Only three hours away by bus or train, Quebec City is a gorgeous little city that makes for a perfect day trip from Montreal. A transportation ticket can run anywhere from $60-$90, which is a little pricey. So when I saw Gray Line offered a tour to Quebec City with an included stop to Montmorency Falls, I forked over the $90 no questions asked.
All in all, I really enjoyed it. I think it was a good value and I got to see and do a lot of what I wanted to in Quebec City. I’d recommend it if you don’t feel like handling the logistics yourself.
Whether you’re traveling with a tour company or going solo, below are some suggestions on how to spend 1 day in Quebec City.
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The tour started at Place Royal. There, our guide gave us a brief, 45-minute overview of Quebec’s history, and a few nearby sites.
We walked to the Quebec City Mural and sat back as our guide explained the people in the painting.
We also stopped outside Notre-Dame-des-Victoires to learn about the history behind the little church.
Then we took a quick walk through Rue du Petit-Champlain, one of the most charming streets in old Quebec.
Finally, we all piled into the bus for the quick drive to Montmorency Falls. It’s even higher than Niagara Falls and just straight up overwhelming. I know the pics don’t look like I was too close, but trust me, I was getting hit with water even from that distance.
There wasn’t time to walk along the bridge or take the zipline, but I enjoyed just standing near the falls, taking it in.
From there, our bus driver took us along a scenic drive through the streets of Grande Allée and along the Plains of Abraham. Our guide knew so much about Quebec City. I don’t think there was more than a two second gap between Quebec facts. It was awesome.
After our drive we were dropped back off at Place Royal for few hours of solo exploration. I was itching to get going. The thing about Quebec City is, it’s a pretty compact and walkable area. So while it may seem like I’m about to throw a lot your way, it’s pretty feasible on foot.
First, I walked into Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral. It was built in 1647 and was absolutely stunning.
To get to Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, you can either take the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec or the stairs. The funiculaire had a line so… I raced up the steps to Terrasse Dufferin.
What a view.
Fun fact: that statue is of Samuel-De Champlain, the founder of Quebec City. Famous folks like him tend to get their own statue, much like my distant relative, Louis Hebert (not pictured).
Louis is my great-great-great (times like… 15, probably) grandfather. Cool, right?
I’m bummed I didn’t grab a pic of Louis, but apparently he and Samuel are friends so, you know, next best thing.
The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is free to enter and look around. It’s so over-the-top and opulent. I’d love to stay the night someday. Here, you can grab a drink, eat some French cuisine, or grab some coffee like I did after wandering around.
Just up the street is La Citadelle de Québec. I didn’t fully explore this area, but I liked what I saw. You can walk through the museum, see some amazing views and potentially witness the changing of the guards. Keep in mind though, this is an active fort. Meaning: don’t be dumb. These folks are armed. They will kick your ass.
Further up is the Parliament Building and Gardens. If you’re interested in seeing what the building looks like inside, they offer free guided tours.
At this point, you’re probably in need of sustenance. Quebec City has a multitude of fabulous restaurants, but there’s one really cool spot you ought to check out: Épicerie J.A. Moisan. Founded in 1871, it’s North America’s oldest grocery store. They have a variety of gourmet, premade meals you can purchase and eat in the shop. It felt so neat to be dining in a little part of history.
Next store is the Library Claire-Martin, located in the former St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. If I lived in Quebec City, I guarantee I’d spend all my free time here.
If you’re falling more and more in love with this city, and thinking you might wanna stay the night, maybe think about catching a show at Le Capitole. Me? I just admired it from afar.
Wanna feel cool? Walk through Porte Saint-Jean, a fortress built in the 1940’s that today, serves as a badass backdrop for any tourist or local.
I so wish I had the time to explore the Museum of Civilization. It showcases exhibits on ancient and current cultures, and I know would’ve loved it. Sadly, my phone was losing power fast, and I had (stupidly) forgot a charger. So instead of walking through the museum, I had to duck into the nearest coffee shop and nurse a latte while my phone resurrected itself.
At this point, I had about half an hour left in Quebec City. So I did a little browsing. I bought some sweets at La Fudgerie for the bus ride back. That was an excellent purchase on my part. A sweet tooth waits for no one and their fudge was exceptionally good.
I poked my head in a few shops and found a craft demonstration going on. I left with a few handcrafted trinkets. It was hard not to.
Finally, I took one last walk through Rue du Petit-Champlain. Our guide told us at the start of our day that it is considered one of the most beautiful streets in North America.
I must say, I’m inclined to agree.
Did this help you plan how to spend 1 day in Quebec City? And will you remember your phone charger? Shame me for my ignorance in the comments below!
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