This 3-Day Quebec City Itinerary has everything you need to know about exploring the most charming city in Canada.
Welcome to Quebec City! This 3-day Quebec City itinerary has everything you need to know for your trip, including activities, sightseeing, places to stay, and where to eat. I’m so excited to share this with you as Quebec City is, now after visiting, my favorite city in all of North America! It’s charming, full of history, interesting, aesthetic, and has excellent food.
My boyfriend and I visited in late April, which was probably a bit too early to enjoy everything the city has to offer. We had some decent weather, but it definitely got cold in the evenings, and there was still quite a bit of snow in some places. The next time we go, it will most likely be in summer or fall.
This Quebec City itinerary is geared toward warm-weather months, although many of the activities are still possible in the winter! Additionally, there are several fun things to do each winter in Quebec City, such as attending the Quebec Winter Carnival, tobogganing, ice skating, or visiting the Quebec City ice hotel.
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Fun Facts About Quebec City:
- French explorer Samuel d Champlain founded Quebec City in 1608. That means the city is 412 years old!
- Quebec City is in the French-speaking part of Canada. Only about 1.5% of the population speaks English. Over 95% of the population is French speaking. But more than a third of the population can speak both English and French.
- Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico. It has 4.6 kilometres of walls.
- The Chateau Frontenac is the world’s most photographed hotel.
- Quebec City is an amazing city to walk – with no transportation needed. BUT if you have any mobility difficulties, make sure to research the best routes for you to get around before you leave for the day. There are many, many stairs once you get to the Old District. There are also several unavoidable large hills around the city that you will encounter.
Where to Stay in Quebec City
We rented a cute little Airbnb located about a 30 minute walk from the Old District on Rue D’Aiguillon. I enjoyed being a noticeable distance away from all of the action. The street we stayed on was very quiet, but was only one block away from several shops and restaurants. We also found free parking for the whole weekend right on our street. Since we walked everywhere, it was nice to not worry about moving our car every few hours or needing to refill a meter.
If you feel more comfortable staying in a hotel, there are many affordable options both in the heart of the city and further out. Search for hotels in Quebec City, Canada in the map below (zoom in on the circles and then hover over the blue dots to see what each hotel is and its rating).
Day 1 in Quebec City:
Time to explore and get acquainted with this historic river-side city! This includes shops, sightseeing, walking, cafes, and a lot of history.
Take a step back into history with this old European-style square. It was built in 1608… 1608! We grabbed a couple croissants from a cafe and took a seat at their outside tables. I could’ve sat there all day soaking in the past from those beautiful buildings. There are a couple cafe/restaurants that have outside seating in the Place Royale, along with a few small shops. It’s also a great place to people watch.
Quartier Petit Champlain:
You need to talk a walk down this amazing street filled with shops, cafes, and street performers. This is old Europe in Canada at it’s finest. Petit Champlain is one of the cutest streets in Quebec City, and possibly that I’ve ever been down. You can just feel the immense character, charm, and history emanating from the buildings as you walk by. What stories are inside those walls? Are you walking into the same building that the French occupied in the 1700s?
Day 2 in Quebec City:
Plains of Abraham (Battlefields Park):
This was tied with Place Royale (see below) for my favorite spot in all of Quebec City. I am a sucker for big, grassy public parks, and this definitely one of them. Unfortunately when we went in April, it was still covered in snow, making it difficult to trek through the icy walkways. The park is huge and overlooks the Saint Lawrence River, making quite a pretty scene. I can’t wait to have a nice picnic with wine and charcuterie next time we visit.
Museum of Civilization:
This museum is a great place to go if you love learning the history of places you travel to. It is a beautiful building that is right near the river. With interesting and informative exhibits that are written in both French and English, the $12 entry fee we paid was a bargain.
Learn about how Quebec City was fought over between the French and British for years before the British finally won. Something I was surprised to learn is that Quebec City was founded by Catholic missionaries, and Catholicism played a huge role in how it was governed. Even now, over 74% of the province Quebec considers themselves Roman Catholic, although church attendance is low.
The Museum of Civilization also has an amazing “Chapelle” that can be rented out for private events. Although we didn’t get to see that part during our visit, the pictures on their website are stunning.
Day 3 In Quebec City:
Only about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown, this natural wonder just kind of pops up right in the middle of a neighborhood. At 272 feet, this giant waterfall is over 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls. There is a suspended bridge above the edge of the falls that you can walk across (if you are afraid of heights, that is not for you!). There are a lot of stairs involved in getting to the falls, so if you have any mobility issues, keep that in mind when planning your visit. In addition, there is a restaurant and gift shop with restrooms if needed.
Places to eat in Quebec City:
Gastropub: Le Projet is a hip, busy gastropub that has an extensive draft beer list and higher-end American style food. I got a tofu and portobello mushroom dish, my boyfriend got pork medallions with potato salad, and we shared some yummy poutine.
Diner: We stopped by Cafe au Bonnet d’Ane for a late lunch one day after walking for many hours. All we wanted was a cold beer and some greasy sandwiches and fries. This homey diner delivered.
Italian: The absolute best restaurant we dined at while in Quebec City was Ciccio Cafe. This quaint, cozy Italian restaurant was hidden behind an unassuming door on a very steep street near our airbnb. If you want an upscale meal for a reasonable price, this is the place for you. For an appetizer, 2 entrees, a shared dessert and at least 4 drinks, it only cost $83 (not including tip). For the amount and quality of food we ordered, I would expect to pay around $120 in the US. We ended the night with a delicious Spanish Coffee drink (not on the menu) that our bartender delightfully whipped up upon our request.
Breakfast/Bagels: Bugel Fabrique De Bagels is a great place to get some delicious bagel sandwiches for breakfast. Beware though – they only accept cash! We got caught at the end of our trip without any Canadian money, and I had to run down the street to an ATM while my boyfriend waited at the restaurant.
Cafe/French: Chez Temporel is a small, cozy cafe down a side alley of the main streets. We found this place on accident and thoroughly enjoyed the authentic French-Canadian food.
Things to do next time:
Suggestions from Fodor’s Travel “Montreal & Quebec City.”
“This island is called the “Garden of Quebec” for all the produce, flowers, and prepared goods that stock restaurants and homes throughout the province. Spend the day here farm-hopping and sampling everything from ice wine to foie gras as you go.”
Marche du Vieux-Port (Old Port Market):
“At the port’s northwestern tip, farmers sell fresh produce and cheese and artisans sell their handicrafts. The market, at quai St-Andre, is open weekdays from 9-6 and weekends from 9-5 in summer. Some stall stay open daily in winter, and the market is all dressed up for the Christmas season. Take a stroll through and taste some refreshing local produce, such as apples and berries, or try local wines and ciders.”
Observatoire de la Capitale:
“For a bird’s-eye view from 31 stories up, check out the Observatoire de la Capitale. Located atop the Edifice Marie-Guyart, the city’s tallest building, the observation gallery offers a spectacular panorama of Quebec City. The site features an overview of the city’s history with 3-D imagery, audiovisual displays in both French and English, and a time-travel theme with a 1960s twist.”
For more Quebec City recommendations:
My boyfriend and I used the book Fodor’s Travel “Montreal & Quebec City” to plan our trip. It has excellent recommendations for places to stay, what to do, where to eat, side trips, and facts about Quebec City’s history. If my suggestions did not hit home with you, then this book will have something to suit you!