15 Top Tourist Attractions in Quebec City

Attractions in Quebec City

15 Top Tourist Attractions in Quebec City

The city is the only walled city in North America and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The French-speaking city of Québec has a strategic location atop steep cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Founded in 1608 as a fur trading colony on today’s Place Royale, it quickly became an administrative center and today is the capital of the province of Québec. The Upper Town , also known as Haute-Village, was originally developed for its military advantage and contains the defensive Citadel, as well as some of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as the Château Frontenac and the city fortifications.

The Lower Town(or Basse-Ville) is where the original settlement was located and is known for its picturesque, narrow streets and historic, stone buildings. From here there is access to the Québec-Levis ferry at Vieux Port (Old Port) and there are many tourist attractions including the Musée de la Civilization and the quaint Quartier Petit-Champlain district, where there are endless things to do. The upper and lower districts are connected by winding streets, a few steep stairs and the Funicular.

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1 Place Royale

Place Royale

Place Royale stands on the site of the actual founding of Québec, the place where Samuel de Champlain established a fur trade in 1608 that quickly grew into the capital of French America. Named after Louis XIV, whose bust it adorns, Place Royale is the largest surviving ensemble of 17th- and 18th-century buildings in North America. The pretty stone church of Notre-Dame des Victoires overlooks a cobbled square, along with Maison Chevalier of the Musée de la Civilisation . Adjacent to Place Royale, overlooking the river and surrounded by sturdy walls and palisades, the small Batterie Royale was built in 1691.

2 Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

Basiliek van Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Basiliek van Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

Sainte Anne is the patron saint of Québec and is credited with many miracles of healing the sick and disabled. Located northeast of Québec in Beaupre, this beautiful Catholic basilica is a destination for half a million pilgrims each year. The current church dates from 1926, but the first chapel was built here in the 17th century. Another famous Catholic basilica is the Notre-Dame-de-Quebec Cathedral , designed by the architect Baillairgé and completed in 1844. The interior of Notre-Dame de Québec is very impressive with a beautiful altar, an episcopal cemetery and stained glass -lead windows.

Address: 10018 Chemin Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, city of Quebec

3 The Citadel of Quebec

The Citadel of Quebec
The Citadel of Quebec

Th Diamant rises from the west and faces the St. Lawrence River, reaches a height of 100 meters and has an extensive and varied panorama. Sitting atop this is Québec’s star-shaped Citadel, a massive fortress protected by thick walls, ramparts and ditches that was built in 1832. Still an active military post, the Citadel is used as a military residence for generals, officers and soldiers, as well as the summer residence of the Governor General of Canada. It is also the headquarters of the 22nd Canadian Regiment, which was raised early in the First World War and has an excellent record of service, including action in the Battle of the Somme and, much later, in the Korean War. Summer visitors can watch the changing of the guard every morning and the military museum,

Address: 1 Côte de la Citadelle, Quebec City

Official site: https://www.lacitadelle.qc.ca

4 Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site

Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site
Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site

Over the more than 300 years of its history, Québec has acquired a variety of fortifications, all of which can be explored on a one-hour walking tour. The bastions, walls, towers, gates and countless old cannons show how well the former French colony was protected. Completed in 1832, the four and a half kilometers of defensive walls on the western flank of the old city were constructed of granite and sand, the only fortifications of this kind in North America. Countless pieces of weaponry are a constant reminder of Quebec’s troubled past.

Official site: https://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/qc/fortifications/index.aspx

5 Plains of Abraham (Battlefields)

Joan of Arc Garden elPadawan / photo modified
Joan of Arc Garden elPadawan / photo modified

Outside the city walls, west of the Citadel, stretches the green plain known as the Plains of Abraham (Champs de Bataille), where the British under General Wolfe fought the French under Montcalm in 1759 and won. Exhibits tell the tumultuous history of how Québec City resisted and then fell to the British. There are also the remains of two Martello towers, later additions to Québec’s fortifications. Started in the late 1930s, the Jeanne d’Arc Garden designed by Louis Perron features a fantastic display of flowers from spring to fall.

Address: 835 Avenue Wilfrid-Laurier, Quebec City

Official site: https://www.ccbn-nbc.gc.ca

6 Musee de la Civilization

Museums from Civilization Martin Lopatka / photo modification
Museums from Civilization Martin Lopatka / photo modification

The Musée de la Civilization in Québec City is a three-part institution that delves into the many facets of human history and the settlement of French America, with the main museum in Basse-Ville near the Old Port . Built on designs by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the central museum is of great architectural importance. The permanent collection draws from civilizations around the world, as well as exploring the Québec experience. The Musée de l’Amérique Francophone (Museum of French America) is located in the historic Séminaire de Québec in Uptown. As the name suggests, the museum covers all aspects of the history of the French in North America. The Musée de la Civilization also has exhibits in Place Royale , where Samuel de Champlain founded Québec, the first permanent French settlement in North America.

Address: 85 Rue Dalhousie, de stad Québec

Official site: https://www.mcq.org/fr/

7 Parliament Building (Hotel du Parliament) & Parliament Hill

Parliament Building (Hotel du Parliament) & Parliament Hill
Parliament Building (Hotel du Parliament) & Parliament Hill

The spacious district, immediately southwest of the old upper town, is the seat of the provincial government of Québec. The Parliament, completed in 1877 but later expanded, could have been modeled on a number of Parisian public buildings. The Salle de l’Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) and Salle du Conseil Législatif (Legislative Council) are open to the public. Both are fine old rooms, luxuriously furnished. Tickets must be obtained in advance. Nearby you will find the Grand Théâtre (a venue for plays, concerts and symphony performances), as well as the large Palais des Congrès shopping and entertainment complex.

Address: 1045 Rue des Parlementaires, Quebec City

8 Québec-Levis Ferry

Québec-Levis Ferry Ravi Sarma / photo modified
Québec-Levis Ferry Ravi Sarma / photo modified

This ferry service provides a convenient connection between Québec City and Levis, across the St. Lawrence River. This quick crossing is also an inexpensive way to do some sightseeing with its views of the city skyline. As you hop aboard, you’ll see the lights illuminate Château Frontenac , the Prize Building, and other historic structures. The waterfront station is located on the Lower Town River , a short walk from Quartier Petit-Champlain and Place Royale .

Address: Rue des Carrières 1, de stad Québec

Official site: https://www.traversiers.com/en/our-ferries/traverse-quebec-levis/home/

9 Old Port (Vieux Port)

Old Port (Vieux Port) Kevin Tao / photo modified
Old Port (Vieux Port) Kevin Tao / photo modified

Québec’s 19th-century Old Port (Vieux Port) is a national historic site and was once a hive of commercial activity centered on Bassin Louise. The 19th century is brought vividly back to life at the Center d’Interprétation and during the summer through the visually stunning projections and soundtrack of the Image Mill (Le Moulin à images). Also on the waterfront, the daily Marché du Vieux-Port is a public market with everything from local farm produce to bicycle rentals.

10 Capital Observatory

Capital Observatory
Capital Observatory

Perched atop the Marie-Guyart Building, this 360-degree observatory offers more than just a panoramic overview of the city from the 31st floor. Interactive exhibits show how Québec City developed and grew over the centuries. The panorama extends beyond the old walled city to Levis, the St. Lawrence and Île d’Orléans. You can also get great views of the city from the cable car , Québec City’s solution to its extremely hilly geography. The tram has been running since 1879 and runs from Quartier Petit-Champlain in the lower town to Château Frontenac in the upper town to save weary travelers from steep stairs.

Address: 1037 de la Chevrotière, Quebec City

Official site: https://www.observatoire-capitale.com

11 Château Frontenac

Château Frontenac
Château Frontenac

Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1894, the grand Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is now one of the city’s most prominent landmarks and prized hotels. This historic building can be seen from miles away and is especially impressive at night. In front of the hotel, Terrasse Dufferin offers breathtaking views north to the Laurentians, and the Promenade des Gouverneurs leads south to the Citadel and Plains of Abraham. This elevated advantage was the original site of Fort St. Louis, the governor’s residence in colonial times. Tourists can see the ruins beneath the boardwalk. Château Frontenac is also of historical importance for the Québec Conference in August 1943, where the Allied powers – Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, William LM King,

Address: Rue des Carrières 1, de stad Québec

12 Grande Allée

Grande Allée Maureen / photo modified
Grande Allée Maureen / photo modified

Outside the city walls, Grand Allée forms the backbone of the city. The Parliament Hill district is of great interest to tourists. Here, a bevy of restaurants, patios and entertainment venues bring local and visiting crowds. The street’s grandiose 19th-century buildings were once home to the city’s upper class. Other Québec City attractions on Grand Allée include the Grande Allée Drill Hall, Battlefields Park and the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec .

13 Quebec Carnival

Dogsled team, Québec Carnival Jamie McCaffrey / photo modified
Dogsled team, Québec Carnival Jamie McCaffrey / photo modified

Québec’s two-week winter celebration, Carnaval de Québec, is held amid the snow and ice of late January and early February. The first Carnival was held in 1894 and since 1955 it has been an annual tradition led by a giant snowman mascot called Bonhomme Carnaval. Its home base is a massive castle made of ice that is covered every day with original artwork by Québec’s best graffiti artists . Two snow sculpture competitions, the Canadian National and International Snow Sculpting Contest, are held at the Plains of Abraham, where you can watch the artists work and admire the results as they are judged. Traditional events include dogsled races; parades; dancing; sleighing; the skates; and even snow swimming,

Many of the activities are free and open to the public, while others require the purchase of a pass that allows access to the rest of the events.

Official site: https://carnaval.qc.ca/

14 Petit-Champlain district

Attractions in Quebec City
Petit-Champlain district

Once the bustling capital of New France, the narrow streets and historic buildings of Quartier Petit-Champlain are now home to artisan boutiques, Québec cuisine restaurants and the odd souvenir shop. It’s one of the most scenic areas of the city with lots of things to do, and the pedestrian streets make it a wonderful area for walking. Look for a large trompe l’oeil mural that provides a glimpse into the city’s history.

Official site: https://www.quartierpetitchamplain.com

15 Quebec Bridge

Attractions in Quebec City
Quebec Bridge

Stretching over the St. Lawrence River, the massive iron structure of the Pont de Québec became known to the world before it was completed. During construction, between 1899 and 1917, two serious accidents occurred in which more than eighty workers lost their lives.

The Pierre Laporte Bridge is the twin of the Pont de Québec. It is named after one of Quebec’s former deputy prime ministers, Pierre Laporte, who was assassinated during the famous October Crisis. At the time it was built, in 1970, it was the longest suspension bridge in Canada with a span of 1,040 metres.

Where to Stay in Quebec City for Sightseeing

The most convenient to the tourist attractions are hotels in Old Quebec, between the Chateau Frontenac and the Citadel or in the lower Basse-Ville along the river. Shops, restaurants, cafes and historical sites are concentrated in this fairly compact area, with a funicular to save you climbing the steep hill that separates the upper and lower neighborhoods. Here are a few highly rated hotels in Quebec’s Old Town:

  • Luxury Hotels : A Quebec landmark in the epicenter of the Old Town and a major tourist attraction itself, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac has a rich history, elegant public spaces and stunning views. Almost directly at the bottom of the Basse-Ville river, Auberge Saint-Antoine displays historical artefacts in its beautiful public areas and rooms, so it’s like staying in a museum. The Hilton Quebec is located next to the Parliament Building and the gates to Old Town. It has an indoor and outdoor pool, spectacular views and is a short walk from all the main attractions.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: Art Deco elegance and style highlight the Hotel Manoir Victoria, which also offers a swimming pool and an excellent restaurant in the pedestrian zone of quaint streets and boutiques. Le Saint-Pierre Auberge Distinctive is located in historic Basse-Ville, a few steps from the Museum of Civilization. Quebec City Marriott Downtown is located near Parliament and the best shopping areas, near the old city walls. It has a good fitness center.
  • Budget Hotels: Maison du Fort is one of a row of historic stone houses along Rue St. Genevieve that have been converted into small hotels. In the same area, on a picturesque street near the Citadel, Chateau Fleur de Lys – L’HOTEL offers guests warm personal attention. Le Chateau de Pierre is located just a few steps from the Citadel in another converted stone house.

Tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to Quebec City

  • Sightseeing by Bus : If you want to see some of the city’s best attractions in a short time, the city’s Quebec Sightseeing Tour is a good option. This two-hour excursion in a comfortable motor vehicle takes you around the city’s top sites, such as Old Québec, the Plains of Abraham and Place Royale. Along the way you will hear stories about the city’s culture and history from an experienced guide.
  • Walking route : Exploring on foot is a great way to soak up the European feel of Old Québec City. The Quebec City Walking Tour takes you through the narrow streets of Upper and Lower Town to see historic sites such as the Québec Fortifications, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church and the Citadel of Québec. As you stroll through the narrow streets, your experienced guide will share fascinating stories about the city’s past.
  • Whale Watching Tour : To escape the crowds and the wild side of Quebec, embark on a Full-Day Whale Watching Cruise. This exciting tour travels along the St. Lawrence River to Baie-Sainte-Catherine, where you can board a small zodiac boat or a three-level observation boat, with a certified naturalist, and cruise for three hours at sea on look for seals, whales and belugas.
  • Day trip : A perfect way to visit some of the best sights just outside the city is the half-day trip to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré from Quebec. This tour not only visits one of the province’s most beautiful churches, but also the beautiful Montmorency Falls, which is more than 50% larger than Niagara Falls. There are also several stops along the way, including delights such as the bread oven of Chez Marie and Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orléans and the Cuivres D’Art Albert Gilles museum.

related questions

Which airport does it serve Quebec City

Quebec City is served by one airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), which is located about 11 kilometers (7 miles) west of the city center.

You can find cheap flights to Quebec City through Swati Travel. Here are some indicative prices for one-way flights from Montreal (YUL) to Quebec City (YQB) on Swati Travel for the dates of September 20-27, 2023:

  • Air Canada: $40
  • Porter Airlines: $50
  • WestJet: $60

Please note that these prices are subject to change and may not be available on all dates. To find the best deals, it is always best to book your flights in advance.

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