Things to Do in Quebec - page 3
Quebec City visitors in the mood for a scenic stroll won’t want to miss the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain. Popular with cyclists and runners, the waterfront park is a must for city goers looking to escape the busy streets for a few hours.
Les Cours Mont-Royal is an elegant shopping mall that occupies the premises of a swanky old hotel and contains upscale boutiques, a day spa, and a permanent exhibition devoted to Barbie dolls. Many original architectural and design features from the 1920s structure, including a grand curving marble staircase and a huge ceiling chandelier, remain in place.
Towering over Parliament Hill at the 31st floor of the city’s highest skyscraper, Capital Observatory (Observatoire de la Capitale) is Quebec City’s premier and uppermost viewpoint. Having welcomed over a million visitors since it first opened its doors in 1998, it offers breathtaking panoramas 221 meters over sea level of not only Quebec City itself but also the mighty St. Lawrence River, Island of Orleans, Appalachian Foothills and the Laurentians. A special exhibit named Horizons takes visitors on a discovery experience presenting four perspectives of Quebec City filled with cool facts and stories about the local history centered around four main themes: politics, history, culture, and society.
La Fontaine Park (Parc La Fontaine), located just north of Montreal’s Gay Village, is an 84-acre green space where locals come to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Built in 1845 on what was once farmland, the park now boasts walking and bike paths, picnic areas, ponds, a dog park, tennis and pétanque courts, and outdoor swimming pools.
A former industrial area transformed into a hip urban neighborhood, Saint-Roch in downtown Quebec City is home to bars, restaurants, shops, and galleries and is the city’s nightlife epicenter. Take the Faubourg elevator from this youthful, vibrant quarter to the Upper Town for sweeping views.
The Aquarium du Quebec is a family-friendly destination and home to more than 10,000 marine animals. Kids learn about the magic of the marine world through visits to tanks, marine mammals like polar bears and walrus, and educational exhibits. Animal feedings and trainings, seasonal events, and a riverside picnic area are also popular.
Quebec City’s Fort Museum (Musée du Fort) is known for its light and sound show that recounts the compelling military history of the only fortified city in North America. Located directly in front of the Château Frontenac, the informative museum offers a convenient, kid-friendly way to learn about—and kick off your visit to—Quebec City.
Mont Tremblant, situated in the Laurentian Mountains 82 miles (132 kilometers) north of Montreal, is a national park and resort town that attracts visitors year-round. Though best known as one of the East Coast’s top ski resorts, Mont Tremblant also boasts a range of warm-weather activities, from rock climbing to water sports.
Quebec City’s National Museum of Fine Arts (Musée National des Beaux-Arts) houses one of the largest collections of Quebec art in the world. Situated behind the scenic Plains of Abraham (Battlefields Park), the museum’s pavilions showcase famed Canadian artists such as Jean-Paul Riopelle and an impressive Inuit art collection.
Situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the Montreal Science Centre (Centre des Sciences de Montréal) is a museum committed to educating the public about science and technology through hands-on learning. Its IMAX theater, daily programs, and interactive exhibits help make the Science Centre a popular attraction for both visiting and local families.
More Things to Do in Quebec
Museum of Francophone America (Musée de l'Amérique Francophone) is part of the broader Musées de la Civilisation complex in Quebec City and focuses specifically on the evolution of French-speaking culture in both the province of Quebec and North America. It is housed inside a former seminary dating back to 1663, technically making the museum Canada’s oldest. It promotes the development of French culture around the world and offers invaluable information on the colonial history of the Americas, all while allowing the traditional Quebec arts & crafts to shine through. There are many permanent and temporary exhibitions inside the museum, notably in the historic chapel, which serves as a beautiful backdrop.
Housed inside a 1930s building topped with an art deco clock tower, Atwater Market (Marché Atwater) is one of the city’s top foodie hot spots. Food sellers hawk local artisanal produce including Canadian ice wine, maple syrup, Quebec cheeses, charcuterie, fresh-from-the-oven pastries, and all kinds of farm-grown fruit and vegetables.
Located in Montreal’s Eaton Centre, the Grevin Museum (Musée Grévin Montréal) features 120 lifelike wax figures with a focus on Hollywood stars, Canadian celebrities, and world icons, from Tom Hanks to Celine Dion. With eight themed rooms, plenty of photo opportunities, and an on-site café, the museum is a popular choice for families.
Known for its sizable collection of artifacts from Canada’s First Peoples, the McCord Museum celebrates Canadian history and the lives of Montreal residents. With numerous rotating exhibitions, art objects from photographs to textiles, and an artist-in-residence program, the McCord is a must for museum lovers and history enthusiasts.
The Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal (MAC) houses a permanent collection of more than 8,000 works by Quebec, Canadian, and international artists. A diverse range of mediums are represented from digital, sound, and video works to photographs, installations, and sculptures, showcasing modern and avant-garde art dating from 1939 onward.
Ville-Marie is the core of Montreal, encompassing most of the downtown area, including Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal), the Quartier des Spectacles cultural quarter, the Gay Village, two islands on the St. Lawrence River, and most of Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal). It’s jam-packed with museums, churches, shops, restaurants, and other top attractions.
The forested peaks, serene lakes, and quaint villages of the Laurentian Mountains (Les Laurentides) are where Montrealers go to escape the city. In winter, resorts such as Mont-Tremblant and Mont-Sainte-Anne (Beaupré) cater to snow sports enthusiasts, while in summer, the region is a playground for hikers, climbers, paddlers, and white-water rafters.
Running almost the length of the island, Notre-Dame Street (Rue Notre-Dame) is one of Montreal’s most prominent thoroughfares. The most interesting stretches are in Old Montreal (Vieux Montréal), where it’s lined by historic buildings, and in Griffintown, Little Burgundy, and St. Henri, where antique stores, cafés, and restaurants abound.
The Americas are home to four ecosystems, and at the Montreal Biodome (Biodôme de Montreal) you’ll be able to walk through them all (well, replicas of them at least). Visitors will be guided by naturalists through the biodome, traveling through the tropical rainforest, Laurentian maple forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Sub-Antarctic Islands, and observing over 4,800 animals representing 230 species and about 750 plants. Interestingly, these exhibits are housed in what was once the cycling stadium used in the 1976 Summer Olympics. Essentially, the experience is similar to visiting a zoo but delivers more of an immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re really in the wild.
Please note: The Montreal Biodome (Biodôme de Montreal)is currently closed for renovation. The Biodome reopening is scheduled for spring 2020. The Insectarium will reopen in summer 2020
The only ice hotel in North America, the Hôtel de Glace, just outside Quebec City, takes five weeks to build every year from over 500 tons of ice and 15,000 tons of snow. Construction begins in late November, and the finished building contains guest rooms, a bar, and even a wedding chapel.
Originally intended for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the Montreal Tower (La Tour de Montréal) is world’s tallest inclined tower, standing at an unprecedented 45-degree angle. A funicular cable ride to the observatory offers panoramic views of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers), from beyond the St. Lawrence River to Mount Royal.
Mount Royal Cemetery (Cimetière Mont-Royal), overlooking Montreal from the top of Mount Royal, is one of the oldest rural cemeteries in North America and often missed by visitors. At a sprawling 165 acres (67 hectares), the cemetery is the final resting place of historic figures, including Canadian writer Mordecai Richler.
On the northern shore of the St Lawrence River, Quebec’s Charlevoix region is known for its beauty, filled with fjords, bays, and mountains.One of the world’s first populated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves, the region is named after the famous French explorer, François-Xavier de Charlevoix, who first traveled here in the 18th century. Ever since, Charlevoix has been a popular visit with America’s bourgeoisie, and a popular base while in the region is the upscale resort town and longtime artists’ enclave of Baie-Saint-Paul, 60 miles from Quebec City.
Popular year-round, in summer Charlevoix is known for hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities in the region’s two national parks — Les Grands-Jardins and Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie. In winter it’s all about skiing, sledding, and snowboarding at one of the region’s many ski resorts.
Central Charlevoix is also known for its food producers who specialize in French favorrites like cheese, pate, and foie gras. On the Flavour Trail, which starts just outside Baie-Saint-Paul, you can visit more than 40 farms and breweries for tastings and tours.Upper Charlevoix has some of the world’s best whale watching opportunities. From mid-June to late-October, by boat or kayak look out for humpbacks, minkes, finbacks, blue whales, and belugas at the confluence of the St Lawrence and Saguenay rivers.
Given the region’s pastoral scenery, it might be surprising to find that much of Charlevoix’s landscape was sculpted by a crater formed from a meteorite over 350 million years ago. A series of glaciers and earthquakes did the rest of the work in creating this peaceful scene.
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