Quebec City Historic Buildings
Historic Quebec City (Photo credit: 14398)

Quebec City Travel Guide

QUICK FACTS

  • The capital of Quebec province in Eastern Canada, with a population of ~500,000.
  • The word Kebec is Algonquin for “where the river narrows.
  • Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico.
  • Nicknames: La Vieille Capitale (The Old Capital)

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • Spoken languages: primarily French (many also speak English).
  • Best time to visit: in the summer (for the warmest temperatures). Note: if you don’t mind freezing cold, Quebec City is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the winter!
  • Arriving via airport: a taxi ride to Old Quebec from the airport cost $35 (not including tip).

WHERE TO STAY

There are about 35 hotels within Quebec City’s walls, including just a few hostels, an abundance of bed and breakfasts and five-star hotels, too. There are affordable hotels outside the walls as well, though it’s best to stay within them (as that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time).

GETTING AROUND

  • Quebec City’s compact grid system makes getting around the Old Town a breeze on foot.
  • The Funiculaire connects north and south Old Town for $2.
  • The RTC is Quebec’s mass transit bus system – single rides are $3.
  • The Ecolobus costs $2, and connects hotels and sights in Old Town.
  • Renting a car is not convenient due to strict traffic laws and narrow cobblestone streets. Unless you’re planning to travel outside the Old Town a lot, stick to public transport!

QUEBEC CITY NIGHTLIFE

  • Drinking age is 18, and last call is around 2:45 AM (bars close at 3 AM).
  • Tipping isn’t obligatory but may be demanded of you.
  • With its 19th century Gothic architecture, Rue Grande Allée is one of the oldest streets in Quebec City. It contains most of the city’s nightlife in the form of clubs, bars and restaurants.

UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT

  • Chateau Frontenac is one of the most photographed buildings in the world, and for many, a symbol for the city itself. Its iconic turrets signal from the edge of the St. Lawrence River, illuminating the water at night.
  • The Morrin Centre is an English library with a long reputation. Built in the early 18th century, it served as a military prison, a civilian prison, and a college.
  • La Citadelle is a star-shaped fort facing the river from the bluffs of Cap Diamant. Come for the changing of the guard ceremony every morning at 10 AM, as well as for the legendary view!

INTERESTING WALKS

  • Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin) is a riverfront promenade that separates the St. Lawrence River from the Chateau Frontenac. Their bar is the perfect place to stop in for caribou (warm red wine, sherry and vodka) to warm up.
  • Montmorency Falls Park has a network of staircases that allow you to see the waterfall from different perspectives, the best of which is from the suspension bridge. An aerial tram (funitel) takes visitors from the foot of the falls to the top.

LOCAL WISDOM

  • Though French is the principal language, almost everyone can speak English. Especially in the Old Town, menus are posted out front in both languages. However, many Québécois feign ignorance because they just can’t be bothered. Learn some basic French!
  • Where to find good cheap eats: Quebec is not a cheap city, but traditional staples like meat pie (tourtière québecoise) or poutine can be found for cheap, especially outside the Old Town.
  • Dangerous areas: nowhere in particular! Quebec City is one of the safest in the world.

RECOMMENDED QUEBEC CITY GUIDE BOOKS

Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days


SEE ALSO:
Quebec City Travel Guide was last modified: September 22nd, 2016 by Nick
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