Complete Guide to The Old Quebec City Attractions and Landmarks

This post is about what makes the Old Quebec famous! Discover the Old Quebec landmarks and attractions, and a few bonus activities and excursion ideas.

Places to Visit in Old Quebec City, Old Quebec Attractions and Old Quebec Landmarks

With its European-like charm, stunning architecture, and historic landmarks, Quebec City is a must-see travel destination with more things to see than can fit on your schedule. Every season in this beautiful city brings its own set of attractions and unique sights to see. Whether you’re a foodie, a lover of architecture, a history buff, or a nature lover, you’ll have no shortage of places to visit in Quebec City.

If you’re looking for a guide to help you plan your visit to the enchanting city of Quebec, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll go over the top Quebec City attractions, including landmarks and hidden gems that only the locals know about.

Here are the top 30 places to visit in Quebec City. If you only have 24 hours to spend in Quebec City, you might want to check out our recommended itinerary for 24 hours in Quebec City. And if you have a car, we also have an article with road trip ideas.

Old Quebec City Landmarks

The Old Quebec is a landmark in Quebec City. Get lost in time and wander down the historic and quaint cobblestone streets of Old Quebec. Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will take you back in time to the past where you can explore a fortified, colonial city. You can walk through Old Quebec on your own or book a guided tour if you want to learn more about the rich history of the European settlement.

1. Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac is the most famous Old Quebec attraction
Chateau Frontenac Quebec © TQ / F. Gagnon

Chateau Frontenac is arguably one of the most iconic landmarks in Quebec and is said to be one of the most photographed hotels in the world.

This breathtaking hotel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in 1893, holding years of history within it – with some artifacts inside the hotel going back over 400 years. Overlooking the Dufferin Terrace and the beautiful St. Lawrence River, it’s a must-see attraction in the city of Quebec.

2. Dufferin Terrace

Another Old Quebec landmark: Dufferin Terrace
Terrasse Dufferin Quebec © TQ / J.-F. Frenette

After visiting Chateau Frontenac, bask in the stunning views of the lower city and St. Lawrence river at the Dufferin Terrace. This long, wooden boardwalk is the perfect spot to take photos, or you can board the funicular to travel down to Rue du Petit-Champlain in the Lower town. If you’re looking to explore more of the city, this boardwalk will take you all the way down to the Plains of Abraham.

Dufferin Terrace in winter: the Toboggan Slide

One of the fun Old Quebec City attractions is the toboggan ride
Toboggan on Terasse Dufferin (winter only) © Quebec Wonders

When visiting Quebec City in the wintertime, you can slide down the oldest attraction in the city – the wooden toboggan slide at Dufferin Terrace. Enjoy the thrill of speeding down the slope at speeds of up to 70km/h while catching a stunning view of the city from above. The slide runs are open from mid-December to mid-March and are the perfect attraction to make the most of the winter weather.

3. Rue du Tresor: Old Quebec's Landmark Art Street

Best places to visit in Quebec City - Rue du Tresor is an Old Quebec landmark
Rue du Tresor Old Quebec © TQ / A. Rider

Immerse yourself in the art of Quebec city and meet local artists at the Rue du Tresor. This European-style cobblestone street connects the Chateau Frontenac and the Notre Dame de Quebec Basilica Cathedral.

4. Rue du Petit Champlain

itinerary tip

Itinerary Tip

Items 4 to 8 are located in the Petit Champlain area, which is in the lower part of the town. They are best explored on foot. I recommend you see everything you want to see in this area before heading uphill!

Rue du Petit Champlain is a one of the best places to visit
Quartier Petit-Champlain © TQ / Post430

Stroll down the cobblestone streets of Rue du Petit Champlain to enjoy the beautiful architecture and charming boutiques, shops, restaurants, and cafes.

This pedestrian-only street is one of North America’s oldest streets and is the perfect place to shop for unique locally-made products and souvenirs. It’s a must-see place in Quebec City, no matter the season. In the winter, you can walk by stunning ice sculptures along the street and try some tire d’érable (thick maple syrup rolled in snow).

5. Old Quebec's Landmark Umbrella Alley

Umbrella Alley is one of Quebec City's attractions
Cul-de-Sac Street © TQ / G. Leroyer

Walk under a sky of umbrellas at Rue du Cul-de-Sac, also known as the umbrella alley. A short walk from Rue du Petit Champlain, this unique display of colorful umbrellas is the perfect photo spot for tourists. The alley is also filled with unique restaurants and patios where you can grab a bite to eat or drink at.

6. Royal Battery

Royal Battery in Quebec City is a famous landmark to see
Royal Battery © TQ / M. Laporte,

Another historic landmark in Quebec City is the Royal Battery. The Royal Battery is a stone semi-circle that was built in 1691 that was used during the siege of Quebec City in 1759 by French soldiers. You can take photos of the notable canons and enjoy the breath-taking views of the Chateau Frontenac above.

7. Place Royale

Place Royale is a Quebec City landmark
Place Royale Quebec City, Photo Credit: Quebec Wonders

Known as the square where Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec in 1608, the Place Royale is a historic landmark worth visiting and it's absolutely beautiful.

In Place Royale, you’ll find the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church – the oldest stone church in North America that was erected in 1608. Take a break from exploring the square’s rich history and enjoy the cafes and restaurants with patios.

It’s another landmark in the Old part of Quebec City. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a street in France and will find stands lined with local artists who exhibit and sell their masterpieces. You can find beautiful engravings, paintings, jewelry, and watercolors for sale – making it the perfect spot to buy a souvenir.

8. L’Escalier Casse-Cou (the breakneck Stairs)

What to see in Old Quebec Escalier Casse-Cou
Escaliers Casse-Cou Old Quebec © TQ / P. Gouyou Beauchamps

This tourist attraction translates to “the Breakneck steps”, and you can take this historic outdoor staircase to get between the Upper and Lower Towns of Quebec.

From the top of the stairs, you’ll get to see the picturesque view of the charming Rue du Petit Champlain. This is the perfect spot to take photographs with a beautiful view, and you can also have your photo taken on any of the landings to have a personalized postcard made for you. After taking photographs, stop by at one of the restaurant terraces on the various landings to enjoy a drink or delicious meal.

9. Gate St-Louis and St-Louis Street

Rue St-Louis is a nice attraction to visit in Quebec City
Old Québec © TQ / F. Gagnon

Admire the city’s fortifications on Rue St-Louis. This historic street features the famous St-Louis Gate and some of oldest buildings in Old Quebec, including the Maison Jacquet (1674) and the Maison Maillou (1736).

Rue St-Louis also offers a variety of art galleries, boutiques, shops, restaurants, and cafes you can stop to visit. Here, you’ll find some of the best shopping Quebec City has to offer with finds from unique local artists in the street’s boutiques.

10. Rue Saint-Jean

Walk along Rue Saint-Jean, a Quebec attraction
Rue Saint-Jean © TQ / A. Rider

This eclectic street is lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and bustling bars to enjoy a bite to eat or something to drink. Enjoy a hearty breakfast at Paillard or Cochon Dingue (my favourite!), taste the classic Quebec eats like Poutine at Chez Ashton for dinner, and then stop by for dessert at Chocolat Favoris for tasty soft-serve dipped cones. At the end of your day, head down to Bar Le Sacrilege and unwind with a delicious drink or two.

Place D’Youville, located on Rue Saint-Jean is a famous place to see in Quebec City. In summer, it regularly hosts shows and in winter, it hosts one of the most iconic ice skating rinks in Quebec City.

11. Courtyard of the Seminaire de Quebec

Old Quebec Petit Seminaire Courtyard in one of the Old Quebec attractions
Old Quebec Seminaire Courtyard © TQ / B. Cecile

Visit this historic priest community building to enjoy the beautiful architecture of the white courtyard. The courtyard is known for its famous sundial, and if you’re interested in the history of the building, you can get a guided tour of the interior of the building. It’s also a great place to take an Instagram photo or two.

Nowadays, the Seminaire is a private catholic high school for boys and girls.

10. Place de l’Hotel de Ville

This small public square is a hidden gem in the city that many tourists don’t know about. Relax and people-watch in this gathering square where locals come to socialize. In December, this plaza hosts German Christmas markets.

Grab a coffee at the nearby coffee shop, Cafe La Maison Smith (for Australians out there wondering where to find Australian barista coffee in Quebec City, La Maison Smith is your best bet). You can also enjoy the variety of boutiques lined along the square, along with views of the Edifice Price – the Old Town’s tallest building.

13. Explore the Plains of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham Quebec is another famous attraction to visit
Plains of Abraham © TQ / G. Leroyer

The Plains of Abraham is a serene oasis in the heart of Quebec City, with beautiful green rolling hills, blooming flowers, and many historic milestones to be seen. The site of the Battle of Quebec in 1759, the Plains of Abraham is home to a deep history that you can explore on the grounds, as well as in the Plains of Abraham Museum.

In summer, it hosts large festival crowds and in winter, it is the go-to local spot for cross-country skiing, sliding on snow tubes and outdoor ice skating.

14. the Fortifications of Quebec

Attractions in Old Quebec Fortifications
Fortifications of Old Quebec © TQ / M. Laporte

Running 4.6km in length, the massive stone walls built along the Old City are what make the historic district of Old Quebec city a world-renowned site.

As you walk along the fortifications, you’ll pass by canons, towers, and historic military sites along the iconic fortification. Quebec is the only city to be fortified North of Mexico, making this an iconic landmark to see.

Old Quebec Attractions and Activities

1. Citadelle de Quebec

Citadelle de Quebec is one of the places to Visit in Quebec City.
Citadelle de Quebec, Photo Credit: Quebec Wonders

Citadelle de Quebec is an important tourist attraction in Quebec City and it attracts international as well as local tourists. With over 300 years of rich history behind it, the Citadelle de Quebec is Canada’s oldest military building and still today, an active military base. It’s a National Historic Site where you can walk along the fortress walls to take in the city’s history.

Even if you’re not a history buff, I recommend you pay to take a guided tour (it’s well worth it). You can also visit the exhibits inside for a closer look at Quebec’s military roots and history, but the guided tour is much more enjoyable and insightful.

I also suggest you time your visit with the charge of guard. The schedule is available on La Citadelle's website here.

2. Basilique Notre-Dame in Old Quebec

Visit the famous  Basilique Notre-Dame in Old Quebec
Basilique Cathédrale Notre Dame de Québec © TQ / B. Cecile

Dating back to 1647, this historic cathedral is a stunning landmark in the city filled with rich history and stunning architecture. Inside the cathedral, you’ll find exquisite paintings, beautiful stained-glass windows, and a striking altarpiece.

The cathedral also features The Holy Door, one of seven such doors worldwide that many people flock to see. The door is only opened when the Pope deems it appropriate so if you’re visiting during this rare time, you won’t want to miss seeing the Holy Door.

3. Quebec’s Nightlife on Grande-Allée

Grande-Allee is one of the places to visit in Quebec City at night
Grande-Allee Quebec © TQ / A. Quenneville

Grand Allee is an elegant street in the city that’s lined with cool restaurants, bars, and sidewalk patios that are a staple of Quebec City’s buzzing nightlife.

During the day, you can grab a delicious bite to eat at one of the many sidewalk patios. At nighttime, enjoy a drink at one of the microbreweries and bars or immerse yourself in Quebec’s lively nightlife at one of the many nightclubs. It’s a good place to visit in Quebec City at night.

4. Musee de la Civilisation

Musee de la Civilisation is a known Quebec city attraction
Musee de la Civilisation © TQ / L. Turgeon

The Musee de la Civilisation is a top city attraction for tourists that offers the ultimate cultural experience. A perfect place to visit with the whole family, the museum has a variety of exhibits that explore the history of the First Nations, contemporary Quebec culture, and archaeological treasures.

5. the Old Quebec Funicular

One of the famous Old Quebec attractions, the Funicular
Funicular Old Quebec © TQ / L. Turgeon

The Funicular is a popular tourist attraction in Quebec City and offers a unique way to get from the Dufferin Terrace to Quartier Petit-Champlain. You can travel up or down the cliff face and enjoy the spectacular views of the St. Lawrence river and the Old Town. The lower station is located inside Louis Jolliet’s house, where he lived during the 1600s.

6. Quebec City Old Port

A good Quebec City attraction to see, the Old Quebec Port
Old Port of Quebec © TQ / C. Huot

Step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and take a leisurely stroll along the Old Port. Located just outside of the Auberge Saint-Antoine, the Old Port stretches along the St. Lawrence river where you can enjoy a relaxing walk and beautiful views of the marina, cruise ships, and surrounding picturesque streets.

7. Old Quebec Nordic Spa

Old Quebec spa attraction, Strom Nordic Spa in Quebec City
Strom Spa Nordique © TQ / G. Leroyer

Take a break from exploring and spend the day pampering yourself with a relaxing wellness retreat at the Strom Nordic Spa. Located along the St. Lawrence River, this spa is the perfect place to rejuvenate your energy and unwind while appreciating the natural beauty of Quebec. This indoor and outdoor spa has everything you need for a relaxing getaway – dry and wet saunas, a heated lazy river, and ice-cold plunges.

8. the Parliament Building

One of the places to visit in Quebec City is the Parliament Building
Parliament Hotel Quebec City © TQ / P. Gouyou Beauchamps

Located in the Upper Town, the Parliament is an iconic building in Quebec City and the city’s oldest historic site. It’s also one of the only French-style institution buildings in Quebec City, with its architecture inspired by the infamous Louvre in Paris.

You can take a free guided tour of the Parliament building and afterward, meander through the beautiful gardens and the Tourny Fountain outside.

Excursions from Old Quebec City

You don't need to go far outside of Quebec City to find stunning natural landscapes. This section presents the most popular tourist excursions from Quebec City. You will ideally need a car to visit these, otherwise you can book a day tour excursion.

1. Montmorency Falls

Places to see near Quebec  - Montmorency Falls.
Montmorency Falls Park © TQ / J.-G. Lavoie

Located just a short 15-minute drive outside of the city, the beautiful, cascading Montmorency Falls is a sight to see. The falls are 100 feet higher than the infamous Niagara Falls, and you can take a cable car to the top of the falls for a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled activity, you can follow one of three routes up the cliff or take the double zipline across the park at 300m high.

2. Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Basilica

Sainte-Anne Basilica is one of the Quebec City tourist attractions.
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Basilica © TQ / J.-F. Frenette

The Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre Basilica is the oldest pilgrimage site in North America and is also one of the four major shrines in Quebec. People from around the world travel to see the beautiful shrine desiccated to Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. Immerse yourself in the religious history of Quebec and enjoy the many artistic paintings, stained-glass windows, sculptures, and mosaics.

3. Ile d'Orleans

Places to see near Quebec - Ile D'Orleans.
Ile d'Orleans © TQ / J.-F. Bergeron

Escape the city noise to the serene countryside of the Ile d’Orleans. This stunning island will take you back through time with its ancestral homes that date back to the 17th century and emulate the French heritage. You’ll find quaint villages, vineyards, roadside stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables, and shops – which are at their busiest from mid-June to mid-October. During the rest of the year, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and landscape of the countryside.

4. Waterslides OR snow tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier

Enjoy waterslides or snow tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier in Quebec
Sliding on Snow at Village Vacances Valcartier © Quebec Wonders

Looking for some fun for the entire family? Village Vacances Valcartier is the largest four-season resort in Eastern Canada and is full of attractions you can do anytime in the year. In the winter, you can go sledding, tubing, and in summer you can enjoy a day at the outdoor waterpark.

Many people coming here also stop by and visit the Ice Hotel – a hotel built of snow and ice with over 40 rooms! The Ice Hotel is connected to a 4-star hotel resort with a massive indoor waterpark, spa, and a variety of restaurants and bars to enjoy. Each guest at the Ice Hotel is provided a room in that resort (a plan B room!).

5. Parc National De La Jacques-Cartier

Places to see near Quebec Jacques -Cartier National Park.
Jacques-Cartier National Park © TQ

With over 100km of hiking trails, this beautiful national park offers refuge from the city and is just a 30 to 40-minute drive from Old Quebec. In the summer, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, camping, canoeing, and hiking through the serene outdoors. There are plenty of activities you can do in the winter including snowshoeing, hiking, and sledding through the snowy hills of the park.

6. Charlevoix Region

Places to see near Quebec - Charlevoix
Charlevoix Region © TQ / G. Leroyer

If you’re looking for a day trip, rent a car and drive out an hour east of Quebec City to reach the beautiful Charlevoix region. In Charlevoix, you’ll get breathtaking views of the rolling mountains and vast sea. From hiking and mountain climbing to whale watching, there are plenty of ways you can explore the natural beauty of the region.

Alongside the region are charming, quaint towns that you can stop by in and explore the various art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants with delicious farm-to-table meals you won’t get anywhere else.


Quebec City is a breathtakingly beautiful city that should be on every traveler’s bucket list when traveling in Canada. From charming European-like streets lined with unique boutiques and shops to serene natural parks and landscapes to explore – there are plenty of things to do in Quebec City. You can rest assured that you won’t experience any dull moments during your trip to this enchanting province with our guide.

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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