Four Family-Friendly Cities

Urban ideas for a family escape 

Skip the beach or the slopes in favour of an urban escape this spring. Cities provide a warren of adventure and a wealth of fun, from top-notch science museums and Broadway shows to ATMs that pump out cupcakes. And travelling with kids lets you experience just about any metropolitan atmosphere anew. 

Las Vegas

It’s the city that dares you to go beyond the ordinary—in this case, just by bringing the family to this “adult playground.” But why not? There are plenty of affordable flights and hotels, warm spring weather and over-the-top fun for all ages. Start out at the massive indoor Adventuredome Theme Park at Circus Circus, or head for the High Roller ferris wheel at the east end of the LINQ Promenade. Then there are hotel pools (often for guests only, of course) that raise the bar. Enjoy huge waves and long, lazy rivers at Mandalay Bay, for instance, or a three-storey slide through a shark tank at Golden Nugget. For your mini-foodies, splurge at the Caesars Palace Bacchanal Buffet, where more than 500 dishes are plated daily. Consider all of this your contribution to contemporary culture: The Hangover IV: Family Vacation.  

Montreal

It's likely that snow will still be abundant in Montreal this time of year, which makes exploring Mount Royal Park loads of fun thanks to the skating, the snowshoeing and the beautiful city vistas. Indoors, there’s a slew of kid-friendly museums to check out, including the Pointe-à-Callière Montreal Museum of Archeology and History and the Space for Life complex for all things terrestrial and beyond. For a sweet treat, try the seasonal urban sugar shack, La Cabane.

Vancouver

Springtime can be beautiful in Vancouver, where it’s warm enough in March for beachcombing on Kitsilano Beach or cycling the Seawall (many hotels have bikes you can borrow). If it rains, you can head for the always-popular Vancouver Aquarium or the Beaty Biodiversity Museum to pull open drawers of fossils and marvel at the giant blue whale skeleton. Besides its scenic backdrop, the city also offers thrills ranging from the 4-D flight simulation of FlyOver Canada to the high-speed Sea Vancouver zodiac tour. 

New York City

It’s a city of kimchi tacos and gin dens, but it’s also a city where official family ambassadors have included the Muppets and Curious George. In short: New York has something for everyone. And, for the underage set, that includes the free-roaming playgrounds of Central Park, three children’s museums and the classic American Museum of Natural History. And then there are the toy stores, including the iconic FAO Schwarz and the super-fun Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. (with its jars of kryptonite).