The Capital city of Quebec Province is one of the oldest settlements in North America. With over 500,000 prominently French-speaking residents it is the second largest city in the Province of Quebec. It is one of the most visited cities in Canada. Most visitors say it has a very European feel with it’s cobblestone streets, corner bakeries, intimate cafes and bistros.
Quebec City is bustling this time of the year. For 11 days the city holds it’s annual Quebec City Summer Festival from July 5-11th. Canada’s largest outdoor music festival is held in various music venues throughout the city and this year includes many notable bands including Dave Mathews, The Weekend, Neil Young, The Chain Smokers, Shawn Mendes, Beck, Avenged Sevenfold, Foo Fighters, Lorde and many more. This is it’s 50th anniversary and is sure not to disappoint.
One of Quebec City’s most notable attractions located around the city’s harbor on the banks of the St Lawrence river is the historic neighborhood of Old Quebec. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is a quaint little town filled with narrow winding roads lined with little stone buildings and shops. Many historic landmarks are located here including Notre Dame Basilica, the Citadel, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and Quartier Petit-Champlain among others. Although it is free to visit, some of the sites do have a small entrance fee so make sure you bring some cash.
The Montmorency Falls located on the outskirts of Old Quebec is one of the larger waterfalls in Canada at 272 feet and 99 feet taller than Niagara Falls. You can take the cable car to the top of the cliff which will take you to the Montmorency Manor at the top of the falls for a guided tour. If the inner dare-devil in you is ready for a challenge then you have to try the 1000 foot zip line during the summer months or come back in the winter when the falls freeze over and take a stab at ice climbing the face of the falls.The park is open year around, click here for more details.
One can’t make a trip to Quebec without visiting the nations oldest national park, Battlefields Park. Within the park are two main sites, the Planes of Abraham and Des Braves Park. The significance of the park is the site of a 1759 battle between the British victory over the French which decided the development of Canada. Throughout the park are about 50 artillery pieces including the Martello Towers. The four towers were built in the early 1800’s to help protect the walls around the city from Americans. Within the 255 acre park you can find many picnic areas, landscaped gardens, fountains, an arboretum, riverfront views. During the winter months bring your winter gear and test your endurance on any one of the cross country skiing trails, bring your sled and enjoy some down hill tobogganing or ice skating with your significant other.
Another great destination is Observatoire de la Capitale, the observatory on the 31st floor of the Marie-Guyart Building overlooking the city. It’s not an overly impressive building and at only 31 floors not very high either but it has interactive touch screens with 3D images and soundscapes that gives a look back on the cities history with fantastic views of the cities landscape and unique architecture.
Valcartier Vacation Village is a great place for a family vacation if you are visiting the city. There is a wide range of accommodations ranging from camping and rustic cabins to luxury hotels and chilly stays at their famous Hôtel de Glace or Ice Hotel. Visitors can cool off in the wave pool or lay back and relax in the lazy river. The family-friendly park boasts 35 water slides, 100 water games, a wave pool and two themed rivers. When you need a break from all the fun take a few minutes to refill at any one of the many snack bars, restaurants, enjoy a adult beverage or save some cash and pack your own picnic. When the kids need a break from the sun let them get their video game fix at the 10,000 square foot game room located on the second floor of the Hôtel Valcartier.
Take a walk on the wild side at the Aquarium du Québec. This 40 acre public aquarium is home to over 10,000 animals from over 300 species. It’s most famous attraction is the Discovery Tunnel in the Awesome Ocean exhibit. Get an underwater view of the many animals and fish including walruses, seals and polar bears. The Discover the Coastal Zone exhibit offers guests a first hand opportunity to interact with native species and even touch starfish, sea urchins, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers and more.
This 400 year old city is rich and history and culture and makes for a fantastic vacation destination regardless of the season and is fun for the whole family. Don’t forget to brush up on your French speaking skills and pack your walking shoes because this city is packed with excitement and entertainment for everyone.