Home Traveling guide A guide to Quebec City, Canada’s historic provincial capital

A guide to Quebec City, Canada’s historic provincial capital


What to see and do

Old Quebec : Get the camera ready: you’ll need it in Old Quebec, the multi-level historic hub that nudges the St. Lawrence River. Start on the large Dufferin Terrace, outside the historic Château Frontenac hotel. Dotted with striped gazebos and street musicians performing Celine Dion belts, it offers you a bird’s eye view of the river and the city. Then, ride the funicular to Quartier Petit Champlain, where quaint restaurants, pretty plazas, and artisan clothing shops will help you spend the afternoon. No, it’s not a Disney movie set, but it sure looks like it.

Citadel of Quebec: You don’t have to be a military geek to enjoy a trip to the largest British fortress in North America; the views of Old Quebec and the St. Lawrence are reason enough to visit. Then there is the daily summer ritual of the Changing of the Guard, as soldiers do at Buckingham Palace, but in French. For military enthusiasts, however, a visit to the Citadel is not complete without visiting the on-site museum, detailing the history of the still-active 22nd Regiment.

Plains of Abraham: The central battle site of the Seven Years’ War – where Quebec City passed from French to British hands – is now a sprawling riverside park. Switch to story mode, tracing key moments of the war through a route of plaques and sculptures, or simply enjoy the expansive lawns, manicured flowerbeds and bandstand. Locals love the wooded lower path, lined with dogtooth violets, for strolling with their pooches.

Civilization Museum: The National Museum of Fine Arts, the largest in Quebec, attracts all the attention with its vast collection of majestic portraits in gilded frames. But the Museum of Civilization, by the lovely square of Place Royale, gives a glimpse of local life, from the Augustinians of the 17th century to the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. Don’t miss the top floor exhibition on the peoples natives, with traditional clothing and snowshoes.

Modern neighborhoods: Want to see the “real” Quebec? Head west past the old center to explore a succession of neighborhoods with contemporary skyscrapers, graffitied streets and millennial dishes to sip. To the east, Saint-Jean-Baptiste enjoys a tranquil vibe with wide sidewalks and bistros, while gritty Saint-Roch has plentiful nightlife mixed with cheap shops, cafes and a giant outpost of Scientology. The once working-class but now booming neighborhood of Saint-Sauveur is home to some of the city’s trendiest new restaurants.