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  • Quebec-City-at-dusk - Locals and visitors get bustling in Quebec City at dusk.
  • Fairmont-Le-Chateau-Frontenac-Quebec-City - The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac towers over neighboring buildings in Quebec City.  It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980.
  • Quebec-City-classic-arcitecture - Quebec City's classic architecture.
  • Fontaine-de-Tourny-Quebec-Parliament - The Fontaine de Tourny in front of Quebec's Parliament.
  • Quebec-City-winterscape-building - A winter landscape in Quebec City, Canada.
  • snow-sculpture-Carnaval-de-Quebec - A snow sculpture at the Carnaval de Quebec in Quebec City.
  • Petit-Champlain-Quarter-Quebec - The pretty, charming Petit Champlain Quarter of Quebec City is lined with houses, cafes and art galleries.
  • Crystal-Symphony-in-Quebec-City - Crystal Symphony docks in Quebec City, Canada, at dusk.
  • Place-Royale-Quebec-City - Place Royale in Quebec City's Old Port exudes an Old World charm.  Locals consider it the spiritual and historical heart of Vieux Quebec as the birthplace of French civilization in North America.
  • Quebec-City-snow-and-people - A light winter snow falls on people chatting in Quebec City.
  • Quebec-City-cityscape-in-winter - The Quebec City cityscape in winter.
  • Quebec-cityscape-at-sunrise - A dramatic sunrise behind the Quebec cityscape.
  • paragliding-Quebec-City - Paragliding over Quebec City, Canada.
  • Quebec-City-fountain - A fountain outside the Quebec Parliament Building, Quebec City.
  • Chateau-Frontenac-Quebec-City-3 - Another view of storied Chateau Frontenac at sunset in Quebec City.
  • Hotel-de-Glace-Quebec-City - Cool! Hotel de Glace, or the Ice Hotel, in Quebec City.
  • sculpture-museum-Quebec-City - Sculpture outside an urban museum in Quebec City.
  • Quebec-City-winter.jpg - A street scene during wintertime in Quebec City, Canada, looks like a postcard sprung to life.
  • Chateau-Frontenac-Quebec-City - Chateau Frontenac, perched above the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City at dusk.
  • Quebec-City-cafe-cuisine - A pate appetizer dish at a cafe in Quebec City.
  • Quebec-City-resident-at-hotel - A Quebecoise outside an urban hotel in Quebec City.
  • Quebec-City-side-street - Side street in downtown Quebec City.
  • Quebec-City-winterscape-buildings - A winter landscape in Quebec City, Canada.
  • Quebec-fortifications - The historic fortifications of Quebec City stand in contrast to its modern cityscape.
  • Quebec-modern-restaurant - A contemporary restaurant in Quebec, Canada.
  • Quebec-street-entertainment - Street entertainment in Quebec.
  • Chateau-Frontenac-front.jpg -  A couple arrives at Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, said to be the most-photographed hotel in the world.
  • Chateau-Frontenac-view.jpg -  The view of the St. Lawrence Seaway from Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.
  • Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.jpg -  Notre Dame des Victoires in Quebec City, the oldest stone church in North America, dates to 1688.
  • quebec-city-holiday-lights.jpg -  Quebec City looks festive under holiday lights at twilight.
  • quebec-city-store.jpg - Christmas ornaments adorn the window of a charming old-timey store window in Quebec City, Canada.
  • quebec-city-street-scene.jpg - A quiet street scene in the Quartier Petit Champlain of Quebec City, Canada.
  • Chateau-Frontenac-Quebec-City-2 - Chateau Frontenac, a historic grand hotel in Quebec City, Canada.

Quebec City port guide & photo tour

our guide

The vibe

Québec City is the only walled city in North America north of Mexico. This distinct characteristic is one of the facets that make Québec City a magnificent place to visit. The atmosphere, official language and culture of the town is French, and this becomes evident as you find out that 95 percent of the population of the city speaks in the native Francophone tongue. The streets are safe and the locals are friendly, and the majority of the 750,000 citizens speak enough English to communicate with you effectively.

Founded in 1608, Quebec is one of the oldest cities in North America, and it has a very European feel to it. Not surprisingly, it draws visitors from across the globe, thanks in part to its well-known Summer Festival and Winter Carnival, as well as the reputation of the historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the grand hotel that dominates the city skyline.

Cruise ships that call on Quebec City

Top reasons to go

  • Montmorency Falls is a beautiful, natural waterfall right outside Québec City, taller than Niagara Falls.
  • The "Historic District of Old Quebec" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has the only fortified city walls north of Mexico.
  • Practice your French and learn new local phrases.
  • Bring home enchanting Inuit art made out of tusk, bone and stone.
Another view of storied Chateau Frontenac at sunset in Quebec City.
Paul Hurteau / Tourisme QuebecFairmont Le Chateau Frontenac at sunset in Quebec City.

Top things to do & see in Quebec City

Vieux-Québec district

You should spend most of your time in the Vieux-Québec district, which is the old walled portion of the city. Some of the best historical sights, restaurants and stores are here, and the surrounding architecture is glorious. The first colony in this region was built at Cape Diamond near the St. Lawrence River. Today new cafes, entertainment venues and shops are springing up to entice visitors. The ancient walled city is spectacular, and its location, overlooking the St. Lawrence River, is absolutely perfect. The air is fresh and the rustic granite houses beam with nostalgia, creating a lovely ambiance in picturesque Québec City.

Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls is a stunning, natural waterfall right outside Québec City; it's one-and-a-half-times higher than Niagara Falls.

The spectacular waterfall at Montmorency Falls, about seven miles from downtown Old Quebec City.
Mathieu Dupuis / Cruise Saint LawrenceThe spectacular waterfall at Montmorency Falls, about seven miles from downtown Old Quebec City.

Museums & culture

  • The Musée des Beaux-Arts du Québec can be found on Avenue Wolfe-Montcalm (418-643-2150) and features the largest collection of Québec art in North America. The inside of this establishment is filled with priceless works of visual splendor, many of them hundreds of years old. The museum also hosts annual exhibits featuring the works of up and coming local artists.
  • Explore Sound & Light Show, 63 Rue Dalhousie (418-692-2175), gives you a wonderful glimpse into the Age of Exploration and the history of North America. Columbus, Champlain, Vespucci and others are featured in the presentation, and this thirty-minute show is marvelous. The architecture of the theater is magnificent, and in keeping with the venue, it was built to resemble an early ship that these explorers used to sail the earths waters.
  • The Musée de la Civilisation at 85 Rue Dalhousie (418-643-2158) examines the history and culture of Québec in an artistic and unique way. Encounter With the First Nations is a tribute to the indigenous peoples who first inhabited Québec centuries ago. The displays are artistically incredible and visually stimulating.
The pretty, charming Petit Champlain Quarter of Quebec City is lined with houses, cafes and art galleries.
Mathieu Dupuis / Cruise Saint LawrenceThe pretty, charming Petit Champlain Quarter of Quebec City is lined with houses, cafes and art galleries.

Dining options

  • Laurie Raphael, at 117 Rue Dalhousie (418-692-4555), serves exquisite French cuisine that is as exotic as it is delicious. The entrees are marvelous, with hints of Asian ingredients and some California flares. The dishes are designed to be healthy as well as delectable. The main courses, such as salmon and caribou, come with soup and salad and are sure to fill you up and bring a smile to your face.
  • Le Marie-Clarisse, at 12 Rue du Petit-Champlain (418-692-0857), serves outstanding seafood, and features a dining room whose walls have stood for two hundred years. The shrimp platters and fish stew are both tremendous, and the atmosphere is captivating. You'll have an unforgettable dining experience here. Known for having the best seafood in Québec City, the owner handpicks all of his fresh seafood every day from the local markets.
  • L'Echaudé, at 73 Rue Sault-au-Matelot (418-692-1299), is a splendid French Bistro that is perhaps the most upscale restaurant in Québec City. The pasta dishes are heavenly, and the fresh fish and steaks are top notch, as well. For lunch, enjoy one of their signature omelets; the wine cellar features over 120 different wines. 

Nightlife

There is something for everyone. Bars and nightclubs throughout the city complement the selection by offering jazz, world and electronic music, and “arts de la rue,” offer street performers abound. There is even a site that hosts animation and events for families. The Saint Alexandre Pub (418-694-0015), at 1087 Rue St-Jean, is the most appealing bar in the city. Offering 20 beers on tap and more than 200 in all, the pub brings in jazz musicians to play to patrons who sit in the cozy main room and enjoy the glowing fire.

Shopping

The Galerie d'Art Trois Colombes, at 46 Rue St-Louis (418-694-1114), sells woodcarvings, crafts, boots, and handmade hats. The moccasins and sweaters are splendid, making Trois Colombes one of the most popular stores in Québec City.

Aux Multiples at 69 Rue Ste-Anne (418-692-1230), sells enchanting Inuit art made out of tusk, bone and stone. Some of these items are quite expensive but their distinct beauty and high quality make them extremely worthwhile purchases.

The Quebec City cityscape in winter.
Stephan Poulin / Tourisme QuebecThe Quebec City cityscape in winter.

When you arrive

Docking information

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Québec, at the foot of Old Quebec. There are taxis and rental cars available here as well as Internet access and a restaurant. 

Getting around

Québec City's local bus service crisscrosses the city and can provide you with a dependable transportation solution. You can purchase a one-day pass, costing $3.70, from any bus driver. Discounts are available for seniors and students, as well.

If you'd like to take a taxi while in Québec City, contact Taxi Coop Québec (418-525-5191).

Or you can rent a car while in the city by contacting Hertz Canada (800-654-3131) or Budget (800-268-8900).

Québec City is the second largest city in the province, after Montreal. Québec City is about 145 miles away from Montreal. 

Need to know

Documents: U.S. citizens need a valid passport. 

Tipping: A 10 to 15 percent tip on the restaurant/taxi bill is customary. Sometimes a tip is automatically added to your bill; check your credit card slip before adding additional tip.

Safety:  Quebec City is a low-crime city and generally very safe. Tourist areas, even at night, are considered safe. But take standard precautions — see Cruiseable's safety tips for cruise passengers.

Your take

Have you been to Québec City? Please share a story, tip or discovery. Any problems with the language? What was the highlight for you? 

Help improve this article! See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

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The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.

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Overheard

“The capital of Quebec — and French Canada — has many new draws to keep visitors entertained, from the newly hip St.-Roch neighborhood to innovative restaurants serving nouveau Québécois cuisine to rival its neighbor’s finest.”

New York Times

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