5 Cheap Things to Do in Quebec City
Updated: April 19, 2023
AAA Travel Editor Patricia Miller
One of the best things about taking a vacation in Québec City is that you can see and do so much for so little. Many of the city’s most popular and most historic attractions can be seen for free or for under $10. Did you know you can really stretch your dollar if you’re using American money when in Canada? At the time of this writing, savings were about 25%; verify the exact exchange rate before you go and check prices, too, as they may change.
16 rue du Petit-Champlain
For breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River, Lower Town and Île d’Orléans, amble along this 425-metre (.26-mi.) wooden boardwalk dotted with pretty gazebos and benches; it’s the perfect place for shutterbugs and Instagrammers, and it’s free. You’ll also see the magnificent 18-story Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, an 1893 hotel straight out of a fairytale. Nearby, buskers entertain the crowds at the foot of the Samuel de Champlain statue. In winter, adventurous types can slide down the icy 150-metre (492-ft.) toboggan run, going up to 70 kilometres (43 mi.) per hour for only $3.
Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site
Encircles Upper Town
A guided tour of the city’s fortifications goes a long way in giving visitors an in-depth understanding of the history of Québec City and some of its methods of defense against British invaders in the 1700s. Beginning with a walk along Dufferin Terrace, past the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, you’ll learn fascinating details about various cannons used to fight the enemy. The tour continues through side streets and parks, ending at the Citadel, where you’ll get exclusive peeks of an impenetrable chamber used for firing cannons and a powder magazine. The guided tour is $9.80 (adults); $7.30 (ages 65+); $3 (ages 0-17).
Montmorency Falls Park
2490 av. Royale
For a complete change of scenery, travel about 15 minutes north of Vieux-Québec to explore a magnificent waterfall and park. The waterfall here is a big one; at 83 metres (272 ft.), it’s 30 metres (98 ft.) higher than Niagara Falls. Test your bravery with a walk on a suspension bridge that goes across the top of the waterfall, which you can access via a 487-step staircase or a gondola ride. If that’s not enough of a rush, ride a zip line across the top of the falls for the thrill of a lifetime; you can ride in tandem, so it’s a fun thing to do with friends. Grounds are free to visit or you can take the gondola ride for a minimal fare.
27 rue Notre-Dame
For a taste of Old World Europe in North America, it’s hard to get much closer than with a visit to this 400-year-old cobblestoned town square with buildings that date as far back as the 17th century. Place-Royale is considered the birthplace of Québec City, as it is where Samuel de Champlain founded the city by establishing a trading post in 1608. Today, you’ll find shops and restaurants in the restored buildings as well as the 1688 Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, reportedly the oldest stone church in North America. Don't miss the “Fresque des Québécois,” an enormous mural which captures Québec’s important historical figures.
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AAA Travel Editor Patricia Miller
Patricia Miller is a AAA Travel Expert.