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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 15 things to do in Quebec City

#1
Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec)

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
#2
Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency)

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
#3
Quebec Royal Square (Place-Royale)

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
#4
Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port)

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
#5
Petit Champlain District (Quartier Petit Champlain)

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
#6
Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin)

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
#7
Citadel of Quebec (Citadelle de Quebec)

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
#8
Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham)

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
#9
Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral

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
#10
Upper Town (Haute-Ville)

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
#11
Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site

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
#12
Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts (Musée National des Beaux-Arts)

Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts (Musée National des Beaux-Arts)

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Quebec City’s National Museum of Fine Arts (Musée National des Beaux-Arts) houses one of the largest collections of Quebec art in the world. Situated behind the scenic Plains of Abraham (Battlefields Park), the museum’s pavilions showcase famed Canadian artists such as Jean-Paul Riopelle and an impressive Inuit art collection.More
#13
Fort Museum (Musée du Fort)

Fort Museum (Musée du Fort)

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Quebec City’s Fort Museum (Musée du Fort) is known for its light and sound show that recounts the compelling military history of the only fortified city in North America. Located directly in front of the Château Frontenac, the informative museum offers a convenient, kid-friendly way to learn about—and kick off your visit to—Quebec City.More
#14
Quebec City Capital Observatory (Observatoire de la Capitale)

Quebec City Capital Observatory (Observatoire de la Capitale)

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Set on the 31st floor of the tallest skyscraper in Quebec City, this observatory offers a 725-foot (221-meter high vantage point from which to admire the storybook sights of the UNESCO-listed old town. See Château Frontenac, the city’s fortifications, Parliament Hill as well as the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains.More
#15
Museum of Francophone America (Musée de l'Amérique Francophone)

Museum of Francophone America (Musée de l'Amérique Francophone)

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Situated within the Quebec Seminary (Séminaire de Québec, a former Catholic training college, this museum chronicles French colonial history and Francophone culture in North America. The building dates back to the 17th-century, making it one of Quebec City’s oldest, and has been designated a National Historic Site by Parks Canada.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

Top activities in Quebec City

Quebec City Walking Tour

Quebec City Walking Tour

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$25.62
Evening Gourmet Tour 5 Course Dinner - History and Food in Old Quebec City
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Island of Orleans taste and Drink Tour
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Combo Historical and Food Tour of the Old Quebec City
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Discover Quebec With a Private 4-Hour City Tour
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Guided Tour of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City
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Wine Tasting on Ile d'Orleans
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Wine Tasting on Ile d'Orleans

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Amazing Old Quebec City Classique Walking Tour with 1 Funicular Ticket included
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Discover Quebec With an 8-Hour Private Tour

Discover Quebec With an 8-Hour Private Tour

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Private Tour: Quebec City Walking Tour
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Small Group Excursion of Quebec City and Montmorency Falls
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Quebec City

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Old Quebec City tour.
Ross_D, Aug 2022
Quebec City: Double Decker Express Tour
Having Raymond provide his insights was invaluable when it came to other specific places we wanted to see in Quebec City.
star-5
Best way to see Quebec City.
Debra_H, Aug 2022
Quebec City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Would not have been able to see everything on our own in one day.
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View of Quebec City from the River
Jonathan_M, Jul 2022
Quebec City Guided Sightseeing Cruise
The drinks were good and we got to see a different side of Quebec City.
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Great river Cruise!
Margaret_L, Jul 2022
Quebec City Guided Sightseeing Cruise
Crew was fantastic giving information not only in French but English as well.
star-5
A once in a lifetime experience.
Trix_S, Jul 2022
Quebec City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Being on top of bus for tour, seeing the city up close seeing so many venues to visit and explore a great way to explore Quebec City.
star-5
Fun way to the falls!
Christy_R, Jul 2022
Bike Tour to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City
Good power ride to the falls!
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Good time
Lisa_H, Jul 2022
Quebec City: Double Decker Express Tour
She narrated in English and French.
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Enjoyable half day
Karen_K, Jun 2022
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec city
A wonderful few hours to see the area surrounding Quebec City.
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Grand Scale, Inside as Well as Outside
Teresa_B, Jun 2022
Guided Tour of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City
I wanted to see if the inside was as grand as the outside- and it is!
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Reliable car service in a beautiful city.
Alejandro_G, May 2022
Private Departure Transfer to Quebec Airport YQB
Sunny days in early Spring while walking miles each day was just perfect.
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Great welcome to Quebec City
JoAnn_M, Apr 2022
Quebec City Walking Tour
Michael also gave us insight on life in Quebec in the winter and showed photos that brought his presentation to life.
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I took this tour with my...
Dagmar_M, Apr 2022
Guided Tour of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City
It turned out to be one of his favourite activities in Quebec City.
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Fun Tour
Kristin_L, Jul 2022
Wine Tasting on Ile d'Orleans
On the way back you also get to see the falls from a distance.
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Great overview of Quebec City
Steven_Y, Jun 2022
Quebec City Walking Tour
It gave us a lot of ideas along the way for things to see and do in our short time in Quebec City.
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Guide was very...
Doug_V, Feb 2022
Private Tour: Quebec City Walking Tour
If doing a winter tour dress warmly.
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Excellent tour guide. The...
Mark_E, Dec 2021
Half-Day Trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec city
The falls, and church were spectacular to see in person.
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Excellent personal tour
Wayne_G, Sep 2021
Discover Quebec With a Private 4-Hour City Tour
Montmorency Falls was spectacular.
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Wonderful time in Quebec City.
Alexander_T, Jul 2022
Quebec City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Great way to see a multitude of sites in Quebec City if you have a limited period of time.
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A Must Do While In Quebec!
Patricia_C, Aug 2021
Wine Tasting on Ile d'Orleans
A pleasure to see such hard working people making our country a beautiful place to be!
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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!
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All about Quebec City

When to visit

Quebec City may be known for its snowfall, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid a winter visit. From December through February, the city turns into a frosty wonderland, with the annual Winter Carnival and the arrival of public toboggan slides and ice hotels. Summer is also a busy time for festive events, including the National Quebec Festival and Quebec City Pride.

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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