With all the charm of a European city but a proud history that’s firmly French-Canadian, Québec City is a perfect place to travel with kids – and fortunately for North Americans, it’s much closer than Europe.

Founded in 1608, the provincial capital has engaging activities for the whole family, many of which are accessible on foot or with a short taxi/Uber ride. The best part? Kids aren’t just tolerated here, they’re welcomed with open arms, as many establishments cater to children through designated programming and discounted (or free) pricing. Here's everything you need to know about visiting Québec City with tots in tow.

Why is Québec City good for kids?

You’ll be far from the only one traveling to Québec City with kids. Historic sights like the Fortification Walls and Le Château Frontenac are just as amazing for parents as they are for children, and there are plenty of benches to give your feet a rest. Restaurants usually have kids' menus and open earlier for dinner than in Europe. While there are just a few public toilets in the city, changing tables in restaurants and fast-food-chain bathrooms are common – you’ll just need to buy something.

Yes, this is a French-speaking province and English isn’t spoken by everyone in Québec City. However, you shouldn’t have too much trouble in the most-visited establishments. That said, a few words of French would help and the effort is appreciated by locals. You and your children can practice some basics like “bonjour” (hello) and “merci” (thank you), for starters.

If you bring a stroller, note that the main historic area, Vieux Québec (Old Town), has lots of cobblestones, especially in Basse-Ville (Lower Town), and a tiring set of steps to Haute-Ville (Upper Town). The good news is you can take Québec’s nearly 145-year-old Funiculaire up and down, though strollers must be folded up before you enter the building.

Where is best in Québec City for kids?

The most interesting neighborhood in Québec City, Vieux Québec, is just as entertaining for parents as it is for kids. You’ll see homes dating back to the 1600s, intriguing statues, and replica cannons atop the city walls. You’ll also likely see guides dressed up in period outfits, which kids get a kick out of.

View of historic lower Québec City in Canada seen at night with people and lights
The Old Town neighborhood of Québec City is full of charming streets and stores © littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

Best things to do in Québec City with babies and toddlers

Aquarium du Québec

Watch jellyfish drift, walruses flip-flop and polar bears munch their lunch at Québec’s aquarium. There are 10,000 animals spread over 100 acres of tanks and pools. While kids love the fishies, the aquarium is also a great opportunity for parents to learn about Québec’s fascinating fauna since most of the animals are from nearby habitats. It's free for kids under two.

Take the Lévis Ferry

The best view of Vieux-Québec and the famous Château Frontenac hotel isn’t from the city center, but from the St. Lawrence River while traveling on the Lévis Ferry. The commuter ferry is a pleasant 12-minute ride and tickets are cheap (free for kids under five).


This shop in the newer part of Québec City isn’t simply a toy store, it’s a toy extravaganza, with a huge selection of children’s books, toys and candy spread over 20 departments. There’s also a free indoor train for tired little legs.

Best things to do in Québec City with kids

Terrasse Dufferin

First opened in 1838, Terrasse Dufferin is the hub for visitors to Québec City and a delightful space for kids to explore. Gaze over the stone wall down at the Saint Lawrence River on one side, and up at the towering Le Château Frontenac hotel on the other. In winter, Terrasse Dufferin has a toboggan run where kids and adults have hours of fun.

A woman ziplining at Montmorency Falls, Québec City
Adventurous kids will love the zipline at Chute de Montmorency © Maremagnum / Getty Images

Chute de Montmorency

Gushing from 83m high (272ft – nearly 30m/100ft taller than Niagara Falls), Québec’s Chute de Montmorency are a dramatic sight. Trails and a bridge overtop provide plenty of angles to look at the powerful water and a lot of room for kids to run around. There’s a playground near the entrance, a 300m-long (984ft) zipline across the canyon in front of the falls, Via Ferrata courses and a gondola to add to the thrill.

Musée de la Civilisation

Québec’s foremost history museum in a gorgeous Basse-Ville building traces the stories of Indigenous peoples in the province and has exhibits specifically designed for kids. One exhibit, My Place, is a funhouse with secret passages, oversized furniture and interactive installations. Kids have reduced fare entry or free if under five.

Carnaval de Québec

The cuddly red-hat-wearing Bonhomme mascot welcomes kids and adults with a big smile and open arms to the world’s largest winter carnival. Québec’s Carnaval is at the same time as Mardi Gras and Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval (late January to early February) and has the same origin story: a Catholic celebration of the days before Lent. However, Québec’s Carnaval is decidedly more kid-friendly than other popular carnavals, with slides, ice sculptures, live performances and competitions. Yes, it gets very, very cold, with temperatures dropping below 0°F at night, so be sure to wear warm clothes – a cup of steamy hot chocolate always helps.

Érico Chocolate Museum

Speaking of chocolate, Érico on lovely Rue Saint-Jean is a small shop that sells delicious artisanal truffles and ice cream. The store also has a small museum detailing the history and production of chocolate, with cacao beans and tools on display. The museum isn’t big – it’ll take maybe 15 minutes to go through – but it’s a good way to break up the day with a sugar boost.

A man and two small Indigenous boys dressed in ceremonial costume for the annual pow wow dancing in Wendake, Québec
Spend a day in Wendake and learn about the Huron-Wendat Nation © Anne Richard / Shutterstock


North of Québec City, the Indigenous community of Wendake celebrates the history of the Huron-Wendat Nation with a recreated Longhouse where as many as 80 people would have lived. There’s also an informative museum and programming in the Longhouse that includes myths-and-legends storytelling by the fire. Don’t miss Onhwa’ Lumina, an auditory and visual experience that tells Huron-Wendat creation stories amongst the trees.

Village Vacances Valcartier

Further north, Village Vacances Valcartier is a giant waterpark with slides, a wave pool and the extraordinary Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) in winter. It’s possible to visit the Ice Hotel without staying the night (it gets pretty cold) – traditional Valcartier rooms are more suited for families.

Méga Parc

No matter when you visit Québec City, get a taste of winter at Méga Parc, which has a 228-meter (750ft) circular skating rink. Méga Parc also hosts a carousel, bumper cars, arcade games and more.

A boy navigating an aerial rope course
There's fun for the entire family at Arbraska Chauveau © Lisa Stokes / Getty Images

Best things to do in Québec City with tweens and teenagers 

Arbraska Chauveau

Swing like Tarzan from treetop to treetop (if he was connected by a safety line) at this exhilarating rope park not far from downtown. It's located in a beautiful natural habitat and also features year-round ziplines, cave tours, a giant trampoline, and chalets if you want to stay overnight.

La Citadelle

Mostly built in the 17th century, Québec’s Citadelle is a massive military fortress meant to fend off an American invasion that never came. Today, the impressive compound is an active military base for the Canadian Army’s only French regiment and hosts tours that take visitors inside the bunkers. The adjoining museum provides an overview of Canadian military history, including uniforms, music (queue the bagpipes), and a description of Canada’s role in the two World Wars.

Planning tips

  • Québec starts getting cold in September and stays chilly until June. The deepest months of winter do get pretty icy, but don’t let the cold deter you. There’s something particularly enchanting about Québec City in winter, with the snow amplifying the sound of crunching beneath your feet. Just be sure to bundle up.
  • Renting a bike is a fun way to get around when there’s no snow on the ground. Cyclo Services has bikes to rent and can recommend trails based on age and experience.

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