Things to do in Quebec City

Things to do in  Quebec City

Walking in a poutine wonderland

Quebec City is French-speaking Canada’s historic heart, where the past is proudly displayed within the soaring fortifications of Old Quebec (Vieux Québec). Find strollable cobblestone streets, cafés dishing up Quebecois cuisine, and 17th-century homes, then walk the Plains of Abraham battlefield high above the St. Lawrence River. Natural beauty abounds beyond the walls: Some of the best things to do in Quebec City include visiting Montmorency Falls Park, whale-watching on the St. Lawrence River, and cycling nearby Orleans Island (Ile d’Orléans).

Top 15 attractions in Quebec City

Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec)

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With its narrow, cobbled streets and historic 17th- and 18th-century homes and monuments, there’s no place else in Canada that feels quite like Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec). As the only existing fortified city north of Mexico, it’s full of living history, rich Quebecois culture, and European-style charm. The historic district of Old Quebec—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is a must-see when in Quebec City.More

Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency)

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Higher than Niagara Falls, the impressive Montmorency Falls stand 272 feet (83 meters) tall and serve as the centerpiece of Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency). The site is a year-round destination for visitors to Quebec City and Montreal, offering an array of outdoor activities and the stunning sight of the falls themselves tumbling into the St. Lawrence River.More

Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin)

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Running alongside the famous Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin) is a wide boardwalk offering views of the city and the St. Lawrence river. In the summer, gazebos along the promenade host street performers and musicians, while in winter, the popular Les Glissades de la Terrasse toboggan run draws locals and visitors alike.More

Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham)

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Part of Battlefields Park, the grassy expanse of the Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham) was the setting for a major military clash in 1759, which led to the British takeover of New France—a battle that is well-documented in the Plains of Abraham Museum. The park is an outdoor playground for Quebec City residents who come here to stroll, cycle, jog, sled, and cross-country ski.More

Quebec Royal Square (Place-Royale)

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The passing of centuries has had little impact on Quebec's Royal Square (Place-Royale), a 17th-century plaza that has been at the center of Quebec City life since Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608. The Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, the oldest stone church in North America, still stands here, and the Fresque des Québécois mural can be seen nearby.More

Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral

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The oldest Christian parish north of Mexico, the grandiose Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral started life as a much more modest church in 1647 but was damaged and rebuilt several times—most recently in the 1920s following a devastating fire. The basilica is a must-see for anyone with an interest in architecture, art, and history.More

Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port)

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During the 17th century, Quebec City’s charming Old Port (Vieux-Port) was bustling with European vessels and crews offloading supplies to New France. Now thronged with passengers from incoming cruise ships, the area is filled with historic buildings occupied by art galleries, boutiques, and inviting French-influenced restaurants.More

Petit Champlain District (Quartier Petit Champlain)

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One of Quebec City’s best-preserved historic neighborhoods, the Petit Champlain District (Quartier Petit Champlain) has cobbled streets with sidewalk cafés, art galleries, and boutiques and European ambience. The city’s oldest staircase, the Breakneck Steps (L'Escalier Casse-Cou), leads from this quarter to the Côte de la Montagne.More

Orleans Island (Ile d'Orléans)

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Home to just a half-dozen heritage villages, Orleans Island (Île d'Orléans) measures 22 miles (35 kilometers) long and six miles (nine kilometers) wide. Located in the St. Lawrence River just downstream of Quebec City, this finger-like sliver of an island charms visitors with its expansive fertile farmland filled with vineyards, apple orchards, and sugar bush.More

Shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré (Sanctuaire de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré)

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One of Canada’s most-visited shrines, the Shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré (Sanctuaire de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré) attracts more than a million pilgrims every year. Though the shrine’s origins can be traced back to the 17th century, the colossal twin-spired basilica that stands today—which dwarfs the modest village in which it sits—is much newer, having opened only in 1934.More

Citadel of Quebec (Citadelle de Quebec)

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The huge star-shaped Citadel of Quebec (Citadelle de Quebec) is the largest military fortress in North America still occupied by troops. Begun by the French in the 1750s, the fortress was completed by the British in the mid-19th century, but never actually saw any action. Today, Canada’s French-speaking Royal 22nd Regiment (Royal 22e Régiment) is based here.More

Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site

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Encircling Old Quebec, these historic walls are the defense system of the only surviving walled city in North America. Originally developed by the French to protect them from the British, and later by the British to protect them from the Americans, the restored Fortifications of Quebec are now a National Historic Site.More

Upper Town (Haute-Ville)

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Perched atop Cape Diamond (Cap Diamant) overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Upper Town (Haute-Ville) is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec). Historic fortifications, built by the French and British, enclose a series of well-preserved streets lined with buildings dating back as far as the 17th century.More

Albert Gilles Copper Art Museum and Boutique

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The Albert Gilles Copper Art Museum offers a unique look at an unusual art form: metal embossing. This craft, perfected by Albert Gilles, continues to be practiced by his children and grandchildren today at the museum and store close to Quebec City.More

Artillery Park Heritage Site

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With sweeping views over potential enemy attack lines on the Saint-Charles River and the plateau west of Quebec City, this site was originally established as a defensive stronghold by the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. It later served as an ammunition factory, producing cartridges for the Canadian army up until the 1960s.More

Top activities in Quebec City

Quebec City Walking Tour
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Quebec City Walking Tour

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Evening Gourmet Tour 5 Course Dinner - History and Food in Old Quebec City
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Old Quebec City Food & Drink Tour / Day Experience
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Combo Historical and Food Tour of the Old Quebec City
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Amazing Old Quebec City Classique Walking Tour with 1 Funicular Ticket included
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Wine Tasting on Ile d'Orleans

Wine Tasting on Ile d'Orleans

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All about Quebec City

When to visit

Québec City is known for its enthusiastic approach to winter, and there’s no time for sitting and shivering when there’s so much to see and do. Visit at the start of February to take in the iconic Carnaval; the annual winter festival has been running for almost 70 years and features a masquerade ball, winter sports, and snow sculpture contests. During the winter, Québec City is full of music and life, and it’s the perfect time to experience the warmth of a Québécois welcome.

Getting around

Québec City is an excellent place to explore on foot or by bicycle. With public squares and winding streets, this historic city offers a glimpse into Canada’s past. It also boasts an extensive and reliable public transportation network. If you plan to only stay in the city, a car isn’t necessary; however, if you’re looking to discover the surrounding nature and villages, there are plenty of rental services available.

Traveler tips

For those looking to discover French Canadian culture, experiencing the cuisine is vital. Heavily influenced by the food of northern France, Québécois cuisine favors ingredients traditionally used by the Indigenous nations in the region—think cloudberries, moose meat, and morel mushrooms. Take a food tour of Old Québec to sample favorites, including poutine, tourtière (meat pie), and maple syrup sweets.

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People Also Ask

What is Quebec City famous for?

Quebec City is famous for being a little slice of Europe, just a 90-minute flight from NYC. It’s the only fortified city on the continent north of Mexico, claims the world-famous Château Frontenac, and delights visitors with its robust arts and culture scene.

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How can I spend 2 days in Quebec City?

With two days, start inside the stone ramparts of UNESCO-designated Old Quebec. Wander Dufferin Terrace boardwalk, which links Fairmont Château Frontenac to Citadelle de Québec and Plains of Abraham. See majestic Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, sip a cafe au lait in historic Royal Square, and visit the Museum of Civilization.

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What activities do people do in Quebec?

Whether it’s strolling the cobblestone streets of Old Town, zooming down a toboggan slide, or exploring nearby Montmorency Falls, people in Quebec stay active. Other popular outdoorsy spots include the Citadelle of Québec, Quebec City-Lévis ferry, and nearby Jacques-Cartier National Park.

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Do they speak English in Quebec City?

Yes. Any business or establishment that’s tourist-facing will be able to accommodate English speakers. You may run into the occasional French-speaking local who doesn’t, though.

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What should you not miss in Quebec City?

Don’t miss Quebec’s Old Town—with architecture straight out of Europe—and the Fortifications of Québec. Edge toward the St. Lawrence River, where the ornate Château Frontenac, Citadelle de Québec, and the Plains of Abraham connect via the Dufferin Terrace. Rest your legs at a cafe, like Café La Maison Smith or Café Pékoe.

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Is Quebec City expensive?

Yes and no. It depends on what you consider “expensive.” Quebec City is one of the more expensive cities in Canada, but compared to New York City, for example, it’s a budget traveler’s dream. The average double-occupancy hotel room is pretty affordable.

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