Planning a trip to Quebec City this summer? Whether you're traveling for the art, music, or food, there's something in La Vieille Capitale for everyone.
For the arts lover
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 179 Grande Allée ouest
The site of the sprawling museum is itself stunning: it’s on the Plains of Abraham, a.k.a. Battlefields Park, an urban oasis where British troops defeated French soldiers in 1759.
With more than 38,000 works of art going back to the 1600s, the museum has four pavilions. In addition to essentials by Quebec artists such as Alain Paiement, Antoine Plamondon, and Diane Landry, the museum houses an impressive collection of Inuit art and also hosts important international exhibitions.
Coming soon: the North American premiere of photographer Philippe Halsman’s retrospective, Astonish Me! (June 15 to September 4), featuring photos of Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, and more.
Où tu vas quand tu dors en marchant…?, from May 25 to June 10 at Parliament Hill
This free, interactive, site-specific theatre piece (Where are you going when you sleep while walking…?) is part of the Carrefour International de Théâtre festival. It will take people on a journey around Parliament Hill for nighttime performances, revealing more about the city than any walking tour.
Musée de la civilisation, 27 rue Notre Dame
Permanent exhibits at this magnificent institution examine how Quebec’s identity was forged over centuries. Shows include Nanotech: The Invisible Revolution (until October 15), Like Cats and Dogs (until September 4 and offering scientific, sociological, and cultural findings about these pets), and the upcoming Mad About Brains (May 17 to the spring of 2018).
For the music fan
Festival d'été de Québec, from July 6 to 16 at various locations
The city’s annual music fest rivals the likes of Coachella and South by Southwest. Now in its 50th year, the outdoor extravaganza that takes place at various venues, including the Plains of Abraham, will host Kendrick Lamar, the Strumbellas, P!nk, Metallica, the Backstreet Boys, Men Without Hats, Phantogram, and dozens of others this summer.
For the sports fan
Baie de Beauport, 1 boulevard Henri-Bourassa
A revitalization project for the city’s 400th anniversary opened up the bay for swimming, boating, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, and kite surfing. Just five minutes from the downtown core, it also offers beach volleyball and soccer.
For the foodie
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, 1 rue des Carrières
If you can’t afford to stay here, at least experience a taste of the castlelike luxury hotel perched on a cliff atop Cape Diamond. Built in 1893 and itself a National Historic Site, the Frontenac is where Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King met in 1943 to plan an Allied invasion of occupied Europe.
Hit the 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar (named in honour of the year Samuel de Champlain established the first French foothold in North America) for a classic cocktail, a plate of organic charcuterie, grilled flatbread, and spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River.
L'Atelier, 624 Grande Allée est
While you can find items like oysters, poutine, and truffled mac ’n’ cheese on the menu, the reason to visit is the beautiful mounds of salmon, bison, lobster, tuna, and beef tartare that you scoop up with crispy cracker-size croutons. Outstanding.
J.A. Moisan, 695 rue Saint-Jean
A must-hit for food lovers (leave some room in your suitcase), the oldest grocery store in North America, with its original wooden counters and brick walls, is crammed with items from all over the world, including craft and speciality beers and exotic spices and teas, as well as locally made confits, pâtés, syrups, sauces, jams, tapenades, chocolates, and more. There’s a deli and small eating area with items like sandwiches, soups, cheese and charcuterie, and pastries.
Chez Ashton, various locations
This is back-to-basics poutine served cafeteria-style. This chain’s most exotic variations come with chicken and green peas or with ground beef. The ultimate comfort food, it’s highly recommended in the wee hours following a night of clubbing.