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Best Things To Do in Quebec

Many visitors find it difficult to narrow down the top things to do in Quebec City but we have got you covered.

Still holding on to its old-school colonial charm, the predominantly French province of Quebec is lovely under the warm glow of the summer sun. If you are planning to visit during winter, you can enjoy the snow and find many things to do in Quebec City around Christmas. Quebec hosts two winter holiday markets: Marché de Noël du marché du Vieux-Port de Québec and a German Christmas Market. Quebec, particularly the Old Town, is spruced up in cheerful lights, wintry amazingness, and bright-colored decorations.

Our team of travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations can help you plan your trip. Here are some of the best things to do in Quebec, Canada.

1. Get a Panoramic View of the City at Observatoire De La Capitale

Catching the bird's eye view of the city from the top of the Marie-Guyart Building is a must-do activity. Since the city has set limitations on the height of buildings, you can get a clear view of many historic buildings from this beautiful observation deck.

Observatoire De La Capitale is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM. The admission fee is $7 for children, $11.50 for students and senior citizens, and $14.75 for adults.

2. Explore Parc National De La Jacques-Cartier

Exploring the Parc National De La Jacques-Carter has to be one of the best things to do in Quebec for outdoor lovers. You can camp, hike, fish, kayak, and canoe at this massive mountainous plateau. The place is home to some breathtaking landscapes and hiking trails. The park is a 30-40 minute drive from Quebec City.

A couple in a red canoe on a lake in Jacques-Cartier National Park

3. Relish the Culinary Heritage of Old Quebec City

Book a Quebec City tour where you can also experience the traditional cuisines of the place. Each gastronomic stop in Old Quebec has its own flavors to boast of. Quebec is famous for its cheese, maple syrup, sweet and savory pies, lards, cretons, and a wide range of desserts. Poutine is a Quebec specialty, which is a dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy.

A waitress laughing with two people sitting outdoors at a restaurant
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4. Zipline At Parc De La Chute-Montmorency

Ziplining at Parc De La Chute-Montmorency is one of the top things to do in Quebec City in the summer. This 300m ride takes around 30-45 minutes to complete including registration and gearing. Prices start from $6.75 for seniors and $7.40 for adults, although the rates are nearly half of that for Quebec residents. Children under 17 can gain free access if accompanied by adults. This activity is open from 11 AM to 4 PM.

A person in a red top ziplining in front of a large waterfall and bridge

5. Walk Through Old Quebec

The streets of Old Quebec magically teleport you to the cobblestone lanes and Victorian architecture of Europe. Once the capital of New France, here you can spend endless hours strolling and taking in the charming atmosphere. When you need a break, there are many inviting cafes, restaurants, and even bookshops.

A small group of people in front of a large mural in Old Quebec

6. Explore The Fortifications Of Quebec

The massive stone walls running for 4.6 km encircling the Old City are the only remaining fortifications north of Mexico. There are some stunning vantage points along the architecture with views of the historic district. A guided tour will help you understand the British and French colonial past of the place. Individual tours cost $7-8 while guided tours come at $17.50-19 for seniors and adults. Remember to visit Dauphine Redoubt, one of the oldest military buildings on the continent. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Some of the massive stone walls that encircle Old Quebec City

7. Go On A Bike Tour

The biking trails here are mostly easy and flat enough for even beginners, making biking one of the most fun things to do in Quebec. You can hire bikes from local renters and explore the Corridor de la Rivière-Saint-Charles, Corridor des Cheminots, or Corridor du Littoral from Downtown Quebec.

Two people cycling on a pathway past wildflowers

8. Sugar Shack at Île D’Orléans

A charming island located on River Saint Lawrence 5 km east of Downtown Quebec, Ile d’Orleans was one of the first places to be colonized by the French. The western side of the island has a viewpoint that overlooks the magnificent Chute Montmorency Falls and a panoramic vista of the Saint Lawrence River and Quebec City. Ile d’Orleans is also a hot spot for Quebec’s famous sugar shacks. Sugar shacks are small shops set up in the woods that sell freshly collected maple syrup directly boiled from the sap during harvesting season.

Close up view of maple syrup bottles in the shape of maple leaves

9. Enjoy the Best Views from the Dufferin Terrace

Wrapping around Chateau Frontenac overlooking Saint Lawrence River, Dufferin Terrace comprises six gazebos and numerous benches. On the south end, the Terrasse Dufferin slides are used for toboggan runs during the Quebec Winter Carnival. The bottom part of the terrace is the remains of Saint Louis Forts and Chateau. Don't forget to explore the Russian cannons that were captured by the British during the Crimean War. Visit between 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM any day to gain access.

A couple eats ice cream and looks over Quebec City's Dufferin Terrace

10. Artistic Glory At MNBAQ

The Musée National des Beaux-arts du Quebec presents artworks dating back to the 17th century to the present day. You can explore all 4 pavilions that are set amid the stunning Plains of Abraham in Battlefield Park. The entry fee is priced at $23 for seniors and $25 for adults above 30 years of age. The museum is open on all days between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Person looking at an Inuit art collection in glass displays

11. Festival D'Été De Québec

This famous music festival is celebrated each year in July for 11 days and brings together some of the biggest names as well as emerging artists in the music industry. It is the biggest outdoor musical event held in Canada. It has been held since 1968 every year. The event saw massive visitor numbers of 103,000 in 2015 because of the main event by Rolling Stones. If you love concerts, then this has to be on your list of top 10  things to do in Quebec.

Orange lights and confetti over an outdoor music stage and crowd of people

12. Live Your Fairytale Dream at The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is one of the world's most photographed hotels and you can see why during your stay. Situated on the promontory of OId Quebec, the historic castle-like building offers some of the best views of the city. During the Second World War, this hotel hosted two Quebec Conferences where the Allied members discussed strategies.

Exterior of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a castle-like hotel under a blue sky

13. Go Back In Time To Place Royale

One of the top historical places in Quebec City, Place Royale is a small but iconic square. Right here, the city of Quebec was founded by Samuel De Champlain in 1608. Featuring a blend of British and French architecture, this historic gem place sees huge crowds every day. It is open daily from late June to early September from 9:30 am to 5 pm and then every Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm from mid-September to late June. You can enjoy a relaxing time at any of the cafes that line Place Royale. The oldest stone-made church in North America, the Notre-Dame-des-Victoire Church, is also nearby.

Church and old buildings in a cobblestone square in Old Quebec

14. Shop At The Petit-Champlain District

Named Canada's most charming street, the Petit-Champlain has existed since the foundation of Quebec in 1608. This place began as a small portside village with beautiful homes and is now a busy shopping quarter with art galleries, boutiques, and bistros. During Christmas time, the district is especially inviting, lit with fairy lights and featuring decorated trees.

A couple walks down a street in Old Quebec

15. Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is the church of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec. Opened in 1804, this cathedral is home to two parishes: the la Paroisse de Tous Les Saints and the Parish of Quebec. Welcoming a crowd of 240,000 visitors each year, this place has made it to the list of the top sights in Québec City. It stands on the western side of Quebec City's Place d'Armes.

Aerial view of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Old Quebec and the St. Lawrence river

16. Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine

The Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré shrine is dedicated to Saint Anne, the patron saint of Quebec City. The basilica is associated with miraculous cures for many illnesses and disabilities. The existing structure was erected in 1926 but the site had been a worship spot of Saint Anne since the 17th century. The basilica is open for visitors from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM on weekdays and till 5 PM on weekends.

Columns, archways, stain-glass windows and intricate ceiling inside a basilica

17. Musée des Ursulines de Québec      

If you are a history buff, then visiting the Musée des Ursulines de Québec has to be on your list of the best things to do in Quebec City, Canada. This art and history museum has a mission to present and preserve the rich lineage of the Ursuline Order of the Nunes, the oldest teaching order in the Quebec province, based in the city since 1639. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Entry is free for children aged 17 and under, $6 for students and seniors, and $7 for adults.

18. Place d’Armes

Quebec City’s Place d’Armes is an urban park bordered by Fort Street, Rue du Tresor, Ruse Saint-Louis, and Saint-Anne. As the name suggests, the park was built in the 1640s as a place for military troops to gather. It turned public in 1865. With a fountain at the center, the greenery of Place d’Armes serves as a breath of fresh air amid the busy streets of Quebec City. The park is free to explore with your entry ticket to the fortifications of Quebec that costs $7-8 for seniors and adults. It is open from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Large monument and water feature in the middle of a grassy plaza

19. UNESCO Monument

Made of glass, bronze, and granite, the UNESCO monument commemorates the inclusion of Old Quebec’s Historic District on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1985. Quebec was the first city in North America to earn this honor. A visit is a must to understand Quebec's rich heritage.

Close up of the UNESCO monument in Quebec City

20. The Holy Door At Notre-Dame De Quebec Basilica-Cathedral

Notre-Dame De Quebec Basilica-Cathedral is the oldest church in Canada. It houses the remains of many governors and bishops of the city. The cathedral got its holy door – the only one in North America – in 2013 on its 350th anniversary. Per the Pope’s orders, the door will next open on December 8th, 2023 to mark the 350th year of the Quebec diocese’s foundation. The church remains open for visitors every day from 7:30 AM to 3 PM.

21. Witness the Changing Of The Guard At The Historic Citadelle De Quebec

Canada's largest active fortress allows you to experience the historic Changing of the Guard ceremony every day at 10 am from late June to early September. This has to be one of the most interesting things to do in Quebec City and you can also see the museum exhibits here. The ceremony takes place every day at 10 AM from June 24th to Labour Day in September.

Blue skies above the changing of the guard procession in Quebec City

22. Musée du Fort

Get a glimpse of Quebec's military history at the Musee du Fort. Located in front of Chateau Frontenac, the museum presents an original light and sound show telling the story of Quebec City’s six famous sieges, including the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and Benedict Arnold’s march to Quebec. The museum is open from 11 AM to 4 PM and entry costs $7 for students, $8 for seniors, and $9 for adults.

The Fort Museum outside entrance in Old Quebec

23. Maison de la Littérature

The former Wesley Church in Québec, the Maison de la littérature underwent a $14.5 million renovation and opened its doors to readers across the world again in October 2015. The library focuses on Québécois literature and ensures the language, culture, and traditions continue to thrive. The library opens at 10 AM every day except Mondays and stays open till 5 PM on Sundays, 7 PM on Saturdays, and 8 PM from Tuesday to Friday. Reservations for both paid and free shows can be made on their official website or via telephone.

24. Aquarium du Québec

One of the best things to do in Quebec City with the family, Aquarium du Quebec is an aquatic wonder. The aquarium houses a collection of around 10,000 specimens, including 300 species of indigenous and exotic fishes, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates. Check out marine mammals like seals, polar bears, frolic, and walruses in the outdoor park. You can also catch a glimpse of seahorses, rays, and jellyfish here.

The aquarium is open from 9 AM to 4 PM in the winter and till 6 PM in the summer. Admission costs $11 for children between 3 and 17 years, $20 for seniors, and $22 for adults.

Pink jellyfish in a container at the Quebec aquarium

25. Parc du Cavalier-du-Moulin

This quiet oasis of greenery right at the heart of Old Québec is the only lingering facet of the first French fortifications built in the 17th century. Located on Mont Carmel, a rocky mound that provides the place with natural defenses, this place features some historic cavalier, mills, and cannons.

26. Stay at Village Vacances Valcartier

If you love themed adventures, Village Vacances Valcartier comes with a bunch of activities, full aroma spa sessions, and an expansive winter playground for the winter months. If you are looking for some unique things to do in Quebec at night, then book a night stay at the Ice Hotel De Glace as the rooms feature thematic ice bars with temperatures ranging between -3°C to -5°C.

Couple standing next to fireplace in an ice hotel

27. Rub Shoulders with History at Plaines D’Abraham

The Plains of Abraham is famous for the battle of September 13, 1759, fought between the French and the British Colonies. You can enjoy complete historic reenactments with prop firearms and costumes to give you an understanding of why this battle became a pivotal point in the Seven Years' War.

A couple walking through a park and a person sitting on a bench

28. Huron-Wendat Culture at Wendake

A visit to the Huron Traditional Site in Wendake is a must for anyone interested in learning about Indigenous culture in Canada. Through workshops and presentations, you can discover local legends, important ceremonies and how to craft Huron implements.

Indigenous wood carving and cultural artifacts on display

29. Musée de la Civilisation

Nestled on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River in the Vieux Port area, the Musée de la civilization houses an astounding assemblage of exhibits and artifacts. Some of the permanent collections here are dedicated to regional history including the narrative of the first encounter between the native peoples and Europeans, the people of Quebec, and the territory development. This falls under Quebec City's must-see places. Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM all week except Mondays. Tickets range between $19 and $25 for adults and is priced at $24 for seniors.

Exhibition featuring baskets and other artifacts with accompanying info

30. Morrin Cultural Art Centre

Formerly a prison, this 150+ years old library sanctuary features an impressive collection of both new and old books. Visitors claim that the library gives a feel of the Beauty and the Beast and Harry Potter movie scenes. It can be visited between noon and 4 PM from Wednesday to Sunday and between 6 PM and 8 PM on Tuesdays. The guided tour passes are available at $12 for students and seniors and $14 for adults.

View of book shelves across two levels inside the Morrin Centre Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I go to Quebec City?

Quebec is the hub of French culture in North America. Soak in the European charm, walk through the cobblestone streets, explore the historic sites, and experience the region's magnificent heritage. The place is wonderfully safe, welcoming, and festive.

What is the best time of the year to visit Quebec City?

The best time to visit Québec City is June to September and December to February. During the winter and the summer months, Quebec has many exciting festivals.

What activities is Quebec known for?

Party at the Winter Carnaval de Quebec, strolling through the old city, summer activities like mountain biking, camping, golf, and hiking, visiting the historic museums, monuments, and libraries, enjoying Christmas, and riding the Quebec City Funicular, are some top activities in Quebec.

Is Montreal or Quebec City better to visit?

Montreal is a promising choice if you want amazing food, cafes, a more bilingual city, and a more urban feel. Quebec City may be a better option if you are looking for a charming old-town experience with historical references and a festive winter holiday. You can cover both cities with a short and beautiful train journey.

What are some of the historical events in Quebec?

  1. 1534 - 1535: Jacques Cartier finds the Saint Lawrence River and the Quebec City
  2. 1608 - 1609: Samuel de Champlain founds the city of Quebec
  3. 1627 - 1628: King Louis XIV permitted settlement in New France solely by Roman Catholics
  4. 1629 - 1632: Tadoussaptured by England and ordered the French to surrender the city of Quebec
  5. 1701 - 1702: Signing of Great Peace of Montreal by the French Colonial Government with Natives
  6. 1774 - 1775: Passing of The Québec Act of 1774

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