The crown jewel of French Canada and an active artistic and cultural destination, Quebec City has plenty to do and check out whether you’re interested in sightseeing, adventure or history and whether you’re looking for that adrenaline pump, romance or just a good time with family.
This piece takes on the other side of Quebec tourism and activities less popular (and less crowded). So go on and have lunch at the Le Parlementaire, the restaurant at the Parliament, and take a tour of the building or enjoy a jazzy evening at the Clarendon, ice skate at the Place d'Youville or go riding along the excellent cycle trails. Hop on as we walk you through some of the top non-touristy things to do in Quebec City, Canada.
Cruise across the St Lawrence River on a three-hour kayaking tour admiring the summer landscape and enjoying never-seen-before views of the Orleans Island. A small tour with only eight people, this excursion is suitable for people of all levels- beginner to expert- and it is guided by an expert from Parc maritime de Saint Laurent in two languages- English and French. All kayak equipment is provided to the guests including a snack and a water bottle. Lunch, however, is not included.
Duration: 3 hours
With every district featuring a distinct nightlife atmosphere, we’re sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on any good spots at any cost. Go pub crawling and enjoy the night out without worrying about cover charges and burning a hole in your pocket.
There’s a wallet-friendly pub crawl tour that helps you do just that. Offered in English and French, hop into three bars and one the city’s most famous nightclubs with your in-the-know guide on a Friday and Saturday night.
Duration: 5 hours
3. Hop on a short ferry trip down the south shore of St Lawrence
Hop on the ferry to see Quebec City from a different perspective as you breathe in the spectacular views of Old Quebec City, Cap-Diamant, the Chateau Frontenac and Dufferin Terrace from the stunning blue waters while you take a ferry down to the south shore of the St Lawrence River. In the winters, you also get to experience the ice formations and the ice moving on the River while you cross over.
Whether you’re traveling on foot, a cyclist, a driver or just looking to spend a romantic evening with bae admiring the gorgeous skyline lit up with the buildings, taking the ferry to crossover from Quebec City to Levis is an affordable year-round activity for you. Also, the terminals on both ends are located only steps away from plenty of restaurants, tourist spots and entertainment options, making it an ideal experience for tourists as well. So hop on, grab a drink at Pub Corsaire and cruise back into town at sunset, breathing in the beauty of the place.
Ferry Trip to Levis
Address: 10 Des Traversiers St. Quebec City
Opening hours: 6:20am - 1:30am (daily)
Price: Varies depending upon age and vehicle (if any)
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4. Lose yourself in the Victorian charm of the library at Morrin Centre
Featuring stunning Victorian-style decor and historical artifacts, this library housed in a 200-year-old period building and housing 25,000 titles, has been around since 1868 and is a gem of a place to sit down with a book. The city of Quebec features plenty of French history, so this place brings in welcome respite with its abundant English history. You’ll enjoy the place all the more if you’ve read the book Bury Your Dead.
When you visit, make sure you take the Prison tour as well and experience the old jail in the dark, with only the guide’s dramatic voice taking you through the intricacies of the place and the obscure inmate stories. It is a seasonal tour, however, and closes for the winters.
Library at Morrin Centre
Address: 44 Chaussée des Écossais Quebec City
Website: Morrin Centre
Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 12pm - 4pm; Tue: 2pm - 8pm (closed on Mon)
Price: Discovery Tour; 12 USD
5. Grab a beer at Griendel
Quebecois are ones to take their brews very seriously and for a historical city, the place truly has a big share of party-goers in the province. However, there’s plenty for them to explore too. With every district featuring a different nightlife atmosphere and plenty of microbreweries throughout the city, it’s truly hard to be short of good options, but there are some that truly stand out. Griendel’s, for example, especially for those in Saint Sauveur. This neighborhood gem, featuring bright windows and tonnes of space, comes with its relaxed yet hip atmosphere and offers with funky food, great staff and awesome beer.
Beer at Griendel's
Address: 195 Rue Saint-Vallier O Quebec City
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 3pm - 1am; Thur - Fri: 3pm - 3am; Sat: 1pm - 3am; Sun: 1pm - 1am
6. Groove to some sensational music
Catch a musical show or concert at the Envol et Macadam if you’re in town at the right time i.e. September first week. This international music event spans three days and hosts both indoor and outdoor shows. A meeting place for well-known artists and a springboard for new performers, the events down here are truly not to be missed. The concert complex has a restaurant, bar and picnic area as well.
Musical show at Envol et Macadam
Address: 683, rue St-Joseph Est, suite 250 Quebec
Website: Envol et Macadam
7. Explore the markets at Place Royale
Go back 400 years in time and set foot to shop in the place where the very city was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain after having opened the first trading post. Cradled with French-Canadian touches and flanked by New France architecture, this lively, cobblestone-lined, public square has held the undisputed spot as the city’s commercial hub up until the mid of the 19th century, and it still plays host to plenty of souvenir shops and eateries in the restored buildings. The cute little shops, boutiques, bistros and pubs here are a hit among locals and tourists alike. Make sure you savor a cafe glace on the Parisian-inspired terrace when you’re here.
Explore Place Royale
Address: 2-4 Rue des Pains Bénits, Ville de Québec
Website: Place Royale
8. Lose yourself in the mesmerizing display of fireworks
Get lost in the sight of stunning fireworks while you experience the latest innovation in pyrotechnics at La Ronde, where the international fireworks competition L'International des Feux Loto-Québec is held every year. Major companies representing their country, put up a show here that truly is a sight to behold.
The fireworks show can also be viewed from Stewart Museum which often remains open until 10 PM on firework nights, thereby allowing the public the opportunity to view the pyrotechnics from the yard of the British Military depot located nearby.
Address: 22 Chemin Macdonald, Montréal
Website: La Ronde
Price: Starting at 56.99 USD
9. Get a one-of-a-kind experience at Hotel de Glace
C'est à partir d'aujourd'hui que vous pouvez dormir dans l'Hôtel de Glace! Vivez cette aventure unique en Amérique du Nord ✨Posted by Hôtel de Glace on Thursday, 3 January 2019
Book a stay at the world famous Hotel de Glace if you’re able to time it right and experience the one-of-a-kind experience of staying at the only ice hotel in all of America. Guests here sleep in rooms at temperatures between -3 and -5 degrees Celsius. The property spans 32,000 sq ft (2,972 sqm) and is host to 44 rooms, an ice slide, 5 restaurants, 3 ice bars, an outdoor spa and sauna, a gift shop and a 70-seater chapel. The property also has an indoor water park made available for access to the guests for an additional fee.
It is a temporary property that is rebuilt every year with fresh snow and ice, taking about six weeks to create and is opened to guests only during the winter months. What’s most interesting is that it encompasses over 500 tonnes (5,00,000 kg) of ice and over 30,000 tonnes (3,00,00,000) of snow.
Hotel de Glace
Address: 1860 Boulevard Valcartier, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier
Website:Hotel de Glace
Price: Starting from 148 USD (approx)
10. Head to the art galleries of Rue Saint-Paul
This Old Quebec stretch is built directly on the wharves of the St. Charles River and dates back as far as 1816 and has since widened and come to be known to be synonymous with an antique district featuring a plethora of pieces including art deco accessories, antique books, Edwardian silver et al. The street is dotted with antique shops, art galleries and charming eateries.
Among the art galleries, one particularly stands out- Galerie Michel Guimont is known for hosting a selection from established and emerging contemporary artists along with artworks embracing painting, sculpture and photography.
Galerie Michel Guimont
Address: 273 Rue Saint-Paul, Québec, QC G1K 3W6, Canada
Website: Galerie Michel Guimont
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Lots to do in Quebec
Head straight to Montmorency Fall Park located just a few minutes from downtown where you get to experience breathtaking waterfalls, lookout points and cable cars. Thrill-seekers could also opt for a Via ferrate or Tyrolienne session to get from one point to another.
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