4 cheap things to do in Québec this summer

July 30, 2021

Updated May 2023

In the mood for a little getaway in the province's oldest city? This summer, experience Québec differently and go easy on your wallet. Quebec City has incredible history and heritage, but it's also a great place to go out and play, to taste all the local flavours and to discover a wicked arts scene! Check out our favourite activities and places, perfectly adapted to small budgets.


Picnic in style

  • The Pierre-Dugua-De Mons terrace: Definitely the best spot complete with a lookout to enjoy breathtaking views of the river and Old Quebec. The lawn area is perfect for a quiet picnic while appreciating the scenery.
  • Place d'Youville: This summer, the famous square is transformed into a beach area, with umbrellas, deckchairs and colourful furniture. Access is free and allows you to admire the city's architectural gems with your feet in the sand.
  • Passage Olympia: Located in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste district, on Saint-Jean Street, this ephemeral public square is hard to miss with its summer colours and its mural signed by Quebec illustrator Fred Jourdain. Perfect for a lunch break, the square has chairs and small tables open to all.
© Tourisme Québec 014991
Art public

Wander through a quirky art circuit

  • Passages insolites: All summer long, this free public art trail will allow you to wander through a bunch of unexpected and original artworks over about five kilometres, through the Petit-Champlain, Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Roch and Old Port districts. You might also stumble upon surprise performances, which might combine circus, dance and theatre!
  • Don't forget to stop by the Museum of Bad Art to discover art that is simply "too bad to be ignored," which presents works from the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Boston, artworks sometimes even found in the trash. Musée du bad Art, espace 400ème (free).
Local Flavors

Taste the local flavors

  • One of our favorite cafés is Café Saint-Henri, located in the neighborhood of Saint-Roch, for its large, bright space and tasty coffees. Pair that with one of their homemade donuts, each more appetizing than the last.
  • For a food-truck atmosphere on the other side of the river, head to Quai Paquet in Levis. You can rent a bike in the Old Port of Quebec and hop on the Quebec City-Lévis ferry ($8 round trip). Enjoy the beautiful views along the way, where you'll be able to see, among other things, the Île d'Orléans and the Château Frontenac.
  • Craft beer lover? The Festibière's backyard, located in the port of Quebec, is a cool spot to enjoy a tasty craft beer, while dipping your feet in the water, in a festive and sunny atmosphere!
© Destination Canada Kbialous Gf13686
Play outside?

Play outside!

  • Parc de la Chute Montmorency : Admire the famous waterfall and take advantage of the beautiful new pathways to observe it from all its angles. The park is accessible by public transit with the Métrobus 800 towards Beauport and entry to the park costs about $7 per person. Don't miss the three different via-ferrata circuits as well as a zip line!
  • Base de plein air de Sainte-Foy : You'll feel like you're in the middle of nature at the base de plein air de Sainte-Foy, which is also accessible by public transit. Swimming is free all summer, and you can also rent paddleboards, kayaks or canoes to enjoy the two lakes.
  • Baie de Beauport: In Quebec City, you can swim in the St. Lawrence River without leaving the city! This beach is ideal for swimming and water sports, and this summer access is free.
Where to stay?

Where to stay?

In the heart of Old Quebec, HI Quebec is an excellent starting point to explore the city and its surroundings. The hostel sits along cobblestone streets and among heritage buildings that are some of the oldest in Canada. These days, it's a vibrant neighbourhood with plenty of cafes, bars, shops and a ton of history and charm.

This article is part of the
Issue 1

Canada on a Budget

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