Old Quebec is what you see in the fairytale-like pictures of Quebec City. Surrounded by fortifications, it’s the only walled-city in North America, North of Mexico, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can spend hours, a day or your whole trip discovering this quaint area. Here is what we suggest you to do:
Stroll in the old European-like streets
Enjoy a café glacé on a Parisian-like terrace of Place Royale
Shop in galleries on Rue Sault-au-Matelot or antiques on Rue Saint-Paul
Get a picture with the Château Frontenac on the Dufferin Terrace
Take a break of walking and enjoy a take-out lunch on the Terrase Pierre-Dugua-Des-Mons
See the Fresque des Québécois and the most beautiful street in Canada in Petit Champlain neighbourhood
2. Take the Old Quebec City Food Tour
The Old Quebec Food Tour is where foodies and history enthusiasts unite. While you walk the cobblestone streets, your passionate, local tour guide recounts the vibrant history of this area. In 3 hours you stop in 6 different tasting locations, like a traditional French bakery, a 17th-century Monastery, and more! There’s no better way to learn about a city’s heritage than to be guided by a local and to taste its delicious, traditional food. For more information, click here.
3. Chill out at a temporary ephemeral outdoor space
During the summer season, Quebec City has many outdoor ephemeral spaces created by artists and architects. A fun and free place for everyone, including families, with diverse activities throughout the day and night. Our top choices this year are :
La Cour Arrière du Festibière– La Cour Arrière is a bar, gathering spot and and wading pool by the water of the Old Port. Keep your ankles cool while sipping local craft beer in the longe chairs or come by on the weekends for live musical acts and DJs. – Open from 11am-11pm, as of June 1, 2018
SPOT – A cool place to hang out, SPOT offers free activities throughout the week, a stage that hosts concerts, a resto-bar, a play area for games such as mini-putt, and some local kiosks. Located by St-Charles Church of Limoilou, this year the Sympathique Place Ouverte à Tous becomes the Sympathique Parvis Ouvert à Tous. – Open everyday 10am-10pm, from June 15th to August 25th, 2018
Marina St-Roch – Free public pool next to the St. Charles River with free places to chill, lounge chairs, sandboxes, picnic tables, food-trucks hanging around the area. Very family friendly. – Open 12pm-8pm daily, starting on June 23, 2018
4. Discover the best new restaurants in town
Quebec City is definitely a foodie town and new restaurants are always popping up. Get ahead of the crowd and discover these new hot spots:
Lōuise Taverne & Bar à Vin – You get to choose between the two sides: Tavern vs. Wine Bar. They serve either hearty and flavourful tavern classics or inspired and zesty snack bar bites to accompany a long list of wines, beers and cocktails. Perfect for just drinks or a full dinner.
Chez Tao! – A small and vibrant spot serving Asian Fusion street food and exceptional cocktails. Have a taste of Bangkok’s street vendors in it’s party atmosphere, and see why the drinks are award-winning.
Honō Izakaya – Unique Japanese dishes you can’t find elsewhere in Quebec. This brand new place in the heart of St. Roch may be a little hard to find, but is absolutely worth a try. Get a few dishes to share with your friends after work.
Le Ket’Chose – A sweet bistro in Limoilou, it’s fine dining with a comfortably casual vibe. They serve exquisitely delicious dishes that are meant to be shared, and have a little wine list of carefully chosen private import wines.
Le Voisin – A resto-bar that’ll make you feel right at home with it’s warm ambiance and decor. Delicious and inventive meals, great cocktails, and a focus on wine picked by the expert sommelier.
Do you have a car and are wondering if there is anything else to see nearby Quebec City? The answer is YES! Here are a few day-trips just a couple of minutes or hours out of town that you will very much enjoy!
Île d’Orléans – Located just 20 minutes out of the city, this Island will charm you with it’s many farms, orchards and ancestral houses. You can drive around the whole Island in an hour but you’ll want to stop in a couple of places to taste local products and bring back souvenirs, like Vignoble St-Pétronile, Chocolaterie de l’île d’Orléans, La Roulotte Du Coin, La Boulange Bakery and Cidrerie Bilodeau.
Vallée de la Jacques Cartier – You don’t have to drive far from Quebec City to find some incredible natural sites like those at Parc de la Jacques Cartier. Head out on one of the many hiking trails that vary from easy to hard in difficulty. At night, you can sometimes even see the Northern Lights!
7. Visit the Marché du Vieux-Port
Don’t have a car to go to Île d’Orléans but would like to discover local products and creations? Head over to the Old-Port Market. A covered market with many food stalls selling everything fresh, from produce, to fish, to maple syrup, craft beer, and ice wine.
– 160 Quai Saint-André, Open 9am to 6pm weekdays, 9am to 5pm weekends
8. Look out from Observatoire de la Capitale
Get the best view of Quebec City! Located on the topmost floor of the Marie-Guyart Building, Observatoire de la Capitale gives you 360 bird’s eye view of the city. Decorated with a wall-to-wall infographic timeline of Quebec City’s history you can even learn a few things at the same time.
– 1037, rue De La Chevrotière, 31st floor
9. Rent a bike to explore further
Pack a lunch, rent a bike with Cyclo Services and head on the cycling paths in one of these directions:
Promenade Champlain – On this path that follows the Saint-Lawrence river you can enjoy a couple of nice places to stop in like the Bassin Brown Lookout on the river, Quai des Cageux, and a view of the Quebec Bridge.
Wendake Huron Village – See the First Nations culture at the amazing museum of First Nations & Hotel and take the time to see the impressive waterfall Kabir-Kouba. And if you’re hungry, the Sagamité restaurant is a must-try of native flavours.
10. Get in touch with nature at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
The Montmorency Falls are a must-see attraction just outside of Quebec City. Head to the top of the waterfall by the cable-car, cross the suspension bridge over the falls and enjoy a spectacular view of the area’s waterways and parkland. If you’re feeling fit, you can also climb to the top using the impressive staircase, or take a hike on the surrounding trails. You don’t have to go far from the city to be amazed by nature’s splendour! While you’re there, take a ride on the zipline and have a meal at the Manoir Montmorency to get the full experience.
11. Have a drink on a terrace
Summer is short in Quebec, so you better make the most of it! Step outside at these places to get comfortable while enjoying the fresh air.
Le Sacrilège– Step through the bar to discover outdoor seating in the backyard, so hidden it will seem like you’re in a Speakeasy. More than a charming atmosphere, Le Sacrilège also has deals on local beer! After a day exploring the city, come here for a delectable and effective wind-down, the way locals do it.
La Barberie – As soon as the sun is out, all the locals head over to the outdoor beer garden of La Barberie. Enjoy this space quietly on weekday afternoons while all the locals are at work or come to see this place bustling with life after 5pm. Order the carousel, a flight of 8 beer tastings, and introduce your tastebuds to the distinct flavours of Quebec City’s local craft beers.
Café du Monde – Come to this Parisian inspired bistro first and foremost for exceptional views of the St. Lawrence River. As you look out, enjoy eating beautifully prepared French classics and soaking in the friendly atmosphere. Get the most out of it with their fixed price menu, which starts under $30.
Le Cendrillon – This Limoilou spot is the perfect place for a 5 à 7 or even late night bites – the kitchen is open until midnight Thursday to Saturday, just like the fairytale it’s named after. Make sure you order their oysters, a couple other dishes to share amongst you, some wine and you’ll be set for the night. Their cozy and inviting space is full of locals any day of the week (except Monday).
12. Cool off at the beach on a hot day
Quebec City actually has over 1 km of sandy beach available to swimmers during the summer season, starting June 24, 2018. Baie de Beauport is a great place to relax on a towel and lay by the river, or you can check out their list of nautical activities, starting in the spring. Explore the river on a kayak, learn how to windsurf on a hot summer day, or get into a game of beach volleyball. You can even rent a Bike-BQ so you can grill on the go – now that’s a step up for your picnic game!
13. Soak-up some Quebec art and heritage
You can learn all about art, history, architecture and more with short or long visits to the famous landmarks in town. Visit an old jail, a typical English house, a museum or even a library and immerse yourself in local culture.
A summer in Quebec is a summer of festivals. From beer to music festivals, and from comedy to historical fairs. Here is a list of the most notable ones:
The FEQ (Festival d’été de Québec) – This music festival accommodates 1.5 million people. Its performances takes place across many venues throughout the city. – July 5-15, 2018
Le Festival ComediHa! – A comedy festival that features a number of major comedians. This is the place to go for a good time, and guarantees laughter. At least one English show is available every night. – August 8-19, 2018
TD New France Festival – A historic festival that reconstructs the New France era from the 17th and 18th century, and is filled with cultural activities, entertainment, parades and performances. – August 1-5, 2018
Le Festibière de Québec – A beer festival that allows you discover the unique tastes of Quebec through microbreweries, brewpubs, cider, local produce and samples in an open-air and festive atmosphere. – August 16-19, 2018
Bordeaux Wine Festival – A wine festival that has 6 group tents showcasing the best of Bordeaux imported wines, 10 Quebec wine and cider booths, and gives 35 live workshops. Whether you are a connoisseur or are simply interested in understanding the world of wine, this event is not to be missed. – August 31-September 3, 2018
15. Enjoy a unique shopping experience
Camellia Sinensis – Situated on St-Joseph in the St-Roch neighbourhood, this super zen and newly renovated tea shop offers tea tastings and excellent artisanal products. So stop by, grab a drink and talk with the super friendly tea experts. A good cup of tea can go a long way! – 624 Rue Saint-Joseph Est
Jupon Pressé – With hints of retro style in every piece, Jupon Pressé has a selection of clothes from funky dresses to whimsical outfits. Their collection is a mix of pieces from Quebec designers as well as international designers. Think pastel cardigans and jackets, cute accessories and classic basics. – 790 Rue Saint-Jean
Boutique de Noël – Yes Quebec City has a year-round open Christmas boutique in the Old Town! Shop Christmas ornaments to bring back home and always have a souvenir of your trip to Quebec City. – 47 Rue De Buade
Coeur de Loup – A womenswear boutique for trendy and creative clothes, made entirely in Quebec. For spring and summer they have lots of floral and patterned dresses – with an edge – as well as on oh-so-cute line of swimwear. You can also find their pieces at Jupon Pressé. – 41 St-Vallier Est
16. Dine in an upscale Quebecois restaurant
Quebec city has some amazing fine-diningcuisine. From traditional French style to locally-sourced modern inspiration, you can splurge on a whole variety of great eats, though recently the restaurants are especially drawing from local food traditions. We recommend:
Once all the bars in St. Roch close for the night, there’s one more thing you have to do. This is Quebec, after all, so stop by Casse-Croute Chez Gaston for some late night poutine. The diner is a favourite with locals and open until 4am Thursday-Saturday. Even the late night partiers want that proper Quebec poutine: squeaky cheese curds and all.
18. Spend a day in Limoilou
Limoilou is one of the smaller older districts of Quebec City that has recently been transformed and overcome with a wave of the new generation. It is now young, hip and composed of artisans, business-people and families alike. Around every corner lies a delicious bistro, an artistic workshop, and a local boutique.
Start off your day at Le Fun en Bouche, for a hearty brunch. They have outdoor seating, good portions, and a courteous staff.
Next–go shopping! Limoilou’s streets are filled with one of a kind shops like Article 721, which sells local gadgets, thingy-ma-bobs, and an array of unique products. Also check out La Folle Fourchette that sells unique kitchen products. These are stores where creativity is at its peak. You’ll find the perfect gift for the child, the woman or the man in your life!
Walk back into the city center using the walking/cycling path along the Saint Charles River, which is lined with observation points, lovely scenic views like that of Parc Cartier-Bréboeuf, and lots of fresh air.
Or continue strolling the 3rd Avenue and find the perfect neighbourhood bar. We urge you to go try Le Bal du Lézard, a small vintage looking bar that host shows and offers good music and a fun atmosphere. If you’re more the craft beer type, head to La Souche for a fresh brew around a log table, hence it’s name!
19. Attend a Foodie Blockparty: Saint-Roch Experience
Imagine a block party where most of the people attending are chefs, gourmet food makers, or hopeless foodies. Now imagine that these people are posted up outside their houses, with their best selection of delicious local food and products. Well, that’s the Saint-Roch Experience. The street is closed to cars, and Saint-Joseph street restaurants set up booths offering tasty treats paired with some musical and artistic selections. Click here to find out more.
– September 14-15, 2018
20. See the Grands Feux Loto-Quebec
For 6 nights from August 2 to 23, 2018 on Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 pm, Quebec City’s skies are lit up by the annual Fireworks Loto-Quebec. Enjoy the magnificent show from the bank of the St. Lawrence River or on the Dufferin Terrace. And it’s all free!
Bonus: Take the ferry to the south shore of the St. Lawrence river
Buy a round-trip ferry ticket to go to the city of Lévis and enjoy the best view of Quebec City, directly on the river. Grab a drink at Pub Corsaire and come back into town at sunset!
3h walking tour. Sample varied dishes ranging from traditional to modern foods and get a feel for what it is to be Québécois! Enjoy 6 unique & acclaimed tasting locations. $65 CAD +Taxes & Fees (Includes all tastings)