The 21 Best Free Things To Do in Quebec City

From free attractions to events and family activities, here are over 20 of the best free things to do in Quebec City.

Here are the best cheap things and free things to do in Quebec City during the day and night.

This is a well-researched list of some of the best free things to do in Quebec City. It includes a wide variety of activities that will interest anybody whether they enjoy outdoor/indoor activities, summer/winter activities, music concerts, firework displays, architecture or photography.

We searched all over and used our personal experience to make our choices and we’re happy to share them with you today. Whether you're a local or visiting Quebec City, you're sure to find something to suit you.

Free Things To Do in Quebec City

Free Activities in Quebec City

1. Visiting Waterfalls 

Visit Chute-Montmorency, a free thing to do in Quebec City
Parc de la Chute-Montmorency © TQ / JF. Frenette

Quebec City is close to two beautiful waterfalls. What’s great about Chutes Montmorency (free for residents and cheap for non-residents) and Chutes Chaudieres (free for everyone) is that they are some of the loveliest free places to visit in Quebec City. You won’t regret the short drive there as the views these natural wonders offer are completely stunning. 

2. Festival d’Ete de Quebec 

Festival d’Ete de Quebec is a free event in Quebec City.
Parc des Champs-de-Bataille – Plaines d'Abraham © TQ / D. Cannon

Festival d’Ete de Quebec is one of the province's largest music festivals. Held every summer, it always offers free concerts alongside paid performances. Their website highlights the free events so you may enjoy this musical free thing to do in Quebec City. 

3. Christmas Markets

German Christmas Markets in Old Quebec City
People enjoying the German Christmas Market in Quebec City. © TQ / E. Coveney

Turning the seasonal tables, one of the coolest free things to do in Quebec City in winter is visiting the Christmas markets. There are always lovely handcrafted gifts, pretty decorations and holiday cheer at the German Christmas Market. It’s spread out all over Old Quebec, so there’s a lot of action going on. I have an article about the Quebec City Christmas Market that tells you more about what you can expect from this free activity in Quebec City.

4. Loto-Quebec Fireworks

Loto-Quebec Fireworks is  free to do in Quebec City at night
Fireworks over Fairmont Le Château Frontenac © TQ / JG. Lavoie

If you thought that the incredible Loto-Quebec fireworks display only happened in Montreal then you were wrong. Indeed, this is one of the most stunning free things to do in Quebec City in summer. There are numerous vantage points from which you can view the fireworks. But the favourites are Place des Canotiers, Dufferin Terrace and Parquet Quai (in Levis). Stay updated by checking out their program.    

5. Ice Skating

Ice skating is free thing to do in Quebec City
Parc des Champs-de-Bataille – Plaines d'Abraham © TQ / JF. Hamelin

As everyone knows, one of the purest joys the cold season has to offer is that of ice skating. Ice skating is one of the best free things to do in Quebec City in winter as it combines physical exercise and fresh air. A particularly good spot is the rink on the Plains of Abraham, which is always free as long as you bring your own pair of skates.

6. Centre de Glaces Intact

Skating in Centre de Glaces Intact is free in Quebec
Centre de Glaces Intact. (Photo Credit: Quebec Wonders ©)

Looking for free family things to do in Quebec City? Well, Centre de Glaces Intact is a free activity in Quebec City for residents. The charge for non-residents is very minimal. The use of skating aids for beginners is free of charge. Parents cannot bring their own prams on the ice, but the centre has a few ice prams available for free on a first-come first-serve basis. It also offers equipment for rent (hockey skates, speed skating skates and helmets).

Centre de Glaces Intact is open year-round, but it’s most popular in winter. It’s extremely popular with families during the Christmas holidays, so I recommend booking in advance or showing up a good 20 minutes early. Their website has all the information you need to start enjoying this free thing to do in Quebec City right now. 

7. Le Grand Marche de Quebec

Visit the Le Grand Marche de Quebec for free.
Le Grand Marché de Québec. (Photo Credit: Quebec Wonders ©)

It’s always a pleasure to visit an open-air market on a budget. Even if you don’t buy anything, you still leave feeling inspired and elevated from the experience. A visit to the Le Grand Marche de Quebec is a wonderful free activity when visiting Quebec City. They’re open year-round with changing hours during the holiday season.

8. Art Alley (Rue du Tresor) 

Walking along the Rue du Tresor in Old Quebec is free
Trésor street in Quebec City © TQ / JF. Frenette

The Rue du Tresor is an Upper Town alley where artists exhibit high-quality works, including watercolours, prints, paintings and reproductions. It’s a true open-air art gallery. If you love art, then a stroll along the Rue du Tresor is the perfect free thing to do in Quebec City for you. 

9. Visit a Museum

National Fine Arts Museum free family to visit in Quebec
National Fine Arts Museum © TQ / JF. Hamelin

One of the best indoor things to do in Quebec City for free is visit a museum. Quebec City has many fascinating museums and some of them are free every first Sunday of the month. The National Fine Arts Museum, The Museum of Civilizations and the Morrin Cultural Centre can all be free places to visit in Old Quebec City if you pick the right day of the month. Check out this list of free museums in Quebec City.

10. The Capital Observatory 

This is Quebec City’s highest vantage point. From the top floor, you can observe the entirety of the Quebec City region. Although not completely a free thing to do in Quebec City, it’s free for children less than six years old. This is a good activity to do with kids as they’ll certainly be amazed after seeing the entire region’s beauty unfold before their eyes (and you will be too). 

11. Parliament Building

Parliament Building has free walking tour Quebec City
Parliament Building in Old Quebec © TQ / P. Gouyou Beauchamps

Taking in and enjoying the architecture of the Parliament Building is one of the most impressive things to do in Quebec City for free. The city is replete with historic buildings and when you’re on a budget, admiring them and enjoying them is a great choice.

You have two options if you wish to visit the inside of the building. The first one is a free self-guided tour. The second one is a 60-minute guided visit (bookings are recommended). You will learn about how the provincial government works and hear remarkable stories, all while taking in the beautiful art and architecture of this historical building. Just note the Parliament Building closes on Sundays.

12. Citadelle’s Changing of the Guard 

Watch Citadelle’s Changing of the Guard   free activities in Quebec
Citadel guard in Quebec © TQ / JF. Frenette

While we’re on the subject of buildings and architecture that simply seep history, why not witness the awe-inspiring changing of the guard at Old Quebec’s Citadelle? This traditional ceremony at this National Historic Site happens daily at 10 am from June 24th until Labour Day. It’s one of the best free things to do in Old Quebec City in summer. 

Now, La Citadelle is free for active, veterans and former members of the Canadian Forces and up to three of their guests. You must show a Canadian Forces ID to enjoy this benefit. It’s also free for children aged 10 and under. Everyone else has to pay the entrance fee.

13. Dufferin Terrasse

Visit Terrasse Dufferin free family things to do in Quebec
Terrasse Dufferin and the Château Frontenac © TQ / B. Cecile

Everyone loves leisurely strolls; even more so when they’re on a wide boardwalk overlooking the beautiful Saint-Lawrence River. On Dufferin Terrace in downtown Quebec City, you can also witness exquisite views of Chateau Frontenac. This is one of the best free things to do in Quebec City at night or even at dusk when the light hits just right. 

14. Plains of Abraham 

Stroll along Plains of Abraham for free in Quebec City in summer
Plains of Abraham © TQ / JF. Frenette

What I love about the Plains of Abraham is the magical feeling I get each time I visit. This massive outdoor park played a very important role in Canadian history. Having a picnic here is a wonderful free thing to do in Quebec City, particularly when the sun is shining in the summertime.

15. Explore Old Quebec 

Old Quebec has free walking tour
Old Quebec streets © TQ / A. Rider

Looking for more free things to do in Quebec City? We’ve covered specific sights and buildings, but grabbing a camera and exploring Old Quebec on your own (or with your family) is another option. Every nook and cranny of the charming Old Town is worth exploring. Don't miss visiting both the Upper Town and the Lower Town either, including the picturesque Quartier Petit Champlain.

16. Fairmont Chateau Frontenac Lobby

Chateau Frontenac is good for free family things to do in Quebec
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac © TQ / M. Laporte

The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac Hotel is one of the most beautiful and prestigious hotels in Canada. A great idea for free things to do in Old Quebec is visiting its lobby. Rest assured that discovering Chateau Frontenac’s Grand Hall is something everyone can do, as it’s very common even amongst locals. Go take a look at the gorgeous hotel lobby that was built in 1893 for your next free activity in Quebec City. 

17. Naval Museum of Quebec 

Free attraction Naval Museum in Quebec City in summer
Naval Museum of Quebec © TQ / C. Bouchard

One of the best free attractions in Quebec City, the Naval Museum is entirely free and teaches visitors about an important time in Quebec’s history. A visit here is an especially good free thing to do during summer. The navy mementos and storied panels are particularly interesting. 

Related: Here are even more things to do with children in Quebec City.

18. Plage Jacques Cartier

Free family activities in Plage Jacques Cartier in Quebec City
Jacques-Cartier Beach Park © TQ / G. Leroyer

Each season here offers something different, which makes it one of the best free family things to do in Quebec City. Here are just some of my favourite things to do in Plage Jacques Cartier year-round:

  • View the fall colours.
  • Observe the moving ice on the St Lawrence River in early spring.
  • Play frisbee or have a picnic in summer.
  • Enjoy a peaceful outdoor walk in winter where you’ll often see parents pulling kids in their sled. 

19. Promenade Samuel de Champlain

Promenade Samuel de Champlain has free walking tours
Promenade Samuel de Champlain © TQ / L. Laporte

Visiting the promenade is an awesome free thing to do in Quebec City as you can enjoy cycling, roller skating, walking and running. There are separate footpaths for walkers and cyclists so no one gets in each other's way. There are also water fountains for the kids.

Free Walking Tours in Quebec City

20. Free Old Quebec Tour

Couple on a free tour Quebec City
Old Quebec tour © TQ / G. Leroyer

This website offers free tours of Quebec City that last two hours. It’s tip-based, so you can always give your guide something if you feel like it. This walking tour really showcases the amount of free things to do in Old Quebec. 

21. Self-Guided Tours 

Free self-guided walking tour Quebec City
Quartier Petit-Champlain © TQ / G. Leroyer

Self-guided tours are great if you’re looking for free tours in Quebec City. Have a look at our Quebec itineraries for inspiration!

As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy your visit to this historic city. With this list of free things to do in Quebec City in your pocket, you’ll never be bored. Have fun visiting free museums and exploring Old Quebec on foot.

Anne Rodrigue-Beaudoin Quebec Wonders

About the Author

Anne was born and raised in Quebec City. She is our resident expert for the city of Quebec and other popular regional destinations such as Charlevoix and Gaspésie. Having travelled to every corner of the province with her children, she is also our expert for family related topics on Quebec Wonders.

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