Montreal, the city on the island in the Saint Lawrence River, attracts visitors with its mixture of stylish old buildings in Old Montreal, vibrant life, numerous open green spaces, and the spectacular river. This kid-friendly city is a good choice for a memorable family vacation.
PLACES TO VISIT
Vieux-Montréal or Old Montreal is the most popular tourist destination in the city. The oldest area of Montreal still preserves cobblestone paths with boutiques, restaurants, and galleries in the elegant buildings from the 17th century.
The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is located in Old Montreal. This Gothic Revival cathedral is a must-see attraction.
Place Jacques-Cartier, the vibrant public square in Old Montreal is lined by historic architecture, restaurants, and gardens. You can get an extraordinary view of Montreal's City Hall and Nelson's Column from there.
The Olympic Stadium is one of the most recognizable structures in the city. It is included in the Olympic Park Complex together with Jardin Botanique Montréal, Biodome and the Insectarium.
Jardin Botanique Montréal or Montreal Botanical Garden is an exquisite place with various themed gardens and greenhouses. It houses over 22,000 species of plants.
Mount Royal Park is the most visited park in Montreal. It was designed by the architect of New York Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted. It is famous for summer and winter activities, as well as different entertainment events.
MONTREAL FOR FAMILIES
Adventurous families can take a ride on the MTL Zipline Old Port of Montreal. The view from above is fascinating.
Just a few steps away from the MTL Zipline tower stands the Voiles en Voiles amusement park which kids adore.
Biodôme de Montréal is home to many ecosystems. Kids love exploring an endless number of animals and plant species. They are housed in a polar environment, a tropical rain forest, the St. Lawrence marine system, and a Laurentian forest.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
Montreal's museums have something for everybody, for kids and their parents alike. You should certainly visit some of them. The most visited are the McCord Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Pointe-à-Callière - Museum of Archaeology and History, the Montréal Holocaust Museum, and the Montreal Science Centre.
To discover Montreal's art scene, you should start with the city's numerous art galleries: Galerie de Bellefeuille, Fresh paint Gallery, Fonderie Darling, DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Phi center, Articule, and others.
Montreal is full of tourist gems off the beaten track. If you are fond of surfing, you can exercise it at Saint Lawrence River, one of the rare rivers with waves big enough for this sport.
You can rent a bike and have a great ride along the Lachine Canal. You will enjoy it.
Art lovers like to take a look at the colorful murals along Saint Laurent Boulevard.
Bota Bota floating spa on the Saint Lawrence River is located at the Old Port. You can enjoy different relaxing treatments and get great views of Montreal.
Jean-Talon Market, the large farmers market in the Italian district is vivid and colorful. You will enjoy the variety of fruits and vegetables there all year round.
Many hotels in Montreal offer family-friendly accommodation featuring connecting rooms, rooms with kitchens (including microwaves and mini-fridges), and junior suites. The amenities include restaurants with children's menus, cribs, highchair, indoor swimming pools, laundry, and much more. Breakfast is often included in the room rate, and babysitting can be arranged upon request.
You can also use Airbnb services with family-friendly rooms and apartments.
WHAT TO EAT
Several dishes represent the typical Montreal cuisine.
Bagels are probably among the best known. Traditionally, in Montreal, they are hand-roled and blanched in honey water.
The exquisite quality of Smoked Meat in Montreal means the unbelievably delicious kosher meat. Visitors can get it at many Hebrew restaurants, and it is inevitable in bagels.
Nobody knows for sure the secret formula of Orange Julep, but you must try this mysterious drink. It might contain egg whites and milk in the fresh orange juice, but the ingredients are kept a secret. The fast-food restaurant Orange Julep is the most unusual construction – a huge orange ball that has become the symbol of the city.
Steamé is a classic hot dog with mustard, onions, sauerkraut, and spices.
Poutine is another famous dish that consists of French Fries with Cheese Curds and in gravy.
On Sunday mornings You should have Brunch like Montrealers. You will typically eat roti (toast and butter), croutons, eggs, potatoes, fèves au lard (baked beans) and bacon.
Maple Syrup Maple is a universal sweetener in Canada.
• The primary language in Montreal is French; the secondary is English.
• You can get a free shuttle bus to/from many Montreal hotels.
• Three major annual events are Igloofest (January), Les Franco Folies de Montreal (June) and L'International des Feux Loto-Québec (July).
• People under 18 are not allowed into bars, pubs, and nightclubs. They can't purchase alcohol either.
• Tips are not included in the bill, so you should typically leave an additional 10% to 15% of the bill.
TIME TO VISIT
The best time to go to Montreal is between April and September. Spring starts with the famous Montreal Nuit Blanche. The top tourist season is in June, July, and August when temperatures are higher. Summer season is also the festival season, with many famous ones like Montreal Cirque Festival, Osheaga Music Festival, and Montreal Pride.
In Montreal, public transport includes the metro system and buses. STM Metro System is clean, safe and fast and it is more popular than buses. It is rather simple to use. Taxis are also a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. You can use Uber Car or rent a car at a rental agency, too. Bixi bike-sharing is a great way to explore Montreal in warm weather.
In the winter or in the summer, Montreal is definitely the city that has much to offer to families with kids. Don't hesitate to put it on your travel list.