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Quebec City

Le Cercle, Susan Seubert

Photo by Susan Seubert

Le Cercle restaurant and performance space in the Saint-Roch district of Québec City.

A lively new cultural scene is stirring up this historic destination.

Why Now: With winding cobblestone streets, open-air cafés and the majestic hotel Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, walled Old Québec, perched above the St. Lawrence River, never loses its charm. But a sizzling arts and culinary scene has visitors heading downhill to emerging neighborhoods Saint-Roch and Limoilou. 

Where to Go: Wake to croissants served right to your door at Hôtel des Coutellier, then scour the galleries and shops in the adjacent antiques district for one-of-a-kind souvenirs. When it’s time for lunch, brave the hill to Le Chic Shack in the shadow of the towering Château for high-quality twists on classic finger food: burgers on brioche buns, heaps of poutine (the Québecois specialty of French fries, cheese curds and gravy) and dark chocolate milk shakes served in Mason jars. After touring the sites, cab down to Saint-Roch and sup on salmon tartar or buttermilk fried chicken at Le Clocher Penché. Though the local ingredients will (rightfully) be top of mind, take a moment to marvel at the restaurant’s remodel—the bistro was once a bank. When night falls, the neighborhood’s streets turn into a stage; catch an outdoor performance during Carrefour International Theater Festival (May 21-June 7). Or head to Limoilou and watch aerialists and acrobats show off their skills during Jours de Cirque, a high-flying celebration of circus arts in late spring.

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