© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
Playtime in the parks
Along with Montréal's many free things to do this season, the city serves up all kinds of fun for families throughout Québec's early-March Spring Break (this year from March 4 to 8, 2024). Go walking or snowshoeing in the woods or sledding down the hills in Mount Royal Park and other major parks like Frédéric-Back Park.
It’s easy to go ice skating as a family in Montréal, no matter anyone's skating skills: dress warmly and rent ice skates at the refrigerated Beaver Lake rink in Mount Royal Park, where you can also rent sleds, snow tubes, snowshoes and cross-country skis and go on expert-led park tours. There’s something to do in every neighbourhood this spring break – and great restaurants to fuel your adventures: for more details, check out our spring break guides for families, couples or solo!
Skate around the tree-lined Parc La Fontaine ice skating rink in the Plateau neighbourhood or on the pond at Parc Jarry, not far from Jean-Talon Market. Explore the sprawling wintery grounds (and warm greenhouses) of the Montréal Botanical Garden and try out the cross-country ski paths of Parc Maisonneuve next door. Nearby outside the Olympic Stadium, practice your snowboarding skills at Parc des Rails Dillon Ojo snowboard park.
© Alison Slattery
Escape across the river to Parc Jean-Drapeau, hosting a special program of winter activities, including an expanded outdoor ice skating path, cross-country skiing, fat biking, an elaborate mitt-warmer and more – if you don’t have your own equipment, rent it on site! Also try out cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the trails of Parc Maisonneuve and Parc Jean Drapeau.
When it’s time to re-fuel, head to some of Montréal’s great places to eat with kids in Montréal. And when kids inevitably ask for hot chocolate, why not go for the best hot chocolate in Montréal? And pick up the best Montréal bagels, pastries and fresh-baked doughnuts! for a special spring-break snack on the go.
© Eva Blue
City sights and sounds
The outdoor festival Luminothérapie features installations and projections illuminating several blocks of Saint-Catherine Street in the Quartier des spectacle downtown. Also downtown, go ice skating at the new Esplanade Tranquille rink at the corner of Sainte-Catherine and Clark – rent skates or bring your own and skate to music and interactive lighting displays, sign up for skating lessons, and take a break (with treats!) in the café.
Montréal’s signature winter festival of food and culture MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE returns from February 22 to March 4 with guest chefs at local restaurants, indoor entertainment and a sprawling outdoor site with food, drink, live music, a kids activity area and luminous artworks throughout the Quartier des spectacles. Epic all-nighter arts and culture event Nuit Blanche closes out the festival with an array of activities.
In Old Montréal, see the spectacular ice flowing on the St. Lawrence River and Montréal’s snow-covered skyline from a whole new perspective on La Grande Roue de Montréal: the observation wheel is open to the public, admitting one family bubble per cabin. Go ice skating to music at the beautiful Old Port of Montréal Skating Rink. On weekends starting in March, soar above the Old Port on the MTL Zipline and take in the spectacular scenery.
Explore different parts of Montréal as a family and learn about the city’s unique history on private winter walking tours with kid-friendly local companies.
© Eva Blue - Tourisme Montréal
Museums, nature and culture
Kid-friendly museums and galleries abound in Montréal – some even offer free entry to kids 12 and under, along with family-friendly free online workshops and special winter programming. Note that some museums may require advanced ticket booking online or by phone. Go explore the many kid-friendly artworks at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, see history from a new perspective in exhibitions at the McCord Museum dedicated to Indigenous voices, Québec photography and more. Don’t miss the Pointe-à-Callière's spring break activities and interactive exhibitions Headdresses from Around the World, Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers?
Book your tickets early to visit the Biodôme's five ecosystems to see lynx, monkeys, exotic birds, penguins and more (purchase fixed-time tickets online). Or explore the universe in exhibitions and immersive films at the Planetarium. Immerse your senses in an experience designed to connect to what matters today through powerful visual projections and stunning sound at OASIS immersion.
Located along the St. Lawrence River, the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum invites families to explore a unique heritage site. For spring break, the museum has put together fun activities for families: so many ways to explore the museum and make new discoveries! (Make sure to climb up to the tower to get a glimpse of the magnificent view of the river.)
Watch family-friendly adventure films and discover science activities online from the Montréal Science Centre, including Dinosaurs of Antarctica 3D.
© Ecomuseum Zoo
At the conservation-focused Ecomuseum Zoo in Montréal’s West Island, spot over a hundred animals native to Québec – like bears, otters, wolves, hawks and caribou. For those obsessed with trains, go full steam to the Exporail / The Canadian Railway Museum.
And bring home great books from Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's children’s bookstore in Mile End (one of the city's many great bookstores), at the Grande Bibliothèque downtown or any of Montréal's kid-friendly libraries.
© Yves Kéroack - Ville de Montréal
Family day trips
Whether you’re an adventurous and outdoorsy family or not, Montréal's major nature parks are a welcoming winter wonder: visit Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques and Parc-nature de l'Île-de-la-Visitation, or explore the regions around Montréal on a day trip out of town. Among the excellent places to ski, snowboard, cross-country ski and snowshoe, check out Centre de villégiature Tremblant and other mountains in the Laurentians or in the Eastern Townships.