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Planning a trip to Canada? Don’t skip Quebec City. For me, visiting Quebec City was absolutely delightful, because all the quaint homes, cobblestone streets, small boutiques, and outdoor bistros made me feel as though if I’ve been transported to Europe.
… Without dealing with the long flight, of course. What a treat.
So, if you live on the East Coast of North America, taking a short trip to Quebec City is very feasible, especially if you don’t have time to do a trans-Atlantic flight.
For example, taking the time off work to do a long flight, plus recovering from jetlag, are both deterrents when it comes to international travel across oceans, and although I personally think it’s worth the trouble, we’re not all the same.
As an avid traveler, I’ve always loved solo travel in Canada, and when I had a chance to go to Quebec City, my expectations were blown out of the water.
I adored Quebec City. Adored it.
In many ways, Quebec City is the perfect weekend escape. It’s a very walkable and manageable destination compared to larger East Coast destinations. You’re able to see a lot of attractions without feeling too overwhelmed or wiped out.
I highly recommend solo travel in Quebec City, as well as girlfriends trips or family getaways, and 2 days in Quebec City is the perfect amount of time to enjoy an introduction to this beautiful city.
Travel Tips for 2 Days in Quebec City
First I wanted to share some basic travel tips with you, before going into more detail about how to spend 2 days in Quebec City. Keep in mind that some of these suggestions depend on your budget and the time of year that you visit Quebec City. Winter and summer are entirely different scenes. Obviously.
How to Get to Quebec City
If you’re flying into Jean Lesage International Airport, taxi is the fastest way for you to get into the heart of Old Quebec. The drive won’t take long at all without traffic.
At the airport, you will need to clear passport control to enter Canada (for US arrivals). I didn’t have any issues, but make sure to leave enough time for reservations and tours.
Once you arrive in Quebec City, you’re able to walk literally everywhere, so there’s no need to have your own car. I would actually advise against it, because parking in Old Quebec seemed like a bit of a nightmare.
What to Bring to Quebec City
- Comfortable Shoes (or Snow Boots): You need good footwear for Quebec City. You will climb a lot of stairs and a lot of hills. Of course, your footwear highly depends on the time of year. Sneakers are great for summer. Meanwhile, invest in sturdy snow boots for winter.
- Crossbody Bag: I don’t like carrying purses all day when I’m traveling alone (or with people). Crossbody bags all the way! Quebec City has very little crime, but if you still want to protect yourself against potential pickpockets, then invest in a Pacsafe crossbody bag for your adventures.
- French Language Guide: The vast majority of residents in Quebec City speak both French and English. However, it’s very polite to speak a little bit of French on your visit. I recommend taking a French language guide to help you learn a couple important phrases. Believe me, it’s worth it.
- Mirrorless Camera: Smartphones take wonderful photography, but if you want to step up your game, invest in a compact mirrorless camera. My favorite travel camera is the Sony A6400 Mirrorless Camera because it is reasonable to carry and still takes gorgeous shots. Worth every penny.
- Quebec Guidebook: Canada is a huge country. If you’re only visiting Quebec City (and perhaps Montreal), I recommend taking a guidebook that specializes in the city, such as this small Lonely Planet city guidebook. Lonely Planet is my favorite guidebook publication, and I always check out their suggestions before any solo trip.
- Travel Insurance: Quebec City is very safe, but you never know if you’ll get sick or have to cancel. Travel Insurance is essential to protect your finances. And, yes, Canada has Universal Healthcare, but that’s only for residents. Plan accordingly.
- Winter Gear (Season Dependent): Pack extra diligently if you’re visiting Quebec City in winter. The city does a great job clearing snow and whatnot, but you still need to do everything in your power to stay warm and cozy. Pack long underwear. Bring gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Buy a strong winter coat that is equipped to handle snow and wind. Winters in Quebec are cold.
Where to Stay with 2 Days in Quebec City
Quebec City has a lot of hotel options. Even though it’s more expensive, with only 2 days in Quebec City to spare, I highly recommend staying in the Old City. Both Upper and Lower Towns are lovely and have their own charm.
I’ve listed three suggestions to help jumpstart the planning process.
- Auberge Saint-Antoine Relais & Châteaux: This stunning boutique hotel is located in the Old Port, and consistently ranked one of the best hotels in Quebec City. They have a fabulous cocktail bar too. See prices on Booking.com | Expedia.com | TripAdvisor.com.
- Fairmont Le Château Frontenac: Haha, no list would be complete without including Quebec’s most famous hotel! Keep your eyes peeled for deals. See prices on Booking.com | Expedia.com | TripAdvisor.com.
- Hotel Le Priori: This hotel is located on a gorgeous little street with lots of art galleries. It probably has one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating too! See prices on Booking.com | Expedia.com | TripAdvisor.com.
2 Days in Quebec City: Map & Highlights
|1||Walking Tour, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, Quartier Petit Champlain, The Museum of Civilization|
|2||Montmorency Falls, La Citadelle de Québec, Plains of Abraham, Art Galleries|
2 Days in Quebec City Itinerary: All the Details
Alright, time to talk about your weekend escape!
Luckily, Quebec City is really compact, so even with this detailed 2 days in Quebec City itinerary, I purposely left some wiggle room for you to relax and add your own ideas.
As you know, it’s challenging to plan every single second on your travels, and I’m not sure if you’d necessarily want to do that. This itinerary is just to get you started on your adventure.
Day One in Quebec City
Your first day in Quebec City focuses a lot on history and food, as well as shopping experiences. I sincerely hope your credit cards are ready to go, haha.
Go on a Walking Tour
Welcome to Quebec City!
The best way to learn about Quebec City’s history is to go on a walking tour. I especially love walking tours on my first day in any new city, because I get a better sense of direction after exploring for a few hours with a qualified guide.
A walking tour of Quebec City’s Old City will take you to both the Upper and Lower Towns, and will shed some light on this fascinating UNESCO walled city, the only one of its kind in North America.
All in all, a well-guided and organized walking tour is the perfect way to start off 2 days in Quebec City.
Visit Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is one of the most famous hotels in the entire world. You will definitely want to take a million photographs of this iconic castle/hotel. Don’t forget to go inside, though!
You can even book a spot on a guided tour of the Fairmont from a local guide dressed in period costume! Talk about fun!
If you have money to spare, then I personally recommend going for the Afternoon Tea. You will feel so sophisticated and happy, and the scones are to die for.
Admire the Views from Dufferin Terrace
After visiting the Fairmont, you’ll want to take a walk around Dufferin Terrace.
This long wooden sidewalk offers absolutely gorgeous views of the St. Lawrence River. Be sure to practice your photography!
Furthermore, I especially loved visiting Dufferin Terrace in the summer, because of all the artists and street entertainers! Unlike other cities, Quebec City embraces its buskers, and you can actually read a schedule of performers coming to Dufferin Terrace. Keep some spare change to tip them.
Shopping at Quartier Petit Champlain
Did you bring some souvenir money? I sure hope so.
Next you’ll enjoy shopping on the quaint streets of Quartier Petit Champlain. Yes, these streets are crowded in summer and on weekends, but the local businesses are well worth any hassles.
In particular, Petit-Champlain Street is packed with adorable shops and restaurants. If you’re tired from walking and drinking tea, you can take Old Quebec Funicular from Upper Town down to this festive and happy street. For the more energetic crowd, opt to walk down Escalier Casse-Cou, which is Quebec City’s oldest staircase.
Live Out European Fantasies at Place Royale
Get ready for even more “old world” French charm at Place Royale. Upon entering the square, you will feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. I loved coming to the coffee shop here in the mornings and people watching. Place Royale is popular with tourists, but still such a lovely spot to relax and enjoy Quebec City’s atmosphere.
While at Place Royale, don’t miss a chance to go inside Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, which is the oldest stone church in North America. It’s free to enter the church, although donations are always appreciated!
Learn at the Museum of Civilization
2 days in Quebec City wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a museum. I personally loved The Museum of Civilization, which is conveniently located in Old Quebec.
This is the most popular museum in Quebec City. It’s known for interactive exhibits all about the culture and history of Quebec. A lot of fun for families, friends, and solo travelers alike!
Eat a Fancy Dinner
Quebec City has a vibrant food scene. Seriously, I could spend 2 days in Quebec City just eating at every single restaurant. The food here is absolute heaven.
You’ll want to try and budget for at least one high end meal in Quebec City. For instance, Chez Rioux & Pettigrew and Chez Muffy had excellent tasting menus and wine pairings. The chefs were so thoughtful and creative. I consider both of these meals among the best that I’ve ever had in my life.
If you have some money to spare, then spend one night dining in luxury. The memories will last a lifetime. Plus your tastebuds will profusely thank you, haha.
Day Two in Quebec City
Are you ready for your second day in Quebec? In the morning, we’re going to take a quick break from the city. Right outside city limits, you’re able to discover gorgeous nature that shouldn’t be missed, even with only 2 days in Quebec City.
Take a Tour to Montmorency Falls
Rise and shine! Our first stop for today is Montmorency Falls.
You can go to Montmorency Falls with your own rental car, but to be honest, it’s probably easier booking a morning tour to Montmorency Falls rather than deal with the hassle of a car.
For example, this small group excursion tour will take you to the falls and back to Quebec City.
Adventurer seekers may want to stay longer and zipline the falls, but of course this depends on how brave you’re feeling that day.
Enjoy a Casual Bistro Lunch
In addition to fine dining, Quebec City is home to many fantastic bistros where you’re able to indulge in a good rustic meal for a decent price. I personally suggest trying poutine at one of these bistros.
Poutine is a dish of French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. You can also find different variations on this dish, but just know that it is delicious and will fill your stomach up to capacity, haha.
Two of my favorite bistros are 1640 Bistro and Bistro Sous Les Fort.
Learn History at La Citadelle de Québec
Even if you’re not interested in military history, it’s worth visiting La Citadelle de Québec, which is one of the cities top attractions. I’m not a huge military buff, and even I had a great time and was engaged in the tour.
La Citadelle de Québec is an active military site, so you do need to book a tour in order to explore the area (aka you can’t just aimlessly walk around on your own). However, like I said, the tour was well worth it, and different options are available to visitors.
As you wait for your tour time, you can explore the museum and learn more about Canadian military history, which I found super interesting.
Explore the Plains of Abraham
Continue burning off your poutine with a stroll to the Plains of Abraham. This sprawling park was the scene of a historic battle – The Battle of the Plains of Abraham – and now it’s a delightful place to see colorful flowers and views of the St. Lawrence River, and if you’re so inclined, to sit at one of the benches and people watch or eat a picnic lunch.
The Plains of Abraham is particularly wonderful on a sunny summer afternoon. Obviously.
Admire the Art Galleries
Quebec City is home to some of the greatest art galleries that I’ve ever visited in my life. Seriously, it’s like the streets are one very long and free art museum, which is perfect for a weekend getaway.
In the Lower Town, you’ll come across dozens of galleries, and most gallery owners are super welcoming and love to talk about their art. Pictures are also encouraged in most galleries.
If you have the money to spare and are American, it’s not too difficult to ship art from Canada to the United States, so feel free to treat yourself to an extra special gift.
Eat More Delicious Food
Haha, are you ready for dinner? I hope so! Definitely check out some of the restaurants that I suggested in this post or research your own places. End your evening with a toast and dessert, and plan another trip to Quebec City in the near future.
I hope you had fun reading this itinerary all about how to spend 2 days in Quebec City! As always, feel free to reach out to me if you want to share your experiences. I love Quebec City and want to know that you had a wonderful time.