Montmorency Falls

Quebec City in Autumn: A Complete 2023 Guide

Heading to Quebec City in autumn? You’re in for a treat. Having spend a lot of time in Quebec City, I believe that fall is the best time to experience Canada’s oldest, and prettiest city.

Quebec City’s Old Town (Vieux Quebec) is 400 years old, confined with old protective city walls, and is a UNESCO World Heritage sight. In addition to the architectural beauty of Vieux Quebec, you will see the streets decorated festively with lights and fall-themed decorations.

The surrounding natural beauty is also extra stunning; in addition, Quebec City is much less busy in the fall months (and not nearly as cold as during the winter.)

By going to Quebec City in autumn, you’re going to admiring gorgeous fall colours, fall-themed displays around the city which are unique at that time of year, mild temperatures, and fewer crowds, which makes it easier to enjoy the attractions.

So, let’s jump in -everything you need to know about Quebec City in autumn.

Weather in Quebec City in Autumn

Its important to know that Quebec City cools significantly during the fall months, and its a lot chillier than other major Canadian cities, such as Toronto.

To have an idea of how chilly it will be during your visit to Quebec City in fall, refer to the chart to see the average highs and lows for each month in fall.

Fall Month in Quebec City Average Temperature
September High: 20°C (68°F) Low : 10°C (50°F)
October High: 11°C (51.8°F ) Low: 4°C (39.2°F)
November High : 5° C ( 41°F) Low: -2°C (28.4°F )
December High: -3°C (26.6°F) Low: 10°C (14°F)

So as you can see, September may have some ‘warm days’, but it gets chilly pretty fast, even dropping below 0° C in November. Be sure to bring layers to Quebec City in fall, as well as some hats and mitts, especially if you’re coming towards the end of the fall.

Old Town Quebec City

Quebec City in Autumn: By Month

The weather and season changes quickly through the fall – here’s what you need to know about visiting Quebec City in each month throughout the fall season

Quebec City in September

September in Quebec City is mild weathered and with the return of kids to school (Canadian children, including Quebec kids return to school the Tuesday after Labour day.) the tourist season dies down and you can enjoy Quebec City with fewer crowds.

In mid-September, you will start seeing fall colours in Quebec City, and they peak around late September/early October.

Quebec City in October

The fall colours in Quebec City last until about mid-October. In October you’ll also find Quebec City decorated festively with pumpkins and gourds and other fall-themed and Halloween decorations.

From mid-October, there are some special Halloween activities to take part in. There are special ghost tours that you can book where disguised characters scare you on the street, and one of the famous city parks turns into a haunted park.

Quebec City in fall

Quebec City in November

The weather hovers around 0°C in November, so be sure to dress warmly. Towards the end of November, the city begins to turn into a holiday village with Christmas lights and trees decorating the streets, and the markets opening up.

Starting in November, you can enjoy the German Christmas Market in Old Quebec (Marché Noël Allemand de Québec) which has European style wooden vendor stands, and lit up festively with lights, and holiday music.

Good to Know: The German Christmas Market this year runs from November 23rd to December 22nd, 2023 and admission is free.

Quebec City in early December

In addition to the German Christmas Market running until mid-December, there is also Salons des Artisans which runs from December 1st-10th. Its an indoor craft fair where you can buy locally made crafts, artisans goods and souvenirs from small local businesses. Admission to the Salons des Artisans is free of charge.

Quebec City in November and December

Things to Do in Quebec City in Autumn

Here are some of the things to do in Quebec City that are unique to the fall season. Some of them can be enjoyed year-round as well, but are particularly special if you’re in Quebec City in the fall

1. Visit Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls (La Chute Montmorency) are beautiful at any time of the year, but autumn gives you the bonus of seeing these majestic falls with the accompanying red and orange colours.

Montmorency Falls are 30 ft ( m) taller than the famous Niagara Falls in Ontario, and the 8th tallest waterfall in Canada. At the falls, you can ride a cable car, walk over a historical suspension bridge that runs right overtop of the falls, and there are also some walking trails in the Parc-Montmorency.

Montmorency Falls are only located 13 km (8 miles) from Quebec City, and are open year-round. You can actually see Quebec City from the suspension bridge at the top of the falls if you look closely enough.

You could book a private tour (available in fall) that will take you to Montmorency Falls, as well as St. Anne Basilica (a pilgrimage site in North America.)

Book your tour to Montmorency Falls and the St. Anne Basilica here

For other options for getting to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City, read my post on How to Get to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City.

2. Ride the Funicular

Quebec City’s funicular is a historical, 145-year old attraction and is unique to North America, being the only cable car of its kind in the continent.

The funicular allows you to travel 280 feet (85.5 m) uphill on a 45 degree angle as you admire the colourful fall views of Old town and the St. Lawrence River. The ride takes about 2 minutes.

The funicular is open from 9am to 10pm daily. It is located at Louis Jolliet House, at 16 Petit-Champlain in Old Town, and the cost to ride is $4.00 CDN in cash.

3. See the Quebec City autumn skyline from the ferry to Lévis

Taking the ferry to Levis allows you to see the fall skyline of Quebec City, as well as explore the island of Levis. Levis was an important town hundreds of years ago (even more important than Quebec City) but now is much quieter, and less busy than Quebec City.

The biggest perk of visiting is the panoramic skyline view of Quebec City, but there are a few things worth checking out on a half-day trip to Levis while you’re there.

The ferry ride is pedestrian-only, and leaves every hour – check the schedule on their website here. Be sure to buy the ‘allez-retour’ ticket so that you can save money on your return to Quebec City.

The takes 12 minutes, and costs $4 per adult.

4. Stroll through Old Town

Quebec City’s Old Town (Vieux Quebec) is beautiful at any time of the year. At 400 years old, it is a UNSESCO Heritage sight and the oldest city in Canada. Walking through Quebec Old Town feels like being in a European city, with the cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and beautiful stone architecture.

Rue de Petit Champlain

While you’re in Old Town, be sure to check out:

  • Place Royale, which is a set of old buildings, including the oldest stone church in North America, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. Near the church, you can also see an outline of Samuel de Champlain’s (the founder of Quebec city’s) old house
  • Rue de Petit Champlain (pictured above) known as the prettiest street in North America, named after Samuel de Champlain. (From late November, Petit Champlain is beautifully decorated for Christmas!)

If you’re a history buff, you might enjoy a walking tour that will tell you about the fascinating history behind some of the buildings and sights around Vieux Quebec.

Book your 2-hour guided walking tour of Old Quebec with a professional guide here

5. Do the Haunted Walk

The haunted walks of Quebec City run year-round, but are extra fitting if you’re in Quebec City for Halloween. These tours allow you to tour the streets of Old Town in the evening, hearing the darker stories of Quebec’ past which include kidnappings, executions, murders and unsolved mysteries.

All of the stories are factual, and not normally things that would be shared on a regular guided walking tour. Most of them involve mysteries or accounts of paranormal activity. Whether or not you have belief in paranormal activity, you can still enjoy hearing the stories and seeing the city by night.

I enjoyed doing the ghost tour in Quebec City, even though I am personally a sensitive person. I enjoy a good mystery, and it gave me the opportunity to experience Quebec City in a different light.

Ghost tours take place at 8pm each night and can be booked online at the official website of Ghost Tours of Quebec. The cost is $25.00 per adult; there are discounts for seniors and students.

Good to Know: If you’re in Quebec City with kids, then it might be helpful to know that children of any age are welcome on the ghost tours, but the stories might be upsetting for young children. Children 10 and under are free of charge.

6. Visit the most interesting churches in Canada

Quebec City has some of the oldest churches in Canada. Whether or not you’re religious, old churches offer us a glimpse into history and art from centuries ago.

Notre Dame Quebec City
Inside Notre Dame de la Basilica

The two main churches to add to your itinerary in Quebec City are:

  • Notre Dame de La Basilica (pictured above) built in 1647, which makes it the oldest building in Canada. It is open daily, and you are free to go in and walk around.
  • Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Palace Royal, an old stone church whose construction started in 1687 (this one is not as glamorous inside as the other church and it also isn’t open daily for visitors.) But it is interesting to look at from the outside.

7. Admire the fall foliage in Quebec City

If you’re heading to Quebec City in September or October, there are a few places right in town to enjoy fall colours in Quebec City. You will see colourful trees everywhere throughout town at that time, but there are some nature spots and lookouts in town that highlight the fall colours even more:

  • Plains of Abraham and the Joan of Arc Garden; two large historic parks within walking distance of Old Town
  • Cap Diamond (near the Citadelle) or taking the ferry to Levis which gives you the panoramic view of Quebec City in fall

If you’re willing to venture out of the city, then check out Canyon Sainte Anne to walk on Quebec’s tallest suspension bridge (196 feet tall) similar to the hanging bridges in Costa Rica, this bridge gives you a bird’s eye view of the colourful fall valley.

8. Visit a winery

Wineries are especially beautiful in fall, with the views of the vineyard with the fall foliage in the background. There are a few wineries located on Ile d’Orléans, a historic island near Quebec City, popular for its century homes and quaint downtown.

The three main wineries on Ile d’Orléans are Domaine Sainte-Famille, Vignoble du Mitan and Isle de Bacchus Vinery.

It would take 30-45 minutes to reach these wineries by car from Quebec City, and you will need to cross the bridge to the island. You can also book a wine tour (all ages) during the weekends in Quebec City.

Book your wine tour on Ile d’Orléans here

9. Do a food tour

Quebec has historically always been one of the coldest provinces in Canada, so its traditional foods are often warm and comforting – ideal for the crisp temperatures that the fall months bring.

Some of the most popular foods are poutine, a pea soup, a meat pie, foods that are flambé (flamed) which adds to the texture and flavour.

Below highlighted in yellow is the Quebec City food tour that I recommend. You can also read my post on 3 important things to know before choosing a food tour.

Book your Quebec City food and drink experience here

10. Pick apples on Ile d’Orléans

Ile d’Orleans (Orleans Island) is known for its candy shops, but you can also pick apples on the Droin Family Farm. The Droin family has lived on Ile d’Orléans for 10 generations, and they welcome visitors for self-pick apples during September and October.

picking apples

The farm is located 20 km from the bridge to Ile d’Orleans. In total, it would be a 37 minute drive from Old Quebec City.

Good to Know: If you don’t want to pick apples, but are still interested in exploring Ile d’Orléans, there are many things including a chocolate factory, cheese factory, quaint buildings that are hundreds of years old. You can get to Ile d’Orléans by taking a cab, or a ferry.

10. Visit the Erico Chocolaterie

Erico Chocolaterie is a chocolate factory in Old Quebec. If you’re visiting Quebec City in October, you’ll find that they make special treats for Halloween.

Visiting here is a great opportunity to see how they make the chocolate, do a free guided tour, and even collect some treats for Halloween, or early Christmas gifts.

Musée du Chocolat/chocolate museum Quebec City

I hadn’t known about Erico Chocolatier before visiting Quebec City and was lucky to stumble upon it – it appears to be a small chocolate shop, and I was able to look through the windows to see how chocolate was made in the factory.

Erico is open daily from 10:30 – 9pm. You can find it in Old Town located at 634 Rue Saint-Jean in Old Town.

11. Visit North America’s only crypt

The Dufferin Terrace is the boardwalk right outside of Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Town of Quebec City. What many don’t know is that underneath the terrace is the only crypt in North America. You can visit and do guided tours of the crypt and explore Quebec’s history from 400 years ago.

Dufferin Terrace Quebec City

This crypt can be visited anything throughout the year, and might be especially fitting for the Halloween season. The official name of the Crypt is Saint-Louis Forts and Chateau National Historic Sight, and visits can be booked online at the Government of Canada website here.

12. Get a bird’s eye view of Quebec City in fall

Head to the tallest skyscraper in Quebec City. On the 31st floor is the Observatoire de la Capitale, where you can get the views of Quebec City.

From the lookout you can see uptown Quebec leading to Old Town, as well as the Chateau Frontenac surrounded by the St. Lawrence River.

The Observatoire de la Capitale is located inside of the Marie-Guyart Building (known locally as “Complexe G.”) Its about a 20 minute walk from Old Quebec, or 10 minutes if you’re in Upper Quebec, near the Plains of Abraham.

Advanced registration is required in order to visit the Observatoire, and can be booked through their website here.

13. Visit the haunted park

The Plains of Abraham is open and free to enjoy year round, but in October it transforms into a haunted park for the Halloween season.

Good to Know: The Plains of Abraham a nice place to enjoy fall foliage during the fall season in Quebec City, but it also is historically significant too – the Plains of Abraham (named after a farmer that once owned the land) where a battle took place that influenced Canada becoming a country.

14. Tour the Citadelle (at night)

There are two benefits to visits to visiting La Citadelle (Quebec City’s military museum) – one is to learn about Canada’s military history through their 1-hour guided tour, and the other is that you can get the most spectacular view of Quebec City from the Cap Diamond after you tour the museum.

During weekends in Quebec City in October, La Citadelle offers “night tours’ of the military fortress which is lit by lanterns and historical figures share some thrilling stories with you.

Citadel Quebec City

The night tours of La Citadelle are offered at 7, 8 and 8:30 pm during weekends in October.

Don’t want to do a night tour, or won’t be in Quebec city in October? The Citadelle is still a really interesting place to visit year-round (one of my personal favourites) and you can book the 1-hour tour anytime throughout the year.

After the guided tour, you’re welcome to tour the museum, and get spectacular views of Quebec City from Cap Diamond. This is a great spot to see the fall foliage in Quebec City

All tours at La Citadelle can be booked on their website here.

15. Do a tour of the Chateau Frontenac

The Chateau Frontenac, aside from the Fairmont Lake Louise in Banff, is the most famous building in Canada, and the most photographed hotel in the world.

Staying here is quite pricey, (with rooms starting at around $1,000 per night) but you don’t have to stay at the Château in order to be able to experience it.

Chateau Frontenac Quebec City

You can have lunch or a drink inside of the bar inside, or you can do a private tour of the chateau. Private tours are about 1-hour long and tell you about the history of the château; why it was originally built, and how it became the world-famous hotel that it is today.

Check out this 1-hour guided tour of the Château

The restaurants attached to Château Frontenac are Champlain Restaurant and Le Sam Bistro; both are very inclusive, with kids menus, and options with fulfill some dietary restrictions (ie: vegetarian and gluten-free options.)

Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Quebec City

There are many places to get great views of fall foliage in Quebec City, and just outside of it. Some of the places that we mentioned above which are right in the city are:

  • The Observatoire de la Capitale, Cap Diamond and the ferry to Lévis – these places allow you to see Quebec City from a distance surrounded by the colours of fall
  • Plains of Abraham and the Joan of Arc Garden – historic parks in the city where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in nature surrounded by fall foliage

Similar to Algonquin Park in Ontario, Quebec also has some provincial and national parks that are beautiful in autumn. If you want to get outdoors and indulge in the colours of fall near Quebec City, here are some incredible activities located near the city where you can do nature activities among the striking fall colours.

  • Canyon Sainte Anne – three suspension bridges, including the highest one in Quebec standing 196 feet (60 metres) above the ground. Located 43 minutes from Quebec City
  • Parc National de la Jaques Cartier – a national park, full of hiking trails, about a 45 minute drive north of Quebec City
  • Mont Sainte-Anne – a mountain located 53 minutes drive northeast of Quebec City; there’s hiking, a gondola and other activities year-round
  • Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area – you can watch the snow geese begin their migration here every fall

Good to Know: There are a few festivals that take place in Quebec City in autumn. Read my post on Festivals in Quebec City to see what’s going on while you’re in Quebec!

Quebec City in Autumn: FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about visiting Quebec City in the fall

Is October a good time to go to Québec City?

Yes, October is a great time to visit Quebec City. You will need to bring layers and warm clothing to prepare for chilly weather, as October temperatures in Quebec City can get as low as 4°C (°F , and reach a 11°C (°F ) as a high.

Is Québec City cold in October?

Quebec City can get pretty chilly during the month of October. The average high is 11°C (51.8°F ) and the low is 4°C (39.2°F .) So while the autumn foliage and the fall decorated street displays make this historic city and surrounding areas very picturesque, you should be prepared to bundle up if you’re in Quebec City in October.

Is Quebec nice in the fall?

Yes, Quebec City is nice in the fall. All the fall months offer something very different, so the time you visit will predict the atmosphere in city. It is generally a bit chilly in fall in Quebec City, but there are much fewer crowds than in the summer months. The peak time to see the fall colours in Quebec is between mid September to late October.

Where can I see fall leaves in Québec City?

There are several places to experience fall foliage right in Quebec City, or just outside of it. In the city, you can head to Plains of Abraham or Joan of Arc Garden to relax in nature surrounded by fall colours. In addition, you can see the city surrounded by fall foliage from Cap Diamont, from the top of the Observatoire de La Capitale tower, or from taking a ferry to Levis for a few of the skyline in fall. Also, considering just outside the city to Montmorency Falls or Jacques Cartier Natioanl Park to see incredible natural fall beauty.

Does it snow in November in Quebec City?

Yes, it can snow in November in Quebec City. In fact, its not uncommon to see a few centimetres of snow on the ground already by early November. The first snowfall of the season in Quebec City can happen anytime between October and November.

Quebec City in Autumn: Conclusion

By now you have a pretty good idea of what fall in Quebec City can offer you, month by month, as well as some of the unique things to do while you’re here in the fall.

The best time to see fall colours in Quebec City is mid-September through mid-October. If you head to Quebec City in October, you’ll see festive fall and Halloween displays, as well as be able to take advantage of special activities and features mentioned above that are only offered at that time of year (such as haunted parks, and the night tour of the Citadelle.)

If you come to Quebec City in November, then you should be prepared for snow, but luckily – there will also be fewer crowds. Late November in Quebec will bring you the quaint, European-style Christmas markets. Christmas in Quebec City is absolutely magical.

Regardless of which month you visit Quebec City in the fall, I hope this guide has helped you plan your fall visit. Bonne voyage!