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Things to do in Quebec City

Things to do in  Quebec City

Welcome to Quebec City

Quebec City lies at the southern end of the province of Quebec in Canada, 156 miles (252 kilometers) to the northeast of Montreal—its busier, flashier cousin. Home to cobbled alleyways, classy bistros, 18th-century townhouses, and pretty squares, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed city boasts rich history, loads of character, and a proud French identity. Visitors short on time can see the main sights in a day or two, using a hop-on hop-off bus or a guided walking tour to hit all of the highlights with ease. But those able to linger can experience a true taste of colonial Canada—and this is a city best appreciated slowly. The Old Town stretches from the Cap Diamant cliffs to the banks of the St. Lawrence River, attracting visitors to top attractions including the Citadelle of Quebec, the Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site, and Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church. The city comes into its own in summer, with a whole host of dazzling shows and festivals to entertain locals and visitors alike. And away from the city streets, whale-watching cruises take visitors into the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, cycling tours spin along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, half-day excursions head to impressive Montmorency Falls, and walking trips lead into the beautiful Canyon Sainte-Anne—where cascading waterfalls and beautiful scenery await.

Top 10 attractions in Quebec City

#1

Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec)

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Vieux Québec is the crown jewel of French Canada and if you're coming for the first time, look out - there's simply no other place like it in North America. Narrow cobbled streets are lined with 17th- and 18th-century houses and almost every step will bring you to another historical plaque, a leafy park with a battery of 18th-century canons, a grand 17th-century plaza, and other historical sites. In fact, wandering around Vieux Québec is like exploring an old European city. Vieux Quebec is compact and easily walkable. On a daytime stroll, you can browse the shops along Rue Ste-Jean, wander among the grassy knolls in the Plains of Abraham, climb to the top of the Citadel, walk the Fortifications, then follow the river boardwalk (the Promenade des Gouverneurs) down to the Victorian waterfront. From there you get the classic view of Quebec City’s most famous building, the Chateau Frontenac.More
#2

Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency)

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Higher than the Niagara Falls, the impressive Montmorency Falls stand 83 meters (272 feet) tall. The falls form at the mouth of the Montmorency River, where it drops over a cliff into the St. Lawrence River. On summer nights, the plunging water is illuminated; during July and August, the falls are enhanced by a spectacular international fireworks competition. Montmorency Falls is surrounded by Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, where visitors can see the falls while having a picnic. If you want to get a close-up view of the falls, you can take the staircase, which takes you from top to bottom, or take a suspension bridge over the crest of the falls, which enables you to see both sides of the park as well as the thundering water.More
#3

Petit Champlain District (Quartier Petit Champlain)

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At the foot of Cap Diamant in the historic Lower Town (Basse-Ville) of Quebec City, the Petit-Champlain quartier is one of the oldest spots in the city and said to be home to the oldest commercial street in North America; Rue du Petit-Champlain. In the beginning of Quebec’s history, Petit-Champlain was little more than portside village made up of just a few homes and fur trading posts. Today, after a huge urban restoration project, the quartier is bursting with sidewalk cafes, galleries, restaurants, and boutiques hidden down narrow cobblestone streets. The area is also well-known as an artists’ enclave, and nearly fifty of its stores are run by a local artists’ co-op. On the side of 102 Rue du Petit-Champlain, look out for a huge trompe-l'œil. Designed by Murale Création, the famous mural shows different stages of Quebec’s history, from the bombardments to the landslides to the people who set down their roots here by the shores of St Lawrence.More
#4

Quebec Royal Square (Place-Royale)

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Locals bestow Place-Royale as the spiritual and historical heart of Vieux Quebec, for this spot is not only the birthplace of French Civilization in North America but also one of the continent’s oldest settlements. And that history resonates, as the site has the largest surviving ensemble of 17th and 18th century buildings in North America. One of the highlights here is the Centre d’Interpretation de Place-Royal, an interpretive center with illuminating exhibits on the individual people, houses, and challenges of setting up a town the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Walk past the center to see a trompe-l’oeil mural of people from the early city. Dominating the plaza is the oldest church in Quebec, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. It’s worth taking a peek inside at the paintings, altar, and the large boat suspended from the ceiling. When not soaking up the history, duck in and out of the boutiques and restaurants that are sprinkled throughout the Place-Royal.More
#5

Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin)

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At the base of the Château Frontenac, Quebec City’s Terrasse Dufferin promenade looks out across the St Lawrence River from its clifftop perch atop Cap Diamant. Named after Lord Dufferin, who was Canada’s governor between 1872 and 1878, come in summertime when green and white-topped gazebos fill the 425-meter-long boardwalk and street performers entertain. Time your visit for the early evening, and you’ll also get to see the sun set over the Laurentian Mountains to the north. In winter, Dufferin Terrasse is especially popular for its Les Glissades de la Terrasse toboggan run, which wooshes people up to 60 mph down an 82-meter slide. Just underneath Terrasse Dufferin, by the statue of Samuel de Champlain, you can visit the archaeological site of Champlain’s second fort which dates back to 1620.More
#6

Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port)

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One of the most charming areas of Quebec City, the Old Port (Vieux-Port) was once a bustling commercial hub for European ships bringing supplies and settlers to the new colony. Today, it’s still bustling, but now the port reverberates with visitors wandering the quays, enjoying picturesque views of the Old City, the St. Lawrence River, and the Laurentian Mountains. The Quebec City Old Port is also where you’ll find the impressive Musee de la Civilization, spacious and rich with multimedia exhibits on Canadian culture. Also here is the Marché du Vieux-Port (Old-Port Market), where the local farmers and producers come to sell their fresh products. Perhaps the most enchanting of all the city’s many small squares – and a must-see – is the Place Royale, home to the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church, the oldest church in Quebec, and the Centre d’Interpretation de Place-Royal, which has exhibitions detailing the city’s 400-plus-year history.More
#7

Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral

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The oldest Christian parish north of Mexico, the Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame-De-Québec has suffered everything from fires to battle damage to reconstruction and restoration. The opulent cathedral you see today is richly decorated with impressive works of art including stained glass windows. Most of the Neo-classic facade of the Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame-De-Québec is from the reconstruction completed in 1771, though parts of the basilica date from the original construction, including the bell tower and portions of the wall. The neo-baroque interior is appropriately grandiose with neo-baroque, filled with ecclesiastical treasures, paintings, and a chancel lamp (a gift of Louis XIV), illuminated by the flickering light of votive candles. Below is a crypt, where some 900 people are buried including governors of New France, archbishops and cardinals.More
#8

Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham)

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When Quebecois want to soak up the sun or enjoy a family picnic, they head to the Plains of Abraham, contained within Battlefields Park. Within the park’s sprawling 267 acres/108 hectares are grassy knolls, fountains, monuments, trees, and lush sunken gardens all for residents and visitors to enjoy. Like other sites in Vieux Quebec, the Plains of Abraham is a looking glass into the city’s history. But though it was the site of many clashes for supremacy between the French and British Empires, the park you see today is what Central Park and Hyde Park are to New York and London. Spend an afternoon wandering its walking trails, checking out its historical monuments, and marveling at its landscaping. Throughout the year, the Plains of Abraham is the site of many outdoor concerts and events.More
#9

Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site

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Quebec City resonates with history, and nowhere is it most evident than in the beautifully-preserved Fortifications of Quebec. These restored 17th-century walls, built atop of plunging cliff, tower over the St. Lawrence River. As the only remaining walled city in North America, Quebec City is now recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must-see on a visit to the city. The Fortifications of Quebec encircle Upper Town, from the Citadel of Quebec through Parc L’Esplanade and Artillery Park National Historic Site, then down toward Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port). You can walk the 2.9-mi/4.6-km circuit on top of them, where you can take in sweeping view of the city and St. Lawrence River. The fortifications' Interpretive Centre has a small but interesting exhibit on the history of the walls as well as an old gunpowder building from 1815.More
#10

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

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Just 18 miles (30 km) outside of Quebec City stands one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Canada and the Catholic word: the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica. This Catholic sanctuary receives more than half a million visitors every year, which represents quite a lot of people for this modest village. The reason why this basilica is so famous—even more so than its Montreal counterpart—is because it is credited with many miracles, especially when it comes to curing the sick and disabled. Initially built as a shrine to Sainte-Anne, the basilica, whose history goes all the way back to 1658, got its healing reputation when Louis Guimont, a local carpenter suffering from rheumatism, came to help with the construction of the first chapel and was miraculously healed after its completion. Even nowadays, the pillars in the front entrance of the basilica are covered in crutches from people who are said by the parishioners to have been miraculously cured by Sainte-Anne.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Quebec City

How to Spend 1 Day in Quebec City

Things to Do in Quebec City This Winter

Things to Do in Quebec City This Winter

Food Lover's Guide to Quebec City

Food Lover's Guide to Quebec City

Recent reviews from experiences in Quebec City

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A must in QC
Shamim, Aug 2020
Quebec City Guided Sightseeing Cruise
A wonderful way to see Quebec City!
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Surprising just how awesome the falls were
nrew2019, Nov 2019
Private Bike Tour to Montmorency Falls
The falls were the highlight , the bike ride there less so but the enthusiasm and knowledge of our guide was 5 star!
star-5
Great way to spend 2 hours
christinaduvernay1, Nov 2019
Quebec City Sightseeing Tour
The guide easily switched between speaking English and French.
star-4
Montorency Falls and Ste-Ann-de Beaupre from Quebec
rosemarycapuzzi, Oct 2019
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec city
Guide was very good, covered a lot of territory outside Quebec City visiting the church and the falls and other sites along the way.
star-5
A fabulous tour!!
George C, Oct 2019
Quebec City Sightseeing Tour
If you have the time and you want to see and understand old Quebec sign up for this tour and ask for Dan you will not regret it
star-5
Fantastic experience!
christine h b, Oct 2019
Quebec City Walking Tour
Amazing way to see beautiful Old Quebec City and learn early Canadian history.
star-5
Fabulous bike tour in Quebec City
ljstratton12, Oct 2019
HIstorical Lower Town & Neighborhood Private Bike Tour
On a bike was the best way to see a lot of Quebec City in a short time with an excellent commentary.
star-5
Excellent tour!
Angie P, Jul 2019
Private Bike Tour to Montmorency Falls
Denis, the guide, was knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating and the falls were impressive!
star-5
Great Experience
CinnDee, Jul 2019
Quebec City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
This tour allowed me to travel in comfort and see all the main attractions the city has to offer.
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Other offers online
lozanoj77, Jun 2018
Quebec City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Getting the package would had able us to see more attractions rather than one.
star-5
Loved it!!
Don S, Dec 2018
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec city
The chocalate store on the island, the copper factory, the falls and the Abbey, were highlights of our trip to Quebec City.
star-5
Our first visit to Quebec City and...
jigger_b, Feb 2018
Quebec City Walking Tour
Our first visit to Quebec City and had SO much to see and experience.
star-5
Our tour guide spoke excellent...
Ralph, Oct 2017
Private Tour: Quebec City Walking Tour
Our tour guide spoke excellent English and told us about the past history of Quebec and Quebec City.
star-5
Lovely boat tour of Quebec City and...
Daniel M, Jun 2017
Quebec City Guided Sightseeing Cruise
The tour guide has excellent English and was very helpful and informative.
star-5
Very informative, variety of food...
Dawn A, Jun 2017
Small-Group Quebec City Food Tour
Great way to see a small part of Quebec City.
star-5
Nice outing outide of Quebec City
Hiya999, Jul 2018
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec city
Anne Cathedral which allowed us to see small town architecture.
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Family weekend getaway.
Coastal44737963534, Jan 2019
Quebec City Sightseeing Tour
The tour was in two languages English and French, and the bus driver who was also our tour guide did a very nice job.
star-4
Pleasant visit to the surrounding area around Quebec City
waldo1, Sep 2018
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec city
We had an enjoyable day visiting Montmorency Falls and the surrounding area, including the lovely Ste Anne de Beaupre church.
star-5
It was an amazing way to see Quebec...
loublum, Aug 2016
HIstorical Lower Town & Neighborhood Private Bike Tour
It was an amazing way to see Quebec City.
star-5
Quebec city and its surrounding area...
Upali J, Nov 2016
Small-Group Quebec City Food Tour
Quebec city and its surrounding area in fall was such a delightful place to visit, we can highly recommend it.

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