Founded by the French in 1608, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. Located in French-speaking Quebec, it’s easily one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. Quebec City’s history and many attractions make it a year-round travel destination. Each season has its own unique sights and activities. The stone fortresses and cobblestone streets take visitors back to the 18th century. If you’re still trying to decide where to go and what to see, we’ll show you the best places to visit on your next trip to Quebec City.
Quebec City Overview
- Best Places to Visit for Free – The Notre Dame de Quebec Cathedral, The Plains of Abraham, and the Citadel of Quebec all have free entry. Visitors can tour the Cathedral for free, but there is a $5 admission fee for the museum. The Plains of Abraham is within Battlefield Park, which is a public park. Entry to the Citadel is free, including the daily ceremonies, the changing of the guard, and the noon gun.
- Best Places to Visit at Night – There are a variety of places in Old Quebec that you can visit at night. Just outside the city walls is the Grand Allee, Quebec’s nightlife center. Grand Allee is home to several nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. You can take a dinner and sightseeing cruise on the St. Lawrence River. The Louis Jolliet departs from Old Town, with great nighttime views of Quebec City.
- Summer – The best places to visit during the summer are Montmorency Falls and Valcartier Water Park. Firstly, Montmorency Falls is just more pleasant to explore on warmer days. Hiking trails and ziplines are safer and easier to access. If you really need to cool down, then head to Valcartier Water Park which is only open in summer.
- Winter – One of the best places to visit is the Plains of Abraham, which is part of Battlefield Park. During winter, it’s a popular place for sledding and cross-country skiing. Another option is the Aquarium du Quebec, which is open daily. Room temperature is adjusted indoors so you can enjoy all the different exhibits comfortably.
1. Montmorency Falls
If you like waterfalls, Montmorency Falls is a great place to visit. Located 15 minutes from Quebec City, this powerful waterfall is taller than Niagra Falls. Montmorency Falls Park offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities and breathtaking views. For the less adventurous, a cable car takes visitors to the top of the falls for a bird’s eye view. There are also 3 hiking trails to the top of the falls, with scenic viewpoints along the way. Or you can zipline 1,000 feet from the top of the falls to the bottom for an even better view. Other activities include hiking trails, playgrounds, and bike paths. You can visit the falls by climbing the stairway from the visitor’s center.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm
- Prices: Adults $7; Children free
- Address: 2490 Ave Royale, Quebec City, Quebec G1C 1S1, Canada
2. Aquarium du Quebec
The Aquarium du Quebec is a family-friendly attraction with more than 10,000 marine animals. You’ll see marine mammals, including walruses, seals, and polar bears. Make sure you’re on time for their daily polar bear feeding and training, one of the main highlights each day. Another feature is the indoor 350,000-liter tank, home to several species of fish, amphibians, and reptiles. They also have several marine animals from the Pacific Ocean. Families with kids can also enjoy the picnic area, ropes course, and adventure trails. Regardless of the weather, the Aquarium du Quebec is always open.
- Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4pm
- Prices: Adults $21.50; Children $10.75
- Address: 1675 Avenue des Hôtels, Québec, QC G1W 4S3, Canada
3. Quebec Museum of Civilization
The Quebec Museum of Civilization is located in the heart of Old Quebec. Its modern architecture fits perfectly with its century-old surroundings. Inside, you’ll find hundreds of historical art and artifacts which tell the story of Quebec. They study everything from how the body and society work to the history of the world. Their unique approach to the study of humanity makes them one of Canada’s most visited museums. As you explore exhibits, you’ll see multimedia presentations and interactive displays. They also offer a variety of guided tours in French and English.
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm
- Prices: Adults $15+ ; Children $5+
- Address: 85 Rue Dalhousie, Québec, QC G1K 8R2, Canada
4. Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts
Quebec’s National Museum of Fine Arts houses one of the largest collections of Quebec art in the world. Built on the Plains of Abraham, the museum features the works of famed Canadian artists. Inside, you’ll find over 40,000 works documenting Quebec’s art from the 17th century to today. The museum has four pavilions, each with its own architecture. Displayed are paintings, drawings, and sculptures, from different periods in Quebec’s history. They also feature traveling exhibitions, music recitals, and locally produced films. After seeing all the exhibits, enjoy the riverside terrace, restaurant, café, and gift shop.
- Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday 10am-5pm
- Prices: Adults $10+ ; Children $5+
- Address: 179 Grande Allée O, Québec, QC G1R 2H1, Canada
5. Fort Museum
The Fort Museum presents an original sound and light show on the military history of Quebec. The show revolves around a 400 sq foot model of Quebec City as it looked in 1750. It is a 30-minute multi-media experience that tells the story of the six sieges of Quebec. State-of-the-art sound and visual effects are used to recreate Quebec’s great battles. You’ll learn about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and Benedict Arnold’s march on Quebec. During the show, you’ll have a 4D experience as each seat shakes with every shot. This show is a must-see for military history buffs. There’s also a small exhibit of military weapons and uniforms.
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm
- Prices: Adults $9; Students $7; Children free
- Address: 10 Rue Sainte-Anne, Québec, QC G1R 4S7, Canada
6. Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral
Built in 1647, Notre Dame de Quebec is the oldest Catholic parish north of Mexico. The Cathedral has been bombarded and set on fire multiple times but continues to rise from the ashes. It is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture, art, and history. Because of its classic architecture, it’s a designated Canada National Historic Site. Inside are various works of art, imported stained glass windows, Casavant organs, and solid gold altarpieces. The basilica is the final resting place for the governors of New France and Québec’s Catholic Bishops. Entry to the basilica is free with a $5 admission for the museum. It’s a popular stop on some of Quebec City’s bus and walking tours.
- Opening Hours: Generally 7am-4pm
- Prices: Free entry, museum is $5
- Address: 16 Rue De Buade, Québec, QC G1R 4A1, Canada
7. Shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré
The Shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre is one of Canada’s oldest and most visited shrines. Located only 20 minutes from Quebec City, it’s the oldest pilgrimage site in North America. Its origins go back to the 17th century. Every year, a million pilgrims visit the shrine dedicated to the grandmother of Jesus. The chapel is home to several masterpieces, including sculptures of St. Anne and the Virgin Mary. Visitors come from all over the world to view the chapel’s mosaics and 240 stained-glass windows. Admission to The Shrine of Saint Anne is free, but donations are accepted. A number of tours do include the shrine as a stop, so it’s best to join a guide.
- Opening Hours: Daily 8am-4:30pm
- Prices: Donations accepted
- Address: 10018 Ave Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec G0A 3C0, Canada
8. Plains of Abraham
The Plains of Abraham was the site of Quebec’s most famous battle. In 1759, the British defeated the French and took control of French-speaking Canada. In 1908, the government turned the Plains of Abraham into Quebec City’s Battlefield Park. The Park now attracts over four million residents and tourists every year. It’s Quebec City’s playground where residents come to cycle, jog, sled, and cross-country ski. At the grounds, you’ll also find a museum that features historical exhibitions and a variety of activities. Entry to Battlefield Park and the Plains of Abraham is free of charge. There are also Quebec City sightseeing tours that visit the park and museum.
- Opening Hours: Daily 5am-8pm
- Prices: Free entry
- Address: The Battlefields Park
9. Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site
What makes Quebec City unique is the fortification wall that surrounds old Quebec. The walls are a reminder of the city’s rich military past. The French and the British used them to keep their enemies out of the city. These fortifications make Quebec the only remaining walled city in North America. Visitors can walk through the fortification walls to see what life was like in old Quebec. From vantage points along the wall, guests can take in the breathtaking views of Quebec City. Admission is $8 for adults, and children up to 17 are free. Guided tours are available, and they start at $26.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9:30am-4:30pm
- Prices: Adults $8; Children free
- Address: Artillery Park – 2 Rue d’Auteuil, Québec, QC G1R 5C2, Canada
10. Citadel of Quebec
The Citadel of Quebec is the largest fortress in North America still occupied by troops. It’s Canada’s oldest military building dating back to the 1600s. The Citadel is a must-see for anyone interested in the military history of Quebec City. It is one of Quebec City’s leading tourist attractions. The Royal 22 regiment entertains visitors to the Citadel with public ceremonies. Don’t miss the changing of the guard, the noon gun, and the beating of retreat. These ceremonies, with their colorful uniforms and marching bands, always attract large crowds. Entry to the Citadel is free and guided tours are available starting at $26.
- Opening Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
- Prices: Free entry
- Address: 1 Côte de la Citadelle, Québec, QC G1R 3R2, Canada
Where to Stay in Quebec City
Here are some top hotels which are also considered major attractions in Quebec. You can visit and stay at these places to get a complete cultural and fun experience. Otherwise, there are still plenty of great hotel options in the city.
Ice Hotel – Hotel de Glace
The Hotel de Glace features beautifully ice-sculpted rooms and suites for a luxurious night’s stay. Unique in North America, Ice Hotel offers its guests a one-of-a-kind winter experience. Guests can sleep in rooms with temperatures between –3 and –5 degrees Celsius. But don’t worry – rooms come with snuggly sleeping bags and pillows. The hotel also features three themed ice bars and a relaxation area with outdoor spas and a sauna. There’s even an indoor ice slide and water park.
- Guest Rating: 8.3 (Unique Experience)
- Star Rating: 3 stars
- Address: 1860, boulevard Valcartier, G0A 4S0 Saint-Gabriel-De-Valcartier, Canada
Hôtel Valcartier Water Park
Hotel Valcartier is a modern 4-star hotel designed specifically for families. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites with mountain views and private terraces. There’s an outdoor pool, restaurant, and cocktail lounge. Located in the Village Vacances Valcartier, it’s 20 minutes from Quebec City. Their outdoor water park offers fun and adventure all summer long. There are 35 heated waterslides, 2 theme rivers, and a giant heated wave pool. The Everest, North America’s highest water slide is an adrenaline junkie’s dream. Hotel Valcartier Water Park is the perfect family getaway if you have young kids.
- Guest Rating: 8.8 (Family Fun)
- Star Rating: 4 stars
- Address: 1860 boulevard Valcartier, G0A 4S0 Saint-Gabriel-De-Valcartier, Canada
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway in Old Quebec. They’re famous for elegant European-style rooms with all the amenities you expect from a 5-star hotel. You’ll have access to an indoor pool, hot tub, steam room, and various spa treatments at Spa de Chateau. For date nights, pick from their many restaurants, serving everything from classic to regional dishes. The hotel is famous for its panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River and Old Quebec. In fact, it’s thought to be the most photographed hotel in the world. Plus, major tourist attractions like Montmorency National Park and Notre-Dame Cathedral are minutes away.
- Guest Rating: 8.9 (Romance & Honeymoons)
- Star Rating: 5 stars
- Address: 1 Rue des Carrieres, G1R 4P5 Quebec City, Canada