Best of Montreal with Kids

Old Montreal with Kids
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  • 01 of 09

    Montreal Avec Les Enfants

    Want to feel like you're escaping to Europe without leaving North America? Take your kids to Montreal, a French-language city in Quebec that brims over with kid-friendly charm.

    There are myriad kid-friendly attractions in Montreal. As a festival city, Montreal offers a lot of activity year-round.

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  • 02 of 09

    Explore Old Montreal

    Old Montreal with Kids
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    Get to know charming Vieux Montreal, the oldest quarter of the city, exploring the cobblestone streets, doing some shopping, and enjoying a few meals in the excellent restaurants. You can get a ride in a horse-drawn carriage or download the Cité Mémoire app to your smartphone for a fun 60- or 90-minute guided walking tour of Old Montreal. 

    Don't miss a stop at Place d'Armes and the Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the most dramatic examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world. The church's interior is tremendous and sumptuous, with its deep-blue ceiling decorated with golden stars and hundreds of intricate wooden carvings. Unusual for a church, the stained-glass windows depict scenes from Montreal's history rather than traditional biblical scenes.

    You'll want to spend plenty of time in this neighborhood, so consider booking a hotel here.

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  • 03 of 09

    Get a Science Lesson

    Man-made pond and the Centre des Sciences de Montreal ,Montreal Science Centre, in the Old Port of Montreal in autumn, Quebec, Canada
    ••• Perry Mastrovito / Getty Images

    Even non-geeks will love this museum, which is one of the best science centers in North America. Families will find plenty of interactive fun at the Montreal Science Centre, and its location is prime, on one of the quays on the St. Lawrence river in the Old Port area, just below the quaint lanes of Old Montreal.

    Permanent exhibits offer plenty of opportunities for kids to run around cranking, popping, and pulling at objects that demonstrate scientific principles. There is an IMax theater and creative temporary exhibits designed to teach in a fun way.

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  • 04 of 09

    Have Your Minds Blown

    Cirque du Soleil tents reflected in the Bonsecours Basin in the Old Port of Montreal at dawn, Quebec, Canada
    ••• Perry Mastrovito / Getty Images

    Montreal is a city of festivals and live performances, but if you have to choose just one show, then let it be Cirque du Soleil. Long before it became a worldwide sensation, the "Circus of the Sun" was founded in Montreal and continues to play a huge role in the arts scene here. Kids and adults alike will be dazzled by shows that combine acrobatics, mind-boggling choreography, eye-popping stunts, and spellbinding costumes and sets.

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  • 05 of 09

    Take in the Best View of the City

    Montreal Tower in Olympic Park, Montreal
    ••• Perry Mastrovito/Getty Images

    For the best view of the Montreal skyline, head to the Montreal Tower in Olympic Park. Rising 541 feet on a 45-degree angle, this is the world’s tallest leaning tower. A two-story cable car will whisk you to the observation level, where you're rewarded with a panoramic view stretching up to 50 miles in every direction. The base of the tower houses the Olympic Park Sports Centre and features seven water basins for sports such as kayaking, rowing, and swimming.

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  • 06 of 09

    Bike Ride on the Lachine Canal

    Bike Rental in Montreal with Kids
    ••• Courtesy of Ca Roule Montreal

    Rent bikes from Ca Roule Montreal at 27 De la Commune East Street in Old Montreal. Ride to the Old Port to begin a ride along the picturesque Lachine Canale, past the old mills and grain elevators that line the waterway. Along the way, you'll spot boats waiting for the water to rise at locks. Figure that it will take a couple of hours to complete the 18-mile roundtrip route. Hungry? Cross the small bridge and head to the Marche Atwater for picnic fare such as cheeses, fruits, bread and other tasty edibles. 

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  • 07 of 09

    Scream and Shout

    La Ronde Theme Park in Montreal
    ••• Perry Mastrovito/Getty Images

    Love theme parks? Spend a day at La Ronde theme park, part of the Six Flags chain, which is located on Ile Sainte-Helene, a small island near downtown Montreal. 

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  • 08 of 09

    Meet Penguins and Puffins

    Biodome de Montreal with Kids
    ••• Alan Schein Photography/Getty Images

    This appealing indoor botanical garden-meets-zoo is housed inside a striking building, the former velodrome built during the 1976 Summer Olympics. You can stroll through four different ecosystems, starting with a lush Tropical Rainforest. In the indoor Laurentian Maple Forest, maple trees actually change color in the fall, lose their leaves, and get buds in spring. The Gulf of St. Lawrence area provides both surface and underwater views are provided, which is a delight for kids who love to see diving ducks and egrets. The stars of the Biodome, however, are the puffins and penguins in the Subpolar Regions.

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  • 09 of 09

    Tackle a Zipline and High Ropes Course

    High Ropes and Zipline in Montreal
    ••• Courtesy of Voiles en Voiles

    Love adrenaline-fueled thrills? The Old Port is home to Montreal Zipline, Canada's first urban zipline circuit, which lets you zoo over Bonsecours Island and is open to adults and kids age 7 and up. Right next door, there is a pirate-themed Voiles en Voiles ropes adventure course with seven aerial routes that connect two huge sailing ships.

    - Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher