When you plan a trip to Canada, you need to consider stopping in Quebec City, the capital city of Canada’s Quebec Province. Rich in history, culture, good food, and tradition. This city has something for the entire family to enjoy, no matter the time of year. Here are our suggestions for 10 must-do and see activities while visiting Quebec City.
List of 10 things to do in Quebec City:
10. The Old Quebec Funicular
Quebec City is full of beautiful views, especially from the ride of the Old Quebec Funicular! This cable car provides a scenic view of the town while connecting visitors to the upper and lower sections of the city, a perfect solution for those who are unable to manage the many steps it takes to walk between the two sections of Quebec City.
You’ll get views of the steep cliffs and give your feet a short rest from your walking tour of the city. Be sure to have your camera ready, as these are views of the city you can’t get anywhere else. The best part? This quaint mode of transportation is about $3 a person! Note that the best views are on the way up, so be sure to take a ride both up and down the funicular and give your feet a break.
9. Erico Chocolate Shop and Museum
Now here’s a museum that anyone can get excited about! This adorable chocolate shop doubles as a museum on the history of chocolate. The museum is free and offers self-guided tours through exhibits that display artifacts relating to the history of chocolate and the confectioners who brought chocolate delights to us for generations.
The attached chocolate shop has a window for you to watch the chocolatiers at work, as well as a wide variety of goodies for sale! They are famous for their unique and fancy combinations, such as chocolate with goat cheese! When visiting in the winter, be sure to try one of their many hot chocolate varieties, too!
8. Parc Aquarium du Quebec
The Quebec Aquarium is a family favorite while traveling through beautiful Quebec City! This aquarium will take you on a journey from the North Pole all the way down to the St. Lawrence River, highlighting the plants and animals that inhabit the regions in between. The aquarium hosts over 10,000 species of fresh and salt-water fish, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and marine mammals like the ever-popular polar bear! There is also a great outdoor play area, including an adventure course for those looking for a fun challenge!
7. Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre
A little bit outside of the main part of Quebec City, this beautiful cathedral is the perfect site for anyone who can appreciate the fine architecture or who holds a deep respect for the traditions of religion. The cathedral was originally built in 1658 but was destroyed in a fire. The current structure dates back to the 1920s and has been well-maintained.
Boasting over 200 stained glass windows and numerous mosaics, this place of worship is a feast for both the eyes and the spirit. It is believed that the saint after which the cathedral gets its name, Saint Anne, has performed miracles of healing at this site. Visitors often leave a crutch at the front door to honor her and to pray for a miracle of the healing of their own.
6. Fairmont Le Chateaux Frontenac
In Old Quebec’s Upper Town, there lies a stunning example of a grand chateau, today used as a hotel. The good news is, you don’t have to be a paying guest of the hotel to enjoy its views both inside and out! The hotel offers paid tours, guided by historical interpreters in period costume.
These tours will immerse you in the history of Quebec City, its architecture, and the men and women who put it on the map. The tour takes you both inside and outside of the chateau, allowing you to see every side of this iconic Quebec landmark. If you are looking for an upscale place to rest your head while you’re touring the city, you can also book a room at this luxurious hotel.
5. Basse-Ville (Lower Town)
While you’re visiting the famous chateau, get to know the rest of Basse-Ville (also known as Lower Town). This charming section of Old Quebec is full of incredible architecture, cobblestone streets, delicious food, and quaint shops! Guided walking tours are available, but many like to just stroll the streets and enjoy the views at their own pace.
If self-guided is more your style, but you’re still looking to learn more about the history of Quebec City, you can also try out one of the local tour companies that offer pre-recorded tours. All you have to do is plug in and walk along the path as you listen and learn!
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4. Montmorency Falls Park
Quebec City is surrounded by incredible natural beauty. No other place captures this natural beauty quite as much as the Montmorency Falls. The Montmorency River plummets over rocks, forming waterfalls that are 275 feet tall – larger than the famous Niagara Falls in Canada and the United States. Hiking paths are available for the more adventurous traveler, but there is also a cable car for those who prefer a more leisurely view of this natural treasure. Guided historical tours are also available seasonally for those who are looking for yet another way to learn about the fascinating cast of characters who influenced the history of the region.
The park surrounding the falls also hosts playgrounds, biking paths, and a double zip line that allows visitors to enjoy a side-by-side adventure past the cove of the falls. This zip line is almost 1,000 feet! The park is a popular tourist destination in the winter, too! Enjoy ice climbing and take a snowshoe trek to view the falls during the off-peak season.
3. Place d’Youville
Stop by Place d’Youville when in Quebec City, too! This gorgeous park is beautiful all year round, but especially when the ice rink is set up for public skating. Skate rental is available if needed, as well as an area with lockers and spaces to get your skates on and off. The springtime at Place d’Youville hosts its own traditions, too.
A temporary sugar shack is set up in the park with opportunities to learn about the famous maple syrup industry of Canada. The shack is a great place to try a truly Canadian treat known as tire d’erable, or maple taffy that has been cooled on fresh snow. Summertime brings a whole new level of entertainment to the park as it hosts the Festival d’Ete de Quebec (summer festival). Bands like The Rolling Stones, Beck, KISS, and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney have appeared in years past.
2. La Citadelle de Quebec
The Citadelle of Quebec is an active military installment. It is home to the oldest military building in all of Canada. Visitors will enjoy a guided tour of the property, which rests at the top of Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond), giving another unique view of Quebec City.
One of the highlights of this experience is the Change of Guard Ceremony that takes place each day. Check the offered times for this daily ceremony, because it one you do not want to miss! Visitors can also take an hour-long guided tour, which includes the military history of the citadel, dating back to its days as a French fortress all the way up to the modern era.
The tour also includes tickets to the newest addition to the site, the Musee Royal 22e Regiment. Branded as an interactive, self-guided museum, the Musee Royal 22e Regiment brings to life the 100 years of history of this Canadian military institution. The museum also has a collection of over 300 military medals awarded to members of the Royal 22e Regiment.
1. The Quebec Winter Carnival
Known the world over, this is one of the largest winter carnivals on the planet! First held in 1894, this carnival has become an indelible piece of Quebec City’s culture. There are lighted parades, delicious food stalls, an ice palace, and even an area where you can learn how to lead your own dog sled team! But there is no event quite as thrilling as watching the ice canoe races across the mighty St. Lawrence River.
Teams race to be the first to push their canoe across the frozen river, a grueling task that takes endurance and grit. They’re always looking for new contestants, should you feel the need to test your own skills, too.
The Quebec Winter Carnival is also famous for its nightlife scene.
Winter concerts set the stage for an evening out on the town, followed by specialty cocktails like the Caribou. Sometimes served in shot glasses made from ice blocks, this red wine and whiskey drink is a must-try while you’re out and about at the carnival!
There is no other place quite like Quebec City. No matter the season, visitors can find a sense of adventure while they connect with the stories of the past. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to discover all this charming capital city has to offer!