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With Old World charm to spare within its centuries-old ramparts and plenty of Francophone flair, Quebec City is the heart of the province of Quebec. From the cobbled lanes of the Old Town to the lively neighborhoods along the St Lawrence River, there are plenty of things to do in Quebec City that can help you put your finger on the pulse of the Canadian city’s special je ne sais quoi.
The heart of the city since Samuel de Champlain established Fort Saint Louis back in 1608, Quebec’s Old Town is filled with historic buildings, from the Augustinian Monastery to Quebec City Hall. The historic district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dotted with museums and landmarks that go back to the 17th century, and the shops of Little Champlain stand alongside the fortifications of the Citadelle de Québec.
Home to the city’s largest church and swatshs of waterfront parkland, this former shipbuilding neighborhood along the St. Charles River now boasts a vast selection of restaurants and shops set among monuments to its working-class origins. The renovated storefronts along Saint-Joseph Street feature breweries, salons, boutiques, and performance spaces that define the area’s bohemian appeal.
Street art and wall murals mark Quebec City’s favorite arts district, which offers a laid-back combination of shops, food, and character. The open lawns of the Plains of Abraham mark the site of an 18th-century battle that helped decide the fate of New France, while the bars and galleries along the nearby Avenue Cartier stand alongside some of the city’s most fashionable shops.
The sense of history is palpable in this city where the Old World meets the new. Battlefields Park holds old fortifications, monuments, and a museum to the war that gave Britain control over these lands, and you can visit the gardens on Parliament Hill to admire Quebec’s magnificent center of government. Visit the charming Victorian buildings on the Grande Allee or the site of the first French settlement at the little church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.
The countryside around Quebec City includes the low mountains of Jaques-Cartier National Park, where moose roam in forested valleys, while the slopes of Le Relais have been hosting skiers for more than 80 years. At Montmorency Falls, you can walk out over a cascade that stands higher than Niagara Falls and freezes solid in the winter.
Delve into Quebec City past and present to scope out its must-see monuments and modern hot spots. Join a guide for a walking tour that introduces you to Old Quebec, or get a day pass on a hop-on hop-off bus route that can take you a bit farther afield. Check out the sights from the water with a river cruise down the St. Lawrence, or get up in the air for a helicopter flight that adds an extra dimension to the experience.
When you’re in the mood to leave town, there’s plenty of fun waiting for you. A guided tour through rural Quebec shows you little colonial-era villages along with the cliffs of Montmorency Falls, and a visit to Canyon Sainte-Anne lets you admire the deep, ancient valley from suspension bridges and paths through the colorful forest.
If you’re looking for a chance to sample the local craft beer scene, there’s a tour for that, too. Or you can take advantage of all the remarkable scenery with the help of a local photographer and build a perfect professional photo album to document your stay.