Some have called Quebec City the “Paris of America” for its unique blend of French and Anglican influence like no other place in North America. Canada and New England Cruises stopping at Quebec City will be embraced by the city's ease and European charm. Cruises to Quebec City from New York are increasingly growing in popularity. After all, Quebec City is a quick jaunt from many Northeastern U.S. cities.
Though a population of over half a million isn’t small by any means, Quebec City just happens to feel like your French-Canadian hometown. Winter is welcomed here, where the city glows with string lights and cold weather activities thrive. Quebec City’s tight-knit culture is evident from annual events like the Carnaval de Quebec, and in its passion for preserving historic sites from the 17th century, like Rue du Petit Champlain and the streets of Old Quebec.
On your Quebec City cruise, don’t miss the chance to explore historic Old Quebec, nestled along the breathtaking St. Lawrence River. Stroll the boardwalk for a while, then your scenery will change to cobblestoned streets and perfectly-preserved museums from French settlement in the 17th century.
This Old Quebec attraction is a historic hotel in Upper Town, and a short walk to the shopping district, Petit Champlain. Built in 1893, the chateau is steep and ornate, modeled after architecture of the French Renaissance. Its skyline views, striking domed roofs, and rich history make Le Château Frontenac one of Quebec City’s can’t-miss sights.
Taller than Niagara Falls and located less than five miles from downtown Quebec City are Montmorency Falls, the perfect excuse to leave the city for a getaway into nature. Take a cable car up to the Montmorency Manor, where you can find a gift shop and a restaurant. To get to the falls, take a scenic walk to descend nearly 500 steps to the foot of the falls. Plus, you can zipline back down to complete your views of the falls and Quebec City below.
While you’re exploring near the St. Lawrence River, stop to take in the beauty of Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, an important Catholic sanctuary that nearly half a million visitors flock to each year, and the basilica holds special meaning as a place of healing. Go inside for detailed shrines, sculptures, and depictions chronicling the life of Jesus Christ.
While you explore Old Quebec, head to the Musée de la Civilisation, where modern and ancient collide. Their interactive exhibits on contemporary life and civilization are thought-provoking for anyone who enjoys an afternoon learning at one of the world’s most famous museums.
Quebec City’s Parliament Building was architecturally inspired by the Louvre in Paris, and its a uniquely French structure that stands out among the rest of the buildings in Quebec City. Sidewalk cafes, monuments to historic figures, and glowing fountains exude the city’s elegance. Come back after sunset to see the Parliament Building and the Fontaine de Tourny glowing with light.
Looking for panoramic views of Quebec City, the port, and the St. Lawrence River? Take a trip up to the city’s highest point at the Observatoire de la Capitale, an observation tower boasting the city’s best, most immersive views. Take the kids—ages 12 and under get in for free!—to see Quebec City’s magical skyline from the 31st floor of the Marie-Guyart Building.
Since 1955, the Carnaval de Quebec has delighted citizens and locals alike. Experience canoe races, ice palaces, speed skating competitions, and much more. The Carnaval de Quebec is held each year in late January or early February for about 10 days of winter games and festivities. One million people attended the Carnaval de Quebec in 2006, and the festival continues to grow each year.
The restaurants, shops, bars, and nightlife of Grande Allée are a staple of any visit to Quebec City. Located just beyond the city walls of Old Quebec, you’ll find strings dance halls and discotheques is designed for the late night crowd to dance the night away. Or, for a more laid-back take on Grande Allée, enjoy poutine and other comfort foods from the patio of one of its cozy bistros.
When you’re ready to get some shopping done, head to Petit Champlain, one of Quebec City’s oldest districts. In 1608, the area was a hub for the fur trade. Today, you can window shop among Victorian buildings and architecture, or stop stop in at any number of local boutiques and bistros along the way.
Buffet de l’Antiquaire
Address: 95 Rue Saint-Paul, Québec City, QC G1K 3V8, Canada
This simple, cozy diner has been celebrating traditional Quebecois dishes for forty years. Find all the comfort classics here—eggs benedict, French crepes, expert omelettes, and more. The menu is huge and varied for all times of day.
Address: 8 Rue Saint-Antoine, Quebec City, G1K 4C9, Canada
If you’re looking for a seasonal, farm-to-table dining experience, look no further than Chez Muffy, which champions a menu of high quality ingredients farmed and sourced sustainably. Take in views of the Lawrence River from their historic warehouse atmosphere. Make a reservation for a delicious Sunday brunch, or celebrate a special occasion at Chez Muffy.
Address: 1097 Rue Saint-Jean, Quebec, QC G1R 1S3, Canada
Paillard is cafe and bakery in Old Quebec, and their focus is bread—as they put it, “good bread.” Get your carb fix here at Paillard before venturing further into Old Quebec. Sweet breads, croissants of all varieties, macaroons, and even pizza are served. Try the traditional French “jambon-beurre” sandwich, an open baguette with butter and slices of ham.
Address: 48 Rue Sainte-Ursule, Québec, QC G1R 4E2, Canada
Le Saint-Amour in Old Quebec consistently makes top restaurant lists. Complete with white tablecloths and beautiful plants hanging from the ceilings, Le Saint-Amour welcomes you with a romantic, quiet atmosphere. Chef Jean-Luc Boulay infuses traditional French style and technique into every dish for a truly authentic experience.
The first inhabitants of the area were the Iroquois and the Algonquin tribes, who farmed in the St. Lawrence Valley for centuries. Europeans didn’t set foot in the area until the 16th century, and French settlers claimed the area as “New France.” In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City. However, its harsh, bitter winters made the area notoriously difficult to colonize, where disease and the cold kept the city’s population from steadily rising. Upper and Lower Canada merged into one province in 1840, creating the provincial structure of Canada that continues into modern day.
Quebec City was originally a hub for forestry, farming, and trade, and the area gradually grew into a more metropolitan area. The Port of Quebec once transported thousands of ships and sailors in the 1860s, when the port’s activity reached its peak. From there, Montreal slowly replaced the Port of Quebec in terms of strategic importance and trade.
Quebec City is predominantly French-speaking area, though an English-speaking population has gradually increased since the 18th century. Today, Quebec City’s unique culture, cosmopolitan mix of French and European influence, and its many museums and historical sites make it an ideal stop while on Quebec City cruises.
The Port of Quebec is the second largest seaport in Canada, and its connections with with over 60 countries makes it a truly global port of call. The Port of Quebec was historically responsible for a sizable cargo shipping operations. Today it’s known as a center for international trade and cruising. The port facilities are ever-expanding, and new facilities are in the works for for cruises to Quebec City from New York and other locations. Enjoy free WiFi and other amenities while at the cruise terminal.
Uber and Lyft operate in Quebec City, and you can hail one from the assigned Uber and Lyft pickup and drop-off points at the port. You’ll have to call ahead to reserve a private car. Of course, taxis are available at a fixed rate to take passengers from the cruise port to the airport. Quebec City also has public transportation in a comprehensive bus system that will take you around the Old City.
Plentiful shopping opportunities await you beyond the port, particularly in Old Town. Venture to the Petit Champlain district for greater variety of shops, where you’ll walk into any number of independent boutiques or galleries and find jewelry, art, fashion, souvenirs, or items crafted by local artisans.
Quebec uses the Canadian dollar (CAD) as its official currency, and it’s recommended you exchange your money prior to your trip at a bank or exchange center to get a more competitive rate than what you’d receive when you change currency at the airport. Note that in Quebec City, most banks are open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 3pm. You can also withdraw cash from an ATM, which are widely distributed across the city. Tipping isn’t typically included in the bill at restaurants or bars in Quebec City, so best practice is to leave a tip of 15-20%.