There is a neighborhood in Quebec City for every type of interest, from history and architecture to shopping, culture, food and more. No matter how much time you have to spend here, it’s well worth setting out on foot to explore one of the city’s vibrant areas. If you’re not sure where to start or where to focus your time should you not be in town for long, here are 10 neighborhoods in Quebec City to put on your travel radar.
You can’t visit Quebec City without spending at least some time in Old Quebec and its UNESCO-listed historic district. The area is fully enclosed by 2.6 miles (4.6 kilometers) of fortifications and Quebec City is the only city north of Mexico, whose entire fortifications are still intact. In addition, this historic neighborhood is made for aimless wandering, soaking up the atmosphere among the small streets. On rue Saint-Louis you’ll find great food and art galleries (it also becomes pedestrian street in the summer). In winter, Old Quebec is home to the city’s German Christmas Market.
Families flock to this charming neighborhood for its tree-lined streets, quaint narrow alleys and wide array of shops and restaurants to choose from. Welcoming and easy to explore on foot, the area is also home to the Limoilou public market on Sundays during the summer months. Stock up on local goods and then (weather permitting) take your haul to nearby Cartier-Brébeuf park for a picnic in the sun. The park is also a great spot for jogging and cycling.
Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale
You’ll find French influence everywhere in Place Royale and along Rue du Petit-Champlain so you might just forget where you are and feel like you’ve just landed in France. But that’s not all. This area is the site of the first French settlement in North America making it a great spot history buffs. Place Royale is also home to the oldest stone church in North America. Spend some time strolling Rue du Petit-Champlain, which is one of the oldest commercial streets in North America and lined with quaint shops and independent boutiques. If you’re visiting during the winter months, enjoy the area’s festive decorations and lights which stay intact even after Christmas.
Once a working-class neighborhood, today Saint-Roch is often compared to Williamsburg for its trendy vibe. Foodies will want to head here to snag a table at some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants and beer fans will appreciate the microbreweries crafting some seriously good brews. During the warmer months, get some fresh air at Jardin Jean-Paul-L’Allier and during the holiday season, Saint-Roch is where you’ll find a 49-foot- (15-meter-) tall Christmas tree.
Known as the city’s bohemian neighborhood, Saint-Jean-Baptiste is known for its colorful houses and sloped streets. This is a great area to explore come evening time, thanks to the abundance of bars, pubs, and live music venues that can be found here. Foodies will also be happy to know that this area is packed with eateries serving up local cuisine, along with bakeries, gourmet food shops, cafes and more. In addition, it’s worth stopping by the J.A. Moisan grocery store. Open since 1871, this spot is the oldest grocery store in North America.
Start your exploration of this working class area along rue Saint-Vallier Ouest where you’ll find pubs and bars, independent shops and neighborhood restaurants serving hearty dishes at wallet-friendly prices. On Saturdays during the summer, you’ll want to head to Saint-Sauveur to shop the public market in Durocher park to browse and buy from over a dozen local vendors selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods to flowers and prepared goods.
Sillery - Avenue Maguire
Don’t let the fact that this area is outside the city center deter you from visiting. For starters, this is where you’ll want to head for tasty treats (or souvenirs for your foodie friends) in the form of chocolate shops, bakeries, tea houses, and pasty shops aplenty. Avenue Maguire is a popular shopping street for its upscale boutiques and noteworthy restaurants, while Bois-de-Coulonge park is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll on one of its many trails. The park is also home to landscaped gardens and an arboretum.
There’s something for everyone in Quebec City’s Montcalm area, from art galleries and museums to theaters and abundant shopping. This is also where you’ll find Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), a must-visit for art-lovers in the city. If you happen to be in town in July, it’s well worth checking out the Festival d’été de Québec for 11 days of outdoor performances by both international and local artists. Book-lovers should also take note, as Montcalm is home to more than a few bookstores, both for new and second-hand books.
Located just a short walk from Old Quebec, the Parliament Hill area may not seem at first glance to have the same charm as other areas, but it’s still well worth discovering. It’s worth noting that Grand Allee, the main street around Parliament Hill, is sometimes referred to as the “Champs-Élysées of Québec City” as it’s lined with shops and cafes perfect for a break or some people watching. The area is also conveniently within walking distance of Battlefield Park and the Plains of Abraham.
Laid back living along the St. Lawrence River is the name of the game in Old Port, home to charming streets filled with antique shops bursting with potential gems, galleries, and cafes. This is also where you’ll find Place des Canotiers, a vibrant urban park located at the confluence of the St. Lawrence River, the port, and the city where you can take in beautiful views of Château Frontenac. From summer to the end of fall, cruise ships call into Québec’s port and the area gets busy with passengers eager to explore.