Guide to fun family activities for summer vacations in Montreal

seonaidmcgill
11th May 2022

Incredible family activities in Montreal are some of the best reasons to visit this summer. Although you might also be tempted by the Canadian Formula 1 2022 which arrives in the city on June 19 for three thrilling days. Whatever your passion, local writer and parent, Robyn Fadden, has found something you (and your kids) will love in Montreal this summer.


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Summer in Montréal is abuzz. There are all kinds of things to do with kids, from family activities in Montreal parks to festival fun. Jump-start your summer by exploring different parts of the city. Try nature parks and boat rides on the St. Lawrence River. Or head to ice cream shops off the beaten path.

Summer means playtime in amazing city parks

With its family activities and incredible views, Mount Royal Park lets families experience nature in the heart of Montreal. Walk around Beaver Lake and fly a kite nearby. Explore forest trails or have a picnic. Good to know, restrooms and cafés are open at 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. Here you’ll find a huge playground. You can also have a picnic in Parc La Fontaine and many other Montréal parks and green spaces. Several even have splash pads for cooling off.

However, if you really want to hop in the water, try Parc Jean-Drapeau, Verdun Beach and other Montreal pools and beaches. Most are now open for the season with health measures in place.

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Awesome outdoor family activities in Montreal

Montréal Botanical Garden at Space For Life is where to find plants from around the world in full bloom during summer. Think about reconnecting with nature in the Space for Life Biodôme. Or explore the universe in the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium’s immersive films and exhibitions. Then visit with Québec outdoor wildlife from hawks to wolves 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, thrill-seekers in the family can get excited about summer opening news from amusement park La Ronde.

Outdoors is also the place to be for Montréal’s summer festivals this year! Circus performance makes TOHU – MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE a must from July 8 to 18 this year. Science for all ages fills the program at Festival Eurêka! from July 14 to 18. And in the heart of downtown Montréal, the Quartier des spectacles is full of surprises. Think outdoor circus, theatre and dance , multimedia projections and art installations as part of Les aventures du cœur de l’île in the city centre.

Don’t forget to roam the city’s summertime pedestrian-only streets. These include Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Wellington St. in Verdun, as well as Masson Street in Rosemont, Place du Marché-du-Nord in Jean-Talon Market and Ontario St. E.

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Family activities in Montreal for kids of all ages

Picturesque Old Port of Montréal, is the place to stroll the boardwalk or ride along it on a quadricycle. See the city from far above on the Observation Wheel. Climb high at the Voiles en Voiles family adventure park or find your way through the SOS Labyrinthe. Older kids (and parents!) can try out MTL Zipline. Or play in the sand and watch the boats go by at Clock Tower Beach.

Create your own treasure hunt for Montréal murals! Find massive murals all over the city thanks to MURAL FestivalLNDMRKMU and other Montréal artists.  Learn more about the Montréal’s unique history and culture on private guided walking tours for families. Jardins Royalmount is both a drive-in showing films for all ages and an open-air event space for live music, comedy, theatre performances and other activities this summer.

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Get into bike rides and boat trips this summer

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. Take five at Atwater Market in Saint-Henri or stop for 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. Explore more on two wheels with the Montreal guide to all things biking, including kids’ bike and trailer rentals

Go on a memorable boat ride across the St. Lawrence River with Navark.  Choose trips to large nature parks like: Boucherville to Îles-de-Boucherville; Lachine to Châteauguay and Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot to Pointe-des-Cascades. Bring your bikes along for the sail and go exploring!

Or discover the beauty of the Old Port and the St. Lawrence River by boat with Croisières AMLBateau-Mouche and Petit Navire.  You can even go jet boating on the river with Saute-Moutons and Jet Saint-Laurent!

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Discover summer’s indoor family activities in Montreal

Many Montréal kid-friendly museums have new health measures in place. Visit the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex and let kids play on the high seas in Pirates or Privateers? Experience an archaeological dig. Explore a (clean) sewer dating back to the 1830s. And peek into the fascinating world of model trains in A Railroad to Dreams.

For artistically inclined families, a summer visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a must. Here you can currently see Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures.  Ecologies: A Song for our Planet is another must for kids.

Beyond museums, Montréal isn’t short on rainy-day indoor activities for kids. Lots of familiar spaces are reopening this summer, including indoor skate and scooter park TAZ.

Kid-friendly places to eat all over the city

Plan a picnic in the park. Grab a coffee, hot chocolate or 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. 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? Have fun!

Ready for a family vacation in Montreal this summer? Find out more about the city, where to stay and where to play with your kids. For more summer vacation guides follow Family Traveller on Instagram and Facebook and listen to the latest episodes of the Family Traveller Podcast.

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