Last Updated on March 13, 2021 by Pamela
Having a list of the top things to do in Quebec 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 Quebec City – unless you have no interest in having fun.
Deciding what to do in Quebec City can be a challenge at times, mostly because there are so many things to do and see and experience. Delve into the city’s history and culture, visit military or religious sites, shop, go to festivals, the options are vast.
Here are 90+ things to do in Quebec City in summer!
**All prices are in Canadian dollars (CAD). Pricing was correct at time of publishing, however pricing may change at any time.**
COVID UPDATE: As of March 9, 2021, most regions in Quebec (with the exception of Montreal and its surrounding regions) are now orange zone, with a 9:30pm – 5am curfew. Restaurants will now be open for dine-in (with restrictions), as well as gyms, museums, shops, and salons. Bars remain closed. Travel to Quebec at this time is not advisable. In the meantime, I hope you will utilize this site for travel inspiration and future travel planning!
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. Admission is generally $15 for Adults, $7.50 for kids 12 and under.
FESTIVAL D’ÉTÉ DE QUÉBEC (FEQ)
Festival d’été de Québec is one of the largest and BEST music festivals in Canada. Some killer acts performing from previous years, including Twenty One Pilots, Kygo, Metallica, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Blink-182!
An 11-day pass is about $120.
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 Quebec 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 on Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de-Mons to watch the fireworks explode over Château Frontenac and the Saint-Lawrence River. Of course, Dufferin Terrace, and Petit-Champlain are good spots too!
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 Quebec City, as well as other neighbourhoods. You can buy tickets on their website (en français).
LE FESTIBIÈRE QUÉBEC
Festibière de Quebec is your chance to experience some of the best craft beers produced in Quebec, as well as ciders and other tasty 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.
HISTORIC & RELIGIOUS SITES
rue Saint-Pierre & rue Sous le Fort
A little park in Place-Royale, Batterie Royale was one the colony’s defence posts. Built after Phip’s attack in 1690, the battery was used up until 1763, when it was turned into a pier. Today, the cannons are still on display and the square acts as a peaceful refuge from city exploration.
CARTIER-BRÉBEUF NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
175 rue de l’Espinay
Located on the north shore of the Saint-Charles River, Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site is a beautiful urban park. Take a self-guided tour, simply as for a tablet and visit the various interactive displays. Spend an afternoon biking, having a picnic, or just relaxing in the sun.
CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY
31 rue des Jardins
The first Anglican church established outside the British Isles, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was built 1800-1804. The cathedral has 8 bells in its bell-tower, all from Whitechapel in London, and the communion silver was a gift by King George III. Consider taking a 30-minute guided tour with an incredibly knowledgeable guide and historian, plus it only costs $6 CAD.
1 rue des Carrières
Let’s be honest, seeing Fairmont Château Frontenac in person is probably one of the main reasons why you’re planning a trip to Quebec 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.
LA CITADELLE DE QUÉBEC
1 Côte de la Citadelle
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 Quebec City. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
CROSS OF SACRIFICE
Outside Plains of Abraham gate
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.
Front of Château Frontenac
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.
ESPACE FÉLIX LECLERC
1214 chemin Royal, Île d’Orléans
Sitting at the entrance to Île d’Orléans, EspaceFélix-Leclerc is a tribute to famous Quebec author and composer, Félix Leclerc. Buy CDS and DVDs, walk the trail down by the river, and enjoy the exhibits.
FORTIFICATIONS OF QUEBEC
2 rue d’Auteuil
Quebec City is the oldest fortified city in North America north of Mexico. Walk along the ramparts of fortification walls of Old Quebec, visit Artillery Park, climb the stairs for views from the top of the gates, and count the cannons – there are a lot!
GEORALLY @ L’ÎLOT DES PALAIS
8 rue Vallière
Located down in Vieux-Port, close the Gare du Palais train station, L’ilot des Palais was once the first brewery in Quebec City, operated by Jean Talon. Take GeoRally on the beer trail (includes tastings) or a GeoRally in Old Quebec. Learn more here.
GROSSE ÎLE AND THE 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.
82 Grand-Allée Ouest
At Henry-Stuart House you will capture a glimpse into the bourgeois lifestyle of early 20th century Quebec. Erected in 1849 for Mary Curry Henry, the house was later owned by the Stuart sisters who worked to retain the cottages heritage charm. Take a tour, then enjoy some tea and lemon cake.
7655 Chemin Samuel
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.
600 Ave Royale
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.
MAISON DES JÉSUITES DE SILLERY
2320 Chemin du Foulon
Built in the early 18th-century, Maison des Jésuites de Sillery was home to the first Jésuite mission in Quebec. Today, it is a historic landmark, museum and interpretation centre. Read more here!
115 Grand-Allée Ouest
Once the home of famous 19th-century artists, Cornelius Krieghoff (who moved to Quebec City in 1854), Maison Krieghoff is a Heritage Site and has been completely restored.
MAISON DE LA LITTÉRATURE
40 rue Saint-Stanislas
Maison de la littérature is a French-language library in Old Quebec. 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.
MONASTÈRE DES AUGUSTINES
77 rue des Ramparts
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. Take a guided museum tour, or dine on healthy eats in their restaurant.
44 Chaussée des Écossais
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 Quebec. Explore the library on your own, or take a guided tour through parts of the old jail, college and library.
MOULIN DES JÉSUITES DE CHARLESBOURG
7960 Boulevard Henri-Bourassa
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.
NOTRE-DAME DE QUÉBEC BASILICA-CATHEDRAL
16 rue de Buade
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!
32 rue Sous le Fort
You may recognize 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.
Lower Town, Old Québec
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 street-side, 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 Quebec.
PROMENADE DES PREMIERS-MINISTRES
Boulevard Réne-Lévesque & Parliament Building
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.
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!).
SITE TRADITIONNEL HURON ONHOÜA CHETEK8E
575 rue Chef Stanislas Koska, Wendake
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.
SHRINE OF SAINT-ANNE-DE-BEAUPRÉ
10018 Ave Royale, Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré
For over 350 years pilgrims have been visiting this important religious shrine on the Beaupré Coast. Admire to architecture, beautiful paintings and Alternatively, you can opt to take a half-day tour to Montmorency Falls and Ste-Anne-Beaupré
ARTS & MUSEUMS
MURALS & MONUMENTS
FONTAINE DE TOURNY
Front of Parliament Building
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 Quebec City.
LA FRESQUE DES QUÉBÉCOIS
rue Notre-Dame near Notre Dame des victoiries
Created by Quebec 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.
Place Montcalm & Grand-Allée
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 Quebec. Unveiled Oct 16th, 1911, it is a replica of the monument which stands near Nimes, France where General Montcalm was born.
MONUMENT SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN
Standing tall on Dufferin Terrace, next to Château Frontenac, this monument is dedicated to the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain. Sculpted by Paul Chevré, the monument was erected in 1898. Beautiful from afar, it’s best to take a closer look to admire the details that are hidden in plain sight.
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 Quebec: Marie Lacoste-Gérin-Lajoie, Idola Saint-Jean, and Thérèse Casgrain.
Parc des Gouverneurs
This obelisk monument is the oldest in Quebec City, dating back to 1827. The monument commemorates two great generals, Wolfe (British), and Montcalm (French), who fought bravely (and died) during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.
MUSÉE L’AMÉRIQUE FRANCOPHONE
2 Côte de la Fabrique
[CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS, REOPENING 2024]
Dedicated to the promotion of French culture in Canada, Musée de l’Amérique Francophone is a must! Discover arts and crafts of Quebec, as well as the history of francophone culture and more.
MUSÉE DU FORT
10 rue Sainte-Anne
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.
MUSÉE NATIONAL DES BEAUX-ARTS DU QUÉBEC
179 rue Grand-Allée Ouest
A dazzling museum and art gallery surrounded by the National Battlefields Park, MNBAQ is home to works of art from Quebec artists from several periods and styles. The Pierre Lassonde Pavilion is breathtaking and houses post-1960s art. A must-see!
MUSÉE DES URSULINES
12 rue Donnacona
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 artifacts from their 370+ years in the city. Learn more here.
MUSIC & THEATER
966 rue Saint-Jean
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GRAND THÉÂTRE DE QUÉBEC
269 Boulevard René-Lévesque
A truly grand theatre in Montcalm, take the time to enjoy the opera at Grand Théâtre de Québec during your stay in Quebec. Sure, it is in French, but it’s still beautiful. They also have symphony performances and other art shows.
995 rue D’Youville
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.
LA NOUVEAU THÉÂTRE DE L’ÎLE D’ORLÉANS
1721 Chemin Royal
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.
ANIMATED CRIME TOUR OF OLD QUEBEC
Get spooked, or just delve into some of the scandalous crimes in Quebec’s history. Crime walking tour of Old Quebec takes place at night with costumed guides. Book your tour here.
ASEMBLÉE NATIONALE DU QUÉBEC (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF QUEBEC)
1045 rue des Parlementaires
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 Quebec’s history as well as the building’s Second Empire style architecture. Tours are offered in French and English.
HIRE A PRIVATE TOUR GUIDE
One of the best ways to experience Old Quebec 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 Quebec City.
HISTORICAL WALKING TOUR
Quebec 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!
ÎLE D’ORLÉANS WINE TOUR
Home to several winderies and cideries, Île d’Orléans is a lovely spot to discover Québec wines, some of which are award winners. The tour bus picks up near Château Frontenac and makes 4-6 stops. A nice way to spend a summer day. Learn more here.
OLD QUEBEC CITY FOOD TOUR
Offered by the lovely folks at Local Quebec City Food Tours, the Old Quebec 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!
OLD QUEBEC WALKING TOUR (FREE)
If you’re looking for an overview of the history and culture of Old Quebec 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.
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.
QUEBEC CITY PHOTO TOUR
Old Quebec City is charming and beautiful all year round (it is true!), and annoyingly photogenic. If you’re a photography lover, take a Quebec City photo tour with Nomad Tours Quebec to discover the history and culture of Quebec City, as well as the best spot for taking gorgeous photos. Learn more 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.
OUTDOOR SPACES, ACTIVITIES & ADVENTURES
2350 Ave du Colisée
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.
CAVING AT GROTTE LE TROU DU DIABLE
Parc naturel régional de Portneuf
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.
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! Learn more here.
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.
MONTMORENCY FALLS (CHUTE MONTMORENCY)
Located about 12 km’s (7.5 miles) from Quebec 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.
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. Learn more here.
PARC DU BOIS-DE-COULONGE
1215 Grand-Allée Ouest
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. Close to restaurants on Grand-Allée, as well as the Plains of Abraham.
PARC DE LA FRANCOPHONIE
758 Grand-Allée Est
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 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.
PARC NAUTIQUE DE CAP-ROUGE
4155 Chemin de la Plage Jacques Cartier
Visit Parc nautique de Cap-Rouge and spend some time canoeing, kayaking or sailing the Saint-Lawrence and Cap-Rouge rivers. Learn more here.
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 Quebec City. This is a stop on the open-top bus tour.
PROMENADE SMAUEL 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!
Take the Quebec-Levis ferry from Quebec City to Lévis and back! A one-way trip is only 15 mins, but the view of Quebec City in the summer from Lévis is spectacular. Great at night as well. One of the best things to do in Quebec City in summer, hands down!
SEIGNEURIE DE L’ÎLE D’ORLÉANS
3658 Chemin Royal
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.
TREE-TOP 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.
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.
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. Learn more here.
OBSERVATOIRE DE LA CAPITALE
1037 rue de la Chevrotière
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 Quebec 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 Quebec City in summer when one can linger and have a picnic as well.
AQUARIUM DU QUEBEC
1675 Ave des Hôtels
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.
825 Boulevard des Capucins
No, Délirium Tagball is not dodgeball or paintball, it is a crazy awesome tagball course in Quebec City. Think paintball-style guns that shoot balls sans paint. It’s an IRL first-person shooter video game.
LABYRINTH AT DOMAINE DE MAIZERETS
2000 Boulevard Montmorency
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.
5401 Boulevard des Galeries
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.
185 rue Fortin
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.
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! Learn more here.
Are you ready for your amazing Quebec City adventure?! We’d love to hear all about it!