Things to do in Québec City: A 3-day itinerary

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Québec City is a true gem tucked away in Canada’s vast landscape, exuding history, beauty and European charm with a dash of North American flair. If you’ve got three days to spare, Québec City is the perfect weekend getaway. 

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Québec City.
Québec City at night. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

​​There are a lot of things to do in Québec City, but it’s still a small enough city that you can get to a lot of the best activities in a long weekend. Here’s a day-by-day itinerary to guide your journey.

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Places to stay

To make the most of your visit to this stunning Canadian city, I recommend choosing a hotel within the walls of Old Québec for easy access to the best sites, from the waterfront to the old city walls, restaurants and shopping.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac sits in the heart of Old Québec, grand and luxurious with its turrets, copper roofs and Gothic spires providing a stunning silhouette against the backdrop of the St. Lawrence River. Even if you stay elsewhere, the Frontenac is worth touring.

Auberge Saint-Antoine is one of my top picks. It’s right in the heart of the Old Port, so it provides easy access to many of the city’s attractions, and it combines modern comforts with old-world charm.

Hotel du Vieux-Québec is an eco-friendly option with cozy rooms and a central location that’s hard to beat.

Quebec city at dusk.
Québec City at dusk. Photo credit: All Ways Delicious.
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Things to do

You could spend all your time wandering around Old Québec’s narrow cobblestone streets, ogling the spectacular vistas and old-school architecture or dawdling in its charming cafes and boutiques. If you want more direction, though, the following itinerary covers some of my favorite things to do.

Day one: Explore Old Québec

Start your day with a walking tour through upper and lower towns including Place Royale, Fortifications of Québec, Citadelle of Québec, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church and more. Or join a food tour of Old Québec.

Art enthusiasts should head to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec and learn about Québec’s artistic heritage and contemporary artistic contributions.

Enjoy lunch at Le Lapin Sauté, which specializes in rabbit dishes. We also loved their duck and salmon, as well as the thick slices of bread topped with toasted and melty local cheese. 

After lunch, explore the Petite Champlain neighborhood for a glimpse into the birth of New France, plus historic murals and 17th-century architecture that make it a haven for history buffs.

If you don’t feel like walking up the hill or taking the formidable stairs, hitch a ride on the Québec City funicular, an inclined railway that lifts you effortlessly from the heart of the Petit Champlain up to the top of Cap Diamant. 

If you have time, pop into the swanky 1608 Bar at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac to enjoy a deluxe cocktail with stunning views of the river.

For dinner, head to Chez Muffy, located in the Auberge Saint-Antoine, for an elegant meal. Set in a rustic and charming 1822 maritime warehouse, its farm-to-table approach combines French and Canadian gastronomy. 

Alternatively, book a dinner cruise for a scenic trip down the St. Lawrence River to the Chute de Montmorency and back again, including a gourmet meal. 

Keywords: waterfall, Québec City. Modified description: A stunning rainbow graces the skies above a majestic waterfall in Québec City.
Chute Montmorency. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Day 2: Natural wonders and vibrant city life

About 15 minutes from downtown Québec City is Montmorency Falls, which stands taller than Niagara Falls, cascading over a 272-foot cliff into the St. Lawrence River below. The views are stunning, both from above and below the falls.

There are stairs to the top if you’re feeling athletic, or take the gondola, which travels from the base to the top of the falls and back.

A suspension bridge stretches across the crest of the falls, giving you an up-close view. Adventure seekers will love the double zipline that crisscrosses the falls for an exhilarating experience.

Enjoy lunch or a snack in the restaurant atop the falls. Or head back into town to grab a bite at Le Chic Shack, renowned for its Québecoise fast food with a twist. Don’t miss their gourmet burgers, poutines and milkshakes.

If you’ve got a bit of energy left, wander over to Rue Saint-Jean, one of Québec’s liveliest streets with an eclectic mix of boutiques, patisseries and cafes. Or hop on the ferry for a 30-minute ride to the island of Levis and back to watch the sunset.

Pop into Chez Jules for dinner and enjoy a classic brasserie menu, including filet mignon au poivre, frogs legs and salade Nicoise, all cooked to perfection in Québecoise style.  

Scenic outdoor attraction offering greenery, trees, flowers and a water body in Québec City.
Ile d’Orleans. Photo credit: All Ways Delicious.

Day 3: Île d’Orléans

A day exploring the picturesque agricultural island of  Île d’Orléans is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Québec City. If you enjoy artisanal crafts, food and drink, you’ll love discovering local treasures here. If it’s history you’re after, you’ll find plenty of that, too.

It’s a 15-minute drive to the island from downtown Québec City via the Île d’Orléans Bridge. If you don’t have a car, there are still plenty of ways to see the island, including biking, kayaking, walking and bus tours

Once you cross the bridge, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There are historical sites, fruit stands, sugar shacks, wineries and cideries, jam makers, chocolatiers, bakeries and cheese makers. A few of my must-tries are jams at Confiterie Tigidou, baguettes and croissants at La Midinette and maple-filled chocolates at Chocolatier de l’Ile D’orleans.

As you circle the island, stop along the way to pick up the makings of an elaborate picnic. Enjoy your bounty in the lovely back garden at Fromagerie Ferme Audet — don’t miss their aged goat cheese — or one of many other perfect spots. 

If you’re interested in French-Canadian history and culture, be sure to stop at the Sainte-Famille Church, the oldest rural parish on the island, founded in 1661. A stunning statue and plaques pay homage to the original settlers, the founders of New France.

Finish the day at Cassis Monna et Filles, where you can sip cassis-infused sangria or gin on their sprawling back patio. Or enjoy a sit-down meal at the upscale La Grange.

Top view of Québec city looking out over the St. Lawrence River.
Québec City. Photo credit: All Ways Delicious.

The last word

Québec City is a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, culinary delights, stunning scenery and modern luxuries. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie or just an adventurer, Québec promises a unique experience that will linger in your memories long after your trip ends. 

Robin Donovan is the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including the bestselling ”Campfire Cuisine,” ”Ramen Obsession,” and ”Ramen for Beginners.” A food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer, she is the creator of the food blog All Ways Delicious, where she shares easy recipes for the best dishes from around the world.

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