Things to do

10 Exciting Things To Do In Quebec City

Château Frontenac, Rue des Carrières, Quebec City, QC, Canada

Eastern Canada’s Quebec City is a beautiful and historically significant city. It is one of the oldest cities in North America and the provincial capital of Quebec and has a long history that reaches back to the 17th century.

There are many exciting things to do in Quebec City.

The Old Town of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to attractive cafes, tiny cobblestone alleyways, and historic structures like the Château Frontenac, a stately hotel perched on a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, is renowned for its preservation.

Along with parks and gardens, the city is also filled with a variety of museums, galleries, and theatres. One such park is the Jardin des Gouverneurs, which provides breathtaking views of both the city as well as the river.

1. Here Are 10 Exciting Things to Do in Quebec City:

1.1 Visit La Citadelle de Québec

Cap Diamant, a 100-meter-tall mountain that rises abruptly from the west and faces the St. Lawrence River, commands a vast and varied vista.

The tremendous, star-shaped Citadel of Québec, constructed in 1832 and guarded by high walls, ditches and ramparts, sits atop this.

la citadelle de québec
By Daniel Ouellette from Shutterstock

This star-shaped castle, which is both a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers breathtaking views of the Saint Lawrence River, making it one of the exciting things to do in Quebec City.

The Citadel, which is still a functioning military outpost, serves as the Governor General of Canada’s summer home and military housing for officers, generals, and service members.

The 22nd Canadian Regiment, which was established at the start of the First World War and has a notable history, also has its headquarters here. The regiment saw action here during the Battle of the Somme and then, considerably later, the Korean War.

The military museum, which is housed in the Powder magazine since the middle of the 18th century and is situated on the southern side of the Citadel, is accessible all year long and welcomes visitors throughout the summer months.

A flight of stairs goes up to the Citadel as well as the Plains of Abraham from the other end of the walkway located in front of the Château Frontenac.

The admission price includes viewing the Changing of the Guard and Beating of the Retreat rites.

Joining a guided tour is the greatest way to learn about La Citadelle de Québec.  You will be taken through its 300-year history while hearing a variety of fascinating anecdotes that you will not even encounter in any travel books.

It’s definitely worth investing a few hours there.

1.2 Explore Place Royale

Place Royale, so named in honour of Louis XIV, whose bust is displayed there, is North America’s biggest remaining collection of seventeenth and eighteenth-century structures.

The historical significance of the area and the contemporary atmosphere created by the restaurants, cafés, and stores that currently occupy the old buildings, make it a popular destination for tourists in Québec.

The location of Place Royale is where Québec was actually founded, where Samuel de Champlain built a fur trading post in 1608 that quickly developed into the nation’s capital.

In addition to housing the oldest stone chapel in North America, Place Royale is renowned for its European-style architecture.

A cobblestone square is flanked by the charming stone church Notre-Dame des Victoires and Maison Chevalier of the Musée de la Civilisation.

The tiny Batterie Royale was built in 1691 and is located next to Place Royale, overlooking the river and surrounded by strong walls and palisades.

The stone structures and quaint streets are transformed into a picture-perfect image in the winter by the snow. This is a lovely spot to stroll throughout the year.

A guided tour of Old Quebec City is another option for learning all the intriguing details about Place Royale as well as the surrounding area from a local.

1.3 Wander through Quartier Petit Champlain

The Quartier Petit Champlain is considered the most picturesque part of the city, having once served as New France’s thriving capital. You get the impression that you’re in the centre of an ancient European city as you wander the tiny alleyways that wind between the antique buildings.

If you’re seeking boutique gifts, this is Quebec City’s top tourist shopping area where you may find them. Don’t overlook the amazing artisans who line the street and provide hand-painted artwork and a variety of handicrafts. It stands out in Old Quebec City.

Quartier Petit Champlain
By eskystudio from Shutterstock

Nowadays, a diverse range of stores, services, and restaurants are housed in stone buildings bordering pedestrian-only lanes. This is a beautiful region all year long and is the ideal destination for wandering.

Tourists can discover artisan stores, bistros, and restaurants serving Québec cuisine, art galleries, and a wide range of confectioneries selling everything from handmade fudge and nougat to a chic Crêperie.

Extraordinary items can be purchased in the local clothing boutiques, which range from those that sell just alpaca products to others that display the newest styles.

The Quartier Petit-Champlain contains intriguing locations for photographers as well, making it one of the exciting things to do in Quebec City.

The Rue du Cul de Sac’s umbrella-covered street provides a colourful sight and a little relief from the rain or sun.

Visit La Fudgerie while you’re here for a treat. On the far side of Rue du Petit-Champlain, look for the enormous trompe l’oeil mural, which provides an insight into the city’s past.

If you can look past the tourist vibe of the area and the fantastic restaurants nearby, this is an excellent place to gather family or friends for a drink and a meal while exploring Old Quebec City.

1.4 Visit the Plains of Abraham

The lush Plains of Abraham (Champs de Bataille), west of the Citadel and outside the city walls, is where the British under General Wolfe defeated the French under Montcalm in 1759.

Exhibits recount the turbulent history of how Québec City battled the British before succumbing to them.

Two Martello tower ruins, later extensions to Quebec’s defenses, may be found on the site. The Louis Perron-designed Joan of Arc Garden, which was first constructed in the 1930s, features stunning flower displays from spring to fall.

Today, however, the Plains of Abraham is a sizable city park akin to Central Park of New York, and it is a well-liked destination year-round for both locals and visitors.

There are numerous bike paths, cross-country ski trails, walking pathways, and open places for you to explore, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Quebec City.

Children will enjoy the family treasure hunt, which fosters discovery and exploration inside the park. They will appreciate interactive displays within the museum that inspire younger visitors to participate in history.

This is definitely the spot to be when you have some free time during your visit to Quebec City or are searching for a wonderful place to unwind.

1.5 Explore Hotel de Glace

The renowned Hôtel de Glace, often referred to as the Ice Hotel, is one of the most distinctive hotels in the world and is located in Valcartier, just forty-five minutes outside Quebec City.

Each winter, a group of skilled builders comes together to create a unique hotel constructed entirely of ice. Everything is constructed out of ice blocks and filled with snow, including the walls, the top, the rooms, and the bars.

Each room also differs from the others in a distinctive way. Some contain only a bed and some side tables, while others have fascinating themes with detailed carvings on the walls and LED lights implanted in the ice.

Do not even fret if the thought of staying in an ice hotel makes you uncomfortable; all visitors are provided with thick, four-season sleeping covers to stay warm during the night, and the beds obviously, include mattresses.

The premium suite also includes a sauna, fireplace, and hot tub, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Quebec City.

Anyone is welcome to visit the hotel during the day.

1.6 Explore the Parliament Building

The Parliament Building in Quebec City is considered to be the most significant historic building in the province, and this, combined with its impressive architecture, solidifies its position as one of the top tourist destinations in Quebec.

The provincial capital of Québec is located in the openly planned area to the southwest of the historic Upper Town.

Photo by rabbit75_dep from depositphotos

The Parliament, which was finished in 1877 but eventually expanded, might have been based on various public structures in Paris. Its style was influenced by the Louvre, a renowned museum in France, and it’s difficult not to be amazed when you first touch it.

Both the National Assembly and Legislative Council chambers are accessible to the general public. Both are elegant, antique rooms that have lavish furnishings. It is advisable to purchase tickets which are free of charge, well in advance.

All 125 of Quebec’s elected representatives currently convene at the National Assembly, which is housed in the Parliament Building and is still in use.

Most days, the Parliament Building is available for guided tours that take you around its ancient rooms and wings. You can even attend a National Assembly Parliamentary Session when you’re genuinely interested.

The Grand Théâtre and the sizable Palais des Congrès entertainment and shopping complex are both nearby.

The Grand Théâtre is a location for performances, operas, and symphony performances, making it one of the exciting things to do in Quebec City.

1.7 Château Frontenac

 things to do in Quebec City
Photo by rabbit75_dep from depositphotos

The opulent Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, built-in 1894 for the Canadian Pacific Railway, is now a well-known landmark and prestigious hotel in the city. This old building is clearly visible from a great distance and is absolutely gorgeous at night.

The Fairmont hotel business is renowned for having housed in some of Canada’s most breathtaking structures or sites, and this is also true of Quebec City.

The Terrasse Dufferin, located in front of the hotel, offers breathtaking panoramas of the Laurentian Mountains to the north, while the Promenade des Gouverneurs connects to the Citadel as well as the Plains of Abraham to the south.

The original location of Fort St. Louis, the mayor’s residence during colonial times, was perhaps a vantage point. Under the promenade, there are remains that visitors can see.

In August 1943, at the Québec Conference, which included Vice-Admiral Lord Mountbatten, Winston Churchill, General George C. Marshall, William L. M. King, the U.S. Chief of Staff, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and others, the Allied Powers set the groundwork for the D-Day operations in Normandy.

With its location on a hill, this enormous hotel practically has the appearance of a castle, and its 611 rooms could accommodate a small force.

While everyone is welcome to stroll around the grounds and check out the Fairmont’s bars as well as restaurants, the opulent suites are, of usual, only available to paying guests.

It is one of the most shot hotels in the world and is one of many amazing things to do in Quebec City.

Tip: Once you arrive at the restaurant, glance up. The St. Lawrence river is shown in the artwork that extends along the roof.

1.8 Enjoy at Carnaval de Québec

Carnaval de Québec, a two-week winter festival in Québec, takes place in the ice and snow of late January and the beginning of February. A huge snowman mascot termed Bonhomme Carnaval has served as the leader of the annual celebration since 1955.

Carnaval de Québec.
By Bernard Chantal from Shutterstock

When the carnival visits, the city comes to life as large portions of the old town host marches, displays, amusement rides, and performances.

Numerous events, including the ice canoe race that takes place on the Saint Lawrence River, are also worth attending.

At Plains of Abraham, two snow sculpture competitions—the Canadian National and International Snow Sculpting Contests—are held.

Visitors can observe the sculptors at work and take in their creations as they are judged. Dog sled races, dancing, skating, parades, sledding, and snow swimming—where a number of the city’s braver citizens frolic in a snow hill wearing only swimsuits among the traditional events.

While many of the activities offered there are free and accessible to everyone, some call for the buying of a pass that grants access to the other events.

 If you do not spend a few hours at the Carnaval de Quebec, you skipped the main wintertime attraction in Quebec City because this kind of event is enjoyable for individuals of every age.

1.9 Enjoy around Dufferin Terrace

Over 2 million tourists visit the upper town’s renowned boardwalk each year to take in the vistas of the Saint Lawrence River, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Quebec City.

The Dufferin Terrace, titled in honour of Canada’s Governor General, Lord Dufferin, the place used to be out of reach for Quebec City’s commoners and designated for the aristocracy of the nation to appreciate.

This enormous slide made of wood, snow, and ice stands at the extreme side of Dufferin Terrace and has been a fixture of Quebec City for more than a century.

The large-scale public inauguration that took place in 1838 altered that, and today it is among the must-see sights in Quebec year-round.

In the summer, scores of singers, artists, painters, and food vendors fill the Dufferin Terrace, and in the winter, everyone congregates there to race over the toboggan, among the best things to do in Quebec City.

You buy your tickets at the adjoining cafe, join the crowd in line, and then walk to the summit of the slope to pick up your toboggan, a straightforward wooden sled.

There is just a single way to reach the top, and it is a speedy one.

Join your family and friends as you climb aboard the toboggan and get ready to descend at up to 70 kilometres per hour.

You will undoubtedly scream with delight as you speed down the slopes of a snowy slide on this exhilarating ride. One ticket is never satisfactory, so purchase additional ones.

1.10 Strom Spa Nordique

The latest attraction in Quebec City is the brand-new, opulent spa close to the Plains of Abraham, and ever since it was inaugurated in 2018, everyone from superstars to youngsters have been rushing there.

Their concept is straightforward: take a classic Nordic spa experience, put it in an urban location, and ensure no design expenses are spared.

At Quebec City’s Storm Spa Nordique, they have succeeded in accomplishing exactly that.

The Storm Spa Nordique is made up of a multitude of warm baths and exquisite rooms to soothe the body and mind, with its breathtaking scenery over the Saint Lawrence River serving as its main lure.

You can choose from a large selection of herbal baths, thermal pools, and cold splash waters, all of which are set at various temperatures.

Along with the standard spa services, they are equipped with infrared chairs, massages, and a salt float pool in which you can gently float in hot water while being fully disconnected from your senses, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Quebec City.

2. How to Reach Quebec City?

2.1 Plane:

Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, located 10 miles from the heart of Quebec City, is the nearest airport.

From several metropolitan areas in Canada as well as the US, there are direct flights to Quebec.

2.2 Railways:

VIA Rail Canada offers rail service from Ottawa, Toronto, as well as Montreal. If you are coming from the USA, you will take Amtrak and then change trains in Montreal.

Also, confirm before making a reservation on the company’s website because you might be able to get cheaper rates there.

2.3 Bus:

Many bus trips are available from American locations to Montreal on Greyhound. After that, you’ll change to the Orléans Express bus to get to Québec City.

3. Things to Keep in Mind

3.1  Eateries

Along with various international as well as American cuisines, Quebec City features a number of the finest French food in the entire province.

Need not be hesitant to venture outside of Old Quebec; you will find locals-only eateries, which are typically more reasonably priced and, yes, more genuine to the culinary delights that Québec is renowned for.

3.2 Sightseeing Tour

The Quebec City Sightseeing Tour is a fantastic choice if you wish to see a few of the city’s main sites in a short length of time.

A 2-hour tour of the city’s finest attractions, including the Plains of Abraham, Old Québec, and Place Royale, is included in a luxurious motor coach. A knowledgeable guide will share tales about the history and culture of the city with you all along the route.

3.3 Climate

You should expect frigid conditions in Quebec City during the wintertime. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful time to go.

The seasons are substantially more temperate in the summer and fall. The weather is still chilly and rainy in the spring.

3.4 Events

The annual Carnaval de Quebec in Quebec City takes place in February. One of Quebec City’s most popular attractions, the event has been going on since the late 1800s.

The Hôtel de Glace debuts in January, not only being a spectacle but also the ideal time to spend the evening at the Ice Hotel.

3.5 Language Barrier

Although French and English are Canada’s two official languages, only French is spoken in Quebec City, where about 80% of the people are native to the region.

Local residents in Quebec City admire tourists who make an attempt to communicate in French without shifting to English, in contrast to Montreal, wherein visitors may get by solely speaking English.

Do not let that discourage you. Most locals who engage in the hospitality industry at least are basic English speakers.

These were the 10 exciting things to do in Quebec City. Quebec City is a well-known tourist attraction and a must-visit for anybody fascinated by culture, history, or architecture since it is a booming cultural center with a bustling arts scene and rich history.

Let us know your experience in the comments.

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Pooja Thakur

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