Quebec Things to Do Tips by Jefie Top 5 Page for this destination
Quebec Things to Do: 551 reviews and 1,013 photos
At the 2013 Cirque du Soleil show
Summer always seems too short in Quebec City, but not because of the weather - it's mostly because there's always something fun to do! Since 2008, there's been an increasing number of free events in the city: most city parks offer free concert series, including those offered at the Plains of Abraham's Edwin Bélanger bandstand (http://www.ccbn-nbc.gc.ca/en/activities/kiosque-edwin-belanger/). Also, two of my favourite activities are the fireworks competition held over the St. Lawrence River every Wednesday and Saturday night in August (http://www.lesgrandsfeux.com/index-en.html) and the free Cirque du Soleil show presented at the Agora (http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/events/chemins-invisibles/show.aspx). These are hugely popular so Just make sure you get there early enough to get in!
Directions: In the old port area
Tempting, isn't it?!
Every year a new, rather unconventional hotel opens its doors to hardy winter visitors: the one and only ice hotel! From January until March, people come from all over the world to experience something quite unique – spending the night in a room entirely made of ice and snow. It doesn't get anymore Canadian than this! Of course, not everybody feels like spending a few hours lying on a slab of ice (I know I wouldn't!), so it is possible to come to the ice hotel only for a visit or to spend a unique evening at the hotel's night club: the n'ice bar. Also, if you're in a romantic mood, you might want to celebrate your wedding or renew your vows at the ice chapel!
So there is clearly a lot to see and do at the ice hotel. The hotel's design changes every year and tickets for a visit ($15 for adults, $38 for a family) give you access to all the different rooms and suites, which range from basic family rooms to fancy romantic suites, and you can also see the chapel, the spa, admire the wonderful ice sculptures, and stop for a drink at the ice bar – not just any drink, mind you, a great selection of cocktails are offered in glasses entirely made of ice! Guided tours are offered free of charge every hour. Just make sure to wear warm clothes and boots – it never gets too cold inside the hotel but still, my toes got quite frozen!
Address: 9530 rue de la Faune
Directions: In Charlesbourg, about 10 min north of downtown Quebec City.
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Walking along Terrasse Dufferin, Quebec City
Named after Lord Dufferin, the 3rd Governor General of Canada, this boardwalk runs from the Chateau Frontenac to the steps leading to the Citadelle and offers a splendid view of the St. Lawrence River. There is plenty of activity going on at all time on the Terrasse: during summer, visitors will be entertained by talented and funny street performers; during winter, you won't want to miss the chance of sliding down in a tobogan, something people have been doing since the end of the 19th century. Terrasse Dufferin also becomes one of the city's favorite gathering spot during the winter carnival. The funicular that goes down to the Quartier Petit-Champlain also departs from the Terrasse.
Directions: In the Vieux Quebec area, in front of Chateau Frontenac.
Hotel du Parlement, Quebec City
Built between 1877 and 1886, l'Hotel du Parlement is home to the Quebec legislative assembly. The building itself is a great example of Second Empire style architecture, and tours (approx. 30 min) are available daily, free of charge. All you have to do is show up at Door No. 3 (on the left) and go through security check. Tours include a visit of the debate and senate chambers, and will give you lots of historical, political as well as architectural information. After the tour, make sure to walk around the grounds of Parliament Hill where you will be able to see statues of former provincial prime ministers, as well as a beautiful Inuksuk. A nice way to round off your visit to the province's capital!
Address: 1045 des Parlementaires
Directions: Near the Vieux Quebec area, just off Grande Allee
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La Fontaine de Tourny, in Quebec City
The year 2008 marks the 400th anniversary of Quebec City and to celebrate this event, the Simons family gave the city the magnificient Fontaine de Tourny. The fountain comes from Quebec City's sister city of Bordeaux, France. It was originally created for the 1855 Paris World Expo by the renown sculptor Mathurin Moreau, and installed in Bordeaux in 1857. This imposing piece of art was brought to Quebec City in pieces to be reassembled and restored at the same time. The fountain now stands in front of the Parliament building, and it was inaugurated on July 3, 2007. The Fontaine de Tourny immediately became a very popular attraction, both with tourists and locals who come to get their picture taken in front of it. The setting is quite beautiful, especially at night when it is lit up. It is without a doubt the nicest monument in the entire city, and it's truly worth taking the time to check it out.
Directions: In front of the Parliament builing, just outside of Gate St. Louis.
M/V Louis Joliet on the St. Lawrence River
Nothing quite compares to seeing Chateau Frontenac sitting on top of Cap Diamant as you make your way up the beautiful St. Lawrence River. During summer, the AML group offers different types of cruises on board the M/V Louis Joliet, named after the Quebec City explorer who became the first man to map the Mississippi River. If you don't have much time, you can go on the "Stories of an explorer" cruise, a 90-minute cruise that will take you up to the Quebec City bridges and down to the Ile d'Orleans ($28 for adults, with 3 departures/day). If you've got more time, you can choose to go on a brunch, buffet or romantic dinner cruise. For a different nightlife experience, you can also go on a Friday night dancing cruise ($13, for adults only). Just check out the Website to see which option is best for you, and enjoy your time on board the M/V Louis Joliet!
Address: Quai Chouinard
Directions: In the Petit Champlain area, next to the ferry terminal.
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Maison Henry-Stuart, on Grande Allee
Built in 1849, the Henry-Stuart house is one of the few examples left of the typical English cottages that were built in the city during the 19th century. It is named after the Henry family, for whom the house was originally built, and the Stuart family, the longest occupants of the cottage. Adele and Mary Stuart lived in the cottage for a total 70 years, from 1918 to 1988. Throughout the years, they made several trips to England, looking for furniture that could match the character of their house. They also worked on the charming garden that surrounds the house. A visit to the Henry-Stuart house is interesting in that it allows us to explore the history and culture of Quebec City's anglophone population, something that is often overlooked elsewhere in the city. The guided tour includes tea and homemade lemon cake, served in the cottage's drawing room. A really neat and different experience!
From June 25 to Labour Day, tours run every day on the hour (first visit starts at 11:00 am, last visit starts at 4:00 pm). The price is $7 for adults.
Address: 82 Grande Allee Ouest
Directions: At the corner of Cartier Street
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The water garden at les Bois-de-Coulonge
This beautiful domain, once known as Spencer Wood, served as the residence of the Governor General of Canada from 1870 until 1966, when the house was destroyed in a deadly fire. It was then decided that the park should be opened up to the public and it soon became one of the locals' favorite picnic spot. The park is beautifully situated, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The wooded paths will lead you to a nice open space ideal for picnics and outdoor activities. There is a playground for children, and pets are welcome too! For those interested in the history of the Bois-de-Coulonge, it is possible to go on a guided tour offered on Saturday and Sunday afternoons all summer long. The 50-minute tour costs $5 for adults and there's no need to book ahead of time, you can just show up at the warden's house. Access to the park is free and parking is free in the evening and on weekends.
Address: 1215 Grande-Allée West
Directions: In the Sillery area
At the 2010 Quebec City Summer Music Festival
Over the past few years, Quebec City's Summer Music Festival has become one of the biggest music festivals in North America. When I arrived in Quebec City in 1995, the festival was more of a low-key event and it mostly focused on world music, allowing people to discover new artists from Quebec and abroad. While this aspect of the festival is still important (every year there's a scene dedicated to world music at Place d'Youville), the festival has now grown to include internationally known music stars such as The Black Eyed Peas, Sting, Violent Femmes, Indochine, KISS and Rammstein, just to name a few. The Summer Music Festival takes place in early July, and the 10-day passes can usually be purchased on-line starting in early May. Can't wait to see who will be performing next year!
Directions: In the Grande-Allee area, near the Old City.
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Detail of a Petit Champlain house in the fall
Le Petit Champlain is known as the oldest shopping district in North America. It is probably the most charming area of the city, but unfortunately, some visitors miss it altogether since they don't know about this little gem located at the foot of Cap Diamant, below the Terasse Dufferin. Some of the buildings in this area date back to the 17th century and have been beautifully restored, in keeping with their humble New France origins. They are now filled with specialty shops that are quite popular with locals and tourists alike since they are in general less tacky than some of the stores located up on rue St-Jean. You'll also find some of Quebec City's best restaurants in this area - just make sure to make a reservation as most restaurants fill up very fast, especially when cruise ships arrive.
Directions: From the Terrasse Dufferin, walk down the stairs located near the Samuel de Champlain statue. When you reach the bottom, walk down the hill until you reach another set of stairs (on your right). These stairs lead to the Petit Champlain area.
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