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Montréal Science Centre
Photograph: Montréal Science Centre

21 best things to do in Montreal with kids

Essential list of the best things to do in Montreal for guaranteed family-friendly fun.

Written by
Leigh KP
&
Laura Osborne
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UPDATE, Fall 2022: Montreal is a playground for kids of all ages, especially in the fall. The city is full of attractions for young children (and the young at heart), stellar museums and excellent places to eat that are easy on the budget. Every borough has its own family-forward fun—not to mention some epic apple pickingawesome Montreal parks, spectacular urban beaches and spooky theme park rides—with easy access via public transportation (5 year-olds and under ride for free!). 

RECOMMENDED:
Full guide to the best free things to do in Montreal
27 best Montreal attractions for tourists and locals
31 best museums in Montreal to discover all year round

Best things to do in Montreal with kids

Discover Parc Mont-Royal
Photograph: Tourisme Montréal, Susan Moss

1. Discover Parc Mont-Royal

Parc Mont-Royal was inaugurated in 1976 in an effort to preserve a natural space in the city’s core, but the park has been an important social meeting ground for generations before it was made official. Today, it’s the site of the weekly Tam Tam drum circle, vast picnic grounds, an excellent toboggan hill where equipment can be rented for a nominal fee, a lookout at the summit and multiple hiking trails.

Head to the Biodome
Photograph: Claude Lafond

2. Head to the Biodome

The Biodome is under renovations until December of 2019, but if it was left off this list, an iconic Montreal attraction would be neglected. Can’t have that. What you can have as of the end of 2019 are inexpensive tickets and you can do a pretty good tour in less than two hours—perfect for tots who need an activity before naptime. Stroll through four drastically different ecosystems and experience the climate, flora and fauna in an immersive way. Side recommendation goes to the Planetarium next door to keep you busy until this one reopens.

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This 60-metre tall observation wheel—kaleidoscopically lit and equipped with climate-controlled booths running throughout the year—offers killer views of Old Montreal and downtown. It's also (conveniently) located next to Voiles en Voiles (a pirate-themed ropes course) and the Tyrolienne Mtl Zipline (an aerial adventure where you can fly like a super hero).

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Explore the Montreal Science Centre
Photograph: Freddy Arciniegas | Montreal Science Centre

5. Explore the Montreal Science Centre

Head down to the Old Port and keep a look out for a big red molecule sculpture. There you’ll find this interactive museum located smack dab on the harbour. The exhibits rotate fairly regularly, but the Tiny Tots room and IMAX cinema are always available. Located on a pier that’s surrounded with important historical buildings and lunch spots, you could easily plan for full day visiting this place.

Live your best life at La Ronde
Photograph: Jean-François Savaria - Tourisme Montréal

6. Live your best life at La Ronde

Located on Saint Helen’s Island, La Ronde is accessible by public transportation, so forget about parking. The park includes Halloween-themed events, classic roller coasters for pre-teens, a kid zone for toddlers and a series of family-friendly rides. Stroller rental is available, so you don’t even have to tackle Metro stairs with a buggy. Genius!

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Watch a film at Cinéma Moderne
Photograph: Courtesy Cinéma Moderne

7. Watch a film at Cinéma Moderne

In the trendy Mile End neighbourhood stands Cinema Moderne, a small 54-seat movie theatre. On weekends it plays children’s movies selected by a curator with terrific taste. These aren’t the annoying films you’ve already seen 1000 times; the kids’ movies usually play in the late morning, so you can still get home in time for that 1pm nap. There’s a bar downstairs where you can grab a beer during the show, let alone enjoy the brunch they have during weekends as well.

Experience Bach Before Bedtime
Photograph: Bach Before Bedtime / @bachbeforebedtime

8. Experience Bach Before Bedtime

Performed by Allegra Chamber Music, Bach Before Bedtime is a series of classical music concerts with interactive elements to entertain toddlers and babies. The shows are presented in a mix of English and French, but even if you didn’t understand half of what’s said, the music carries the show. Bach Before Bedtime is presented downtown at McGill University and Place des Arts.

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Get lost in SOS Labyrinth
Photograph: SOS Labyrinthe

9. Get lost in SOS Labyrinth

An indoor maze in Old Port, SOS Labyrinth is a challenging activity with a historical twist. Learn about the Montreal harbour’s history with an adventure in a maze, featuring puzzles and obstacles to keep your kids busy. SOS Labyrinth is open to all ages, but it’s best enjoyed by kids of reading age. Note that the Labyrinth is in a 105-year-old hangar that cannot accommodate winter fun, so the summer season’s the best time to go.

Take a leap at iSaute
Photograph: PhotoDR

10. Take a leap at iSaute

It’s rainy outside and your kids have boundless obnoxious energy. What do you do? Easy: Take ‘em to a giant warehouse full of trampolines and let them bounce until they pass out. iSaute has two Montreal locations, one in Kirkland and one in Anjou. Open to both kids and adults, Mondays are the best time to go, as there’s family jump night with special prices for people with kids.

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Check out the Ecomuseum Zoo
Photograph: Victoria de Martigny / Creative Perspectives Photography

11. Check out the Ecomuseum Zoo

Whether you grew up in Canada or it’s your first time north of the 49th, you probably haven’t engaged with Canadian animals as closely as you might like to. Well, you can at the Ecomuseum. This West Island zoo houses 115 species from Quebec, including arctic foxes, black bears and a delightful raft of otters. Rather than keep the animals in traditional zoo cages, the animals roam in beautiful specialized habitats designed with conservation in mind.

Get tickets for Geordie Theatre
Photograph: Geordie Theatre / @geordieprod

12. Get tickets for Geordie Theatre

For nearly four decades, Geordie Theatre has presented plays for kids performed by award-winning actors. Their headquarters is in the Sud-Ouest neighborhood of Montreal, but you can catch public shows at the MAI and DB Clarke Theatres in Montreal’s downtown core. Different shows are good for different age groups, with shows for youngins and young adults alike.

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Spend an afternoon at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal
Photograph: Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Michel Dubreuil

13. Spend an afternoon at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal

Fine art galleries aren’t the first thing you imagine when you plan a weekend for kids, but the folks at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts do a terrific job of curating exhibits for all ages. Most exhibits have a room with tactile activities for young kids and free art workshops that compliment the main show. Skip the gift shop and take home a souvenir made by the whole family.

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Visit Exporail / Canadian Railway Museum
Photograph: Exporail / Le Musée ferroviaire canadien

17. Visit Exporail / Canadian Railway Museum

It’s difficult to grasp just how grand steam engines are until you’re standing in front one. The Exporail train museum in Saint Constant—an hour away by public transportation—offers exhibits that get you up close and personal with locomotive artifacts. Exhibits include a miniature train ride, antique steam engines and a model train room which captures the attention of more dads than anyone would like to admit.

Watch a show at Illusion Theatre
Photograph: Michel Pinault

18. Watch a show at Illusion Theatre

Illusion Theatre has been around for nearly thirty years. The company performs puppet shows for toddlers to double-digit-aged kiddos. Shows are primarily in French, and are so dazzling and engaging that you’ll definitely enjoy them (even if you aren’t a fluent Francophone). It’s located in Little Italy, where you’ll find lots of parks and family-friendly restaurants for a follow-up meal and some relaxation by sundown.

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Go sugaring off at Sucrerie de La Montagne
Photograph: @laSucreriedelaMontagne

19. Go sugaring off at Sucrerie de La Montagne

Going to a sugar shack is one of the best things to do in Montreal. It’s that cultural touch point that every local kid experiences as a high school field trip, but no one’s ever too young to go. They’re a way of connecting with Quebecois history by eating more pig and maple syrup than anyone thought possible. Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud is one of the few sugar shacks open year round and has provided an authentic sugaring-off experience for over a century.

Have a Petit Piknic
Photograph: Charles Prot

20. Have a Petit Piknic

Piknic Electronik has taken place in Parc Jean-Drapeau every Sunday for 15 years, and now you can bring your kids to this massive outdoor rave. Don’t worry, it’s not as irresponsible as it sounds: Every Sunday from June to September, Petit Piknic compliments its big sister show with games, snacks and dancing for kids. Best past is that it’s free for children under 12.

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