Quebec City is a magical place that is steeped in history, culture, and beauty. The charming streets, picturesque architecture, and delicious food are just a few of the things that make this city a must-visit destination for foodies and photography lovers. Whether you’re looking to indulge in the local cuisine, snap some stunning photos, or explore the city’s rich history and culture, there is something for everyone in Quebec City. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best things to do in Quebec City to live like a local for foodies and photography lovers, from sampling traditional Quebecois cuisine to capturing the city’s stunning architecture. So pack your camera, put on your stretchy pants, and let’s explore the city from a local’s perspective and go beyond the more traditional tourist path!
Get scrumptious baked goods at Babeurre délicatesses for breakfast
To start off your day on the right foot, I highly recommend going to Babeurre délicatesses as soon as they open — to get the freshest stuff, you know! What started off as a passion project for Chef Karine Jacques — which was selling her baked goods at local markets and pop ups — is now a fully realized brick and mortar location in the beautiful neighbourhood of Limoilou. While the area is more residential, the 3ème avenue (3rd avenue), abounds of great local shops like Babeurre. If you’re more into natural wines than baked goods, they also have a great selection to pair with your homemade dinner.
Let’s have lunch at Nina pizza napolitaine St-Roch
I don’t exactly remember how I first learned about Nina pizza napolitaine, but one thing is sure, it’s THE restaurant where I’ve been the most over the past 9 years, since it opened. You can’t go wrong with Nina — their appetizers are great, the salads are to die for and what can I say about their pizzas? Absolutely mouthwatering. Oh, and they have dessert pizza too! A few items on the menu will come and go throughout the seasons but it’s only one more reason to go back often. Make sure to check out their amazing lineup of wines that is carefully handpicked and constantly renewed by their amazing sommellerie team.
Afternoon pick-me-up at deTerroir café
After your lunch at Nina, you’ll most probably need a little pick-me-up to continue exploring. Head over to deTerroir café. The owners behind this newly opened address in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Allison and Pier Paul, have a true passion for coffee. They take a traceable and transparent approach to their bean sourcing and they meticulously prepare every order in the best third wave coffee fashion. I highly recommend getting a double espresso along with an origami dripper to get to taste two different methods of preparation and getting the full deTerroir experience. If you go early in the day, make sure to grab a croffle or two — a croissant that has been pressed into a waffle. Oh, and don’t forget to get their apple butter to spread on your croffle.
Vintage shopping and chill times at OUI OUI – CAFÉ in Limoilou
OUI OUI has opened only very recently but has become an instant favourite for me. Each month, they feature a new local coffee roaster and on the daily, they have delicious homemade baked goods to eat while sipping on your warm beverage. Also, they’re sharing the space with a cute vintage shop called Art de vivre à la campagne and that makes it the ideal destination on your trip to have coffee while shopping for a little souvenir to bring back home.
Watch the sunset from Île d’Orléans
Watching the sun set from Île d’Orléans is something I’ve done probably hundreds of times, at every season and weather imaginable, and I still want to do it again and again. For this activity, you’ll need a rental car or to hire a taxi cab for a round-trip to Sainte-Pétronille de l’Île d’Orléans. The best sunset spot is at Promenade Horatio Walker at the westernmost tip of the island.
Urban swimming in the middle of the city at L’Oasis du Port de Québec
If you know me, you know I have a profound love for Denmark and the Scandinavian culture in general. Last summer, I was so happy to discover this new outdoor swim spot, called L’Oasis du Port de Québec, right in the middle of the city, at Bassin Louise in the Old Port. This reminded me of the Copenhagen summers where everyone swims at harbour baths in different areas of the city. Such a great addition for the city. If you’re visiting in the winter, you’ll probably have to come back during summer if you want to do this activity.
Hop on the ferry to view Quebec from a different angle
Hopping on the ferry from Quebec City to Lévis is a great idea for photographers looking to capture stunning landscapes and cityscapes. The ferry ride offers breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and the city of Quebec, as well as the iconic Château Frontenac, which is especially picturesque at sunset. The ferry also provides a unique perspective on the city, giving photographers the opportunity to capture images that are different from those typically taken on land. Additionally, Lévis offers an interesting contrast with Quebec City, with a more modern and industrial feel that makes for interesting photographic subjects. The ferry ride is also a great opportunity to take pictures of the river and its surroundings, with the possibility of capturing wildlife like seals and birds. All in all, taking the ferry from Quebec City to Lévis is a great way to expand your photographic horizons and capture some truly unique and beautiful images.
Gather goods for a memorable apéro at William J. Walter St-Roch
William J. Walter – St-Roch is a great place to get food and alcohol for a memorable apéro. They have a wide variety of options to choose from, including high-quality cheeses and charcuterie, as well as a selection of craft beers and wines. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and can help you create the perfect pairing for your meal. Overall, William J. Walter – St-Roch is an excellent choice for anyone looking to impress their friends or partner during apéro, while on a trip to Quebec City. Perfect for a picnic at a nearby park or even in your hotel room.
Have a late night poutine at Ashton
Ashton is widely considered the best place to get a poutine (pronounced poo-tin) in Quebec City. A Quebecois dish that typically consists of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, poutine is a beloved comfort food in Quebec and Ashton is said to serve one of the best versions of this dish in the city. The fries are crispy and well-seasoned, the gravy is rich and savory, and the cheese curds are fresh and melty. The restaurant also has a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff. Ashton is a great spot to sample this iconic Quebec dish and to enjoy a casual and comfortable dining experience.
Where to stay in Quebec City?
An hotel room that looks like an apartment atLofts Dorchester & Lofts St-Pierre by Lofts du Vieux-Québec
Les Lofts du Vieux-Québec is one of my favourite places to stay in Quebec City. These apartment-like hotel rooms have all the amenities you need if you want to live like a local. They have different locations throughout the city, but my top two remain Lofts Dorchester — a very modern look right at the heart of Quartier St-Roch in the lower town — and Lofts St-Pierre — for a more traditional look in the Old Port area. Prices are really quite affordable for everything you get when you book at Lofts du Vieux-Québec
Luxury stay at Auberge Saint-Antoine
Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City is a luxury hotel, where I had the chance to stay a couple times over the years. Located in the heart of the city’s Old Port, the hotel offers guests elegant accommodations in a historical setting, with many of the rooms featuring original architectural details. The hotel also boasts a fine dining restaurant, which serves contemporary Quebecois cuisine. Additionally, Auberge Saint-Antoine is within walking distance of many of Quebec City’s top attractions, such as the Château Frontenac, the Musée de la Civilisation, and the Petit Champlain district. A stay at Auberge Saint-Antoine is a perfect choice for travellers seeking a luxurious and refined experience in one of North America’s most charming and historic cities.
Have a peaceful rest at Monastère des Augustines
The Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City offers a unique and serene experience for visitors. This former monastery, dating back to the 17th century, has been converted into a hotel and wellness center. Guests can stay in one of the beautifully restored rooms and take part in yoga and meditation classes, as well as other wellness activities. The atmosphere is peaceful and contemplative, making it the perfect place to unwind and recharge. The hotel is also located in the heart of Quebec City, providing easy access to the city’s many historical and cultural attractions. Overall, a stay at the Monastère des Augustines is an opportunity to step back in time and discover a sense of calm and balance in a beautiful and historic setting.