Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Pamela
Having a list of the top things to do in Québec City (and its surrounding area) is a good way to start your time in the city. Think of it as a bucket list, a jumping-off point to your French-Canada adventures! Honestly, it’s difficult to have a miserable trip to Québec City – unless you have no interest in having fun. 😉
Here are 75+ things to do in Québec City in summer!
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Wendake International Pow Wow
If you’re in Québec City at the end of June then you MUST see the Wendake International Pow Wow. An incredible event that has you falling in love with the Wendake culture and people.
Festival d’été de Québec
Festival d’été de Québec is one of the largest and BEST music festivals in Canada. Visit their website to buy passes. There are some killer acts performing this year, including Twenty One Pilots, Kygo, Diplo, Mariah Carey and Blink-182!
Fêtes de la Nouvelle France
Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France (New France Festival) usually takes place in the lower town, Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale, however, this year most of the festivities will take place in the upper town. Wander the streets and admire locals dressed in period costumes, try traditional Québécois foods, shop for Québec terroir, and more. You can buy medallions on their website.
Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec
Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec is a fireworks show set to music that should not be missed. Every Wednesday night plant yourself above Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de-Mons to watch the fireworks explode over Château Frontenac and the Saint-Lawrence River. Check their website for the schedule.
Each year, locals and tourists alike look forward to ComediHa!, a 12-day comedy festival featuring 350 shows. Venues are spread throughout Old Québec City, as well as other neighbourhoods. Buy tickets on their website (en français)
Festibière de Québec
Festibière de Québec is your chance to experience some of the best craft beers produced in Québec, as well as ciders and other local products. This delightful beer festival takes place at Quais de l’Espace 400e, near the marina. Best to leave your car at home or the hotel and stumble back. You can buy tickets on their website.
HISTORIC & RELIGIOUS SITES
Let’s be honest, seeing Fairmont Château Frontenac in person is probably one of the main reasons why you’re planning a trip to Québec City. Located in the heart of Old Québec, Château Frontenac stands majestically over the city. Spend time admiring this treasured North American castle from every angle, then venture inside to drool over its historical details and Art Deco décor. If you want to learn more about the château’s history, consider taking a walking tour.
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
The first English church established in Québec, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is a beautiful church. Consider taking a 30-minute guided tour with an incredibly knowledgeable guide and historian, plus it only costs $6 CAD. Book a guided tour here.
Home to the 22e Regiment, La Citadelle is a favourite in summer. Visit the museum, watch the changing of the guard and walk along the path at the top of the walls for a postcard view of Old Québec City. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
Cross of Sacrifice
Located near the main entrance to the Plains of Abraham, the Cross of Sacrifice was erected on July 1, 1924, to pay tribute to the 60,000 Canadians (219 Québecers) who were killed during the Great War. Each year on November 11th, Remembrance Day, a ceremony is held to honour the fallen who have served our country.
Running along the top of Cap Diamant, in front of Château Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace is a go-to boardwalk for relaxing and taking in the views of the city, Saint-Lawrence River and Lévis. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
Fortifications of Québec
Québec City is the oldest fortified city in North America north of Mexico. Walk along the ramparts of fortification walls of Old Québec, climb the stairs for views from the top of the gates, and count the cannons – there are a lot!
Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site
Discover the ruins under Dufferin Terrace! Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site take you back to the days of Saint-Louis Fort, which once overlooked the Saint-Lawrence River. A fun and interesting activity for families (and everyone else!). Learn more here.
Once a military barracks, then a jail (the site of the last public hanging), and college, the Morrin Centre is now a gorgeous Victorian library and home to the Literary and Historical Society of Québec. Explore the library on your own, or take a guided tour through parts of the old jail, college, and library.
Maison de la littérature
Quite possibly one of the most breathtaking libraries in Québec (and possibly Canada, too!), Maison de la littérature is a French-language library in Old Québec. The library was built inside a 19th-century church, and renovated to convert the inside into has a library with a modern feel. Visit the library in the middle of the day to admire its beauty and relax.
Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral
Home to the Holy Door, Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Québec. A gorgeous church. Open most days, a visit is highly recommended!
You may recognise Notre-Dame-des-Victories as being the church at the end of the movie Catch Me If You Can. One of the oldest churches in North America, the church stands on what was once the home and trading post of Samuel de Champlain.
Petit-Champlain is one of the oldest shopping streets in North America. In summer, the cobble-stone street lined with 18th and 19th-century architecture is often bursting with activity. Local musicians perform streetside, boutique doors are opened to welcome the fresh summer air, and visitors from around the world fall deeper in love with the Historic District of Old Québec.
A little park in Place-Royale, Batterie Royale was one the colony’s defence posts. Today, the cannons are still on display and the square acts as a peaceful refuge from city exploration.
Monastère des Augustines
Founded by the Augustine sisters, who arrived in New France in 1639 to provide medical care for the colonists, Monastère des Augustines is rated as one of the best wellness retreats in North America. Book a room for a night or two of relaxation, take a guided museum tour and learn about the Augustines history in Québec, or dine on healthy eats in their restaurant. While there are very few sisters left in the monastery, you may see one roaming down a hallway from time to time.
GeoRally at Îlot des Palais
Located down in Vieux-Port, close to the Gare du Palais train station, L’ilot des Palais was once the first brewery in Québec City, operated by Jean-Talon. Take GeoRally on the beer trail (includes tastings) or a GeoRally in Old Québec. Learn more here.
At Henry-Stuart House you will capture a glimpse into the bourgeois lifestyle of early 20th century Québec. Erected in 1849 for Mary Curry Henry, the house was later owned by the Stuart sisters who worked to retain the cottage’s heritage charm. Take a tour, then enjoy some tea and lemon cake.
Once the home of famous 19th-century artists, Cornelius Krieghoff (who moved to Québec City in 1854, Maison Krieghoff is a Heritage Site and has been completely restored.
Monument to Montcalm
Not to be confused with the Wolfe-Montcalm Monument near Château Frontenac (which is also worth a visit), Monument to Montcalm is located on Grande Allée beside the Hôtel Le Concorde Québec. Unveiled Oct 16th, 1911, it is a replica of the monument which stands near Nimes, France where General Montcalm was born.
Promenade des Premiers-Ministres
Promenade des Premiers-Ministres is located on René-Lévesque between Honoré-Mercier Avenue and De La Chevrotière Street. The promenade features 14 interpretive panels and feature Premiers from 1867 to 2014.
Monument to René Lévesque
Located along Promenade des Premiers-Ministres, Monument René-Lévesque is one of many monuments and statues dedicated to Québec’s past political leaders.
Monument to Women in Politics
Located at the Parliament building, facing Grande Allée, the Monument to Women in Politics honours three women who were advocates for the women’s right to vote movement in Québec: Marie Lacoste-Gérin-Lajoie, Idola Saint-Jean, and Thérèse Casgrain.
Maison Girardin is a charming house dating back to the early 1800s. The house is an example of classic French architecture and resides in the Beauport Heritage Site. Learn more here.
Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
For over 350 years pilgrims have been visiting the shrine on the Beapré Coast. Admire to architecture, beautiful paintings and Alternatively, you can opt to take a half-day tour to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-Beaupré
Maison des Jésuites de Sillery
Built in the early 18th-century, Maison des Jésuites de Sillery was home to the first Jésuite mission in Québec. Today, it is a historic landmark, museum, and interpretation center. Read more here!
Espace Félix Leclerc
Sitting at the entrance to Île d’Orléans, EspaceFélix-Leclerc is a tribute to famous Québec author and composer, Félix Leclerc. Buy CDS and DVDs, walk the trail down by the river, and enjoy the exhibits.
Huron Traditional Site
A visit to the Huron Traditional Site is a good starting point when exploring Wendake. Learn about the Aboriginal people who lived on the land before the arrival of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain.
Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site
Located on the north shore of the Saint-Charles River, Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site is a beautiful urban park. Spend an afternoon biking, having a picnic, or just relaxing in the sun.
Charlesbourg Heritage Site
Dating back to 1665, the Charlesbourg Heritage Site is laid out in a star formation – an idea by the Jésuits to help defend the settlement from attack. Today, the village is a charming reminder of Québec’s past and filled with lots to see and do.
Maison Ephraïm-Bédard is a fine example of an 18th-century farmhouse popular in Charlesbourg. The house has been completely restored and is utterly charming. Learn more here.
Moulin des Jésuits de Charlesbourg
Moulin des Jésuites is a historic site, as well as an interpretation and tourism centre. Take a walking tour of the Charlesbourg Heritage Site to learn more about the village’s history. Learn more here.
Grosse Île & Irish Memorial National Historic Site
A small island that can be accessed from the other side of the Saint-Lawrence River. Learn about the history of the island which was a quarantine station from 1832 to 1937. A ferry to the island leaves from Berthier-sur-mer. Learn more here.
ARTS & MUSEUMS
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ)
Located in the neighbourhood of Montcalm, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is a must-see for art-lovers. A dazzling museum and art gallery surrounded by the National Battlefields Park, MNBAQ is home to works of art from Québec artists from several periods and styles. MNBAQ also exhibits International exhibits. The Pierre Lassonde Pavilion is breathtaking and houses post-1960s art. A must see!
Musée de la Civilization
Located in Old Port (Vieux-Port), on rue Saint-Pierre (doors on rue Dalhousie as well), the museum of civilisation has exhibits on Aboriginal people of Québec, as well as the history of New France and modern Québec. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
Musée de l’Amérique Francophone
Dedicated to the promotion of French culture in Canada, Musée de l’Amérique Francophone is a must! Discover the arts and crafts of Québec, as well as the history of francophone culture and more. Learn more here.
Musée des Ursulines
The Ursuline sisters arrived in 1639 with a mission to educate the colony of New France, as well as the first nations people. Musée des Ursulines is a lovely little museum featuring artefacts from their 370+ years in the city. Learn more here.
Musée du Fort
Discover a little about Québec’s military history at Musée du Fort. There is an impressive model of the colony of New France and its defences. A good activity for children and adults. Learn more here.
Grand Théâtre de Québec
A truly grand theatre in Montcalm, take the time to enjoy the opera at Grand Théâtre de Québec during your stay in Québec. Sure, it is in French, but it’s still beautiful. They also have symphony performances and other art shows.
Concert at Palais Montcalm
Take time from exploring the city to enjoy a concert at Palais Montcalm in Place D’Youville. There are several performances this summer, many worth seeing! Learn more here.
Fontaine de Tourny
A gift to the city for the city’s 400th anniversary by the owner of Simons department store, Tourny Fountain stands in front of Parliament. The fountain was created by French sculptor Mathurin Moreau and resided in Paris for 100 years before coming to Québec City.
La Fresque des Québécois
(Mural of Québécers)
Created by Québec artists, Marie-Chantal Lachance and Nathaly Lessard of SautOzieux, this impressive (full size) mural depicts Québec City’s most important figures such as Samuel de Champlain and Félix Leclerc, as well as cultural references. Admire this impressive mural while exploring Place-Royale and see if you can spot and name the various historical figures found within.
La Nouveau Théâtre de l’Île d’Orléans
Le Nouveau théâtre de l’Île d’Orléans is a delightful little theatre featuring a pub, outdoor patio, and local plays. Sure, it is in French, but it is still a lot of fun. Learn more here.
Asemblée Nationale Québec
(National Assembly of Québec)
Newly renovated on the outside, the Parliament Building is just as beautiful on the inside. On a rainy day, or any day really, take a FREE guided tour of the National Assembly. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and focuses on Québec’s history as well as the building’s Second Empire style architecture. Tours are offered in French and English.
Old Québec City Food Tour
Offered by the lovely folks at Local Québec City Food Tours, the Old Québec City Food Tour is a delicious way to discover the old city and learn a little about Québécois food as well. Be sure to wear comfy pants and embrace the possible food coma to come afterward!
Take a Historical Walking Tour
Québec City is more than 400 years old, making it one of the oldest cities in Canada. One of the best ways to understand the city is to take a historical walking tour. Our favourite company for this type of tour is Cicerone Walking Tours. Book a tour!
Hire a Private Tour Guide
One of the best ways to experience Old Québec City and its surrounding areas is with a private tour guide. The biggest difference between a group tour and a private tour is the ability to explore at your own pace, as well as choosing the type of attractions you would like to see. These private tour guides are among some of the best in Québec City.
Take a FREE Walking Tour of Old Québec City
If you’re looking for an overview of the history and culture of Old Québec City, then a free walking tour with Sam is highly recommended. Tours begin at the Parliament building and end down in Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale. While this tour is free, tipping Sam is highly recommended! Learn more here.
Québec City Photo Tour
Old Québec City is charming and beautiful all year round (it is true!), and annoyingly photogenic. If you’re a photography lover, take a Québec City photo tour with Nomad Tours Québec to discover the history and culture of Québec City, as well as the best spot for taking gorgeous photos. Learn more here.
Open-Top Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
Operated by Tours Vieux Québec, this double-decker open-top bus tour allows you to hop on and hop off wherever you wish along the route. The bus starts each day at 9:30 am and ends at 4:00 pm, and makes 12 stops in total. A great way to get to know the layout of a new city. Book your tickets here.
Whale Watching Tour in Baie-Sainte-Catherine
A whale-watching excursion to Baie-Sainte-Catherine is a full day activity. The best experience is on a zodiac tour as you can get quite close to the whales (if they show up). If you’re doing this as a family activity you may want to book on the bigger boat. Book a whale watching tour here.
Take an Animated Crime Tour of Old Québec City
Get spooked, or just delve into some of the scandalous crimes in Quebec’s history. Crime walking tour of Old Québec takes place at night with costumed guides. Book your tour here.
Bike Tour to Montmorency Falls
Beer Tour through Saint-Roch
Sunset Sea Kayak Excursion
Train de Charlevoix
Explore the rustic beauty of Charlevoix with a scenic train ride from Québec City into Charlevoix, and back! Travel to Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie. Make it a day trip, or spend the night and return to the city the following day. Learn more here.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES & ADVENTURES
Located about 12 km’s (7.5 miles) from Québec City, Montmorency Falls is a MUST for anyone visiting the city. Take bus #800 or drive, alternatively, you can opt to take a half-day tour to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-Beaupré. As of June 12, 2019, the cost to visit Montmorency Falls will be $8 CAD per person.
Sarbayä is a tree-top obstacle course that includes zip lines and high ropes obstacles. They have courses for children ages 6 to 11, as well as Adults 12 and over. Reservations are required, which can be made on their website.
Caving at Grotte Le Trou du Diable
Adventure lovers will want to explore the caves at Grotte le Trou du Diable. The course/tour is open to ages 6 and up and includes a guide, helmet and headlamp. Learn more here.
Venture out to Mont-Sainte-Anne to mountain bike the nearly 140 km’s worth of cross-country and downhill ski runs. Some of the best mountain biking in Québec.
Promenade Samuel de Champlain
Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain is a 4.3-kilometre boardwalk that runs along the Saint-Lawrence River. Cycle, jog, or walk the promenade; admire the art, eat at Panache mobile and more!
Parc Nautique de Cap-Rouge
Visit Parc nautique de Cap-Rouge and spend some time canoeing, kayaking or sailing the Saint-Lawrence and Cap-Rouge rivers. Learn more here.
Parc Maritime de Saint-Laurent
A delightful maritime park with exhibits and activities for everyone. As you’re already at the park, why not take a sunset sea kayak excursion! Book a sunset sea kayak excursion here.
La Seigneurie de l’Île d’Orléans
Spend an afternoon exploring the lush lavender fields of La Seigneurie de l’Île d’Orléans. With over 75,000 plants, it is a spectacular site! Plan your visit by checking out their website first.
Kabir Kouba Falls
Learn about plants and herbs used by the Amerindians, take a guided tour or simply admire the falls and surrounding nature. Kabir Kouba Falls in Wendake is simply gorgeous. Learn more here.
Aventurex has outdoor rock climbing (ages 6+) as well as an indoor climbing centre. A top choice for first-time climbers. All equipment is included in the admission price. Learn more here.
Spend a morning (or afternoon) rafting through class 3 and 4 rapids, go whitewater swimming and cliff jumping. Wetsuit rental is available. Learn more here.
Treetop Course at Arbraska Duchesnay
Explore the treetops with a view of Lac-Saint-Joseph. Courses available for children 7-11 years old, as well as 12+. If you have a fear of heights, this may not be the activity for you! Learn more here.
Ziplining at Parc de la Chute Montmorency
After gazing at the beauty of Montmorency Falls and walking the trails, it is time for a little adventure. Zip lining across the falls is an absolute thrill.
Hiking at Canyon Sainte-Anne
Canyon Sainte-Anne is lush and green and an ideal location for a day exploring outdoors. Follow the trails and cross the canyon’s three suspension bridges along the way!
Take the Québec-Lévis ferry from Québec City to Lévis and back! A one-way trip is only 15 mins, but the view of Québec City in the summer from Lévis is spectacular. Great at night as well. One of the best things to do in Québec City in summer, hands down!
FOOD & DRINK
Explore Île d’Orleans
Situated roughly 17 km from Old Québec, Île d’Orleans is a favourite day trip among locals and tourists. Drive over to the island and explore at your leisure (we have a post on all the awesome stuff to do), take a food tour or hire a Québec City tour guide to create the perfect itinerary. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have time for a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone, and some wine!
Le Grand Marché de Québec
Replacing Marché du Vieux-Port, Le Grand Marché will officially open its doors on June 14, 2019. Take bus #3 from Place D’Youville and spend a few hours eating your way around the market. It’s quite far from Old Québec City though, about 30 mins by bus.
Érico Chocolatierie & Musée
Érico chocolaterie is one of our favourite stops in winter and summer. Érico has created a lovely little chocolate museum and sells some of the best chocolates in Québec. Buy chocolates already made, or pick up chocolate to take home and use in your baking.
Drink Tequila, Eat Tacos & Shop at Deux22
In the neighbourhood of Saint-Roch, Deux22 looks like a regular clothing boutique on the outside. Ultimately, the surprise inside is even more joyous when you see a tequila bar to the right and an outdoor patio in the back! In summer, the restaurant is a popular choice with locals on their lunch break. Quite possibly one of the best Mexican restaurants in Québec City.
Dinner Cruise on the Saint-Lawrence River
Enjoy a lovely dining experience on the Saint-Lawrence river, with views of the city. It is pretty damn beautiful when lit up. Book a dinner cruise here.
Cassis Monna et Filles
In the summer months, Cassis Monna & Filles is a favourite. Enjoy blackcurrant wines and preserves, indulge in a gourmet lunch and do a little shopping.
Bread and Preserves at Chez Marie
A stone homestead built in 1652 in Côte de Beaupré, Chez Marie 4th-generation boulangerie which has been using the same oven for 150 years. Buy bread and yummy preserves.
Take a Cooking Class
This particular activity requires some French skills (or the ability to pay close attention and pretend you know everything they are saying). La Folle Fourchette in Limoilou offers several cooking workshops. Learn more here.
Eat Poutine at Chez Ashton
Chez Ashton is a Québec institution, and everyone who visits the city needs to have poutine here. The fries are crispy, the gravy is velvety, the cheese is squeaky and it’s all served in a deep round foil dish. Yum!
Observatoire de la Capitale
Located on the 31st floor of the Marie-Guyart Building, Observatoire de la Capitale is one of the best places in the city to get a panoramic view of Québec City. Visit their website and check their webcams before you go. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de-Mons offers a postcard-perfect viewpoint of Fairmont Château Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, and the Saint-Lawrence River. It can be busy from late afternoon to early evening. A fantastic experience in Québec City in summer when one can linger and have a picnic as well.
Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec
Plains of Abraham
The Plains of Abraham are the site of the famous fifteen-minute battle that took place between the French and English in 1759. Today, it is one of the biggest green spaces in Québec City. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
Parc de la Francophonie
A small park near Parliament in Grand Allée, Parc de la Francophonie is a favourite spot among locals on warm sunny days who want to have a picnic or enjoy the sun. The park also transforms for various festivals and events. The most popular being Festival d’été de Québec when the park becomes a concert venue.
Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge
Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge is a relaxing park with lovely horticulture and fauna. Walk the footpaths, play on the playground and enjoy a picnic.
Aquarium du Québec
Aquarium du Québec is a fun activity for families and everyone else. Admire the animals and wander through the park to participate in other activities. A half-day is needed (at minimum). Learn more here.
Labyrinth at Domaine de Maizerets
On a sunny day, Domaine de Maizerets is a must. Wander a labyrinth made of 750 Cedars – they have blocks of granite strewn around which you can climb to see the way out. Find out more here.
Waterslides at Village Vacances Valcartier
In the summer, Village Vacances Valcartier changes from a tubing winter wonderland to a dreamy waterpark with slides and tubing rivers. They also have a massive indoor waterpark!
Indoor Amusement Park
Galeries de la Capitale is, believe it or not, bigger and better than West Edmonton Mall. Spend a day playing, trying rides, and stuffing your face with delicious junky eats. Méga Parc is a fab option on a rainy day.
iSaute Extreme Indoor Trampoline
Escape the outdoors (sometimes it can be rainy or chill or way too hot) and venture to iSaute an indoor trampoline centre. We’re talking wall to wall trampolines. So much fun! Learn more here.
No, Délirium Tagball is not dodgeball or paintball, it is a crazy awesome tagball course in Québec City. Think paintball style guns that shoot balls sans paint. It’s an IRL first-person shooter video game.
A giant outdoor maze, Labyrinth Inukshuk is fun for the whole family. The object is not to get to the exit, but to the centre of the labyrinth. Time to put your skills to the test!
Wendake is an aboriginal community located about 15-20 minutes outside Québec City and a must-see. Learn about local culture, enjoy historic sites, delicious food, and friendly locals. Learn more here.