I recently planned a family road trip to Montreal to celebrate my step-daughter’s upcoming birthday and to help the kids bond. It wasn’t easy as we set out on the five-hour drive. They argued about everything from how to get to Montreal (train vs car) to what movies to watch on the way there and what to do when we arrived.
Fortunately, I planned some great activities and the concierge at Hôtel Le Crystal Montréal had amazing suggestions, too. If you’re heading off to Montreal with the kids, my family-friendly picks are sure to please everyone on your road trip.
The one thing our kids immediately agreed on during our first evening in Montreal was milk chocolate fondue at a fun dessert restaurant called C’chocolat. We ordered the C’wow, which is a big dome of chocolate that melts to reveal a scoop of ice cream. We also indulged in the dry-ice fondue. Clouds of mist cascaded across the table (it was truly an Instagram-worthy experience) and as soon as the mist drifted away, the kids devoured the fondue, dipping their fruit into the chocolate with their long forks. The looks on their faces were priceless. My husband ordered a grown-up drink—it was chocolatey and delicious and came with a brownie on the side! After dessert, we headed for the hotel’s rooftop hot tub. It was cute to see the kids fall fast asleep in side-by-side cots at the end of a very long first day.
The next day we left our hotel in downtown Montreal for the Cosmodome . The virtual mission experience was meh but the trip got better with the 4-D cinema experience and even more fantastique when they got to try different astronaut simulator rides. My husband bounced up and down on what’s called the 1/6 Chair as though he was on the moon. One of my boys spun around in every direction to experience spatial disorientation on the Multi-Axix. The other two flipped themselves upside down again and again on the Space Station Mobility Trainer, a machine that looks like a hamster wheel. It was a very cool experience.
In the afternoon we played three games of laser tag at Laser Quest in downtown Montreal. We had a ton of fun running around the glow-in-the-dark maze and shooting each other with laser beams.
For dinner, we went to Gibby’s Steakhouse in Old Montreal. Located in an old horse stable, the kids loved everything about it from the warm, cozy atmosphere and friendly staff to the salty pickles on the table, the steak dinner and especially the lemon sorbet palette cleanser before the main course. They even talked their way into seconds! We were stuffed by the end and the kids declared it to be their favourite steakhouse ever.
The next day I took the kids to a really cool cereal bar called Barley Bar. They gorged on colourful cereals we just don’t see in Canada—at least not since the ‘80s! One of the kids had a big bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal, another one had Captain Crunch Berries and another had a yogurt-and-fruit parfait bowl with homemade granola. They even let us taste a flight of other interesting cereals—there was one shaped like mini donuts and another that tasted like blueberry pancakes. It was definitely a Montreal must. (And please don’t judge me for feeding them sugary cereals—it was a special vacation treat!)
One of the highlights among many was a visit to Oasis Surf. The kids put on their bathing suits and learned to indoor surf. Half the fun was falling down once they got up! They used the boogie boards, too. They had so much fun they asked us to book a second session. The staff were amazing and made sure the kids had fun and were safe. My husband and I watched from the overlooking tiki bar where we ate lunch after a virtual day at the beach.
The day got even more adventurous with a day-time visit to Old Montreal for zip lining. My step-daughter and husband had a blast zooming across a section of the Old Port while my kids and I caught them on video tape. Then we all boarded La Grande Roue de Montreal , a ferris wheel attraction, and saw the city from up high.
We managed to fit in crepes and poutine as well but there was so much we missed, like Montreal bagels and Montreal smoked meat. It will definitely be on our to-do list the next time we visit Montreal as a family.