Québec City is the capital of Québec in Canada and has a population of about 531,000 people. It was named by the Algonquian people as Kébec, which means “where the river narrows,” referring to the St. Lawrence River. The city is known for its cool summers and cold winters so you may not need that swimsuit.
However, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Québec City like visiting Montmorency Falls, Jacques-Cartier National Park, the Museum of Civilization, and the Notre-Dame Basilica. Quaint shops and unique boutiques line the small streets of Old Québec as well. Laden with shopping bags and heavy backpacks? Store your stuff at a suitcase storage site in Québec City as you continue to tour “Ville de Québec”.
You should not miss the opportunity to see the historic walled neighborhood of Old Québec while you are in the city. From the lower town of Basse-Ville to the upper town of Haute-Ville, there is a lot to see in Québec’s old city. It has kept its quaint colonial architecture since the 1500s and is a great place for selfies.
Meander through Petit-Champlain to get some unique souvenirs on one of the oldest streets in North America. The shops are full of handmade items as well as interesting historic items. But don’t miss taking a ride on the Old Québec Funicular that takes you from the lower town to the upper town.
Montmorency Falls Park
This waterfall is famous because it is about 1.5 times higher than Niagara Falls. At almost 275 feet tall, the falls are a beautiful sight to see whether you are seeing them from the city or inside Montmorency Falls Park. About 950 thousand people visit the park every year so be sure to stop by and see the falls with your own eyes.
If you are an adventurer, try the zipline or Ferrata. There are three Ferrata circuits over the falls climbing by cliff on a continuous cable. The zipline takes you 984 feet over Montmorency Falls Cove where you can hear and feel the roar of the falls. Other fun choices include the cable car, suspension bridge, or the panoramic staircase.
Jacques-Cartier National Park
Enjoy the outdoors while you are in Québec City at Jacques-Cartier National Park. The 165,560-acre park in the Laurentian Mountains is located along the Jacques-Cartier River valley and has a wide variety of great activities to enjoy. Spend the day floating on the river with an inner tube, raft, canoe, or kayak.
You can also get a guided tour or shuttle to see some of the flora and fauna in the park. Keep an eye out for moose as well as caribou, porcupines, foxes, and deer. Or rent a fat bike to ride the trails through the woods. If there is snow, rent some skis, kicksleds, or snowshoes for a winter hike.
If you have never seen polar bears, make sure you take a trip to Hudson Bay while you are in Québec City. It is the largest inland sea in the world and sits partially in the Arctic Circle, so it gets chilly there. The Bay connects with the Arctic Ocean from the Foxe Channel and the Atlantic Ocean through the Hudson Strait.
The stunning landscape alone is enough reason to visit with glaciers, the Arctic tundra, and Baffin Island, which is over 6,500 feet tall. You will probably want to go in the summer when it can reach almost 68 degrees because the winter can drop to an icy -75 degrees. Bring your camera to get pics of the polar bears.
If you would rather see marine animals in a more controlled environment, the Québec Aquarium is the place to go. They have over 10,000 animals in 300+ different species. Here you can see polar bears from indoors as they swim in their giant aquariums, but you can also see them outside with the seals and walruses.
You can get a guided tour in the Awesome Ocean tunnel where they take you on an adventure to learn about the Pacific and its residents. And if you want to see some insects, they have those too. In fact, they have almost 10,000 living and naturalized critters to see. Have a bite to eat at Alize Terrace over St. Lawrence.
This is the place where Samuel de Champlain founded the City of Québec in 1608. In fact, it is the exact location where he built the first permanent French settlement in the Americas. It started with a fort but evolved into a trading post, store, and residence over time. Don’t miss visiting the five different art galleries here.
They also have 14 gift shops where you can buy some really unique souvenirs from key rings to fur coats. Also, they have one of the oldest churches in North America. The Notre Dame des Victoires was built in the late 1600s but was rebuilt in 1763. The ship commanded by the Marquis of Tracy, the Brézé, can be seen inside.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
The most photographed hotel in the world can also be found in Québec City. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has a bunch of architectural wonders like the turrets and towers that are a contrast to the backdrop of the city’s skyline. It was built in 1893 and other sections were added over the years like the central tower in 1924.
The hotel was built to encourage wealthy tourists to visit from other states after the Canadian Pacific Railway was built. With 18 floors and more than 600 rooms, it has attracted many royal guests like Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace, and Prince Andrew as well as Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Paul McCartney.
As you visit the attractions of Québec City, you will need to refuel many times, so why not try some of the local cuisine? Try some poutine at Bistro Le Sam. Poutine is French fries with gravy and cheese curds. Or get some meat pies at just about any eatery, and crepes are best at L’Escale Bistro et Crêperie.