Disclosure: We were provided complimentary lodging and activities during our stay in Québec City. In addition, the CVB helped us identify what to do with kids in Quebec City. I attended a separate press trip promoting the Festival d’Ete de Quebec. I’ve also visited many times at my own cost. All opinions are our own. Affiliate links within. Purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links in this post helps support Family Travel Magazine®.
I’ve been to Quebec City in the past, but never with my children. When my husband and I visited, we were content just walking around the city, shopping and hanging out at cafes. But with my kids in tow, I wanted to make sure that they had both an educational and an entertaining trip. Although we were only there for three nights (I’d recommend at least four), we still were able to see and do so many great things.
This beautiful city is the only walled city in North America. In 1985 it was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Just wandering around the gorgeous and quaint cobblestone streets is a treat. But there are also so many great things to do in Quebec City with kids.
Here are a few of our favorite Quebec City attractions and activities for families. (Note: We went in the summer, when the Quebec City weather was warm and comfortable. There are lots of things to do in the winter in Quebec City as well – specifically the Quebec City winter carnival).
Things to Do in Quebec City with Kids: Quebec City Family Attractions
We only had the chance to spend a few minutes at the Musée National des Beaux Arts du Québec, and my kids were begging to return. The buildings themselves alone are a reason to visit. When the museum outgrew the original Gérard-Morisset Building, they expanded into the adjacent Charles-Baillairgé Building – a former prison.
Some of the original cells remain, and my kids loved getting a look at the tiny little rooms. The two buildings are joined by a new building – pictured here – which serves as the main entrance. This set of buildings is completely unique and worth visiting, even if you aren’t as interested in the art.
The museum features permanent collections and exhibits, and also offers kids’ programming and camps. They are currently showing an Alfred Pellan exhibit, which my kids loved taking a quick peek at. It sits on National Battlefields Park (also known as the Plains of Abraham). If you are visiting Quebec with kids, it’s definitely worth a visit. We’d love to return for a longer visit. Expect to spend several hours there if you want to fully explore.
The highlight of our visit was Abraham’s Bus and the Odyssey experience at the Plains of Abraham. The Odyssey, which is three different interactive movies and a series of exhibits, brings history to life. My kids were actually fascinated learning about the history of the plains, Quebec City, and Canada. I would highly recommend a visit here.
While you are visiting, make sure you also take a ride on Abraham’s Bus. This tour through the park is guided by “Abraham”, who infuses his tour with humor and interaction. It’s relatively short too – about 45 minutes – so it kept my kids’ attention. Tours are available in both French and English.
Musee de la Civilisation
Located along the waterfront in the old city, the Musee de la Civilisation offers lots of kid-friendly interactive exhibits. My kids loved playing in the permanent “Game Story Exhibit”, which features video games across the years (they couldn’t believe that the old-looking Commodore 64 was THE computer to have when mommy and daddy were kids).
The Discovery Zone, in the basement, is the most kid-friendly part of the museum. We spent a lot of time in the Earth’s Unveiled room, where my kids were able to see first hand what tornadoes and earthquakes are like. The other area of the Discovery Zone is the Once Upon a Time section – a fun area where kids can play dress up with some very detailed, beautiful costumes.
Guests are required to sign up for a specific time to visit, and we didn’t have enough time to do it. If you are looking for family activities in Quebec City during especially hot or cold weather, this is a good spot to check out. It will take several hours to explore.
You’ll need a car (or book a bus tour/take a cab) to visit Montmorency Falls, but it’s worth the trip. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Quebec City activities because it’s so unique. The falls, which are taller than Niagara Falls, are gorgeous, and the park is a fun place to visit. You can take a gondola (or walk 460 steps) to the top, and stand right over the top of the falls.
There’s also a restaurant on the top, and starting this year, guests can repel down the side of the cliff (inquire in advance of your visit). We spent a while here, and enjoy walking down the stairs, checking out the falls at the various vantage points. It’s only about 10-15 minutes outside of the old city.
If you are traveling with younger kids, you absolutely cannot miss a trip to Benjo, a large toy store located in the lower part of the old city. It’s an especially great thing to do when it rains, because it also offers a kids-friendly cafe and a small craft studio. On the weekends, kids can take a train ride throughout the store. My kids didn’t want to leave – they enjoyed playing with the interactive toys and making their very own stuffed animals.
We chatted with the manager of the store, and learned about how Benjo thoughtfully sources all of their toys through three buyers. Boxes are translated into French as necessary. The staff is so friendly and helpful, and there are many different demo and display toys that the kids can play and interact with (including a fun robot). There’s also a family cafe.
If you enter through the main entrance of the store (which is actually the back by the parking lot), kids can use their very own VIP entrance and pose with a statue of Benjo (a frog). Benjo also offers a fall magic event, with magicians visiting from all over the world. It’s definitely a fun place to visit in Quebec City – your kids will definitely remember it!
Families looking for family attractions in Quebec City will definitely want to visit the lower city during your trip. It’s home to many popular shops and restaurants in the city, along with several museums (including the Musee de la Civilisation). As the name implies, it is located below the main part of the old city, and you can either take the stairs or ride the Funiculaire, an inclined glass elevator that travels up and down between the upper and lower cities (for $3 per person). Of course, I’d recommend walking down and taking the Funiculaire up – it’s a LOT of stairs.
While you are in the lower city, I’d recommend grabbing lunch or dinner. One of the most popular restaurants in the city is Le Cochon Dingue, a restaurant offering both indoor and outdoor seating. There are other cafes as well, many of which offer outdoor seating in the summer. People watching can be lots of fun in the city.
We were in Quebec City over the Fourth of July holiday, and it was pretty hot. So we were happy to take a break from walking around the city to ride on the Louis-Jolliet, a sightseeing boat that travels down the St. Lawrence River.
The tour is guided by Louis-Jolliet himself (or, rather, a guide dressed to look like him), who speaks both in English and French. It lasts about an hour and a half, and goes as far as the Montmorency Falls before turning around.
The boat offers a bar along with light fare and a gift shop. I definitely recommend it as a way to see in the city from a different perspective and to do something a little different.
This small island, just off the coast of Quebec City, is a food lovers paradise. It features small farms, wineries, cafes, and shops, perfect for anyone looking to get away from the city for a few hours. Read about my morning touring Iles d’Orleans here. There are lots of options of places to stop and visit while you are there, but it’s best to do a little research in advance so you have a specific plan. Bus tours can also be booked.
For a nice day trip outside of the Old City, you can combine a trip to Montmorency Falls, Iles D’Orleans, and the shrine St. Anne De Beaupré. They aren’t too far from the center of the city, but have a very different vibe. If you don’t have a car, you can book a tour.
This annual summer festival is an eleven day musical festival that brings in over one million guests. Each year, the festival brings in international, national, and regional performers on ten different stages and venues. There are kid-friendly areas of the festival, and the whole city is transformed with the various stages and venues for the festival.
If you are planning to see a specific artist, you’ll want to check the festival schedule in advance. You probably won’t be in the city for the whole festival, so you’ll want to make sure your trip coincides with the performance. The biggest artists draw large crowds, and you may want to line up for those so you can get in and grab a good space.
If you are looking for hotels in Quebec City for families, here are a few recommendations:
Kid Friendly Hotels in Quebec City
Le Concorde Hotel – was previously a Loews resort
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (pricey, but classic)
Hotel Manoir Victoria – located right in the walled city
Hilton Quebec City – a comfortable hotel that is very close to the walled city.
In addition for Quebec attractions for families, we also have a post with the best Quebec City restaurants with kids.
There were lots of other fun things to do in Quebec City that we missed out on. The Aquarium was highly recommended to us – we just didn’t have the time to visit. Another spot that I’d wished we had visited is the Citadel, where they hold a daily changing of the guard at 10am. Although we were able to see a lot, we missed a lot too – we’ll definitely have to return again soon.
Things to Know About Quebec City Before You Go/Frequently Asked Questions
- Quebec City is serviced by the small Quebec City airport. Cabs and other transportation is offered to take you into the old city once you land. There aren’t many direct flights into the airport – you’ll likely have to connect in Toronto or Montreal.
- Currency is the Canadian dollar. There are plenty of ATMs throughout the city if you need to exchange currency.
- French is primarily spoken in this French Canadian city, however most people in the tourist areas also speak English. Once you get outside of the tourist areas within the province of Quebec, less English is spoken.
- If anyone in your family has food allergies, it’s a good idea to get laminated cards with their allergies written in French, just so there is no language barrier in communicating.
- Most shops and restaurants do accept credit cards.
- You won’t need a car within the Old City, and parking isn’t easy to find. You can find cabs or book city tours if you want to visit the outskirts. You will be doing a lot of walking, so bring comfortable shoes that are easy to walk over cobblestones with.
Originally posted in 2013, updated in 2018