Quebec City, Canada is a charming European style city, perched on the hill above the mighty St. Laurence River, surrounded by 400-year old ramparts. Quebec City is a delight to visit any time of the year. Stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of the old city with quaint art galleries, superb restaurants and cafes. Walk along the walls of the old fort and imagine 400 years of history unfolding and a battle fought on the Plains of Abraham below.
© Courtesy of hakat - Fotolia.com
Walking through the Old Quebec is walking through 400 years of history. Stroll along the ancient fortifications, citadel and ramparts overlooking the St. Laurence River and the Plains of Abraham. Take a quaint horse-driven carriage and explore the narrow, cobblestoned streets of the Lower City, with its fantastic restaurants and galleries.
Learn about the city’s history at the Museum of Civilization. Soak up the past from the bench on Place Royale where the city was first established, visit magnificent 17th century cathedral Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, catch a show at the Théâtre Petit Champlain or enjoy the bustle of the Port de Quebec and its old Market.
2.Quartier du Petit Champlain
© Courtesy of mister bike - Fotolia.com
From a quaint portside neighborhood with fur trading warehouses and imposing traders’ homes, district or Quartier du Petit Champlain grew into a tourist destination with excellent restaurants, boutiques, galleries and bistros. There is still a village atmosphere, with cobblestoned narrow streets and old stone houses that now house some great small hotels.
In the summer, sit at one of the outdoor restaurants, listen to street musicians and imagine life four hundred years ago. Don’t miss the 900 feet long mural that depicts Quebec’s history, and stretch your muscles on the steep Breakneck Steps built in 1935.
61 Rue du Petit Champlain, Ville de Québec, QC G1K 4H5, Canada, +1-418-692-2613
3.Things to Do in Quebec City: Montmorency Falls Park
© Courtesy of rabbit75_fot - Fotolia.com
Montmorency River drops 272' feet over the cliff into the Saint Lawrence River, creating magnificent Montmorency Falls, just across the Île d'Orleans. You can see the falls from the staircases or from a suspension bridge, which also provides access to the two sides of the park. An aerial tram carries passengers from the base of the falls and back.
Montmorency Falls Park is created to protect the falls and is beautifully manicured and maintained, offering walking paths and lookout points. Montmorency Manor is also located in the park and it hosts a restaurant, an interpretation center and a gift shop. In the summer the falls provide a magnificent backdrop to an international fireworks competition.
5300 Boulevard Sainte-Anne, Ville de Québec, QC G1C 1S1
4.La Citadelle de Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
© Courtesy of jiawangkun - Fotolia.com
La Citadelle is a star-shaped functioning military base located on Cap Diamant in the Old Quebec. Built in 1820, it is part of the ancient 400 year old Quebec fortifications built to protect New France. There are several guided tours a day, which includes watching the ceremony of the changing of the guards.
The views of the Plains of Abraham, the city and the St. Laurence River are spectacular. La Citadelle is an official residence of Canada's monarch and the Canadian Governor General, who lives in it for a few weeks during the summer. The Citadelle is also the site of ceremonies for newly appointed or leaving Canadian ambassadors and high commissioners.
1 Côte de la Citadelle, Ville de Québec, QC G1R 3R2, Canada, +1-418-694-2815
5.Basilique Cathedrale - Notre-Dame-de-Quebec
© Courtesy of pixssell - Fotolia.com
Notre-Dame-de-Québec is a Catholic church built in 1647, the first stone church in the new city. It was declared a cathedral in 1674 when the Québec City Diocese was formed, and became a basilica two hundred years later because it attracted large number of pilgrims. Located in Old Quebec, the basilica has a magnificent neoclassical facade with two asymmetrical towers.
Some of its most stunning features are beautiful stained glass windows designed by the Champigneulle House in Paris and the Meyer House in Munich, three Casavant organs and golden sculptures such as baldachin designed and built by famous French Canadian artist François Baillairgé.
6.Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site
© Courtesy of demerzel21 - Fotolia.com
The Fortifications of Québec is part of the defense system built between 1608 and 1871 in Québec City, overlooking St. Laurence River. It served as Canada's main military stronghold during colonial times. It is the only fortified city north of Mexico which is still standing, and it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage City and Canadian National Historic Site.
Guided tours take visitors along 4.6 km long walls and through the four remaining gates. The oldest is Porte St. Louis which was built in 1694. There is a range of activities available for the whole family, such as the Musket Firing Demonstration and the Tour of the Artillery Park.
7.Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, Canada
© CourtesyVinoverde - Fotolia.com
The Plains of Abraham is a 1.5 mi long and 0.5 m wide field between the Citadelle of Quebec and the Quebec City walls above the Saint Lawrence River. It is the historic site of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which was fought in September 1759 between the British and French armies.
The British won the battle in a half hour, eventually taking control of all of Canada. The Plains are now a park used for outdoor concerts, festivals, sports and recreation. Guided tours are available for the visitors who would like to learn more. The park is also the site of annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.
8.Tours Voir Quebec
© Courtesy of Eishier - Fotolia.com
There is no better way to learn about a city than through the stories, experiences and anecdotes shared by knowledgeable locals. Tours Voir Quebec will take you on a walking tour of this mesmerizing city, show you nooks and crannies, and tell you legends and tales you cannot find in any written tour guide.
The Grand Tour will walk you through Old Quebec’s narrow streets and tell you about its history, culture and architecture. If you are a foodie, the tourguides will introduce to you the best kept Quebec City secrets. Take the Zodiac tour and see the city from the St. Laurence River, or combine it all for a day of great fun and discovery.
9.Things to Do in Quebec City: La Promenade Samuel-De Champlain
© Courtesy of IndustryAndTravel - Fotolia.com
LaPromenade Samuel-De Champlain is a 2.5 km long park on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City, created to celebrate the city's 400th anniversary. This park offers four different sections The heart of the promenade has parks, fountains, street musicians and performers which is enjoyed by pedestrians, rollerbladers and tourists watching the river from the park benches.
The Boisé de Tequenonday is forested with some ancient pine trees and walking paths which pass through 5,000 year old native archaeological remains. La station des Cageux is part of the promenade built in place of a reclaimed industrial wharf which features a wetland and a 25-meter tall observation tower.
10.Morrin Centre, Quebec City, Canada
© Morrin Centre
The Morrin Centre is a National Historic Site that visitors to Quebec will not want to miss. Located in the historical quarter of Quebec City, the Morrin Centre provides programming in the areas of education, heritage interpretation, and the arts. The Discovery Tour, offered daily on a seasonal basis, takes visitors through the 200-year-old building that originally served as Canada’s first modern prison.
Explore jail cells still replete with the trappings of the building’s former purpose. Visitors will also visit the Victorian Library and remnants Quebec’s first English college. A trip to the Morrin Centre is best planned around tea time which can be enjoyed the Library.
11.Musee de la Civilisation
© Musee de la Civilisation
The mission of the Musee de la Civilisastion is to make known the history and cultural elements of Canada. Particular focus is on the cultures of the past and current occupants of the territory of Québec.
With a mix of permanent and changing exhibits on Canadians and Quebec history, a visit to the museum is especially helpful to Americans wishing to better understand the French influences and to explore the culture and lifestyles of the many aboriginal tribes of Canada. Musée de la civilisation is in the heart of the Musées de la civilisation complex in Quebec City.
12.Quebec - Levis Ferry
© Courtesy of rabbit75_fot - Fotolia.com
Just across the St Lawrence River from Quebec City sits the equally historic town of Levis. Visitors to Quebec City will find the quick 10-minute ferry ride from one city to the other is a great way to see Quebec. Approaching from the water gives an outstanding view and perspective of the whole city.
Inexpensive and simple, with no reservations required, the views the trip provides up and down the river are wonderful. In particular, the view of the Chateau Frontenac and perspective of the city from the river is exceptional. Guests can also visit the historic Levis on the south shore which is much less crowded.
13.Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec
© Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec
The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is located in the 108 hectare urban park of National Battlefields Park. The mission of the museum is to promote and preserve Québec art of all periods and to insure Canadians have access to international artworks from around the globe.
The museum houses over 38,000 pieces dating from the 17th century to the present day. Permanent exhibits include a display of influential Quebecois artists and pieces from Toulouse Lautrec, Van Gogh and Monet amongst others. The museum is open late on Wednesday nights when the fare is half price.
Next read: Best Time to Visit Quebec City, Canada & Other Travel Tips
14.Musee du Fort, Quebec City, Canada
© Musee du Fort
The Musee du Fort is not a museum in the traditional sense, but a combination display of Quebec City and the surrounding area and a video of the history of Quebec City. This is a “must see” for the amateur historian. Visitors learn about the battles between the French and the English which ultimately resulted in the transfer of eastern Canada to the English.
The video is shown in both French and English versions. Attending this display prior to visits to the Plains of Abraham is highly recommended. Hours of operation vary seasonally, necessitating visitors check the website before planning a visit.
© Restaurant Initiale
Very elegant and understated, with muted colors and original art on the walls, Restaurant Initiale is all about superb food. Chef Yvan Lebrun takes the best culinary traditions of his native France and combines it with Québecois touches and ingredients to create true foodies’ delights.
He combines seafood and meats, rustic and refined; and creates unique flavors such as Halibut fillet with speck ham, potatoes, leeks, shellfish juice, jus au Riesling, mushrooms, shiso and shrimps Nordique. To truly enjoy what Restaurant Initiale has to offer, try a lunch or dinner tasting menu with wine pairing. The main dining room can accommodate about 40 guests and two smaller, cozier dining rooms are perfect for private parties and celebrations.
54 Rue Saint-Pierre, Ville de Québec, QC G1K 4A1, Canada, +1-418-694-1818
16.Chez Boulay-Boulay-Bistro Boreal
© Chez Boulay-Boulay-Bistro Boreal
Located in Hotel Manoir Victoria, Chez Boulay-Bistro Boréal is an upscale bistro-style restaurant with modern, understated décor. Renowned chefs Jean-Luc Boulay and Arnaud Marchand invite their guests to open their minds to new flavors with Nordic-inspired cuisine with regional, seasonal ingredients, focusing on fish, game, fresh fruits, berries and herbs.
To preserve and combine all the flavors, dishes are cooked under vacuum and then served in individual casseroles. Their brunch is a special treat with delights such as Braised beef shoulder with squash purée, boreal spices and poached eggs on a brioche. Chez Boulay has very respectable wine list from all over the world.
1110 Rue Saint-Jean, Ville de Québec, QC G1R 1S4, Canada, +1-418-380-8166
17.Things to Do in Quebec City: Le Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge
© Courtesy of ZaZa studio - Fotolia.com
Just west of the Plains of Abraham park is the quiet respite of Le Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge. This colorful garden park was once the private property of a succession of Canada’s elite but has been a public park since 1996.
Visitors looking to escape the bustle of Old Quebec will find walking paths, grass fields, gardens, fountains, benches, and wonderful views of the St Lawrence River. Picnics on the lawn are encouraged and guests are free to ride bikes through the cool trees and around the beautiful gardens. The park is open daily from 6am to 11pm and entrance is free.
18.Restaurant Louis-Hebert, Quebec City, Canada
© Restaurant Louis-Hebert
Located in the heart of Old Quebec, Restaurant Louis-Hebert will charm you with modern décor in an ancient building.This restaurant is graced with exposed stone walls and a romantic fireplace, bright dining room in a solarium, six private dining rooms and a magnificent terrace overlooking the Grande Allee.
Chef Hervé Toussaint offers traditional French cuisine with his own modern interpretation, creating a constantly changing menu using fresh seasonal ingredients, quality fish and meats. The restaurant has an impressive wine cellar with more than 6000 bottles of 750 high class labels. It is the ideal place to go when you want to celebrate, or just get warmed up for one of the many activities in the neighborhood.
668 Grande Allée E, Ville de Québec, QC, Canada, +1-418-525-7812
19.Restaurant Legende par la Taniere
© Restaurant Legende par la Taniere
Hidden inside the Hotel des Coutellier in the Old Quebec, Legende has bright, modern décor surrounded with old exposedbrick with a few whimsical touches. There is nothing to distract guests from the magic woven by Chef Frédéric Laplante. He pays tribute to Quebec’s ancestors and traditions, introducing old ingredients to modern dishes.
Everything is seasonal and fresh, so the menu inevitably changes regularly. Open yourself to surprising and interesting flavors. Try Elk Carpaccio with seabuckthorn and chanterelles, or lamb fries with veal brain and Fiddleheads and you will get the idea what to expect. The wine selection is excellent, and it includes some great Canadian wines.
255 Rue Saint-Paul, Ville de Québec, QC G1K 3W5, Canada, +1-418-614-2555
20.Aquarium du Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
© Aquarium du Quebec
The Aquarium du Quebec is a 16-hectare observational wonder where visitors and experience underwater life in both indoor and outdoor exhibits. With over 10,000 animals, the aquarium invites its guests to learn about and enjoy the company of not only fish but reptiles, amphibians and sea mammals as well.
A favorite feature of many visitors is the jellyfish exhibit. Special activities offered include “Harbour Seal Training Session”, “Discover the Walrus” and “Animal Keeper for a Day”, amongst many others. The park includes gardens, as well as a large play area and restaurant. Parking is at the aquarium is free.
21.Quebec City points of interest: Funiculaire de Vieux Quebec
© Courtesy of Roger de Montfort - Fotolia.com
A little known form of transportation in North America, a funicular can best be described as a combination of an escalator and elevator that takes passengers up and down the steep hillside. The Funiculaire de Vieux Quebec is located in the historic House Louis Jolliet, in the heart of Old Quebec.
This house was built in 1683 and was restored in 1978. Jolliet is best known for his part in the discovery of the Mississippi River. The Funicular connects The upper section of Quebec City, which sits on a high bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the lower section that sits near river level.
22 Best Things to Do in Quebec City, Canada
- Old Quebec, Photo: Courtesy of hakat - Fotolia.com
- Quartier du Petit Champlain , Photo: Courtesy of mister bike - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Quebec City: Montmorency Falls Park , Photo: Courtesy of rabbit75_fot - Fotolia.com
- La Citadelle de Quebec, Quebec City, Canada, Photo: Courtesy of jiawangkun - Fotolia.com
- Basilique Cathedrale - Notre-Dame-de-Quebec, Photo: Courtesy of pixssell - Fotolia.com
- Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site , Photo: Courtesy of demerzel21 - Fotolia.com
- Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, Canada, Photo: CourtesyVinoverde - Fotolia.com
- Tours Voir Quebec, Photo: Courtesy of Eishier - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Quebec City: La Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, Photo: Courtesy of IndustryAndTravel - Fotolia.com
- Morrin Centre, Quebec City, Canada, Photo: Morrin Centre
- Musee de la Civilisation, Photo: Musee de la Civilisation
- Quebec - Levis Ferry, Photo: Courtesy of rabbit75_fot - Fotolia.com
- Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec, Photo: Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec
- Musee du Fort, Quebec City, Canada, Photo: Musee du Fort
- Restaurant Initiale, Photo: Restaurant Initiale
- Chez Boulay-Boulay-Bistro Boreal, Photo: Chez Boulay-Boulay-Bistro Boreal
- Things to Do in Quebec City: Le Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge , Photo: Courtesy of ZaZa studio - Fotolia.com
- Restaurant Louis-Hebert, Quebec City, Canada, Photo: Restaurant Louis-Hebert
- Restaurant Legende par la Taniere, Photo: Restaurant Legende par la Taniere
- Aquarium du Quebec, Quebec City, Canada, Photo: Aquarium du Quebec
- Quebec City points of interest: Funiculaire de Vieux Quebec, Photo: Courtesy of Roger de Montfort - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of rabbit75_fot - Fotolia.com