Heading to Quebec City with the kids? Great choice. Being Canada’s oldest city, you will feel like you’re walking through a city in Europe with your family as you admire old buildings, architecture and soak up the French Canadian culture and way of life.
In addition to several important monuments and museums, Quebec City is also surrounded by a lot of natural beauty, and some great activities geared at kids. As a Canadian French teacher and a mom who loves Quebec City, I’m familiar with Quebec and its culture and am happy to share with you how to get the most out of your trip to Quebec City with kids.
In addition to some historic gems in Old Town, there is also a lot of natural beauty, Canada’s 8th tallest waterfall, interesting museums, and even a chocolate museum that the whole family will love.
So, let’s jump in – everything you need to know about visiting Quebec City with kids!
Is Quebec City Kid-Friendly?
Quebec City is absolutely a kid-friendly city. Not only are children adored in Quebec culture, but there are activities suitable for the whole family, as well as a few specifically aimed at kids in Quebec City which we’ll highlight below.
Quebec City’s history is particularly interesting for older kids who will learn about first hand, but is doable with younger children as well. I’ve been to Quebec City with both, a toddler and school aged child, and while it was a little trickier with a toddler – it was doable for both ages.
Things To Do in Quebec City with Kids
Here are some of the most exciting things to do around Quebec City with kids. Whether its immersive in French Canadian, enjoying traditional comfort dishes, admiring historical sites and natural beauty, Quebec City has lots for you to enjoy as a family.
1. Tour the Museum of Civilization
La Musée de Civilization (Museum of Civilization) in Quebec City is dedicated to teaching visitors of all ages about human civilization, from the physical body to how societies work.
There is a section for kids on the basement level called “Ma Maison” which is an interactive exploration area just for kids. They say its aimed at ages 3-8, but my children both enjoyed it even though they’re outside of that age bracket (one is older, one is younger.)
In the upper level of the museum, most of the exhibits will be more interesting for you than it is for them. What we did, was explore the general exhibits aimed at adults first, and then afterwards we went down to the basement to visit Ma Maison.
There are also benches and tables in the basement; we saw many families sitting and having a snack. (They don’t sell food on sight, so if you want to do this, bring your own snacks.)
The Museum of Civilization is located right on the St. Lawrence River in Old Quebec. Its open from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday.
You can save a few bucks by buying your tickets online. To buy them online, you need to create an account (which is free) but makes you receive emails from them, but you can just unsubscribe after.
2. Ride the funicular
The funicular isn’t just good for a break from climbing the stairs – its an amazing historical tourist attraction in itself! This funicular has been open in Québec for almost 145 years.
It takes 2 minutes to ride to the top, giving you a pretty view of old town and the river. Its also the only cable car of its kind in North America.
The funicular allows you to travel 280 feet (85.5 m) uphill on a 45 degree angle as you admire the view of Old Town, the St. Lawrence river, and the town of Lévis on the other side of the river. Its also open year round!
The cost to ride the Quebec City funicar is $5.00 CDN in cash only. Children who measure less than 117 cm ride free. You can find the funicular in Louis Jolliet House, at 16 Petit-Champlain.
Good to Know: If you have a stroller (like we did), you’ll need to fold it up before you enter the funicular building and keep it folded when you’re riding on it. They’re very strict about this. It’s a bit of a hassle but overall its easier than taking the stairs with a stroller.
3. Visit a chocolate museum
Who doesn’t love chocolate? At Erico Chocolate Museum, you can find a number of items made of chocolate, as well as candies and hot chocolate flavoured drinks to purchase and enjoy at home.
Erico is very small, but its a nice quick activity to do in Quebec City with kids, because they can see different sculptures and other things made of chocolate, and even get a sweet treat at the end.
You can do a free self-guided tours at Erico to learn about chocolate production from old civilizations to the present day, and you can drop by Erico to look through the observation windows in the factory to watch the chocolatiers making the chocolate.
As I mentioned, Erico Chocolate Museum is very small, so it shouldn’t take too long to visit here. Its located at 634 Rue Saint-Jean in Old Town. Its open from around 10:30 – 6:30pm each day.
4. Discover Military History at the Citadelle
The Citadelle of Quebec (La Citadelle de Quebec) is amazing first-hand learning experience for kids and adults while you’re in Québec. The Citadel was built 400 years ago to protect Canada from an American invasion.
To visit the Citadelle, your family can join a 1-hour guided tour. This is the only way to visit the citadelle, as they don’t allow self-guided tours. However, 1 hour completely doable with kids, and they make the tour very kid-friendly.
When we were at the Citadelle, they fired the canon which very loud as you can imagine. (I would recommending covering little ones’ ears for this if they do it while you’re there.)
Fun fact: “Je Me Souviens” is Quebec’s slogan, and it means “I remember.” You will see it on their licence plates.
After the guided tour of the Citadelle, you can explore the museum on site which is called “W22e Régiment Museum” on-site (self-guided), which was built in1750 and contains important artifacts from Canada’s military history. The museum is all indoor.
One of the best parts of the Citadelle is that you can get the iconic photo of Quebec City from the cliff of Cap Diamond, right outside the Citadelle. After the guided tour when you have free time to roam – be sure to head there to get photos of the city.
5. See the famous Quebec City waterfall
Montmorency Falls is an absolute must while visiting Quebec City. Located only 15 minutes from Old Quebec, this waterfall is even almost 100 feet taller (98.4 feet to be exact) than the famous Niagara Falls.
The suspension bridge overtop of the falls allows you to walk right over the Montmorency Falls, allowing you to experience the intensity of water plunging over the cliff below.
Afterwards, (summer only) you go down a long flight of stairs along the side, which allows you to see the waterfall from different viewpoints. The falls are stunning, as is the surrounding land in the distance.
Good to Know: It’s worth mentioning that Montmorency Falls is not stroller friendly. If you have little ones, then a baby carrier, or just carrying them in your arms like we did is your best bet!
In addition to the waterfall itself, the entire Montmorency Park is a great place to visit with kids. We spotted two different playgrounds on site. My kids enjoyed walking around the grounds, and just watching the water flow from the suspension bridge.
There are a few ways to get from Montmorency Falls from Quebec City – private shuttle, taxis and Ubers, private tours or public transit (bus).
There are more options in the warm months than there are in the winter. For the best detailed information on each options for getting to the falls, read my post on How to Get to Montmorency Falls from Quebec City.
6. See marine life at the Quebec City Aquarium
Yes, Quebec City has an aquarium. And it has everything you’d hope to find at an aquarium – aside from marine life that you’d expect to see, there are also polar bears and seals!
The aquarium is located right along the St. Lawrence River and aims to show you native and exotic plant and animal life. There are over 10,000 different kinds of animals at the aquarium – some of the ones we were most excited to see were stingrays, the arctic fox, polar bears, and several kinds of fish!
The Quebec City aquarium is open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays, and 5pm on weekends. Its completely stroller friendly if you’re visiting with younger children.
The Aquarium is located southwest of Quebec City – walking there would not be possible from Old Town unfortunately (it would take over 2 hours.) The easiest way to get to the Quebec Aquarium aquarium is to drive (20 mins from Old Town) or take an Uber. However, Ubers are readily available in Quebec City, and can even be scheduled in advance for the place you want to go.
7. Take a leisurely stroll on the Dufferin Terrace
The Dufferin Terrace is a great place for a leisurely family walk. Its right in front of the Château Frontenac, allowing you to get some good family photos right in front of it. You can also get some good views and shots of Old Town from the top of the terrace.
Fun Fact: the only crypt in North America is located just beneath the Dufferin Terrace. You can book a 1-hour guided or self-guided tour of it on the Government of Canada website.
In the summer, you’ll see live entertainment on the Dufferin Terrace, and in the winter, there’s a toboggan run which is a long-standing Quebec winter tradition.
My children enjoyed watching the view of Old Town, the river and boats from the terrace. You can just enjoy a leisurely time on the terrace, looking at everything around.
8. Try a poutine
Of all the Quebecois foods, poutine is one that I believe most kids would love. It consists of French fries with drizzled warm gravy and cheese curds.
Cheese curds are a type of cheddar that hasn’t been aged. They usually have a soft and chewy consistency, and keep their shape even with the hot gravy and fries. They taste almost ‘squeaky’ when you first bite into them which feels a bit odd at first, but its very yummy.
You can find poutine as a dish at sit down restaurants, or a take-out item at grab and go places. There are different poutine options all throughout Quebec City.
As a Canadian, I grew up eating poutine and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like it – although the ones in Quebec City are a bit different and more true to the original recipe than where I grew up. Read my post on the best poutines in Quebec City (and the ones to avoid.)
9. Visit Benjo Toy Store
Benjo is one of the most child-friendly toy stores I’ve ever seen. There are so many good-quality toys made in Europe in North America; some unique items that you don’t find in box stores. The store not only has a lot of cool toys, but a lot of interactive things for kids to do too.
The coolest thing is the train running through the store. We didn’t ride the train, because it doesn’t leave at set times and we didn’t know how long we’d be waiting. (We asked and they didn’t know when they’d be leaving again.)
But if the timing works out for you, you can ride the train – its free.
I’d recommend bringing a non-see through bag in case you want to grab a few toys for your kids for upcoming birthdays or celebrations. They don’t give out plastic bags, as per new Canadian law banning single-use plastics, but they have reusable bags for purchase.
Benjo is located in the newer part of the City; from the Chateau Frontenac in Old Town for example, it would be about a 25 minute walk. The store is open from 10am to 5pm most days.
10. Get 360° views of Quebec City
Take an elevator up to the 31st floor of Quebec City’s tallest building, to the Observatoire de La Capitale. From there, you have the lay of the land of Quebec City from all angles.
Another thing I love about the Observatoire is that there are facts plastered all along the interior walls, and interactive plaques in front of the windows so you can learn about the different buildings you’re looking at.
To visit the Observatoire, you need to buy tickets in advance on their website.
11. Take the ferry to Lévis
Taking the ferry over to Lévis is an often overlooked thing to do in Quebec City. Lévis is located just over the river from Quebec City, and was once even more important than Quebec City. Now, it is much quieter and busier than the touristy city, but it has an old town and some interesting things to do.
From the ferry, you can get a nice panoramic view of the medieval Quebec City skyline. The biggest draw to taking the ferry is the skyline views; in addition there are a lot of lookouts where you can see Quebec City from afar on the island.
If you simply take the ferry to Levis and back, then the whole process would take about an hour, or less. The ferry is also pedestrian only, so you can’t bring a car.
The ferry leaves every hour throughout the day, and the ride takes less than 15 minutes. Be sure to buy a “Allez-Retour” ticket so your fare back is included. View the ferry timetable on their website here.
We did the Levis-Quebec crossing with kids in winter, so we chose not to explore Levis (it was too cold, and we’d had a long enough day already.) However, if you want to take some time to visit Levis, here are a few family-friendly things worth checking out while you’re there – especially in the summer:
- Old Levis – walk down Bégin Street, the main street in Old Levis
- Fontaine du Quai Paquet (Quai Paquiet Fountain) During the summer, this is a perfect activity for toddlers and kids to cool off on a hot day.
- Maison Alphonse-Desjardins – history museum set in an old house, just a 15 minute walk from the ferry terminal. Free admission
Fun Fact: Most people know about Montmorency Falls, but many don’t know about the other waterfall near Quebec – Chutes de la Chaudière (Chaudiere Waterfall) another beautiful waterfall and its in Levis! However, because of its distance from the ferry port, I wouldn’t recommend trying to get here from the ferry. It would be better to drive, and it would take about 30 minutes from Quebec City.
12. Introduce the kids to French-Canadian cuisine
There are all kinds of restaurants in Quebec, multiethnic ones too. Being in the city is a good opportunity to try traditional French-Canadian food, which is based on both French and North American cuisine.
Some examples of Quebec traditional foods (aside from poutine) are pea soup, paté chinois (a meat pie that is similar to shepherd’s pie), crêpes and French-inspired pastries like croissants.
Restaurant Aux Ancients Canadiens (translating to “Old Canadian’s Restaurant”) is one of my favourite restaurants in Old Town. It has a a kid’s meal of traditional Quebec food – meat pie, but you can also choose chicken strips or a poutine for a kid’s meal as well.
The menu, like most Quebec City restaurants, is available in both English and French. If your kids are older and more adventurous, you could also consider taking them on a Quebec City food tour. Bonne appétit!
Looking for other options of kid-friendly restaurants during your trip? Read my post on the 15 best family-friendly restaurants in Quebec City.
13. Step inside the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral
While a church may not always be a child’s favourite part of a travel itinerary, this gem is highly worth checking out in Quebec City. The architecture is stunning, and its hard to find churches like this in Canada. Kids from North America, unless they’ve been to Europe, won’t have seen too many churches that look like this.
The church has an interesting history to it too. It has been burned to the ground several times, and it was built in 1647, which makes it by far one of the oldest buildings in Canada.
Notre Dame’s doors is open daily to visitors, so you can drop by whenever is convenient for you while exploring Old Quebec.
14. Take a leisurely stroll through Vieux Québec (Old town)
Spend some time just walking through Old Town. I would recommend a good half day dedicated just to this. There are many restaurants to grab something to eat in, and there’s so much to look at.
Aside from several either items that I mention in this guide, here are a few things to keep your eye out for while you’re in Old Town.
- Place Royale, a set of old buildings, including the oldest stone church in North America, Notre Dame de Basilica. Near the church, you can also see an outline of the old house of Samuel de Champlain (the founder of Quebec city)
- Rue de Petit Champlain, a postcard-perfect street known for being the prettiest street in North America, named after Samuel de Champlain. You’ll see lots of boutique stores, souvenir shops, and cafés
- The funicular
15. Visit a children’s museum
Quebec City has three amazing children’s museums. One of them is science based and the other two are focused on different careers; allowing kids to explore their interests through different types of jobs.
- Musée pour Enfants (Box of Careers Children’s Museum) kids can explore different careers through interactive play. Babies under 12 months are free, and children aged 1-12 years are $12 CDN + tax.
- Imaginarus is similar to the Box of Careers children’s museum, in that it allows children to explore different jobs through play. Exhibits at Imaginarus are organized into different themes: farm, school, shopping, construction zone, and pirates. (Personally, I think this is the best indoor playground in Quebec City!) Targeted age is 2-11 years old. If you want to visit, you must reserve a spot in advance. They close if they have no reservations.
- La Maison Leon Provencher is a science museum in Quebec City where kids can explore their curiosity about the natural world and science. Its located in a small house. In the summer, there’s also an outdoor area where kids can make science and nature discoveries.
Its worth it to mention that while the websites for most of these children’s museums are all in French, your children to not need to speak French in order to enjoy the museums. The exhibits don’t require talking (other than with you), just free play and exploring.
16. Discover Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world
The Château (which translates to castle) Frontenac in Quebec City is most photographed hotel in the world. You don’t need to be staying here in order to experience it.
You can grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants attached to it. Both of the restaurants attached to Château Frontenac (Champlain Restaurant and Le Sam Bistro) have kids menus!
Restaurant Champlain is a very formal, sit-down affair where I wouldn’t bring kids unless its a special occasion. However, Le Sam Bistro is quicker service, and serves things like wraps, salads, and finger foods. The menu at Le Sam Bistro is still a bit pricey, but you can get a kids meal for $15 or less.
Aside from taking family photos outside the castle and eating at one of the restaurants, another way to explore it is to book a (kid-friendly) 1-hour guided tour that will teach you all about the history of the castle.
Check out this 1-hour family-friendly guided tour of the Château Frontenac.
17. Admire art at the Musée de Beaux Arts de Québec (Museum of Fine Arts)
Quebec’s Museum of Fine Arts, while its not specifically aimed at kids like the children’s museums, has a lot of exhibits that both you and them would enjoy exploring together.
Although it has a beautiful twirling staircase, the whole museum is indeed stroller-friendly because there are elevators; they even provide a free stroller if you don’t already have one. You just need to go to the service desk to ask for one.
The museum runs art workshops that are aimed at kids between 4 and 12. My daughter and I did one while we were in Quebec City, and made beautiful lamps that coincided with one of the pop-op exhibits that they had at the time. The exhibits however, are all in French but if you are interested you can sign up on their website for upcoming workshops.
Musee de Beaux Arts is a little bit out of the way in terms of location. Its about a 30 minute walk from downtown Old Quebec, but its very close to the Plains of Abraham or Joan of Arc garden.
18. Visit a cat café
If your kids are anything like mine, then they probably love cats and animals in general. Quebec City is home to two cat cafés, so this might be a nice place to stop as a family for a light meal and to hang out with feline friends.
The two cat cafés in Quebec City are:
- Café Feline Ma Langue Aux Chats (open 10am to 8pm daily) This one is much closer to Old Town
- Café Feline Chats Nous (open 10am – 6pm on weekdays, and 9am -7pm on weekends) This is the one that we went to and its about a 20 minute walk from Old Town. We loved it!
19. Indulge in winter
If you happen to be in Quebec City at winter, you’re in for such a treat! If not, if you enjoy your visit at other times during the year then I recommend coming back during the winter months. Whether you come in December, or closer to March, there always seems to be something special going on.
Here are the things to plan your winter visit to Quebec City with kids:
- The Ice Palace (the only castle made of ice in North America) which will be in Old Town from January until February or March 2024, depending on how cold the weather is
- Toboggan at the Chateau Frontenac. This toboggan is over 100 years old, and has you whiz down at 70 km (43.4 miles) per hour. Open from mid-December until late March
- Outdoor skating at Place d’Youville or at the Plains of Abraham from mid November until March
- Christmas Markets – there are two markets during Christmas in Quebec City during the months of November and December; the most famous is the classic European-style one called The German Christmas Market (runs from mid-November to mid December)
- Winter Carnival – held every February (next year it will be held between Feb. 2-10th, 2024.) Carnival is iconic in Canada.
20. Take a break in the Jardin Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc Garden)
Jardin Jeanne d’Arc is Victorian Park and a great place to just relax, and its often decorated according to the season and holidays – fall and Halloween decorations in autumn, and bursting with flowers in the summer, etc.
If you have younger ones, its the perfect opportunity to let them out of their stroller or baby carrier and just run or crawl around. The garden is not busy. There are also public washrooms right across the street.
Aside from being a great place for a family to stop for a rest while exploring Québec, the Joan of Arc garden comes with some interesting history too. The National Battlefields Commission has been growing the flowers here for the past century, and there are over 150 species of flowers and other plants to enjoy in warm months, as well as a mix of English and French flower garden styles.
Regardless of the season, the Joan of Arc garden is open year round every day. Its located in Upper Quebec City (10 minute walk from Old Town).
21. Walk around the Plains of Abraham
The Plains of Abraham is one of the most important parks in Canada, because it was on these grounds that influenced Canada becoming a country. The French and the English fought on this land, which later influenced the creation of Canada.
The plains of Abraham is a park in downtown Quebec City; you can easily walk to it from the Joan of Arc Garden, or from Old Town. You can relax in the park, or visit the museum. Everything is very walkable, and makes for a leisurely afternoon or evening.
In the wintertime (from mid December through to mid-March, there’s a free of charge skating rink on the Plains of Abraham.) Read more about it here.
Where To Stay in Quebec City With Kids
Regardless of budget, there are plenty of family-friendly places to stay in Quebec City as a family. Check out some of the best options below, according to budget.
- Budget – Auberge International de Quebec This hostel is located right in Old Town for a great price. While it is a hostel, it has a family room with private bathroom that you can book that sleeps 5 people.
- Mid-Range – L’Addresse sur Grande Allée Stay right on Grande Allée in a small apartment in a Victorian building (pictured above) well located, quiet and comfortable . This is where I stayed most recently, and I found it safe and quiet.
- Luxury – Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac What better place to experience luxury in Quebec than in the most beautiful hotel in the world? Stay right in Old Town, with the most spectacular view
Is Quebec City Stroller Friendly?
It will sometimes be a little challenging with a stroller in Quebec City, but it can absolutely be done. Your challenge will be: the stairs, and the hills. So there will be times you need to seek alternatives to stairs, or you might get tired from the hill walking and need breaks. All of this is still completely doable if you want to see Quebec City with a baby or toddler.
One thing to consider is getting down into Old Town. There are some stairs to climb which would be difficult with a stroller. However, Quebec City has a historical funicular you can use (which is an exciting attraction in itself) just keep in mind that the stroller might need to be folded down before entering the funicular.
How to get AROUND Quebec city with kids
You can walk the majority of Quebec City, you don’t need a car. Anywhere in the downtown core is completely walkable. A car will be needed only if you want to explore Quebec City attractions outside of the downtown (such as Montmorency Falls, or the La Boîte Children’s museum) but you can user Uber or public transit to get to these places too.
Family Fun Tip: Book a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Quebec, so you can get a mix of walking and riding.
Best way to get TO Quebec City with Kids
In most cases, your best option will be to fly. Quebec City has an airport, Quebec City Jean Lesage Airport (YQB.) This airport is 16 km (10 miles) from the heart of Quebec City. You can take an Uber in to town from the airport. Depending on where you’re coming from, flying might be the fastest and easiest way to get to Québec with children.
If you’re coming from the Toronto area: I’d recommend flying from the Billy Bishop Airport rather than Pearson airport. It’s much smaller, with better service; less overwhelming and the tickets are about the same, if not a bit more affordable flying out of Billy Bishop.
You can also drive to Quebec City from Toronto in just under 8 hours, 4.5 hours from Ottawa, or 2h 43 min from Montreal. There is lots of public parking in the city, or your accommodation may have free parking available.
By public transit
You can take a train to Quebec City from Ottawa, Montreal, and a few other Canadian cities!
Best Time to Go to Quebec City with Kids
Quebec City is a great place to visit year round, and many of the attractions are available all throughout year. Here’s what you might want to know about each season in Quebec City.
Summer is Quebec’s city’s busiest season for tourism. The weather is mild compared to other North American cities (the average daily high is 25°C or 78°F.) There are special festivals and events held only in the summer – there is something special going on almost every week in the summer. Read my post on Quebec City Festivals.
Fall is a great time to visit Quebec City, the fall foliage in September through October is beautiful, and there are lots of places to enjoy it. There are special events and features held throughout October for the Halloween season. Temperatures drop significantly during the fall, so you should prepare for cold weather and snow starting in November. Read my post on Quebec City in Autumn
Winters in Quebec City are cold, with the average lows falling between -10°C to -15°C (5 to 14°F). December has a beautiful European-style Christmas market, while January and February have North America’s only ice castle, and Carnaval de Quebec happening in February
Spring may warm up a bit, but still only reach an average high of 16°C in May – so expect it to be chilly and bring lots of warm clothing. Spring would not be my favourite time to visit personally, but it is less busy than the summer months. The best month to visit in spring is June, when the temperatures reach an average high of 22°C ( 71.6°F)
Quebec City with Kids: FAQs
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about visiting Quebec City
How many days do I need in Québec City?
You will need at least 3 days in Quebec City to see all of the main sites, including the
Which city is better Montreal or Québec City?
This is entirely a matter of personal preference – if you consider yourself a foodie, you might prefer Montreal, because its the foodie capital of Canada. It also has a more cosmopolitan feel, so if you prefer larger cities with plenty to do – Montreal might be the right choice for you. Quebec City however, as an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in Canada. With its 400 year old old Old Town, it is like being in Europe.
Quebec City with Kids: Final Thoughts
Visiting Quebec City with your kids is a great way to introduce them to a mix of culture, history, natural beauty and bond together as a family.
Things to do in Quebec City with kids include walks through the medieval old town, the 145-year old funicular, museums, parks and of course, Montmorency Falls.
As an adult, you will be impressed with the architecture and surroundings of Quebec City and are sure to enjoy your time there as well. Bonne voyage!