Planning a solo trip to Quebec City? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- 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).
- 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
- Best hostel for solo travelers: HI-Quebec. Located in the centre of Old Town (just minutes away from all the action), this is a cozy, clean, and charming little place. Big kitchen, spacious dorms, comfortable beds, and welcoming staff make this one a winner. Book ahead, as accommodation in Quebec City fills up fast!
- 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).
- Quebec City’s compact grid system makes getting around the Old Town on foot a breeze.
- The Funiculaire connects north and south Old Town for $4.
- The RTC is Quebec’s mass transit bus system – single rides are $3.50.
- The Ecolobus costs $1, 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.
- Your best bet is to see what’s happening on Rue Saint-Jean (Saint Jean Street) – try to stay outside the walls unless you’re willing to pay higher prices.
- Great bars for solo travelers: Pub Petit Boulevard (dive), Les Salons d’Edgar, Ninkasi Bar & Bistro (beer hall), JJacques (oyster bar).
- Looking for a wild night out with locals? Hit up Le Dauphin (Karaoké).
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!
- 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.
- 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!
- Great restaurants to try: Albacore (seafood with proper cocktails), Le Cendrillon ($$$ – oyster bar), Chez Biceps BBQ ($$$), Kundah Hôtel (Indian).
- 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. Great budget restaurants: La Cuisine and Chez Temporel.
- Dangerous areas: nowhere in particular! Quebec City is one of the safest in the world.
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days