Little feet tap in unison to the beat of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, a family-friendly, music-filled event like no other, with free outdoor concerts every day, all day, June 26 to July 6, complimented by the city’s many summertime, kid-focused activities…
The Montreal Jazz Festival’s numerous outdoor stages in the Quartier des Spectacles offer all kinds of musical choices for families, from dixieland dancing to big band spectacle. The site also features daily performances by theatrical artists, magicians and colourful circus troupes, plus outdoor games and interactive activity stations, animated public art projected on building facades, and more.
The Musée d’art contemporain, indoors at Place des Arts, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, a few blocks away, both host art workshops and tours tailor-made for kids. In the Old Port, the Montreal Science Centre entertains and educates with hands-on science and tech exhibitions and surround-sound IMAX movies.
While the Jazz Fest abounds in its cultural offerings, the natural world isn’t far away in Montreal: the Montreal Space for Life is just a few metro stops from Jazz Fest headquarters. Home to the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium, Canada’s largest natural science museum complex lets kids roam and explore the ins and outs of the world’s ecosystems, from plant life to the stars. For an urban hikes with a great views, walk up Mount-Royal to see downtown and the St-Lawrence River beyond – on July 1, celebrate Canada Day as the Friends of Mont Royal present traditional songs and all kinds of family activities at 3 p.m. at the Chalet du Mont-Royal at the top of Mount Royal Park. And see the city from another perspective at Parc Jean-Drapeau, looking out over the Saint-Lawrence River to downtown Montreal from Ile Ste-Helene – also where you’ll find La Ronde Six Flags amusement park and the Biosphere Environment Museum.
From the Jazz Festival main site downtown to touring the city streets and parks for miles around, consult the Tourisme Montreal Bike Guide for details on bike paths, bicycle rentals, BIXI and more peddling fun. Or take physical activity to the next level and climb high at indoor rock climbing gym Allez Up and at the Olympic Stadium’s brand new urban freestyle Park Exalto, a playground for all ages.
For adventure-seeking older kids and daring adults, take to the great, watery outdoors with Rafting Montreal: try white water rafting, jet boating and river boarding along the St-Lawrence River. Give kayaking a go – solo or tandem – or take it slower on a pedal boat or electric-powered boat with H2O Adventures, located along the historic Lachine Canal. Speed along on land with Montreal’s Vortex Racing, where F1 racing simulators put everyone in the driver’s seat. Or take advantage of the good weather at Montreal’s many public swimmings pools and beaches.
No matter where the day takes you, hunger will follow – settle in at one of the city’s best family-friendly restaurants or make a game of finding Montreal’s food trucks, parked throughout the city and serving up creative dishes for all appetites, big and small, 7 days a week all summer long.
Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 6, 2014
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Photo credits : Caroline Durocher