8 Reasons to Plan a Family Holiday in Montreal, Canada

Montreal is the most populated city in Quebec and is visited by more than 11 million tourists every year. While French is the city’s official language, many residents also speak English, so there aren’t many language barriers to worry about, and you won’t need a translator when visiting with your family. Montreal is also the largest French-speaking city in North America, and you’ll find more French Canadians here than in any other city. If you’re looking for a travel destination that’s located in Quebec and has the most attractions and landmarks, Montreal is always going to be the top option. More specifically, here are 8 exact reasons why every family should consider planning a holiday trip to Montreal:

8 Reasons to Plan a Family Holiday in Montreal, Canada
8 Reasons to Plan a Family Holiday in Montreal, Canada

1. Culture & History

Montreal is really like a world within itself, containing a mixture of vibrant immigrant cultures that make it feel like a completely different country. In fact, many French immigrants move to Montreal because there are areas in the city that look and feel much like France. Thus, travelling to Montreal could be considered a cost-effective alternative to visiting France or another similar European city, as many visitors have said that Old Montreal feels a lot like Europe. On the topic of saving money, it’s best to fly in February for the cheapest tickets. Likewise, Porter Airlines tends to have some of the best deals on flights to Montreal. Their site makes it easy to book great value flights well in advance with extras like free beverages and spacious seats included as standard. 

2. Architecture

Montreal has kept much of its colonial architecture intact, with more than 650 churches and religious buildings in the city. The most famous is the Notre Dame Basilica, a smaller but equally extravagant version of the Notre-Dame de Paris – yet another way this city can provide an experience that sort of mimics a Parisian vacation in some ways. The building was constructed in the 19th century on the site of a chapel that was originally built in the 1600s. The cathedral’s highlights include artistic stained-glass panes, English Gothic Revival design style, and wood that was imported directly from France. Aside from the Notre-Dame Basilica, there are many majestic and memorable buildings waiting to be explored in Montreal. 

notre dame basilica montreal
Notre Dame Basilica Montreal

3. Food

According to a 2014 report issued by l’Association des restaurateurs du Québec, Montreal had approximately 26.81 restaurants per 10,000 inhabitants at the time of the study. That number is likely higher now, but what does it even mean? To put that into perspective, the U.S. city with the most restaurants per capita is San Francisco, with only 21.44 restaurants per 10,000 inhabitants. In other words, Montreal has a higher density of restaurants than any city in the United States. So how many restaurants are in Montreal? While there’s no official estimate, if we extrapolate knowing that the current population of the city as of 2019 is about 1.78 million, we can divide that by the per capita standard (10,000) to get 178, which we would then multiply by the number of restaurants per 10,000 (26.81) to arrive at an estimate of 4,772. However, that was 5 years ago, so today there are probably more like 5,000+ restaurants within the city limits. With that many restaurants, you could visit a restaurant every day for more than 13 years without running out of new options! In other words, your family will have an endless menu to choose from during your stay. 

4. Animals 

The Montreal Biodome is an incredible attraction for any family to enjoy because it shows you the various biospheres on Earth in an indoor environment. You’ll travel through a controlled space that looks like the rainforest, complete with more than 4,000 animal and plant species. The biodome has an area that’s designed to mimic the Laurentian mountains, as well as a polar zone and a section for the St. Lawrence River. The city also has a single outdoor zoo called the Ecomuseum, home to a diverse collection of exhibits that can be seen for a fairly affordable price year-round. The outdoor zoo focuses more on local wildlife, while the indoor biodome includes exotic species from other countries. 

Montreal Biodome
Montreal Biodome

5.  Astronomy

There are many things to do in Montreal so when you’re done at the Montreal Biodome, you can head next door to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Here you can see the stars in a way you’ve never seen them before. The complex consists of two separate theatres which feature immersive, 360-degree films about the universe and astronomy. The shows are updated every season, so this place is worth a return visit. There’s a page on their website that will help you look up showtimes and obtain tickets. Once your kids have their first experience at a planetarium, they’ll probably want to see if there’s one in every new city you visit from then on. 

6. Science

Every vacation should include a bit of education, so why not stop by the Montreal Science Center to check out some of the kid-friendly exhibits and activities? The center contains an IMAX Telus theater that shows amazing scientific and nature-related films and documentaries. There’s also a section of the centre called the Fabrik – Creative Factory where kids aged 6 and up learn through instructional workshops in a playful and simple manner. For the younger children (ages 4-7), the Clic! Zone for Curious Minds lets them design rollercoasters, build small houses, and work with many different patterns and forms. 

7. Nature

Montreal’s Network of Large Parks consists of 19 distinct sites that occupy a total of more than 4,900 acres of land within the city. The city’s largest is Mount Royal Park, followed by Jean Drapaeu Park, Angrignon Park, and Des Rapides Park. You may also want to check out some of the hiking trails that wind through the nearby Laurentian Mountains. Likewise, the Montreal Botanical Garden is another sight for you and your family to behold and, along with the aforementioned biome & planetarium, is located within the Montreal Space for Life – the largest science museum complex in Canada. 

8. Festivals

Montreal is known for its extensive number of festivals, especially during the summer. These events range from music concerts to culinary competitions, comedy shows, art summits, sports tournaments and more. You can check out a continually updated list of Montreal’s upcoming festivals and events in the city on MTL.org. Some of the city’s more popular annual events include the Just for Laughs (a comedy festival), MTL à Table (a food festival), MURAL Festival (an art festival), and International des Feux Loto-Québec (an International Fireworks Competition), and the Fantasia Film Festival. 

Other Family-Friendly Activities in the Montreal Area

Aside from the above reasons why every family should consider visiting Montreal at least once, the city is also home to other fun activities that you can easily check out by renting out a car with a service such as: www.globecar.com/en/. Try taking a guided city tour or explore some of the city’s 435 miles of designated bike paths. You could also check out some of the king trails in the area, some of the most popular of which include Dieppe Trail, The Gorge Canyon Trail, Lachine Canal, Par du Mount-Royal Trail, and Mont Brassard Trail. Of course, you can’t have a family vacation without at least one visit to an amusement park, so La Ronda (essentially the Six Flags ODF Montreal) is another attraction worth checking out. 

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

rachel bustin


*This is a collaborative post

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