Reasonable rents and a good social safety net mean most Montrealers eschew the burbs and stay in the city to raise their kids. Festivals often have kid-friendly options, and there are plenty of parks and fun things to do. Visiting teens can often join their parents on bike tours and other excursions, and if you’re with little ones most rental places will offer something to accommodate that—a bike trailer or trail-a-bike, for example, or a pedal boat instead of a kayak.
Many hotels, especially the higher-end ones in Vieux-Montréal, can set up child care if you give them some advance notice. Staying in Vieux-Montréal also means you’ll be close to the Vieux-Port, which features a ton of family-friendly activities and museums.
Arrive in Montréal and head to your hotel in Vieux-Montréal. Drop your bags and head out to grab a coffee and a light bite at Crew Café. Then stroll down rue St-Paul, the oldest street in the city, and do a little browsing. Head to the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal and learn a bit about the city’s culture and history to ground your trip—you can take a guided tour of the church, or just a read a little about the church and the Place d’Armes.
Next, walk down to the Vieux-Port and grab a snack from a food truck or Muvbox—tacos, poutine, and lobster rolls are all popular options. After lunch has settled, head to Voiles en Voiles, a super-fun ropes course set up on pirate ships in the Vieux-Port—you can stay for an hour or longer. If you find yourself with more time to spend before dinner, check out the Centre des Sciences de Montréal.
Try local favorite Brit and Chips for dinner. After the meal, head back down to the Vieux-Port and enjoy an evening at the Bonsecours Basin. La Grande Roue de Montréal, a giant Ferris wheel, is open till 11pm nightly, or, if you’ve still got some energy to burn off, the SOS Labyrinthe is a fun game for the whole family.
After breakfast at Le Cartet, head down to the river and walk east along the Lachine Canal, or take transit if you’re with young kids. Hook a right and cross the bridge at Marché Atwater. Treat the kids to an ice cream at Havre aux Glaces and wander the market for a while before you rent a pedal boat at H2O Adventures.
When you’re done pedal-boating, return to the market for a quick bite to eat—Pizza Mia is a safe bet. Then catch the Métro back east to the Pointe-à-Callière Musée d’Archéologie et d’Histoire. There’s plenty to explore, and this museum always offers a few kid-friendly interactive exhibits.
For dinner, head to Jardin Nelson, which offers refined classics for adults alongside kid-friendly choices. After the meal, meander up Place Jacques-Cartier and make your way to the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal for the nightly light show.
Today you’ll be taking an excursion out to Greater Montréal—pack snacks and a picnic—so start your morning with a hearty, healthy breakfast at 7Grains Bakery & Café. Catch the Métro to the Space for Life park out at Pie-IX station—this park includes the Jardin Botanique, Biodôme, Insectarium, and Planetarium. The best deal—you’ll get to experience a whole day of fun—is to purchase the family package allowing you access to all four spaces.
When you’re ready for lunch, unpack your picnic at one of the designated picnic areas or the Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion in the botanical garden. Alternatively, order lunch at the botanical garden and find a seat on the lovely terrasse. After lunch, head back to Space for Life and pick up where you left off.
Just before dinnertime, catch the Métro back into town—specifically, to La Banquise, Montréal’s most-famous poutine spot. Order your meal to go and take it for a picnic at the nearby Parc La Fontaine, where the kids can splash their feet in the pond or play Frisbee after dinner. Take transit back to your hotel when you’re feeling tuckered, or if you’ve got energy to spare, wander back along Ste-Catherine, in the pedestrian-only section of the Village.
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