You could easily spend a full day just wandering around Old Quebec City, but it’s definitely worth your while to head off the cobblestone sidewalks and explore the surrounding area. From visiting the city’s most well-known building, the Chateau Frontenac, to watching buskers perform a daring magic show or sing in the streets, there’s plenty to do just outside the old city walls. I would argue that two full days is all you need in Quebec City to see (almost) everything. Here’s my guide on things to do with 48 hours in Quebec City.
Day 1: Explore Old Quebec City
The old part of Quebec City is arguably the most beautiful. With cobblestone roads, quaint and unique buildings, and boutique shops and pubs, you could easily spend a day just wandering about. For more info on where to go, what to see, and things to do in Old Quebec, check out my last post.
Day 2: Wandering the streets
Although the streets of Old Quebec are much nicer, Quebec City does have some other beautiful streets worth exploring. Rue Saint-Jean is a main street that leads into Old Quebec. Along the street you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, bakeries, and shops. The streets that run off of and parallel to Rue Saint-Jean are also worth exploring if you have the time. On our way to the farmer’s market by the Old Port, we passed by a tour group that were on a horse-drawn carriage tour. If that’s a bit too pricey, Quebec City also has hop on/hop off bus tours (one day adult passes are around CAD$35).
Farmer’s Market & Old Port
After you’ve finished walking around, head down to the Old Port and have a walk around the farmer’s market. Admittedly I didn’t find it particularly special, but it was worth a quick walk through. From there, head outside and walk east along the water. There’s a cute splash pad (with a weird rotating eye) to cool off on and a large grassy area with great views of Chateau Frontenac, perfect for a picnic on a nice day.
Chateau Frontenac & Maple Taffy
Chateau Frontenac is about a 15 minute walk from the Old Port and is Quebec City’s most well-known building. This hotel dates back to 1893 when its doors first opened and has been a landmark ever since. A night’s stay at the Chateau Frontenac will cost you a pretty penny, so I’d recommend just spend a few hours here wandering around the lobby, enjoying a drink at one of the hotel’s bars, and walking along the outdoor walkway that looks out onto the St Lawrence River. Just outside the Chateau Frontenac you’ll find an area where buskers usually perform and where you can grab a maple taffy stick for CAD$2.50.
Buskers & food
Quebec City is well known for its buskers; the city welcomes such performances. As you walk around, you’ll see larger areas that are dedicated for buskers as well as smaller acts who simply take up a corner in the streets. Either way, be sure to stop and enjoy at least one performance while you’re there – I absolutely loved this folk singing trio that I came across a few times during my stay in the city.
I found Quebec City to be quite pricey when it came to food and drink, especially if you’re looking to enjoy a meal on one of the main streets. Although you won’t be saving a tonne, I would recommend heading off the main streets for a meal – there’s still plenty of options, and it’s a lot less crowded and a little more wallet-friendly. If you’re in the mood to splurge, I would recommend Chez Muffy at the Auberge Saint Antoine hotel. We had brunch there on our last day in Quebec City and although not exactly cheap (around CAD$50 for the brunch buffet), the food was high quality and the atmosphere was beautiful.
If you have access to a vehicle, I would definitely recommend making a stop at Montmorency Falls, only a 20 minute drive away. There is a bridge above the falls that you can walk over and stairs leading all the way down to the base of the falls that you can walk down. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even zipline across the falls.
If there’s anything else you would recommend seeing in 48 hours in Quebec City, let me know in the comments below!