Quebec City is one of the most beautiful cities in North America. With European charm, delicious food, and fun festivals year round, it’s a must visit for families. Here are the best things to do in Quebec City with kids.
What to Do in Quebec City with kids
Are you excited about the idea of instilling French culture in your kids, but not of traveling to Europe? Don’t miss Québec City, one of the best cities in Canada for families, often known as “the most European city outside of Europe.” A different destination, depending on which time of the year you visit, the Québec region is sure to inspire you and your family while the favorable exchange rates take it easy on your bank account.
1. Montmorency Falls
Thirty meters higher than Niagara Falls, Nature’s beauty is on display at Montmorency Falls, only 15 minutes from downtown. Ride the gondola, cross the suspension bridge, climb the scenic stairway, or simply enjoy the spectacular views of Montmorency Falls. Want a little more action? Be brave on the double zipline!
2. Aquarium du Québec
Go under the sea, right in Québec City! Aquarium du Québec has an extraordinary view overlooking the St. Lawrence River. In the awesome Ocean Discovery tunnel, you’ll be amazed at the creatures which inhabit the depths of the Pacific. Experience over 10,000 marine animals: fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and sea mammals, including polar bear, walruses, and seals!
A huge park (nearly 40 acres) with both indoor and outdoor attractions, you’ll also learn about Québec’s aquatic ecosystems. In the warmer months, come for a picnic, a splash with the water games, and navigate the kid inspired Tree-to-Tree pathway. You’ll love the light show at the Aquarium at Holiday time. I am so excited to experience the aquarium and all Québec City has to offer with my boys soon!
3. The Churches of Québec
Basilica de Notre Dame
Marvel at the splendor of the French influenced Basilica de Notre Dame, right inside Old Québec. It’s a holy experience to witness your child light a candle and take a knee in a prayer of their own. I know I’ve been deeply moved when I’ve seen my boys in other famous cathedrals. Visitors will see various works of art and archives with an amazing interior. You can also see the only official Holy Door in North America, an incredible bronze sculpture of its own. My experience at the festival of the Holy Door was a deeply spiritual journey, and I can’t wait to return with my kids! The hand of Jesus is outstretched in the bronze, symbolizing all are welcome in His church body.
Just outside the town, your spirit will soar at the glorious and enormous Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine, the oldest pilgrimage site north of Mexico. Pilgrims have been journeying to this site, one of 5 national shrines in Québec, for over 350 years to pay homage to Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. It is said many miraculous healings have taken place here. Inside the cathedral, stand in awe and admiration at the glorious stained glass, paintings, mosaics, and sculptures adorning the basilica. Make sure to find the replica marble sculpture of Michelangelo’s Pieta.
4. The Holiday Lights and German Christmas Market
Starting at the end of November, Old Québec becomes a real Christmas village, straight out of A Christmas Carol. André Roy, General Manager of Québec City Tourism comments on Québec City’s 2016 accolade from the USA Today as the Best Winter Wonderland in North America, “More than ever, travelers across North America are looking to Québec City as the perfect place to join in the end-of-year festivities.” CNN has also rated Québec City among the world’s highest ranking destinations for celebrating the Holidays! Don’t miss these things to do in Québec City in winter!
We visited Québec in a December on a Pilgrimage to Québec. The lights and atmosphere are spectacular! Don’t miss a ride on the funicular down to Rue du Petit-Champlain, where you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a Christmas fairy tale. The kids can meet Santa and hear carolers in the streets while you browse charming boutiques.
Around Québec, don’t forget to do some ice skating, tubing and sledding! In the winter, plan to dress for Nordic winter conditions, and remember there is much outdoor walking. Translation: hats, mittens/gloves and comfortable, waterproof winter boots are a must.
5. Musée de la Civilisation
One of Québec’s most interactive museums, you and your family will love participating in hands-on workshops focusing on a wide range of current, historical, and even unusual subjects. The museum features history and cultures through permanent and temporary exhibits, some with an international or Québec regional focus.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Quebec
It’s hard to narrow down the activities of the Quebec region into just five choices. Here are a couple more suggestions:
- Valcartier Vacation Village: Eastern Canada’s largest theme park with a huge outdoor water park and indoor theme park with sledding, tubing and more
- Huron-Wendat Nation in Wendake
- Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier
- Experience fine arts at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
- Citadelle de Québec and the changing of the guard, season permitting
From the charm of old cobblestone streets to the history and the incredible cuisine, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the walled city of Old Québec City and its region will delight children of all ages. Bring walking shoes, and if you’re traveling with a baby, an awesome carrier: you’ll need one, it’s a difficult city to navigate with a stroller.
In Québec City, visit the tourism offices for the free savings passport (you can also request by mail ahead of time) and download the free walking tour app before you arrive.
Whatever ways you discover Québec City, it will charm your socks off. Just don’t leave them home in winter!
Jen is the founder of the faith and family travel community, WordTraveling.com. Based in South Florida, you’ll most often find “Team Reyneri” world-schooling and exploring God’s amazing creation on the road. Be sure and visit her site and check out some of her other adventures, including her pilgrimage to Québec City, where Jen was an invited guest of Québec City. All her opinions are unbiased.