10 Top Quebec City Attractions
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Depending on how much time you have at your disposal in Quebec City, the following 10 Top Quebec City Attractions should all feature on your must-see list.
Each of these attractions will have a role in shaping your experience of the city so that you leave with unforgettable memories and a broad experience of what Quebec City and the surrounding area has to offer tourists.
Let us start with the most popular attraction – Old Quebec.
1. Old Quebec
Old Quebec (Vieux-Quebec) is indeed a city within a city. This the where Quebec City started off as a fur-trading settlement in the early 1600’s and this is where you will find many of Quebec City’s most popular attractions. Most visitors will want to start their tour by walking along the beautifully preserved fortified walls which surround Old Quebec, which has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status
The Old Town is divided into a fortified Upper Town and the Lower Town, linked by a series of steps and a funicular. The former is where you will find the legendary Chateau Frontenac, Parliament Hill and the Plains of Abraham, while in the Lower Town you will want to visit Petit Champlain, the Place Royal and the Old Port.
Each of these enticing parts of the Old Town is full of history and character and has many attractions you will want to explore.
2. Ile d’Orleans Island
Ile D’Orleans Island is a wonderful day trip destination from Quebec City, accessible by road via the Ile D’Orleans Bridge
The island is located in the Saint Lawrence River, just 5km east of downtown Quebec City, but a world apart in atmosphere and bucolic charm. Here you will feel as though you have stepped back in time as you drive through rolling farmlands and quaint little villages, peppered with ancestral farmsteads dating back to the 1700’s.
The island is home to over 600 historic buildings including stone houses and churches which were built in the Colonial era.
For centuries the island has drawn artists and artisans and today visitors can stop by countless little outlets and farm stalls. An ideal day on the island would include visits to vineyards, wineries, cheese and chocolate makers to fill your picnic basket with local delights.
3. Montmorency Falls
The beautiful Montmorency Falls are located within a 15min drive of Quebec City. The impressive 83-meter main waterfall is 30 meters higher than the Niagara Falls and the surrounding area offers a variety of activities for explorers of all ages.
One of the best ways to view the waterfall is to take the cable car to the top of the falls. If you are up for more excitement you can zip-line over the falls or take a thrilling walk over the suspension bridge.
Another interesting option is the Via Ferrata (Iron Trail) which is a cross between hiking and rock climbing. Participants clamber up the rocks securely attached to a cable to prevent any accidents. After a busy adventure you can enjoy the wonderful views and the food from the terrace of the Manoir Restaurant.
In winter, the icy conditions transform the falls into a “pain de Sucre”, (a wonderful natural ice formation resembling a sugar loaf) which attracts many ice climbers.
4. Jacques-Cartier National Park
Surprisingly, there is a wonderful natural outdoor recreation area located just 30 minutes from Quebec City. If you would like to spend a day enjoying miles of pristine wilderness, the Jacques-Cartier National Park is the ideal option for a day trip.
The park is located on a vast plateau intersected by deep valleys and rivers and offers hikers more than 100km of scenic trails. Wildlife in the park includes beavers, moose and deer, all completely at home in their natural habitat.
In addition to hiking you can also explore the park by canoe or kayak. In winter, the entire park becomes a snowy wonderland where you can enjoy snow-shoeing, fat-biking and backcountry skiing. There is a 45min shuttle bus service from downtown Quebec City which leaves at 9am and returns at 4pm in summer or 2pm in winter.
If you would like to learn about the Wendat Nation, who was the First Nation of Quebec long before colonization occurred, you will enjoy a visit to Wendake. This little town on the outskirts of Quebec City has been the official home of the Huron-Wendat Nation since the 1600s and is a very unique place to visit.
You can take a tour of the Traditional Village complex, led by costumed guides, visit the Kabir Kouba Waterfall, go canoeing along the Saint Charles River or attend a pow-wow. You can reach Wendake by road in about 20 minutes or make use of the shuttle service during the summer months.
Based on 5 Reviews
This a must visit if you're a visitor. They have everyday guided tours on site. The visit explains the history to till date so well with an apt ambience....
I have a problem with the ethics of people running this site. My friend and I ended up inside through a backdoor that was accidentally left open, and on our...
A M B I A N C E We took our Grade 9 students to the site. The experience was good! The tour was amazing, our guide was amazing. We were 96 students, so...
6. National Museum of Fine Arts Quebec (Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec)
A visit to this museum of fine arts is a must for all art lovers. This amazingly good museum is located in Battlefield Park, behind the Plains of Abraham, in Quebec’s Upper Old Town. The impressive museum complex comprises 4 buildings, one of which was a former prison.
The museum is home to a very fine collection of Quebec art as well as works by various other Canadian Artists and some international artists. In addition, there is an important collection of Inuit Art which occupies an entire floor of one of the buildings.
You are welcome to wander around the museum at your own pace or join a guided tour (in French only). The Museum is located at 179 Grande Allée Quest, which is one of the stops on the Quebec City Hop-on/Hop-off Bus Tour.
7. Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine (Saint Anne Basilica)
A visit to the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine is a must-do pilgrimage for Catholic visitors to Quebec City, as well as for anyone who is interested in art, architecture and miracles! The basilica is located along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, about 30km east of Quebec City.
Originally, a small chapel to honor Saint Anne was built on this spot in 1658. Even back then there was talk of miracles and one of the builders of the shrine was reportedly cured of his rheumatism after laying just 3 stones of the foundations.
As the shrine gained popularity and more miraculous cures were reported, it was enlarged several times to accommodate ever-growing numbers of pilgrims. The basilica you see today was built around the shrine in 1926 to replace an earlier church which burnt to the ground.
The interior of the basilica is very beautiful and contains many stained-glass windows, mosaics, paintings and statues. The basilica is located at 10 018 avenue Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. You can reach the basilica by road in about 30 minutes from the center of Quebec City.
8. Village Vacances Valcartier (Valcartier Vacation Village)
When you need a brief break from history, art and architecture, the Valcartier Vacation Village offers a fun day out. Being the largest entertainment complex in North America, it is located a 20-minute drive from Quebec City. All ages can find enjoyment and excitement in the seasonal activities held here year-round.
The main attraction of the village is Bora Park, an indoor all-season water park where the whole family can have hours of fun. It is over 100,000 sq and themed with the Polynesian style. The park comprises a wave pool, a tubing river, 14 waterslides and a double surf wave. There is a 4-star hotel with 153 rooms attached to this park
Outdoor Amusement Park
There is an even larger and more extravagant outdoor water park for summer fun. The park has a huge wave pool, 2 lazy rivers and 35 waterslides with runs from mild to crazily fast. For visitors who wish to stay overnight, there is a 600-site campground next to the park.
From December to March, Village Vacances Valcartier opens the largest winter playground in America with 35 snow slides at all levels of difficulty! Thrill-seekers find breathtaking sensations with the high acceleration slides, snow rafts, and the crazy spinning Tornado. For family? They will enjoy skating in the illuminated Skateway with music and hot cocoa.
Based on 23 Reviews
Spent 4 days here, near starved to death with 2 kids. Almost nothing to eat, no decent coffee. The day prior to checkout overheard 2 separate people were...
Really overcrowded. Incredibly long waits to do anything. A really disappointing experience. It would be so simple for the resort to better manage capacity,...
Le village vacances Valcartier est très le fun en été (on ne l'a pas encore visité en hiver). Le site est très propre et il y a beaucoup de sécurité. Il y a...
The best! I loved it. 4 times in the summer and once in the winter. Many more trips to come. There are about 600 sites of all kinds. The best. And they are...
Tubing at Valcartier is awesome, period. There are tons of impeccably-groomed hills, gorgeous views and decent amenities. Here's the thing, though - on my...
What an amazing and fun morning out with our kids. Came here. Tubed for a bit, laughed alot and just truly had a great time. Was busy but the lines move fast.
Reviewing new complex and winter activities. Hotel - Rooms are nice, big, comfy and noticeably clean. The hotel is lacking inclusive breakfast so expect...
Hotel de Glace
Only open from January to March, Hotel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America made entirely of ice and snow. It has more than 40 rooms with different themes. Staying overnight or just walking around the hotel is definitely an experience of a lifetime.
9. Quebec Aquarium
Quebec’s fascinating aquarium is an excellent attraction for families. The museum enjoys a wonderful location on a cliff top, overlooking the Saint Lawrence River and the city’s two impressive bridges.
The aquarium is home to more than 10,000 animals from more than 300 species. The collection includes mammals like polar bears, walruses and seals as well as thousands of indigenous and exotic fish, reptiles and amphibians.
Much of the aquarium is housed indoors, which means that it can be visited any time of the year. Younger visitors will love the touch pool and no-one can resist the jellyfish ballet. It is easy to get to the aquarium by means of public transport using bus routes 13 or 25.
10. Museum of Civilization (Musée de la Civilisation)
Another of Quebec’s wonderful museums is the Museum of Civilization, which is located near the Saint Lawrence River in the Old Town.
The permanent exhibits in the museum showcase and promote the origins of all the people of Quebec, including the First Nations, and demonstrate how they have shaped modern-day Quebec City.
The museum is particularly user-friendly and you can download the museum App to guide you in your explorations. This museum is fun for all ages. It is easy to reach the museum on foot from the Upper Old Town or the Old Port area. Alternatively you can take the red tourist bus or public buses on route 1 or 11.