Quebec City is not only steeped in history, but it’s also beautiful and a great city to visit when exploring the province of Quebec’s epic spots. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that there are so many stunning things to see and the best things to do in Quebec City that you’re going to struggle to whittle your list down.
We had the most incredible time exploring Quebec City… and wider Quebec where we stayed in the wilderness in Sacacombie, Took an epic helicopter ride around Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve, and finally Quebec City.
The province of Quebec is just so special; with Quebec City being no exception!
So, to help you have the best time exploring, take a look at some of the best things to do in Quebec City when you visit. Have the most incredible time in Canada.
1.) Fortifications of Quebec and City Gates
Now, if you’re something of a history buff, then you’re going to love these spots? After arriving in Quebec, make sure to hop over to the Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site.
Oh, and whilst you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Gates of Quebec; St. Louis Gate, St. John’s Gate and the Kent Gate which are all totally impressive to see.
Both sites are a totally great way to learn the long history of Quebec City and how the city was protected for centuries. We totally loved our stroll around the fortifications.
Once here, you can stroll through the fortifications which are a great way to get a good overview of the history of Quebec. As you wander Artillery Park, be sure to stop at the Arsenal Foundry and spot the Dauphine Redoubt.
The latter is one of the oldest military bases in all of Canada. There are literally centuries of history within these walls.
Don’t forget, you can head on a guided tour, too. Oh, and remember, the fortifications are open in the warmer months between April – October every year. It’s a great way to see more of historic Quebec and a history that dates back almost 500 years.
Afterwards, be sure to check out Lévis Forts that’s well worth visiting if you want to understand the historical British presence in the region.
Yes, it’s across the St Lawrence River but it’s easy to reach by the ferry service from Monument Clarence-Gagnon (and then a 20-minute stroll).
That being said, if you’re ‘done’ with all the military spots, go for a good chill in the city itself. After a long day plodding the streets, book this Nordic Spa Experience that’s a great way to relax and chill out. Especially as it’s right in the heart of the city.
2.) Visit the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre
If you want to explore some of Quebec’s most iconic buildings, then you have to pop into the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. It’s one of the eight National Shrines of Canada and one of the best things to do in Quebec whilst exploring just outside the city.
Overlooking St Lawrence River, the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre is around a 30-minute drive from Old Quebec but well worth the trip.
Best of all, it’s totally easy to visit if you’re road-tripping around the province and exploring the best places all across Quebec province.
First built in the 17th century, it’s a totally great place to learn more about the pilgrimages that happen yearly. Make sure to walk through the Altar and see the stunning Stations of the Cross. The whole place is totally breathtaking and well worth a gander.
3.) Pont de Quebec
Bridges in cities are a thing, right? Just like Tower Bridge in London and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, Quebec has its very own iconic bridge, Pont de Quebec.
Now, after strolling Parc de la Plage-Jacques-Cartier, you can easily pop over to Pont de Quebec. Honestly, it reminds me so much of the Forth Bridge In Edinburgh.
Now, the bridge in itself might seem a little dull to some visiting Quebec City, but it’s well worth the stroll if you’re looking for a more chilled day in the city. Though, if you’re not up for a stroll, or the weather isn’t on your side, it’s best to skip.
Afterwards, head to Old Quebec and grab a table at Restaurant La Buche. They serve up one of the best Pudding Chomeur with lashings of maple syrup. Just be sure to book in advance, especially on weekends.
Also, for a great way to see the rest of Quebec, be sure to book this epic sightseeing cruise around the city waterfront.
It’s such a great way to see the city and one of the best things to do in Quebec with a totally knowledgeable guide.
4.) Château Frontenac
Probably one of Quebec’s most iconic properties, Chateau Frontenac is something of an institution and one of the best things to do in Quebec whilst exploring the historic centre.
Easily reached from Old Quebec via the funicular, it’s a totally beautiful place to stay, or even stop by for dinner and cocktails.
We totally loved our time at Chateau Frontenac and it’s so centrally located that it makes it all so easy to explore historic Quebec.
Plus, if you do decide to stay, you can book some of its iconic suites that are designed around some of its famous guests. Suites themed around Alfred Hitchcock, Celine Dion and others. They are so gorgeous.
5.) Parliament Building of Quebec
Whilst you’re visiting Quebec, be sure to check out the Parliament Building that’s right in the heart of the city.
First completed back in the 1800s, it’s one of the most iconic parliament buildings in all of Canada. Best of all, you can actually join a really interesting guided tour that’s in both French and English.
Tours take around 1 hour and they’ll give you a whole rundown of the parliament and the history of Quebec.
Afterwards, pop into Chez Rioux and Pettigrew, for a bite to eat. Their pan-seared scallops are everything.
6.) Plains of Abraham
Easily visited when biking between the historic old city of Quebec and Pont de Quebec, the Plains of Abraham is well worth visiting whilst in the city.
In the winter months, you’ll be able to head to the Ice Skating Ring, and also see the views from Terrasse Grey (which are lovely, by the way).
Oh, and don’t forget to visit The Plains of Abraham Museum. Just be sure to wrap up warm in the chilly winter months. The weather can get totally blustery. Trust me, no one likes a cold walk!
7.) Old Town Quebec
Look, there’s no way you can visit the city of Quebec without visiting the historic centre. It’s one of the best things to do in Quebec, especially for its quaint charm and totally beautiful buildings.
Now, personally, I wouldn’t say you need a guided tour of Old Quebec and would totally recommend spending a good few hours just strolling the cobbled streets.
Once here, make sure to check out the nearby basilica of Notre Dame de Québec and the Cathédrale Holy Trinity.
Plus, you’ll have lots of time to stop for lunch or a toasty tea in one of the little cafes. We also totally loved the antique shops on Rue Saint-Pierre.
Every day we spent in the city, we made sure to stroll around Old Quebec and we totally loved it.
Just be sure to book your restaurants in advance for dinner. They really do fill up fast at peak times; especially the tasty spots.
8.) Place Royale
Yes! I know I’ve already mentioned visiting the historic neighbourhood of Quebec, but I had to call out Place Royal on its own.
Right in the heart of Old Quebec, Place Royal is a stunning cobbled square that’s been around since the early 1600s.
Named after Louis XIV, Place Royale is one of the best things to do in Quebec whilst wandering the city. Especially as it holds such a strong meaning for French populations that first settled in the Americas. You see, this is the very spot where Samuel de Champlain erected the initial and lasting French settlement.
There is so much history in this historic square.
As you stroll, pop into the L’Oncle Antoine Pub. It’s a totally quaint and traditional boozer that’s got some tasty sandwiches too.
That being said, you can also pop into Maison Smith for their pipping hot tea and homemade cakes. They’re so good.
9.) Citadelle of Quebec
La Citadelle de Quebec is still an active military post that you can still visit.
Once here, you can hop over to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony (which is a piece of history that’s well worth watching). It happens on lots of summer mornings and is a great way to take a peek at the 22nd Canadian Regiment that looks after this area.
Also, don’t forget to check out the exhibitions inside. Some are seasonal, whilst others are permanent. They are well worth visiting; especially the Honour and Memory Gallery.
10.) Carnaval de Quebec (Quebec Winter Carnival)
Love a good winter trip to Quebec? Then you have to make sure to experience the Quebec Winter Carnival. If you’re in Quebec in January and February then you have to attend. It’s one of the best things to do in Quebec and totally fun.
Typically, it’s an It is a two-week winter celebration and a perfect carnival for the whole family. The yearly tradition includes building giant snowmen and a giant castle made out of ice. All totally fun, if you have gloves; terrible if not!
Oh, and there are cute pooches who run in a snow dog race. Enjoy the festivities and be sure to stop by the Ice Palace, too. We love it.
11.) Musé de la Civilisation
Fancy a little indoor spot to visit in Quebec? Then head right over to the Musé de la Civilisation. It’s one of the best things to do in Quebec, especially as it houses thousands of artefacts and exhibitions that are totally incredible.
You can easily spend a whole afternoon here, especially if you want to explore all the historic relics and collections that are so cool.
Plus, it’s great for the whole family, too. They have heaps of interactive exhibits that are totally engaging. Just be sure to wear your comfy shoes, you’ll be strolling around the halls all day!
12.) Montmorency Falls and Ile d’Orleans
Just on the fringes of Quebec City, Montmorency Falls is well worth taking a gander whilst exploring the area.
Now, one of the best ways to see the falls is by booking this guided trip that’s so good. The trip takes around 4-hours and will take you all the way to the falls, Ile d’Orleans, and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
Once here, you’ll get to walk the pathways around the falls, and see the dramatic views from the top.
Again, like lots of sights in Quebec, take a good pair of walking shoes! You don’t want sore feet on this trip.
After spending some time at Montmorency Falls, you’ll get to head to Ile d’Orleans. It’s a stunning little island that’s just so quaint.
We stopped by for lunch and even went apple picking (which happens seasonally). Oh, and don’t forget about visiting the botanic gardens of La Seigneurie de l’Île d’Orléans.
It’s well worth the trip.
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