in Montréal. Kid-friendly museums and galleries abound – and many offer free entry to kids 12 and under. Take a family tour at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. See history from a pint-sized perspective in interactive exhibitions at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, featuring multimedia shows and family activities.
Any time of year, take playtime up a notch at massive indoor amusement parks just for kids – with new health and safety measures and reduced capacity: not far from central Montréal find Kazoom Café while just off the island of Montréal kids run free at WooHoo!, Funtropolis and Zig Zag Zoo.