As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Quebec City is rich in history and heritage and thus has much to discover and explore. Of note is the city’s unique architecture, which consists of a mixture of French and British influences. The city’s historic district was the first urban area in North America to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, both for its role as the birthplace of French civilization in North America and as the only remaining North American city to be surrounded by fortification walls.
This condensed guide outlines what to do and see while in Quebec City, including where to eat, stay, explore, and get the best views during your visit! (For winter travel, be sure to also check out my Quebec City Winter Guide)
Must‑Do Activities for Your Itinerary
1. Explore Quebec City and its historic district on foot (consider taking a guided tour with @ciceronetoursqc)
2. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for unusual art, as part of the Passages Insolites art installations, while making your way through Old Quebec.
3. Eat! Quebec City is full of incredible food and flavour, so make sure to check out as many of its restaurants, cafés, and bistros as possible.
4. If you’re in town during summer, check out the annual summer music festival, FEQ!
5. Take some time to relax at Strøm Spa. (Take a peak at the Strøm Spa highlight at the bottom of this post for an idea of what a visit to this beautiful Nordic spa looks like!)
6. Visit a vineyard and do wine tastings in Quebec’s countryside on LÎle d’Orléans.
7. Explore the surrounding Greater Quebec City Region.
8. Ride the funicular to pass between lower and upper town, while admiring scenic views!
9. Visit La Cour Arrière du Festibière.
10. Check out the cute cafés and boutiques.
11. Explore the unique architecture of the city.
12. Go shopping!
13. Enjoy a drink and a view at Terrasse le Diamant.
14. Attend the Imagine Monet exhibition.
15. Discover the Grand Marché.
Where to Stay
I had the pleasure of splitting up my Quebec City visit across two lovely hotels:
1. Hotel PUR (@hotelpur): See my Quebec City story highlight for an in‑depth view of my experience staying at this boutique hotel in the heart of Quebec City.
2. Entourage Sur Le Lac (@resort_entourage): Scroll to the bottom of this guide for an in‑depth look at my stay at the luxurious Entourage Sur Le Lac Resort in the Jacques‑Cartier area of the Greater Quebec City Region.
Where to Eat
Quebec City is a foodie’s paradise! Check out the post below for some of my favourite restaurants in the city.
Also make sure to add the following spots to your list (as suggested by Instagram commenters!):
Q‑de‑sac Resto‑Pub @qdesac
Chez Rioux & Pettigrew @chezriouxetpettigrew
Chez Biceps BBQ
Nina Pizza Napolitaine @_ninapizzanapolitaine_
Lapin Sauté @lapinsaute
Don Vegan @don.vegan
Restaurant La Bûche
La Pizz @lapizzplaceroyale
Restaurant Le Clan @leclanrestaurant
Bistro St‑Malo @bistrostmalo75
Bistrot le Pape Georges
Les Frères de la Côte @freresdelacoteqc
Chez Victor @chezvictorburgergourmet
Cochin Dingue @lecochondingue
Bistro l’Orygine @bistroorygine
Where to Find the Best Views/Photo Spots
Quebec City is full of incredible architecture and scenic views.
See below for some of the best views in and around Quebec City:
- Terrasse Pierre‑Dugua‑de‑Mons
- Fontaine de Tourny
- Place d’Armes
- Terrasse Diamant
- Place Royale
- Umbrella Alley
- Rue St. Louis
- Chute Montmorency
- Stairs to the Old City
- Parc Montmorency
- Strøm Spa Nordique Vieux Québec
- Parc du Bois‑de‑Coulonge
- Île d’Orléans
- Lac Beauport
Fairmont Château Frontenac is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world! Check out this post for some of the best views of Château Frontenac in and around the city! (Not included but worthy of mention: across the river, from Lévis.)
Quebec City alone has plenty to discover, but exploring the Greater Quebec City Region can make your visit even more memorable! Here are some notable destinations to add to your Quebec City itinerary—and they’re only 15‑30 minutes from the core of Old Quebec!
1. Côte‑de‑Beaupré: Boasting an abundance of natural attractions, the landscape of Côte‑de‑Beaupré is characterized by the St. Lawrence River, the Laurentian Mountains, waterfalls, and canyons. Must‑sees include Montmorency Falls (@chutemontmorency).
2. Île d’Orléans: Just across from Montmorency Falls sits an island of boutiques, farms, vineyards, and restaurants, where you can enjoy and explore all that the picturesque Quebec countryside has to offer (including incredible views of the St. Lawrence River)! Must‑dos include wine tasting at Cassis Monna & Filles (@cassismonna) and lunch (and more wine!) at Vignoble Sainte‑Pétronille (@vignoblesp).
3. Jacques‑Cartier: Under 30 minutes from Quebec City are the mountains and forests of the Jacques‑Cartier area, which serve as a year‑round recreational paradise. The natural landscape is full of mountains, rivers, and lakes to explore and enjoy. And when in need of relaxation, the shores of Lac Beauport make for a wonderful getaway. Must‑stays include the luxurious Entourage Sur Le Lac Resort (@resort_entourage), where you can sit back and relax in nature with contemporary amenities.
Strøm Spa Highlight
Located in Old Quebec on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, @stromspa offers an opportunity to relax in nature without leaving the city.
This wellness retreat combines nature with urbanity, providing facilities built within natural environments but accessible to those in urban centres to offer a relaxing experience where it is most needed.
It’s truly a sanctuary in the middle of the city—think, peaceful adult playground.
Strøm provides a variety of facilities and services, focused on thermal experiences, spa treatments, and beauty treatments.
Warm up by soaking in one of the spa’s outdoor hot baths, Finnish saunas, or thermal falls. Cool down by dunking under a Nordic waterfall or plunging into a cold bath. Finally, relax by the fire, in a warm hammock, or in the infinity pool overlooking the St. Lawrence River. (Repeat as necessary for ultimate relaxation.)
You can book your Nordic Spa experience directly through Strøm (online, by phone, walk‑in) *or* by purchasing a Québec Cité Passport online—which allows you to discover the region of Quebec through four bespoke activities.
Also note that Strøm Spa Vieux Québec is just 1 of 4 locations across the province!
Once you’ve explored the facilities and gotten your treatments, make sure to visit NORD Restaurant for a seasonal, healthy, Scandinavian‑inspired menu.
Tip: Take advantage of summer packages that combine treatments, thermal experiences, and gastronomy for the full Strøm Spa experience.
Check out the post below for a quick overview of a day at Strøm Spa Nordique Vieux Québec!
Thank you so much to @quebeccite for making my visit to beautiful Quebec City possible! I will most definitely be back to continue exploring all that it has to offer. All opinions are my own.