Take your kids who are learning French in school to this city, celebrating its 375th anniversary this year. “It’s a foreign city without going across the ocean,” says Eileen Ogintz, founder of TakingTheKids. Besides the obvious tourist attractions—Notre Dame Basilica and the Montreal Biodome—be sure to spend some time at Mount Royal Park, which was designed by the same person who worked on New York City’s Central Park. “It offers the most incredible view of Montreal,” says Ogintz. Stay at the new Renaissance Montréal Downtown Hotel, which is located near Notre Dame Basilica.
Located on the Avon River in Ontario, Stratford is a cultural and foodie mecca. But your kids might like it more because it was the childhood home of Justin Beiber. The pop star actually got his start at one of the theatres in town. In fact, the town’s annual Stratford Festival is internationally acclaimed; Treasure Island (complete with a parrot flying through the audience and an aerial artist performing entirely on silks from a giant tree), Guys & Dolls, and Romeo & Juliet are among the shows for 2017.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a science museum in the U.S. that’s cooler than the Ontario Science Centre. Dinner at CN Tower’s revolving restaurant will be a meal that your kids will tell their friends about. A trip to Casa Loma, with its majestic gardens, secret passages, and climbable towers, will make your kid feel like a princess! Ontario Place, a waterfront park, is set to re-open this summer. Stay at the Chelsea Hotel, where kids have a check-in desk.
It’s really not a tourist trap! The parks in front of the falls are gorgeous, rainbows pop up all the time, and the Hornblower Cruise that takes you under the falls and gets your poncho-clad family soaked is selfie-worthy. And so is the nearby Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory where more than 2,000 tropical butterflies fly freely among lush tropical plants in this indoor oasis. If you’re lucky, one will land on you. Spend the night at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Campground offers cabins, tent sites, and RV hookups, or stay at the Sheraton On the Falls. Many rooms have fantastic views of the waterfalls.
About a 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls, this beautiful town dotted with fun shops is the perfect side trip. It’s also home to the Shaw Festival, which features plays (including some kid-friendly options) in four local theatres.