City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Quebec City

Quebec is considered to be the most beautifully located city in Canada. Being the only walled city in North America it was named one of the most historic sights in Canada. The city features 17th and 18th century stone houses and churches, spectacular monuments, graceful parks and an amazing squares. It also offers a world-famous gastronomic diversity of over a thousand restaurants and a wide range of shops and boutiques. Take a look at Quebec's most visited tourist attractions.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Canada » Quebec City (See other walking tours in Quebec City)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 19
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: Caroline
1
Place Royale

1) Place Royale (must see)

One of the oldest areas of Quebec City, this is a famous and much-visited place that takes you back in time. Being an important social zone, it has many boutiques, monuments and great architecture. The cobblestone square surrounded by old houses provides picturesque photo ops and is even better around Christmas when decorated. Not far away is one of the most stunningly beautiful murals in town called Fresque des Québecois, a three-dimensional landscape featuring landmarks and figures of Quebec City's history. UNESCO named Place Royale a World Heritage Site. Do not miss this important piece of Canadian history.

Why You Should Visit:
To escape the crowds in a charming part of town. Not only beautiful but equipped with nice shops and restaurants. Feels more like Europe than Canada.

Tip:
La Maison Smith on the square here is a wonderful place to watch people go by with a cup of coffee and croissants. From there you can also walk to Petit Champlain which is a row of wonderful shops.
2
Lower Town (Basse-Ville)

2) Lower Town (Basse-Ville)

The Lower Town is a historic district located at the bottom of Cap Diamant. The Musée de la civilisation, the Musée naval de Québec, the caserne Dalhousie and the Théâtre Petit Champlain are among some of the museums, performance halls, theatres and exhibition venues in Lower Town. Places such as the Louise Basin, Brown Basin, La –Pointe-à-Carcy, the Gare du Palais and the Marche du Vieux-Port can be seen from the Port of Québec. The Lower Town is the pefrect place for shopping on narrow cobblestone streets with unique boutiques and galleries. A funicular car allows for easy transportation up Cap Diamant connecting to Upper Town from the narrow Petit-Champlain road at the foot of the Cape to the top with a marvellous view of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Petit Champlain

3) Petit Champlain

Petit Champlain is the oldest commercial district in North America and a wonderful place to pick up souvenirs. In this quarter, boutique shops and cozy cafes spill out of restored houses. Its main street is the Rue du Petit-Champlain. At the end of the street, you will find the famous Escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Stairs).
4
Old Quebec Funicular

4) Old Quebec Funicular

Old Quebec Funicular is an historic railway, opened in 1879. This cable-car ride connects the Terrasse Dufferin with Lower Town at a 45 degree angle. The funicular offers spectacular views over the city, especially over the Notre Dame de Victoires church and the Historic District of the city. The attraction also features a gift shop and a cafe.
5
Notre-Dame de Québec

5) Notre-Dame de Québec (must see)

Dating back to the 17th century, this church is the oldest in Canada and the first in the country to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica, by Pope Pius IX in 1874. It has been restored several times over the years in order to maintain the marvelous architecture still admired to this day. The crypt contains the tombs of four governors of New France and 20 bishops. The inside chancel lamp was donated by Louis XIV and completing the impressive adornments of this church are stained glass windows, paintings, an episcopal throne dais, and an ornamental baldaquin canopy.

Why You Should Visit:
Breathtaking at every turn and filled with quaint charm, gorgeous stained glass, carvings, statues, ceilings in gold leaf – a photographer's paradise.

Tip:
See the basilica during the day, but consider the laser light show in the evening. The line to get in is very long, so buy your tickets online and pick them up at the office the night of the performance. Not the cheapest 30 minutes, but worth it if you want to see a magnificent building get lit up and shine in a whole new way.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-4pm; Sat: 7am-6pm; Sun: 8am-5pm (winter); Mon-Sat: 7am-7pm; Sun: 8am-7pm (summer)
Entry is free for self-guided visits; it is also possible to visit the crypt with guided tours for a charge
6
Musée de l'Amérique Francophone

6) Musée de l'Amérique Francophone (must see)

This historical museum is the oldest in Canada and has its roots in European educational and religious traditions. It is part of the Séminaire de Québec site and was founded by Monseigneur de Laval in 1663. The first collection of scientific instruments for educational purposes, dating back to 1806, and other numerous collections can be found here. The exhibits revolve around the history of the French people in North America, bearing witness to the strength and determination of millions of people.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about French cultures' importance in North America - not just the French colonization in Quebec, but also French explorations and influence in western Canada & the U.S.
Labels are in French and English, with many short audio presentations in both languages. They offer some tours in English to some 'behind-the-scenes' areas not open to the public.

Tip:
Be sure to use the headphones and listen to the speeches in each section – they're usually about 1 minute each.
If you can take the guided tour your experience will be much more rewarding.

Opening Hours:
Sat, Sun: 10am-5pm
7
Hotel de Ville

7) Hotel de Ville

The City Hall of Quebec City (Hôtel de ville de Québec) is located in the heart of Old Quebec. It was inaugurated on September 15, 1896. The building slopes downward as it was built on a hill and was once home to the Jesuit College (Jesuit Barracks) from the 1730s to 1878. The city hall was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984. The building is also located within the "Arrondissement historique du Vieux-Québec" (Historic District of Old Quebec), a district that was designated under provincial heritage legislation in 1963 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1985. Located on rue des Jardins and designed by architect Georges-Émile Tanguay (1858-1923), it is the second permanent city hall for the old city. From 1842 to 1896 City Hall sat at home of British Army Major General William Dunn at rue Saint-Louis and rue Sainte-Ursule. Prior to 1842 the city government sat a various sites. The formal city council was established in 1833.
8
Musée du Fort

8) Musée du Fort (must see)

This museum uses the latest technology and a spectacular 36 m² (43 sq. yards) model to recreate the military history of Quebec City as it was in 1759, including the battle on the Plains of Abraham. Three permanent exhibits of weapons, military insignia and uniforms were added in 2005. This special museum exhibits history like no other. It is situated in Old Quebec, in front of Château Frontenac.

Why You Should Visit:
Filled with passion for storytelling, the daily shows as well as the information about the museum itself is extremely intriguing.
Quebec does not have much of a military history, but this presentation sure tries to make it exciting!
Included in (the very fair) admission is a discount coupon to Le Chic Shack as well as a number of other attractions.

Tip:
The show is given in French and English, so make sure that you go to the right one. In English on the hour and in French on the half hour, but doublecheck.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am–5pm (May-Oct); 11am-4pm (Nov-Apr)
9
Rue du Trésor

9) Rue du Trésor (must see)

This year-round gallery is one of the most famous in Quebec City, displaying plenty of artists and artwork. The artists will talk to you all day long, but there is no pressure to buy – but since prices are good, you can actually buy a piece of Quebec to take home. The gallery was created in the 1960s by student artists who decided to exhibit their works in order to promote them to the public, as well as to make their works available for sale.

Why You Should Visit:
This quaint little street packed with artists is one of the more atmospheric in Quebec City. The art is hit-or-miss but the street itself is worth seeking out.

Tip:
Do not take photos of artwork as the artists are very protective of their work being copied, and rightfully so. Note, also, that not all vendors take credit cards.
10
Château Frontenac

10) Château Frontenac (must see)

The famous Château Frontenac in the heart of Quebec City was designed by architect Bruce Price, built at the end of the 19th century, and opened in 1893. Being a hotel, you can have a most pleasant stay in one of its 618 rooms on 18 floors. In 1993, the Claude-Pratte Wing was added, offering an indoor swimming pool, an outdoor terrace and a fitness center.

Tip:
If you book a room, ask for a high floor – city view – the 18th floor is amazing!
A hotel tour runs each day and there are some good anecdotes and stories about events in its history.
11
Terrasse Dufferin

11) Terrasse Dufferin (must see)

This magnificent terrace is located between the Château Frontenac and the Saint-Laurent river, providing some of the best views of Old Quebec. On the sides of the terrace are cannons, which were used to protect the city in the past, but are now only for display. Frequent performances near the monument and the fireworks over the river (at 10pm in the summer) are some of the best you'll ever see. In winter, do not miss the ice slides, and at any time make sure to visit the underground cellars beneath the boardwalk to see the remains of the old castle – it's a hidden jewel!
12
Upper Town (Haute-Ville)

12) Upper Town (Haute-Ville)

Samuel de Champlain chose the Upper Town as the site for Fort Saint Louis in 1608. It has remained the city's military and administrative centre because of its strategic position atop the promontory of Cap Diamant. Most of the buildings date to the 19th century, although some 17th and 18th centuries remain as well. The area has several commercial streets like Saint Jean, Sainte Anne and De Buade. Some public administration and other institutions in the Upper Town are the Québec City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), the Séminaire de Québec, the Ursulines Convent, and the Augustinian Monastery and l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. There are many hotels, including the Château Frontenac, the Old City being a very popular tourist destination. Parks in the Upper Town include De l'Esplanade, Artillerie, Des Gouverneurs and Montmorency parks as well as the grounds of l’Hotel-de-Ville.
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
La Citadelle de Quebec

13) La Citadelle de Quebec (must see)

The Citadelle of Quebec is a historical place often called the Gibraltar of the Americas on account of its strategic location. Built between 1820 and 1850, it is the oldest military building in Canada and forms part of the fortifications of Quebec City, which is one of only two cities in North America still surrounded by fortifications. It is the highest point in the city and nowadays serves as the official residence of the Governor General. Admission fee includes access to the museum exhibits and, in the summer, to the Changing of the Guard and Beating of the Retreat ceremonies.

Why You Should Visit:
To take beautiful panoramic photos of Quebec with a clear view of Château Frontenac and Saint-Laurent river.
The grounds tour is quite informative and the museum has a diversity of memorabilia from various battles and wars.
The World War II exhibit is impressive given it has something most have never seen – since all similar items were destroyed.

Tip:
Be advised that the location is an active military installation and you can't just wander away during the tour or stay behind for extra picture taking after the tour is over.
If possible, go for the Changing of the Guard – you'll see a beautiful procession including the fort's mascot, a goat. The ceremony is held from June 24th to Labour Day, daily at 10am.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm (May-Oct); 10am-4pm (Nov-Apr)
Guided tours are available in English and in French all year
14
Ramparts of Quebec City

14) Ramparts of Quebec City (must see)

Witness the defense history of Quebec City since the 17th century in the only remaining North American fortification. The walls measure five kilometers in length and the interpretation center gives visitors a glimpse of early architectural designs and the military aspects of this UNESCO World Heritage City. The Canadian Government spends millions to refurbish the walls and keep them pristine. The best way to see them is to walk to them and investigate their construction.

Tip:
Wear good walking shoes, bring water and some goods along, and try to avoid midday in summer as it can be hot and sticky.
Do also try to get a guided tour of the site, and be sure to climb up and walk along the top of the wall for great views.
15
Parliament Hill

15) Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is located in Quebec City in the borough of La Cité-Limoilou, specifically in districts of Vieux-Québec—Cap-Blanc—colline Parlementaire and Saint-Jean-Baptiste. In addition to the Parliament Building of Quebec, the Hill has a few shopping streets and residential areas and public green spaces. In 1985, the complex of parliamentary building was declared as National Historic Site of Quebec. To date this is the only site so declared in Quebec. Parliament Hill is adorned with several monuments, bronze statues, parks, squares and promenades.
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
Hotel du Parlement (Parliament Building)

16) Hotel du Parlement (Parliament Building) (must see)

This impressive building was constructed outside the city walls between 1877 and 1886. Inspired by the Louvre, it presently houses the National Assembly of Quebec City. The structure has four wings that form a square of about 100 meters per side. The building is 171 feet high, with the national flag located on the central tower. The multimedia exhibition, rich interior decorations with sculptures and a library gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about the city’s heritage.

Why You Should Visit:
The building is just bursting with history. The architecture, paintings and stained glass windows are simply breathtaking.
The free tour (English/French) is conducted very well, giving one a good understanding of how the government operates.
The restaurant is outstanding and honors Quebec cuisine, with many of the ingredients being grown in the Parliament’s garden. Good prices, too!

Tip:
You need to bring photo ID for the guided tour, and have to pass through airport-type security.
You also must have reservations to eat at the restaurant serving the Provincial Assembly when in session.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm, or until the Assembly sittings are adjourned (from the first Tuesday of September to June 23 – except statutory holidays);
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4:30pm, or until the committee sittings are adjourned; Sat, Sun: 9:30am-4:30pm (from June 24 to first Monday of September – including statutory holidays)
17
Plains of Abraham & Battlefield Park

17) Plains of Abraham & Battlefield Park (must see)

This historic area was named after Abraham Martin (1589-1664), a river pilot who owned the land and became famous in 1759 after the battle of the Plains of Abraham. The 43.7 hectare area contains an interesting interpretive center and walking trails, monuments and a column identical to the one built here in 1849, as well as a cross to commemorate the soldiers lost in World War I. The park itself was created in 1908, on Quebec’s 300th anniversary, and is 108 hectares in area.

Why You Should Visit:
The park is expansive and very well maintained. You can walk yourself around the battlefields without taking a guided tour as explanatory signs are everywhere.
There are all sorts of activities during the summer and holidays, as well as many quiet areas to just relax and enjoy the solitude of the area.
The museum offers a variety of exhibits and a short film about the famous battle – all worth seeing.

Tip:
Combine your visit with the Joan of Arc Garden and the Citadelle, and make sure to explore all the streets and shops nearby.
18
Observatoire de la Capitale

18) Observatoire de la Capitale (must see)

On the highest floor of the Édifice Marie-Guyart building, this privileged vantage point provides a complete panoramic view of the city from a height of 221 meters. Visitors can see whole city walls and fortifications, the St. Lawrence River, the Château Frontenac, loading docks and marinas, the island of Orleans, and the countryside surrounding Quebec City.

The Capital Observatory floor is quite large and not crowded even though it's a popular tourist spot; there is information about each landmark on the touchscreen computers according to which side of the city you are viewing. There are also other interactive informational items like 3D glasses and modern chairs associated with headphones which introduce important historical figures. This observatory is definitely worth visiting.

Tip:
When you get in the building the ticket office is on the right-hand side. Then you will take an elevator up to the 31st floor where you will be greeted, and then you can go at your own pace around the top floor. They have it set up that everyone goes in one direction. Restrooms are available and kids are free, which is a big plus.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
19
Grande Allée

19) Grande Allée

La Grande Allée is one of the most famous arteries in Quebec City . It is located on the Quebec City hill, parallel to the St. Lawrence River, in the La Cité-Limoilou and Sainte-Foy-Sillery-Cap-Rouge boroughs. It is famous for its restaurants and its beautiful buildings.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Quebec City, Quebec

Create Your Own Walk in Quebec City

Create Your Own Walk in Quebec City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Quebec City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
A Walking Tour to Art Galleries, Quebec City

A Walking Tour to Art Galleries, Quebec City

Quebec City is very rich in splendid architecture and art masterpieces, making the list of its art galleries a long one. This walking tour contains a list of some of the best art galleries the city has to offer.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Old Quebec Walk

Old Quebec Walk

Called the city of New France, Quebec City shows its beauty through its cultural and historical places. The old part of the city offers magnificent old European architecture and traditions. Use the following list to discover the most popular attractions in Old Quebec.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Self-guided Tour to Famous Religious Buildings of Quebec City

Self-guided Tour to Famous Religious Buildings of Quebec City

The first religious buildings were established by Récollets and Jesuits in 1615 and 1625 when they first arrived to this part of the world. Later on, the colonists brought French culture and architectural traditions. The establishment of British and evangelical society brought major developments to the city. Here is a list of some of the most alluring divine attractions to visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Nightlife Walking Tour

Nightlife Walking Tour

Quebec City is an historical city offering beautiful landscapes and architecture, and plenty of entertainment options as well. The long list of nightclubs and pubs will give you an idea of the importance of the nightlife in this city. Locals and visitors can enjoy a variety of options for enjoying an evening out. Here is a list of the hottest nightspots available in Quebec City.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Walking Tour to Museum Houses of Quebec City

Walking Tour to Museum Houses of Quebec City

Being one of oldest cities in North America, you can find the roots of the new civilization here. The museum houses give you a wonderful glimpse into the lives of these pioneers of Canadian civilization.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Shopping Walking Tour to Quebec City

Shopping Walking Tour to Quebec City

Let us take you through the commercial district of Quebec City, home to great shopping for many years. Considered a European location, the city’s shops and merchandise strongly reflect European culture.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 km