No matter what time of year you visit, it is easy to find things to do in Quebec City. Historical and military sites, museums, walking tours, food tours, an aquarium, bicycle rentals and tours, and more. In summer, the streets in Vieux Quebec, Petit-Champlain and Place Royale are filled with artists and street performers.
Over the years, Quebec City has been the backdrop in several fiction novels, as well as a movie or two. Some of our favourites are Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon, and one cannot forget the final scenes in the movie Catch Me If You Can.
Here are our picks of Quebec City things to do for your upcoming visit!
Historic & Religious Sites
1, côte de la Citadelle • www.lacitadelle.qc.ca • As the only fortified city in North America (north of Mexico), the citadel is one of the top Québec City things to do. While it’s possible to visit and take a tour during the day, consider doing the Night Tour, complete with a guide in a period costume. Cost is $20 for adults, $16 for 11-17yr olds, children under 11 are free. Book a tour!
44, Chaussée des Écossais • www.morrin.org • Housed in a 200 yr old building, the Morrin Centre was once an army barracks than a prison, a college, and now a library -and the headquarters of the Literary and Historical Society of Québec. Visits to the library are free during business hours. The centre also offers guided tours of the prison (they’ve maintained a couple cells), college, and library, daily in summer in English and French. General admission is $8.75, Students (with ID) $6.50, Children 8 and under are free.
2, rue D’Auteuil • http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/qc/fortifications/• Built between 1608 and 1871 to protect the colony of New France, the fortifications that circle Vieux Québec are roughly 4.6 km’s in length; making Québec City the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico. Artillery Park is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during summer, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in spring and fall. Entry to the fortifications at Artillery Park: $3.90 for adults, $3.40 for seniors, $1.90 for youth, and $9.80 for a family.
Walking tours are available from the Frontenac kiosk on Dufferin Terrace or Artillery Park at 2, rue D’Auteuil. Tours are 90 minutes in length and offered in both French (10:30 a.m.) and English (2:30 p.m.) during spring, summer, and fall. Tours do not operate in winter. The tour costs $9.80 for adults, $7.30 for seniors, $4.90 for youth, $19.60 for a family.
Terrasse Dufferin • http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/qc/saintlouisforts/ • Buried beneath Dufferin Terrace (in front of Château Frontenac) rests an archaeological gem; 200 years of French and British history. Walk through what was once the government hub of New France (Québec); a place where important decisions were made about the future of New France, and North America. The site is open daily for self-guided tours in spring, summer, and fall. Admission is $3.90 for adults, $3.40 for seniors, $1.90 for youth, and $9.80 for families.
31, rue des Jardins • http://www.cathedral.ca/ • The first Anglican church to be built outside Britain, The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is the seat of the Diocese of Québec City. Built between 1800 and 1804, the cathedral is British-Palladian – in architectural style – and fashioned after London’s Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The cathedral’s tower has eight bells, the heaviest being 840 kg and the lightest being 297 kg. The cathedral is also home to a silver communion set which was ordered by King George III. Book a tour!
Chalmers-Wesleys United Church
20, rue Dauphine • Built between 1818 and 1820, the Jesuit chapel was designed by François Baillairgé and lies on the former grounds of the Jesuit College. Upon completion of construction, the chapel was served by priests from Notre-Dame Basilica-Cathedral until the Jesuits returned to Québec in 1842.
In 1992, a centre for homeless youth, Maison Dauphine, was built next to the chapel, but the centre closed around 2010 and a charity, Carrefour d’Action Interculturelle was established on the ground floor, below the chapel. Today the charity helps migrants when they arrive in Québec.
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 16, rue De Buade • http://www.notre-dame-de-quebec.org/ • One of the oldest chapels in Québec, the basilica was built in 1647, on the site of the first chapel which was constructed by Samuel de Champlain in 1633. The chapel rose to the rank of metropolitan church in 1844, a minor basilica in 1874, and finally to private church in 1956. In 1989, the basilica was made a national historic site.
2, côte de la Fabrique • https://www.mcq.org/en/informations/maf • Just steps from the Holy Door, and on the grounds of Séminaire de Québec, Musée de l’Amérique francophone is focused on the progression of the Francophone culture. A must for those wishing to understand the history of French in Canada. Entrance to the museum is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5.50 for students, and $2 for children 12-16 years old.
Hours for the museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from June 24th to September 5th; In spring (April 4th to June 23rd) it’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Buy a museum package!
12, rue Donnacona • http://www.museedesursulines.com/ • Attached to the Ursuline convent, Musée des Ursulines de Québec exhibits artistic and historical artefacts of the Ursuline sisters, a teaching order in Québec who arrived in New France (Québec City) in 1639. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. in winter, and Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in summer. Entrance to the museum is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for youth.
77, rue des Ramparts • http://monastere.ca/ • Located in the historic section of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery (established in 1639), Le Monastère des Augustines is Vieux Québec’s newest wellness retreat, as well as home to the archives of the Augustinian Sisters, a medical order that arrived in New France in 1639 (on the same ship as the Ursuline Sisters).
The museum and archives constitute 400 years of history of the Augustinian Sisters who established the first hospital and several monasteries in Québec. Guided tours are available Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tours cost $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and students, and $9 for children ages 12 to 16. If you want to see the museum, but skip the guided tour admission is $10 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $4 for children ages 12 to 16.
10, rue Sainte-Anne • http://www.museedufort.com/en/ • Lovers of history and military history will want to make a visit to Musée du Fort their top priority when visiting Québec City. The museum, while small in size, offers a 30 minutes sound and light show that takes visitors back in time to the beginning of Québec; detailing the six military battles that helped shape Québec’s history. The museum also features a model of the city from the year 1750.
Museum hours vary depending on the time of year, so be sure to visit their website for current information. Entrance to the museum is $5.50.
1190, rue Saint-Jean • www.cicerone.ca • Cicerone Walking Tours • 1.855.977.8977 • Duration: 2 hours • Adult 13 yrs old+ $21.95, Child 12 yrs old and under FREE • Language: French & English • A fantastic walking tour of Vieux Québec with guides in period costumes, who are well versed in Québec’s history. Book a tour!
44, rue de la Chaussée des Écossais (Morrin Centre) • www.promenadesfantomes.com • 418.692.0624 • Duration: 2 hours • Adult $24.50, Student/Senior $20 • Language: French & English • This nighttime walking tour of Vieux Québec features ghostly looking guides: Marie Rivière or Jean Rattier; who regale you with tales of ten of Québec’s past criminals. Warning: there may be some surprises along the way. Book a tour!
94, rue du Petit-Champlain • www.ghosttoursofquebec.com • 418.692.9770 • Duration: 1 hour, 30 mins • Adult $20, Student/Seniors $17 • Language: French & English • Take a lantern-lit night tour through Vieux Québec with a costumed guide and hear about murders, executions, and ghostly tragedies that have taken place during Québec 400+ year history.
1688, route de l’Aéroport Québec • www.complexech.com/tours • GoHelico • 1.855.794.4108 • Duration: 30 mins • Cost per person: $179.95 • This 30-minute helicopter tour takes you around Vieux Québec, along the Saint Lawrence River to Montmorency Falls. GoHelico offers a free shuttle from Vieux Québec, shuttles depart daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Book a tour!
12, rue Saint-Anne • www.toursvoirqubec.com • Tours Voir Québec • 1.866.694.2001 • Duration: 2 hours • Adult $22.95, Child 8-12 yrs old $10.95 • Language: French & English • This walking tour takes guests through the western section of Vieux Québec visiting the Citadelle and fortifications, Parliament, the Plains of Abraham and Grand Allée. Book a tour!
12, rue Saint-Anne • www.toursvoirquebec.com • Tours Voir Québec • 1.866.694.2001 • Duration: 2 hours, 30 mins • Adult $43.95, Child 8-12 yrs old $24.95 • Language: French & English • A gourmet food tour through Vieux Québec and Saint-Jean-Baptiste; sample crêpes, local wine and cheese, microbrewery beer, and gourmet treats from fine dining establishments. A delightful food tour with engaging guides. Book a tour!
Petit-Champlain & Place Royale
Historic & Religious Sites
Batterie Royale (Royal Battery)
Corner of rue Saint-Pierre & rue Sous-le-Fort • Erected by Governor Frontenac in 1691, the Batterie Royale was named after King Louis IVX, and used to defend the city from attacking ships on the Saint Lawrence River. The battery was used during the Siege of Québec in 1759 and destroyed by the British. After the Seven Years War the battery was no longer needed and it was eventually built over, covered by wharfs and warehouses and the like. The Batterie Royale was discovered in the 1970s and restored in 1977. During the summer months, a gunner can be found at the battery in full military uniform, teaching visitors how to fire the cannons.
32, rue Sous le Fort • www.notredamedequebec.org • Originally built in 1723 (construction began in 1687), Énglise Notre-Dame-des-Victories is one of the oldest churches in North America. During the Siege of Québec (1759) the church suffered extensive damage, and, as a result, it was completely restored by 1816. The church is a popular site in summer when the doors are open to the public; from September to May the doors are only open on Sundays. Fun fact: The church makes an appearance in the movie Catch Me if You Can, towards the end when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is cornered by the police.
16, rue du Petit-Champlain • Built in 1683, this historic house was the home of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer and fur trader who, along with Jacques Marquette (a Jesuit Missionary), mapped the Mississippi River in 1673. Louis Jolliet lived in the house until his death in 1700. Today the home is the entrance for the Funiculaire in Petit-Champlain.
27, rue Notre-Dame • www.mcq.org • 418.646.3167 • Adults $7, Seniors $6, Students $5 • Open: Sat & Sun 10:00 am to 5:00 pm • A museum dedicated to the history of New France and Place Royale. The museum features a 3D film on Samuel de Champlain (founder of Québec), a scale model of Québec City in 1635, costume workshops, and re-enactments with actors in period costume. Buy a museum package!
50, rue du Marché-Champlain • www.mcq.org • Open daily: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm • Admission: FREE • Built in 1752 by Jean-Baptiste Chevalier, a ship owner, and merchant, Maison Chevalier was also a well-known inn during the 1800s called London Coffee House. Today, however, the house has been restored and acts as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse into life from the 18th to 20th centuries.
16, rue du Petit-Champlain • www.funiculaire-quebec.com • $2.25 per person, per ride • The original funiculaire was built in 1879 with cabins that scaled the escarpment with a counter weight water system and steam power. In 1907, it was converted to electrical power, but was destroyed by fire in 1945 and reconstructed a year later in 1946. Riding the funiculaire is a fun way to get from Petit-Champlain to Vieux-Québec and offers wonderful views of both Petit-Champlain and the Saint-Lawrence River.
35, rue Dalhousie • www.locationechosports.ca • 418.692.3643 • In summer Echo Sports rents bikes for 2,4, or 24 hours. Bikes for adults start at $15, and bikes for children start at $10. Echo Sports also offers guided bike tours of Petit-Champlain and Vieux, Montmorency Falls, and Wendake. Tours start at $60 per person. In winter, you can rent fat bikes for $50 a day. Book a bike tour!
94, rue du Petit-Champlain • www.ghosttoursofquebec.com • 418.692.9770 • Duration: 1 hour, 30 mins • Adult $20, Student/Seniors $17 • Language: French & English • Take a lantern-lit night tour through Vieux Québec with a costumed guide and hear about murders, executions, and ghostly tragedies that have taken place during Québec 400+ year history. Book a tour.
10, rue des Traversiers • www.traversiers.com • 1.877.787.7483 ext 2 • Adults $3.50, Seniors $3.15, Children 5-11 yrs old $2.35 • Open: 6:30 am to 2:20 am • Making the 1km journey from Québec City to Lévis takes about 10 mins, and offers a beautiful view of Québec City’s skyline — worth the 20 minute round-trip ferry ride.
68, rue du Petit-Champlain • www.theatrepetitchamplain.com • 418.692.2631 • Originally a theatre house, Théâtre Petit-Champlain has also become a music and comedic venue over the years. A great way to experience local talent, and enjoy a night out in Québec City.
Historic & Religious Sites
8, rue Vallière • www.ilotdespalais.ca • A newly opened (2014) historic site, L’îlot des Palais is a fascinating historical and archaeological site that dates back to the 14th century and includes a look into what was once the Jean Talon Brewery, the intendants home, the king’s storehouse or Boswell-Dow Brewery.
Activities at L’îlot des Palais include Virtual excavations and GeoRallys (geocaching with a historic twist): Vieux Québec for 2 hours and 30 mins; Castle, Palaces and Prisons for 2 hours and 30 mins; On the Beer Trail for 3 hours which includes a tasting; For the Holidays, a special geo-rally held during winter holidays for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Georallies cost $10 per adult, plus $10 for the GPS rental.
Gare du Palais
450, rue de la Gare du Palais • Built in 1915 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Gare du Palais, like many of the buildings erected by the Canadian Pacific Railway, was built in a château-style similar to Château Frontenac. A beautiful historic building with vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous stain glass ceiling in the lobby.
85, rue Dalhousie • www.mcq.org • Adult $16, Seniors $15, Students $10, Youth 12-16 $5, Children FREE • Open: Tues to Sun 10:00 am to 5:00 pm • Featuring over 125,000 artefacts, Musée de Civilisation has interactive displays and exhibits on local culture and surrounding societies. Guided tours are available in French and English. A perfect activity for families, or on a rainy day. Buy a museum package!
170, rue Dalhousie • www.navalmuseumofquebec.com • Admission: FREE • Open daily in July & August: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm • This unique museum, with extremely awkward operating hours, tells the story of war on the St. Lawrence River, as well as the history of the Naval Reserve of Canada. The perfect spot for those who love naval history.
289, rue Saint-Paul • www.cycloservices.net • 418.692.4052 • This bike shop in Vieux Port rents bikes for 2 hours, 4 hours, 24 hours, 1 weeks, and 2 weeks. Prices start at $15 (for 2 hours) for adults, $10 for kids, and $25 for a tandem bike. If you’re unable to pick-up the bike, they will deliver to your hotel, for a fee. Cyclo also offers guided bike tours; including a 2-hour bike tour of Lower Town (Petit-Champlain, Place Royale, and Vieux Port) for $55. Book a bike tour!
160, Quai St-André, Marché du Vieux-Port • www.ecolocyclo.net • 418.692.2517 • Located at Marché du Vieux-Port, Écolo Cyclo rents hybrid, tandem, quetzal, and electric bikes starting at $16. Rentals are available for 1,2,3,4,6,or 8 hours. As well as 2 or 3 days. Écolo Cyclo also offers tours in Parc Jacques Cartier, Île d’Orleans, and Québec’s historic areas. Tours start at $65. Book a bike tour!
180, rue Dalhousie, Quai 14 • www.excursionsmaritimesquebec.com • 418.845.4564 • Offering zodiac tours along the St Lawrence River, giving visitors a unique view of Québec City, Ste-Foy, Montmorency Falls, and more. They offer 90-minute tours, as well as a 4 hour and 30-minute tours. Prices start at $55 per person. Tours operate daily from May to November and reservations are recommended at least 48 hours in advance. Book an excursion!