Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
Who needs to break the bank on pricy plane tickets when the Old World charm of a European vacation is just a few hours up the road? Rich in history and steeped in French culture, Montreal and Quebec City each offer a vibrant mix of sleek urban culture, quaint cobblestone streets, and world-class tourist destinations. Best of all, both cities are abuzz all summer long with kid-friendly events and activities. Is this the year you finally say oui to a north of the border family getaway? Here are some travel tips to get your plans underway.
What to Do
1. Jazz Festival: Montreal loves its many summer festivals, but this annual celebration of jazz music may be the city’s favorite. Taking place this year from June 28 to July 7, families can attend an outdoor concert at Place Des Arts, visit the music-themed playground and take part in a jazz workshop for kids. Headlining stars include Norah Jones and Seal.
2. Biodome de Montreal: This stadium-sized indoor zoo replicates four different climate zones, including a rainforest and arctic ice cap. See monkeys swing from trees and then watch penguins take a dip. Kids can spend hours in this place making it a good pick for a rainy day.
3. Vieux Port/Old Port: Charming cobblestone streets surrounded by centuries-old buildings filled with shops, restaurants, art galleries, and plenty of people strolling about make the Vieux Port part of the city feel more like Europe than North America. At the waterfront park, bicycle, quadricycle and inline skate rentals, boat rides, and paddle boats await. Family hot spots include the Science Center (and IMAX theater) and Cirque du Soleil's summer performance venue.
Where to Eat
1. Nickels: Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, value prices and a varied kids’ menu make this Montreal-area restaurant chain an easy choice for family dining. Look around during your meal and you will no doubt spy a photo or two of Celine Dion. The famous Quebec native is a part owner!
2. Schwartz’s Deli: The oldest deli in Canada, this true Montreal landmark serves up its famous “smoked meat” sandwiches and other deli favorites to hungry locals and tourists alike. Schwartz’s is located on the historic Boulevard Saint Laurent in the heart of the city.
3. Jardin de Jade Poon Kai: After exploring Montreal’s Chinatown district, explore this popular restaurant’s super-huge buffet of Chinese food favorites. From Dim Sum to dessert, no one will leave hungry!
Where to Stay
What to Do
1. Old Quebec
Built as a citadel by the French to protect the settlement from attack, Quebec City is the only remaining walled city north of Mexico. From its location overlooking the St. Lawrence River, winding cobblestone streets offer lots of local charm and shopping, restaurants, and museums galore. The “Lower Town” outside the citadel is home to a stone church dating back to the 1600s and plenty of fun tourist shops.
2. Laurier Boulevard: On the outskirts of the city, Laurier Boulevard has the greatest concentration of retailers in eastern Canada, all housed in a continuous string of shopping malls, including the second largest mall in Canada. You'll find most major chain stores here, including Future Shop, Toys "R" Us , H&M, Sears, Zellers and Hudson's Bay Company, an indoor amusement park, IMAX theater, and skating rink.
Where to Eat
Where to Stay
1. Chateau Frontenac: The stunning, castle-like façade of Le Chateau Frontenac dominates Quebec City’s historic skyline. Once inside, continental ambience and kid-centric amenities make this premier hotel an unparalleled choice for stylish family travel. Rooms can be pricey, but children under 17 stay for free, onsite babysitting is available, and younger kids eat for free in the hotel dining room.
2. Manoir Sur Cap: In the shadow of the Chateau Frontenac, this smaller hotel is just as conveniently located and comes with all the same sweeping views. For families of a tighter travel budget, however, Manoir Sur Cap may be a better fit.
Traveling to Canada: Identification requirements
Tighter border security regulations in recent years have changed ID requirements for families traveling to and from Canada. According to State Department regulations, U.S. citizens crossing the border should have with them a U.S. passport, passport card, NEXUS card, Enhanced Drivers License or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document.
Children under age 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious, or other youth group) need only present a birth certificate (original, photocopy or certified copy), Consular Report of Birth Abroad or naturalization certificate. Families with custody arrangements should carry documentation from the parent not present on the trip that travel is allowed. See http://travel.state.gov for complete details.
Last updated by Parenting NH Administrator Apr 24, 2012.