Attractions, Activities, and Romantic Things to Do in Quebec City This Summer
Here is a list of the most notable things to do in wonderful Quebec City during the summer. From sightseeing to restaurant recommendations, you’re sure to find something that’ll pique your fancy.
Take a look at our other articles for more inspiration:
- Old Quebec City: 34+ Exciting Things to Do in 2019
- 20+ Most Delicious Old Quebec City Restaurants for 2019
- 12+ Quebec City Tours Companies [Full Guide]
1. Walk through Old Quebec
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. Our suggestions:
- Stroll in the old European-like streets
- Enjoy a café glacé on the Parisian-inspired 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 Pierre-Dugua-Des-Mons Terrace
- 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.
3. Chill out at La Cour Arrière
The team behind La Cour Arrière du Festibière have transformed an Old Port lot into an ephemeral bar, gathering spot and and waterfront wading pool. The best terrace in town opens June 1st, 2019. Keep your ankles cool in the water while relaxing and sipping local craft beer on a lounge chair, or pick whatever your heart desires from a long list of beverages. If you stop by on the weekends you’ll even be treated to live musical acts and DJs.
-84 rue Dalhousie, 11am- 11pm
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:
- Restaurant Tanière³ – Undeniably modern, yet deeply rooted with its historic cellar location, Tanière³ pushes the boundaries of what Quebecois cuisine can be. Sit at the Chef’s Counter for a look at where the magic happens as you savour each course of the blind tasting menu.
- Ma Maison – Traditional French Canadian cooking just like your Quebecois mother or grandmother would’ve made it. This cozy restaurant sends you back in time, but to somewhere comfortingly familiar.
- Honō Izakaya – Unique Japanese dishes you can’t find elsewhere in Quebec. This little spot 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.
- Diner Saint-Sauveur – Tucked away from the touristic centre of Quebec, this diner will make you feel right at home with it’s warm ambiance and mouthwatering comfort foods inspired by Southern food from the United States.
5. Explore your area’s nightlife scene
For a historical town, Quebec City still has it’s big share of party-goers. In every district you will find a different nightlife atmosphere. Here are our suggestions to explore beyond the city walls:
- Saint-Roch – Noctem, Korrigane, MacFly Barcade, Deux22
- Saint-Sauveur – Griendel, Chez Tao, Kraken Cru
- Saint-Jean-Baptiste – La Ninkasi St-Jean, Pub Nelligan’s, Le Projet
6. Take the car on a day trip
Do you have a car and a curiosity if there is anything else to see near Quebec City? Here are a few day-trips just a couple of minutes or hours out of town that are sure to make for some of the most memorable things to do in Quebec City
- 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 still 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 cheese, 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. 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
Beyond the city’s grand museums, a visit to the historic sites and landmarks of Quebec will reveal the intimate and personal stories of people who walked the city’s streets centuries ago, and the ones who built them.
- La Citadelle de Québec – This striking fortress on the Plains of Abraham is a museum of military history. While you’re there, make sure to take its stunning views of Old Montreal, the Chateau Frontenac and St. Lawrence river.
- Morrin Centre – Military barracks, public prison, prestigious college and now cultural centre, this space has seen a lot. Step into its diverse shoes to get a real taste of the past.
- Maison de la Littérature – Nestled in a Gothic Revival church is a library and hub for all things literary. For those of you who speak (some) french, countless stories await… even ones that haven’t been written yet.
- Monastère des Augustines – Inspired by the work of the Augustinian Sisters of Quebec, this monastery is now a wellness centre where you can view archival exhibitions, have a cup of tea and even rent a room. Here, you’ll discover a perspective on holistic well-being that’s rooted in history.
14. Go to one of Quebec’s many festivals
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 4-14, 2019
- 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 7-18, 2019
- 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 1-4, 2019
- 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 15-18, 2019
15. Enjoy a unique shopping experience
There’s nothing like taking home a special souvenir to remember your trip by, but these stores aren’t just your average gift shop. Why not wear your memories of Quebec City while supporting a local designer or even hang them on your Christmas tree.
- 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!
- 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.
- Boutique de Noël – Yes Quebec City has a year-round Christmas boutique in the Old Town! Shop Christmas ornaments to bring back home and always have a souvenir of your trip to Quebec City.
- 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.
16. Dine in an upscale Quebecois restaurant
Quebec city has some amazing fine-dining cuisine. 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:
- Chez Boulay Bistro Boréal – Taste the flavours of Canada’s forests through their emphasis on local boreal ingredients that you can’t find anywhere else. Think wild mushrooms and delicious flavours from fir tree essence and birch syrup. Enjoy their Nordic-inspired cuisine in their stylish, modern dining room made up of chocolate wood.
- Le Saint-Amour – This restaurant serves you innovation in plating using local cuisine. The gourmet French fares are the perfect combination of fresh ingredients and extensive culinary experience, which all adds up to a visual feast. In a setting reminiscent of Paris’ Belle Epoque, it’s one of the leading fine-dining restaurants in Canada.
- Laurie Raphaël – Experience gustatory poetry made from seasonal ingredients. For refined and creative French-Québécois dishes and a wide range of wines, get dressed-up and head to Laurie Raphaël. Located at the Quebec City Saint-Germain hotel, the setting is sleek and glamorous.
- Légende – A tour of Quebec’s culinary history, Légende draws inspiration from local foods and Indigenous traditions. With a menu that celebrates our land, our forests, our rivers, you’ll be able to get a taste of nature like never before. Share a couple small plates with friends, or try out a tasting menu for a full experience,
17. Eat poutine at 3am
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 Boîte à Pain, a bakery with really good croissants, bread, sandwiches, soups, and real fire-oven Napoli pizzas.
- 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!
- After some spending, make sure to refuel at tea or coffee shop, like Le Lièvre et la Tortue and le Nektar Caféologue.
- To get your fill of culture, browse the art at Les Trafiquants d’Art Gallery & Frame Makers, which is set up in the style of a record store so you can flip through to find your favourite pieces.
- 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 its name!
19. See the Grands Feux Loto-Quebec
For six Wednesday and Saturday nights from July 31 to August 24, 2019, Quebec City’s skies are lit up at 9 pm by the annual spectacle that is the Grands Feux Loto-Quebec fireworks. Enjoy the magnificent show from the bank of the St. Lawrence River or on the Dufferin Terrace. And it’s all free!
20. 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!