Rivière-du-Loup was originally established in 1673 as the seigneurie of Sieur Charles-Aubert de la Chesnaye. The community was incorporated as the village of Fraserville, in honour of early English settler Alexandre Fraser, in 1850, and became a city in 1910. The city reverted to its original name, Rivière-du-Loup, in 1919.
Between 1850 and 1919, the city saw large increases in its anglophone population. Most of them left the region by the 1950s. 1% of the population still speaks English as its first language.
The city is known for its spectacular sunsets.
Rivière-du-Loup is a traditional stopping point between Quebec City, the Maritimes and the Gaspé Peninsula. The Trans-Canada Highway turns south here, transferring from Autoroute 20 to Autoroute 85 and continuing southerly to Edmundston, New Brunswick.
There is a ferry which crosses the river (fleuve St Laurent) to Saint-Siméon on the north shore.
The city is also served by the Rivière-du-Loup Airport. The town can also be reached by Via Rail.