Quebec Wonders Visiting Quebec Province Canada

12 Wonderful Things To Do in Quebec City in December

This list of what to do in Quebec City in December includes a German Christmas Market, holiday concerts, dazzling Christmas Lights, ice skating, a trip to a ski resort and more.

When visiting Quebec City in December, here are the best things to do, events and family activities.

Quebec City in December is a real treat. This list of things to do in Quebec City in December is packed with fun activities of all kinds, such as a German Christmas Market, ice skating rinks, some ideas for lovely weekend getaways and even an ice hotel.

We researched and compiled this list of things to do in Quebec City in the winter because we know your time is valuable. Enjoy reading and let us know what you think!

If you are specifically looking for things to do during the Christmas holidays, you will find more bespoke suggestions in our article Christmas in Quebec City .

Events in Quebec City in December

1. german christmas market .

The German Christmas Market event in Quebec City in December

  • November 23 to December 23, 2023 (2024 Date TBC)

A classic Old Quebec City winter activity is the German Christmas Market . They have everything you need; whether you seek handmade gifts or simply want to bask in the charming atmosphere. The Quebec City Christmas Market is spread out in multiple locations, so you’ll also get a bonus tour of the historic Old Town .

2. Salon des Artisans de Québec

  • December 1 to 10, 2023 (2024 Date TBC)

The Salon des artisans de Québec is an ideal destination for Christmas shopping. It showcases an array of locally made products: handcrafted items, artworks, local agri-food products, etc. It's a yearly event held in early December in Quebec City, perfect for finding special and one-of-a-kind gifts ahead of the festive season.

3. Kaleidoscopes Festival

  • December 27 to 31, 2023 (2024 Date TBC)

Every winter in Quebec City, the Kaleidoscopes Festival happens at the tail end of the German Christmas Festival. It’s a celebration of the cultural, festival and epicurean dynamism of Quebec City. 

4. New Year's Eve Celebration

New Year event in Quebec City in December

  • December 28 to 31, 2023 (2024 Date TBC)

Every year, during the last week of December, the Grande-Allée gets ready to ring in the new year with its Toboggan Festival . It includes a winter village, DJs and a famous countdown. This is the city’s largest New Year's Eve event.

  • Last month: Things to do in Quebec City in November
  • Next month: What to do in Quebec City in January

What To Do in Quebec City in December

Here are some of the best things to do in Quebec City in December. 

5. Ice Skating 

Ice skating activity in Quebec City in December

Quebec City during winter is known for its beautiful snowy landscapes and exciting outdoor activities. If you are looking for a winter activity in Quebec City, then tying up a pair of skates and gliding on ice alone or with your loved ones is a great idea. 

The ice rink at Place d’Youville and the ice skating ring on the Plains of Abraham are the prettiest in the Old Quebec. They both offer rentals.

We also have a more exhaustive list of ice rinks if you are wondering where to ice skate in Quebec City .

6. Holiday Shopping

Walk along Quartier Petit-Champlain in winter in Quebec City

One of the most pleasant things to do in Quebec City in December is some holiday shopping for loved ones. There’s no lack of great places to do this, as Quebec City, and especially the Old Town and Quartier Petit Champlain , are filled with stores of all kinds. The Grand Christmas Market is a good place to find unique handmade items.

7. Attend a Christmas Concert or Show 

Watch shows at Palais Montcalm when visiting Quebec City in December

Whether you’re a local or you're visiting Quebec City in December, you should know there are several Christmas concerts and shows. Many of the city’s churches and theatres have performances in December to celebrate the holiday season. Check out the Palais Montcalm , The Capitole Theatre and Salle Albert Rousseau .

Here are other fun live music venues in Quebec City ; perfect for an indoor activity in December.

8. Christmas Lights at Parliament Hill 

See the lights in Parliament Hill in Quebec City in December

Looking for free things to do in Quebec City in December? A great idea is taking a stroll and looking at the dazzling Christmas light display at Parliament Hill .

9. Toboggan Slide at Dufferin Terrace

Try a Toboggan Slide when visiting Quebec City

No time spent visiting Quebec City in December would be complete without one ride (or more) down Quebec City’s oldest attraction. Established in 1884, the toboggan slide at Dufferin Terrace is one of the best winter activities in Quebec City. Located in the Upper Town, it's the thing to do in Old Quebec in winter.

Related : I also have a more detailed guide on what to do in Quebec City with kids , which includes great activities to do all year round.

Things to Do Elsewhere in Quebec in December

10. village quebecois d’antan .

Looking for things to do in Quebec in winter? The Illuminated Village is a short two-hour drive away from Quebec City and is a great idea for a day trip. This Christmas-themed activity will have you and your children feeling nostalgic for a simpler more magical time. 

11. Le Massif 

Snowboarding is also good to do elsewhere in Quebec in December

When it comes to Quebec winter attractions, Le Massif is a great weekend getaway option. This ski hill has all you need to enjoy beautiful days of snowboarding and skiing. If you’re not into either, try their luge activity. Le Massif has accommodations in the form of chalets, condos and studios. 

The nearby Club Med resort is a fantastic option too, especially if you’re staying with children. Le Massif is a great idea if you’re thinking about what to do elsewhere in Quebec City in December. 

12. Visit Old Montreal 

Visit Old Montreal and what to do elsewhere in Quebec

A trip to Old Montreal is always a good idea in December. You’ll find beautiful Christmas decorations, tons of good restaurants, luxurious accommodations and top-of-the-line spas. Witnessing (and riding) the heated Ferris wheel in the Old Port alone is worth the trip.

Here is our ranking of the best spas in Montreal and our suggestions for things to do in Montreal in December .

Weather in Quebec City in December

Winter in Quebec City officially starts the third week of December. But the whole month is cold; sometimes very cold. That’s why we suggest wearing as many warm layers as you can while visiting Quebec City in December. 

So grab your thickest winter coat, your coziest mittens and your favourite toque and you’ll be ready for Quebec City in winter. From family-friendly indoor activities to fun events and things to do in Old Quebec City in December, this guide ensures you won’t be bored when visiting Quebec City in winter.

Related: If you want to treat yourself this festive season, here are the best Quebec City spas . One of the best indoor activities if you’re searching for things to do in Quebec City in winter.

Anne Rodrigue-Beaudoin Quebec Wonders

About the Author

Anne was born and raised in Quebec City. She is our resident expert for the city of Quebec and other popular regional destinations such as Charlevoix and Gaspésie. Having travelled to every corner of the province with her children, she is also our expert for family related topics on Quebec Wonders.

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Local’s Guide to Quebec in December: 31 Things to Do 2024

Table of Contents

Quebec in December is a winter wonderland you can’t miss!

Sparkling snowflakes gently falling from the sky, the aroma of warm, spiced drinks filling the air, and festive lights twinkling around every corner, make Quebec City a desirable winter destination.

I’ve been to Quebec in December a few different times, both in Montreal and Quebec City!

It was easy to visit Quebec when I was living in Ottawa since it is on the border of Quebec. 

So if you want to know how we Canadians navigate the chilly weather and make the most of a frosty paradise, I’ve got you! 

Get ready to wander through charming European-style streets and indulge in mouthwatering Canadian treats. Some highlights of your Quebec winter adventure may include exploring historic Old Quebec, ice skating at Place D’Youville, or attending Quebec City’s German Christmas Market. 

If you love winter scapes, Quebec should be at the top of your winter travel list. Strap on your snowshoes, and let’s get started!

✅ DiscoverCars is the perfect companion for a winter trip to Quebec. Their wide selection of cars helps you easily explore the region without the hassle!

Two people, with arms linked to each other, walking on a sidewalk while snowflakes fall down the streets. This is the sight of Quebec City in December.

Why Visit Quebec in December 

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, look no further than Quebec, Canada! It’s one of my favorite places to visit in December, particularly around Christmas time.

Quebec in December comes alive with festive events and activities for all ages. There are holiday-themed shows, dazzling light displays, and holiday parades to put you in the Christmas spirit. 

Whether warming up with hot mulled wine and traditional sausages at Quebec City’s German Christmas Market or skiing at Mont-Sainte-Anne and visiting frozen waterfalls, you’ll never be bored spending winter in Quebec. 

Quebec also has some of the best food in Canada, especially in wintertime. Classic French food is perfect for feeling cozy, and our famous poutine will warm you up on a cold evening! There’s nothing like the taste of maple taffy pulled fresh from the snow to put me in the holiday spirit! 

Quebec City and Montreal are the most popular cities to visit in the province of Quebec, but no matter where you go, December in Quebec has great food, festive lights, and fun winter activities!

Quebec Weather in December 

It is cold and snowy in Quebec in the winter, especially in January and February.

The average temperature in Quebec City in December ranges from -12 °C (10°F) to 5°C (23°F). It’s slightly warmer in Montreal, -9°C (16°F) to -2°C (28°F).

Snowfall is also common, with Quebec City’s December weather receiving an average of 71 cm (28 inches) and Montreal receiving around 49 cm (19 inches). 

Winter Packing Tips for Quebec in December 

It’s essential to dress appropriately for the Quebec winter temperature with warm layers, waterproof outerwear, insulated footwear, and accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves. 

And although winter clothes are bulkier and take up more room in your suitcase than summer clothes, you can easily re-wear your underlayers as much as you need to since most people will only see you in your outer layers. 

Here are foolproof ways to stay warm and cozy during your December visit to Quebec:

  • Layer Up : Dressing in layers is the key to staying warm in Quebec’s chilly December weather. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer (I like Merino wool) to keep sweat away from your skin. Add an insulating middle layer like fleece or down, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against snow and cold winds. 
  • Accessorize Wisely : Don’t forget essential winter accessories like a warm hat, gloves, scarf, and earmuffs. You’ll need them to retain heat and protect your extremities from frostbite.
  • Invest in Quality Footwear : Cold, wet feet can ruin any trip. Choose insulated, waterproof boots with good traction for walking on icy surfaces. Don’t forget to pack warm, moisture-wicking socks as well. 
  • Pack Hand and Foot Warmers : My hands get really cold in winter. These small, portable heat packs are a lifesaver during a cold day of Quebec winter activities. Slip them into your gloves or boots for extra warmth.

31 Things to Do in Quebec in December

The Canadian province of Quebec, particularly tourist favorites like Quebec City and Montreal, embraces the winter season with various festive activities, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences. 

Here are some of the best things to do in Quebec in December.

A car parked on a snow covered street.

1. Old Quebec City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Walking around Old Quebec City in the winter is like stepping into a festive fairytale. As you wander through the cobblestone streets, you’re surrounded by historic stone buildings adorned with twinkling lights and snow-capped roofs. 

The enchanting Quartier Petit Champlain, Place Royale, and Rue du Petit-Champlain come alive with festive decorations. You’ll discover hidden courtyards, intimate bistros, and charming boutiques offering unique gifts and local crafts.

🍁 Fully experience the festive Christmas season in Quebec City through this Christmas Magic in Old Quebec tour

A large castle-like architecture with pointed roofs under a cloudy sky. This is the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.

2. Le Château Frontenac

This iconic landmark in Quebec City is a must-visit destination in December. 

Le Chateau Frontenac transforms into a winter wonderland with festive decorations and sparkling lights. Visit its luxurious lobby, admire the stunning Christmas tree, and enjoy seasonal events and activities. 

You can also indulge in afternoon tea or a gourmet meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants and capture breathtaking views of the snow-covered Old Quebec City from its terraces for a truly unforgettable experience.

🍁 Experience the magic of the holidays with his enchanting Guided Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Winter Wonderland Tour!

3. Luminothérapie in Montreal

Luminotherapie in Montreal is an annual event transforming the Quartier des Spectacles into a stunning interactive light installation. 

Wander through illuminated art pieces designed by local and international artists, watch mesmerizing light shows, and immerse yourself in this captivating winter wonderland.

Visitors of all ages can interact with the art. Luminothérapie also hosts live performances, workshops, and guided tours. 

4. Fortification Wall of Quebec City

As North America’s only remaining fortified city walls, the Fortification Wall of historic Quebec City provides a glimpse into the area’s rich history. 

Stroll along the snow-covered ramparts, taking in breathtaking views of Old Quebec and the St. Lawrence River. 

You can also visit the Interpretation Center to learn about the wall’s construction and significance. 

December is a great time to explore these walls!

A snowy street with lit christmas trees and buildings in the background. This is in the Quarter Petit Champlain in Quebec City.

5. Quartier Petit Champlain

This historic neighborhood is located in the lower part of Old Quebec City, near the banks of the St. Lawrence River. 

Renowned for its picturesque cobblestone streets, well-preserved 17th and 18th-century architecture, and charming European ambiance, Quartier Petit Champlain is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

In December, you’ll love the holiday decorations and twinkling lights. You can also find a small wooden cabin with a mailbox for letters to Santa !

6. Place Royale in Old Quebec City

Don’t miss the towering Christmas tree at Place Royale! This historic square, nestled in the heart of Quartier Petit Champlain, is the birthplace of French America.

You can visit the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church (the oldest stone church in North America), explore the Civilization Museum, or simply soak in the enchanting atmosphere as you stroll through this picturesque site steeped in history and holiday cheer. 

Two people walking down a snow covered path. Experience the festive season by going on a Christmas Magic Old Quebec Tour!

7. Christmas Magic in Old Quebec Tour

Discover the enchanting atmosphere of Quebec City in December with the Christmas Magic in Old Quebec Tour.

This guided walking tour takes you through the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, showcasing its best winter spots and holiday decorations.

Your knowledgeable guide will share unique local traditions while ensuring you stay warm and active. You’ll also taste samples of delicious seasonal products at the markets. 

This tour is a fun way to get to know Quebec in December! 

A man is kneeling on the ice with a curling stone in his hand. One of the best things to do in Quebec  during the winter is ice curling!

8. Private Curling Class in Montreal

Embrace your Canadian spirit with a private curling class during your December visit to Quebec. 

This one-of-a-kind experience offers an engaging introduction to the history of curling, followed by hands-on practice of various techniques on the ice.

This adventure provides a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a beloved Canadian pastime and learn a new (albeit weird) sport. 

🍁 Elevate your winter fun by joining a Private Curling Class in Quebec! It’s a perfect activity to try with your friends and family!

The sun shining through the snow covered trees. This is in Old Montreal where you can take a tour to explore iconic and historic landmarks!

9. Winter Tour of Old Montreal

Experience the enchanting winter wonderland of Old Montreal on a captivating cold-weather tour designed for travelers visiting Quebec in December. 

Bundle up and join your local guide for an intimate, small-group adventure limited to just 10 participants.

Immerse yourself in the area’s rich history as you explore iconic landmarks and marvel at the snow-covered charm of the city. 

Along the way, you’ll receive valuable insider tips to enhance your Montreal experience. 

🍁 Step back in time and immerse yourself in the winter wonder of Old Montreal through this guided small-group tour!

10. Snowshoe with Mountain Goats

Enjoy Quebec’s breathtaking beauty and rich history this December by embarking on a one-of-a-kind adventure through the majestic Jacques Cartier Valley and its awe-inspiring canyon. 

On this snowshoeing journey through the stunning landscapes, enjoy the rare opportunity to explore alongside friendly Canadian mountain goats.

Delve into the fascinating traditions of lumberjacks and woodsmen, and experience an unforgettable adventure that only a few lucky travelers get to witness.

Several huskies pulling a winter sled through a snowy, winter trail with lots of trees. This is in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

11. Dog Sledding in Mont-Tremblant

Embark on a thrilling dog-sledding adventure in Mont-Tremblant this December, where you can feel the rush of being pulled by a spirited team of dogs racing across the snow-covered landscape. 

Along the way, enjoy a cozy hot chocolate break while admiring the stunning winter scenery of forests and mountains.

You can learn how to drive the sled or simply relish the excitement as a passenger. Afterward, visit the kennel, where you can interact with the dogs.

My golden retriever Theo loves the snow and wishes he could join a Quebec dog-sledding team! 

🍁 Glide through the snowy landscapes of Mont-Tremblant on this dog-sledding tour!

A person wearing snowshoes walking through the snow. Discover Quebec's enchanting woodlands through a ski-shoeing tour!

12. Ski-Shoeing in Jacques-Cartier National Park

Ski-shoeing, a delightful fusion of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, offers a low-impact workout while you travel through serene forest landscapes. This small-group tour is the perfect addition to any winter Quebec itinerary. 

Equipped with trekking poles and guided by an expert, venture onto snowy trails to explore the enchanting Quebec woods. 

Warm up with hot chocolate and lunch, and watch for local wildlife like deer and moose. 

🍁 Discover Quebec’s enchanting woodlands and enjoy hot chocolate and lunch in this intimate small-group ski-shoeing tour!

A person riding a snowmobile in the snow. Riding a snowmobile is one of the best things to do in Quebec during December.

13. Snowmobiling in Ile d’Orleans

Venture on an exhilarating snowmobile tour around the picturesque Ile d’Orleans , located just a short drive from Quebec City. 

Perfect for travelers visiting in December, this outdoor adventure offers stunning mountain views and a taste of the island’s rustic charm. Beginners are welcome!

Led by an experienced guide, you’ll delight in the breathtaking sights of Mont-Sainte-Anne and the Saint Lawrence River as you snowmobile the scenic landscape.

🍁 Want to take part in an exhilarating adventure? Try this Snowmobile Tour around Ile d’Orleans!

14. Winter Sports at Mont-Sainte-Anne Ski Resort

Mont-Saint-Anne, located 30 minutes from Quebec City, is a premier destination for winter sports enthusiasts visiting in December. 

With 71 trails spanning across three sides of the mountain, this world-class ski resort caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. 

Mont-Saint-Anne also offers extensive cross-country skiing trails, snowshoeing, and fat biking, ensuring a variety of outdoor adventures for everyone. 

After a day on the slopes, unwind in the nearby charming village, where you’ll find cozy accommodations, delightful restaurants, and vibrant après-ski activities. 

15. Quebec City’s German Christmas Market

The Quebec City Christmas Market is an authentic European-style German market set in the heart of Old Quebec. It’s one of my favorite must-do Quebec City winter activities!

With its charming wooden kiosks and festive decorations, visitors can enjoy traditional German food (like gingerbread and bratwurst), sip mulled wine (gluhwein), and shop for unique artisanal gifts. 

The market also features live performances and activities for children. 

16. Montreal’s Christmas Markets

Montreal has great Christmas markets as well. Stop by the Nutcracker market, inspired by the famous ballet and held at the Palais des Congrès, with over 100 exhibitors offering a wide range of unique gifts, gourmet food, and artisanal crafts. 

Marché de Noël et des Traditions de Longueuil offers a nostalgic atmosphere with its historical setting and costumed characters. Visitors can explore stalls selling handcrafted items, local produce, and holiday treats. 

17. Best Viewpoints of Quebec City

Quebec City offers several exceptional viewpoints that allow visitors to appreciate its stunning architecture, historic charm, and scenic beauty from unique perspectives.

The Funiculaire, or funicular railway, connects the Lower Town (Quartier Petit Champlain) with the Upper Town (Dufferin Terrace) near Château Frontenac. Glide up the 195-foot incline and enjoy breathtaking views. 

You can also visit the Observatoire de la Capitale, with the highest view in Quebec City, from the 31st floor of the Marie-Guyart Building. Check out the 725-foot-high observation deck for incredible panoramic views.

Plan your day to include nearby sights such as Quartier Petit Champlain, Château Frontenac, and the Parliament Building.

Pro tip: Visit one of the viewpoints during sunset. The golden hues and dramatic lighting create a magical atmosphere that’s perfect for capturing stunning photographs.

18. Ferry Ride on the Saint Laurent River 

The ferry on the Saint Lawrence River is a passenger and vehicle service that connects Quebec City to Lévis on the river’s opposite bank. 

The ferry offers a convenient and enjoyable way to travel between the two cities while taking in the magnificent skyline views of Old Quebec, Château Frontenac, and the surrounding landscape.

While in Lévis, discover its charming streets, local shops, and cozy cafés. You can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Quebec City from the Lévis Terrace.

Dress warmly and check the ferry schedule before planning your trip, as the winter weather can occasionally impact operations.

A woman holding a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. One of the best things to do in Quebec in December is to relax and recharge at La Maison Smith or Smith Cafe!

19. Sip Coffee at La Maison Smith (aka Smith Cafe)

After walking around Quebec in December, you’ll be ready to relax and recharge with a hot beverage and delicious pastry. 

La Maison Smith is a popular locally-owned coffee shop located in the heart of Old Quebec, within the historic and picturesque Quartier Petit Champlain. 

Housed in a charming 17th-century building, the café offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal stop for tourists exploring the area. During December, the cafe embraces the holiday spirit.

20. Eat Snow-Made Maple Taffy 

A popular maple treat that visitors enjoy in Quebec in December is “Maple Taffy” or “Tire d’érable” in French. Try one at the maple taffy stand (aka Sugar Shack) in front of the La Maison Smith coffee shop.

This delicious confection is made by boiling maple sap to create a thick, concentrated syrup. 

The hot syrup is then poured onto fresh snow, where it cools down and hardens into a chewy, taffy-like consistency. The maple taffy is rolled up from the snow using a popsicle stick or a small wooden spatula and enjoyed as a sweet, sticky treat. 

Maple taffy is a traditional delight often served at winter festivals and events, particularly in Quebec, where maple syrup production is a significant part of the local culture.

21. Toboggan Down Historic Dufferin Terrace

During your December visit to Quebec City, don’t miss the exhilarating experience of tobogganing down the historic Dufferin Terrace Toboggan Run . 

Operating since 1884, this thrilling ride offers breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and Château Frontenac as you race down the icy slope at speeds up to 70 km/h.

Perfect for all ages, the toboggan run provides a fun-filled activity that embraces the city’s winter charm. The cost is $4 per person per ride, and tickets are only sold on-site, so arrive early to beat the crowds.

A woman eating french fries on a bench. Taste the best food around the city by embarking on Quebec City Food Tour!

22. Taste Your Way Around Quebec City with a Food Tour

One of my favorite ways to explore a new place is with a food tour.

Embark on a culinary adventure in Quebec City, indulging in the city’s rich heritage and vibrant food scene. Guided by passionate local experts, you’ll explore charming neighborhoods, bustling markets, and hidden gems while savoring delicious samples from iconic eateries.

From traditional French-Canadian dishes to innovative contemporary creations, each bite tells a story of Quebec’s history, culture, and passion for food. 

🍁 Indulge your taste buds on a culinary adventure through the charming streets of Quebec City through this tour!

23. Ice Skate at Place D’Youville

Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity in Quebec City. 

Glide across the enchanting rink at Place D’Youville, nestled amidst historic buildings with twinkling lights and music.

Some people prefer the much larger outdoor skating rink in the western part of the Plains of Abraham but don’t expect the same ambiance as Place D’Youville.

Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, ice skating is one of my favorite things to do in Quebec City in December.

A sea lion swimming in the water. This is in the Quebec Aquarium, one of the best places to visit during December

24. Festi Lumiere (Light Festival) at the Quebec Aquarium

During the holiday season, the Quebec Aquarium transforms into a mesmerizing wonderland with its annual Festi Lumière light festival. 

As night falls, the grounds come alive with over 500,000 colorful LED lights illuminating the paths, trees, and exhibits in a dazzling display. 

You can wander and admire the festive decorations and captivating light installations that create a truly magical atmosphere. 

The Aquarium’s unique combination of aquatic life and festive cheer offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages. Take advantage of this spectacular event that adds an extra sparkle to Quebec City’s Christmas festivities.

🍁 Take part in Quebec’s Christmas festivities by visiting the Quebec Aquarium, which transforms into a captivating wonderland during the season!

25. Sleep in North America’s Only Ice Hotel

Experience a unique overnight adventure at the Hotel de Glace , North America’s only ice hotel, located just 10 minutes outside Quebec City. 

This extraordinary seasonal structure, rebuilt yearly using ice and snow, offers an unforgettable stay in its intricately designed and artistically carved rooms. It’s one of the coolest (literally) things to do in Quebec City in winter!

Rooms are expensive, but you can also visit with a guided tour if you can’t afford to stay overnight. Whether you stay or simply explore, the Hotel de Glace provides an unparalleled glimpse into the magic of Quebec’s frosty winter wonderland.

An aerial view of an iceberg with a rainbow in the sky. Water falls down from a cliff, this is the Montmorency Waterfall in Quebec during the winter season.

26. Frozen Montmorency Waterfall

A visit to Montmorency Waterfall in winter offers a breathtaking and unforgettable experience.

Just minutes from Quebec City, witness the majestic 83-meter-high waterfall (taller than Niagra Falls!) as it transforms into a spectacular frozen wonderland. 

Surrounded by snow-covered landscapes and glistening ice formations, the falls create a serene and enchanting atmosphere. 

Take the cable car or hike up the scenic trails to reach the suspension bridge, where you can admire the stunning panoramic views of the falls and the St. Lawrence River below. 

27. Warm Up in Quebec’s Thermal Spas

In December, visiting Quebec’s thermal spas offers a rejuvenating retreat from the winter chill. 

These luxurious havens provide a warm sanctuary amidst the snowy landscape, featuring soothing hot pools, steam baths, and Nordic-inspired spa treatments. 

Popular destinations such as Siberia Spa and Nordik Spa-Nature invite you to indulge in a relaxing hydrotherapy experience surrounded by nature’s beauty. 

Try the Nordic thermal tradition of transitioning from warm to cold pools for some great health benefits.

28. Valcartier Vacation Village

Valcartier Vacation Village , located 20 minutes north of Quebec City, is a must-visit winter destination for those exploring the region in December. 

This thrilling winter playground boasts more than 35 snow slides and slopes, catering to adventure-seekers of all ages and skill levels. 

For a magical skating experience, glide along the illuminated ice paths that wind through enchanting snowy landscapes. 

In the summer, Valcartier even becomes a water park! 

29. Le Monastère des Augustines

Le Monastère des Augustines, a historic gem nestled in the heart of Quebec City, offers a unique and revitalizing experience, just another reason why Visiting Quebec City in December is an excellent idea. 

This beautifully restored 17th-century monastery now serves as a wellness retreat, cultural center, and boutique hotel. 

Immerse yourself in serenity as you indulge in holistic spa treatments, yoga sessions, or meditation workshops, all designed to nourish your mind, body, and soul. The lunch is good here too! 

Take a moment to explore the on-site museum, which showcases the rich history of the Augustine Sisters and their contributions to healthcare. 

Le Monastère des Augustines provides a peaceful sanctuary amidst the bustling holiday season in Quebec City.

Quebec city in winter with a castle in the background. One of the best things to do in Quebec during December is to visit its majestic museums!

30. Take a Break from the Cold in the Museums of Quebec City and Montreal

Montreal boasts several must-see museums, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, featuring diverse artistic styles and periods. 

Immerse yourself in the city’s unique heritage at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, an archaeological site that uncovers Montreal’s origins. 

Don’t miss the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec in Quebec City, showcasing an impressive collection of historical and contemporary art. To glimpse the city’s past, visit the Musée de la Civilization, which explores the region’s fascinating history.

You can also discover the wonders of science and technology at the Montreal Science Centre. 

31. Ring in the New Year 

If you plan to visit Quebec in December, ringing in the New Year in the city is an unforgettable experience. 

Quebec City and Montreal both host vibrant celebrations featuring live music, outdoor festivities, and dazzling fireworks displays. 

For the ultimate New Year’s Eve experience in Quebec City, make your way to Grande Allée, the heart of the city’s vibrant dining and nightlife scene. This bustling avenue hosts the largest and most lively celebration, ensuring an unforgettable start to the new year!

New Year celebrations usually start a few days before December 31, so enjoy the party!

A group of people sledding down a snowy hill. Experience fun-filled adventures in the Quebec Winter Carnival in December.

Quebec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec)

The Quebec City Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec) is a 10-day carnival typically held in late January to mid-February and is a fun event for visitors of Quebec in winter. 

The city’s streets come alive with twinkling lights, ice sculptures, and snow-covered landscapes, setting the stage for a magical winter getaway. 

Tips for Traveling to Quebec in December

Dress warmly: Quebec’s winter temperatures can be quite cold. Be prepared with layers, including thermal wear, a waterproof and insulated coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Don’t forget warm socks and waterproof, insulated winter boots for comfortable walking.

  • Prepare your winter tires: If you plan to rent a car , ensure it’s equipped with winter tires, as they are mandatory in Quebec from December 1st to March 15th.
  • Check the weather: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for snow storms or extreme cold, which may impact travel plans.
  • Book accommodations and attractions in advance: December is a popular time for tourists, especially around the holidays. Make reservations to secure your preferred accommodations and guarantee entry to popular attractions.
  • Use public transportation: Take advantage of the reliable public transportation systems in Quebec City and Montreal, which can be more convenient than driving in snowy conditions.

Where to Stay in Quebec in December

These are my top picks for where to stay in Quebec when visiting in the winter.

A bed in a room with a brick wall. This is in Hotel Le priori, one of the best places to stay in Quebec in December

1. Hotel Le Priori

Hotel le Priori is a charming boutique hotel in architect Jean Baillairge’s house and is just a 2-minute walk from downtown Old Quebec. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers individually decorated rooms with exposed brick walls, Art Deco furnishings, and free Wi-Fi. The suites feature working fireplaces and bathtubs. 

🍁 Check for prices and availability!

A brick building with snow falling down at night. This is the Auberge Saint-Antoine one of the best places to stay in Quebec in December.

2. Auberge Saint-Antoine

Auberge Saint-Antoine is a luxury hotel in Quebec’s Old Port district, which sits by the Saint-Lawrence River and near Petit Champlain boutiques. The hotel features upscale rooms with free high-speed internet, minibars, coffee makers, goose-down duvets, pillows, and heated bathroom floors. Guests can enjoy the gym, relax with a massage, and explore the hotel’s archaeological exhibits. Chez Muffy offers French-Canadian cuisine for all meals, while Artefact Café serves light fare on-site.

A breakfast tray with croissants, fruit and juice. This is in Le Petit Hotel in Montreal.

3. Le Petit Hotel Montreal

Le Petit Hotel Montreal is a boutique hotel in the city’s historic center, just a block from Notre Dame Basilica, and features a European cafe. The modern rooms come with flat-screen TVs and hydromassage showers, and guests can enjoy a daily continental breakfast and room service from Le Petit Café. The hotel offers free 24-hour access to Hotel Nelligan’s gym, two blocks away, and provides complimentary bike and iPad rentals. The Montreal Museum of Modern Art is nearby, as well as the Montreal Botanical Garden.

A bed with white sheets and brown headboard in a room with a brick wall. This is in the Maison Sainte in Montreal, Canada.

4. Maison Sainte-Therese by Maisons & Co

Maison Sainte-Thérèse By Maisons & Co , featuring a terrace and free WiFi, is conveniently situated in Montreal, close to Clock Tower Beach, Place Jacques-Cartier, and Notre-Dame Basilica. Select units offer air conditioning and a seating area with a flat-screen TV or iPad. Nearby attractions include the Old Port of Montreal, the Convention Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The property is also just 14 km from Montreal-Saint-Hubert Airport, making it easily accessible for travelers.

Quebec in December FAQs

Is december a good time to visit québec.

Yes, December is a great time to visit Quebec, offering a magical winter experience. Quebec’s charm is truly captivating during this season with enchanting Christmas markets, light displays, events, and exciting winter sports. Just be prepared for cold weather and potential snowstorms!

What Is Québec Like In December?

Quebec in December is a winter wonderland featuring picturesque snow-covered landscapes, Christmas markets, and festive light displays. The season offers exciting winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, as well as indoor attractions like museums and galleries.

Is It Worth Going To Quebec City For Christmas?

Absolutely! Quebec City is a magical destination for Christmas, offering a charming European atmosphere, festive decorations, and Christmas markets. The historic Old Quebec district is especially picturesque with its snow-covered cobblestone streets and twinkling lights. Enjoy seasonal events, winter sports, and delicious local cuisine , making Quebec City a memorable and worthwhile Christmas destination.

Should I Go To Montreal In December?

Yes, Montreal in December offers a delightful winter experience with festive events, charming Christmas markets, and exciting winter sports. The city’s vibrant arts and culture scene and world-class dining options make it an ideal destination for a winter getaway.

What Should I Pack For Quebec In December?

For Quebec in December, pack warm clothing, including a heavy winter coat, waterproof boots, thermal layers, sweaters, scarves, gloves, and a hat. Bring insulated socks and comfortable shoes for walking on potentially icy surfaces. Hand-warmers are also a great idea!

What Is The Chance Of Snow In Quebec In December?

The chance of snow in Quebec in December is quite high, as it’s one of the coldest and snowiest months of the year. Also, snowfall is more frequent and intense in Quebec City compared to Montreal.

Wrap Up: Quebec in December

Quebec in December is nothing short of a winter wonderland, and despite the cold, you’ll find so many great things to do throughout the month!

Embrace the frosty weather, indulge in local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the culture and history that make this Canadian province so captivating in the winter. 

Whether you’re strolling through the Christmas markets, gliding on ice skates under the festive lights, or exploring world-class museums, Quebec’s winter spirit will surely warm your heart. 

So bundle up, brush up on your French, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Bon voyage et joyeuses fêtes!

✅ If you’re thinking about renting a car for your winter trip to Quebec, DiscoverCars has a huge selection and the most competitive prices!

More Fun Things to Do in Quebec:

  • Best Quebec White Water Rafting Tours
  • Quebec Dog Sledding Tours
  • Best Whale Watching in Tadoussac Quebec: Tour Reviews
  • Ultimate Scenic Quebec Road Trip Ideas and 2-Week Itinerary
  • Moving to Quebec from Ontario: Benefits, Costs & More
  • Moving to Ontario from Quebec: Costs, Benefits & More!
  • What is the Cost of Living In Montreal?
  • Living in Toronto vs. Montreal: Which City is Right for You?
  • Moving to Toronto from Montreal: Is it Worth it?
  • Honest Hotel Review: Manoir Chamberland in Montebello
  • Best Quebec Wine Tours: Ultimate Tasting Guide
  • Whale Watching in Quebec: 9 Best Tours
  • Best Quebec City Bike Tours
  • Best Quebec City Food Tours From A Canadian
  • Notre Dame Quebec: Ultimate Visitor’s Travel Guide
  • Quebec Hot Springs for Ultimate Relaxation this Winter
  • Best Spas in Quebec City For Ultimate Relaxation
  • Local’s Guide to Quebec in December: 31 Things to Do
  • Best Day Trips From Quebec City
  • Best Things to Do in Mont Tremblant in Summer

Canada Travel Planning Guide

🚑  Should I buy Canada travel insurance?

100% YES!  — Canada has “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. I recommend World Nomads – starting at just $5 a day!

💧 Can you drink the water in Canada?

Yes  — In all major cities in Canada, you can drink the tap water. There are very few, rural areas that you can’t. However, you should never drink river or lake water anywhere in the country! I recommend a Brita Water Bottle for long hikes and backcountry camping to stay safe and hydrated.

🚙💨  Is it safe to rent a car in Canada?

Yes  — Renting a car is a necessity in most of Canada! If you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, you’ll need to rent a car. ( Read more )

📲  Will my phone work in Canada?

Maybe  — Some American companies work in Canada, but many will not. If your phone doesn’t work in Canada, I recommend getting a Canadian SIM card so you can get around and stay in contact with loved ones. We don’t have a lot of free WIFI in Canada, so you’ll need your phone for maps.

🏩  What’s the best way to book my Canada accommodations?

My go-to for Canadian hotels is Booking.com . For hostels, I use Hostel World . If you want a home-y feeling, check out VRBO (which is cheaper and safer than Airbnb).

Or get free accommodations with Trusted Housesitters!

✈️  What’s the best site to buy Canada flights?

For finding cheap Canadian flights, I recommend  Skyscanner .

🎫  Do I need a visa for Canada?

Likely Not  — US, UK, and EU passport holders don’t need Canadian visas. However, some other countries do ( check here! ). And if you plan to stay for more than 4 weeks (an average tourist visa length), you will need to look into visas to live in Canada.

Nina Clapperton is the founder of Nina Out and About. She has lived in 18 countries in the past 10 years, explored more than 30 countries, and has done most of it solo. A Canadian native, she also shares her favourite things to do in the True North. She helps over 100,000 people per month plan their expat adventures and Canadian trips.

Want to move abroad, but don’t know how to start?

Get an expert’s tips & tricks, pick which country to move to – and do it.

travel to quebec city in december

Quebec City   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Preserved Light Photography | Getty Images

travel to quebec city in december

Best Times To Visit Quebec City

The best times to visit Québec City are June through September and December through February. During the summer and winter months, the city's social calendar is booked solid with festivals. Summertime is the most popular time to visit due to the warmer weather, but the Québécois relish winter's icy winds, protecting themselves from the cold weather with hefty parkas and plenty of coffee from a local cafe. The spring and fall shoulder seasons see fewer tourists because of the lack of special events, but that means travelers can take advantage of low rates as well as seasonal perks: Springtime is maple syrup season, while autumn dazzles with colorful foliage.

Weather in Quebec City

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

Find Flight and Hotel Deals

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Popular Times to Visit Quebec City

Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.

Explore More of Quebec City

Montmorency Falls Park (Parc de la Chute-Montmorency)

Things To Do

Auberge Saint-Antoine

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5 Things To Know Before Visiting Quebec City in December

travel to quebec city in december

In case you missed it, I recently returned home from celebrating my 30th birthday in Quebec City, Canada! When you have a mid-December birthday and your boyfriend says “Let’s take a trip,” you have two options: Flee the Midwestern cold for somewhere warmer, or lean into the winter weather by going somewhere even colder. Clearly, I chose option #2. So we set off for Quebec City with Porter Airlines .

But really though, Quebec City felt like the perfect place to spend a chilly pre-Christmas week. If you’re planning your own trip, though, there are a few things I think you’ll want to know in advance. So here’s my list of 5 things to know before you visit Quebec City in December!

1. IT WILL BE COLD

travel to quebec city in december

It’s Canada in December. It might seem like a no-brainer that it’s going to be cold, but I’m here to tell you that it’s going to be even colder than you think. With that in mind, be sure to bring your heaviest coat, waterproof or heavy-duty boots, gloves, scarves, hats… all of it. When we arrived in Quebec City, I believe the high for the day was 18 degrees. It didn’t get much warmer than that until the tail end of our trip, when we had a high of 35 that felt like a heatwave at that point.

Don’t even bother packing more than like 2 or 3 sweaters, because no matter how many photos you take, I promise your sweater will almost never be in any photos. Do make sure you pack your most photogenic coat, though. 😂

Also, the wind is really strong! Especially at wide-open areas like Dufferin Terrace and the Plains of Abraham. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to keep a small bottle of contact solution on you — the wind was blowing so strong that my contact lenses were constantly drying out and then I couldn’t see. Love that.

2. It might not even snow

travel to quebec city in december

When it’s that cold, it feels like you should at least be rewarded with some snow for your troubles. Right? Well unfortunately for us, we didn’t get any real snow the week we were there. Even our Uber driver on the way to the airport at 3:30 a.m. told us that, after living in Quebec City for 10 years, he’d never seen a December without snow before. Thanks a lot, global warming!

So it might feel like a little bit of a letdown when you arrive at what you thought would be a winter wonderland, but there’s no snow to be seen. Just remember that no one can control the weather, Jackie, and you’ll likely still see some flurries most days! Even though it doesn’t stick, it’s still pretty to see. By our last night in town, the snow was starting to finally fall.

Also, all of the holiday spirit that is on full display in Vieux Quebec and Petit Champlain will be enough to warm your Christmas-loving heart and forget about the lack of precipitation.

3. You can’t miss the Marché de No ë l Allemand

travel to quebec city in december

Germany and other European countries are famous for their Christmas markets . Whether you call it a Weihnachtsmarkt, Christkindlmarkt, Marché de Noël, or something else, what’s not to love about a collection of bright stalls selling food, mulled wine, and handicrafts?

Vieux Quebec boasts one of the best Christmas markets on this side of the Atlantic — spanning five sites from Place d’Youville to Dufferin Terrace. You’ll find plenty of classic Christmas market goodies like sausages, cheese samples, artisanal products, and gifts. And, of course, there’s the “Alpine Bar,” which serves vin chaud (mulled wine) and other drinks in a branded cup that will set you back $2 CAD until you return it and get your deposit back. (Unfortunately, there are no pretty glass mugs to add to your collection.)

The decorations are also top-notch! From life-sized Christmas pyramids, to an ice throne for Santa and mini stars strewn from stall to stall, you might think you’re actually in Germany.

4. Winter is Unpredictable

travel to quebec city in december

Some of the things you wanted to do during your trip might look different than you planned thanks to the unpredictability of a Canadian winter. For example, one thing I was looking forward to doing was riding the Toboggan Slide at Dufferin Terrace just outside the Fairmont Château . Unfortunately, it wasn’t open for the winter season yet, and there was no specific date it was scheduled to open. A few Google searches told me it opened on Wednesday, Dec. 15 in 2021, and Wednesday the 16th in 2020. So I was hopeful we’d be on track for Wednesday, the 14th, while we were there. But even by the end of that week, as we left, there was no information available about an imminent opening.

Also, one major attraction for those visiting Quebec City is Montmorency Falls in the nearby QC suburb of Beauport. At other times of year, the waterfall offers ziplining, cable car adventures, and hikes to the bottom of the falls. As you might be able to guess, none of these are options in the winter. But you will be rewarded with stunning views of a partially frozen waterfall and its surroundings if you’re brave enough to make the bus trek out to Beauport in the cold.

And, of course… there’s always the chance that something is going to go wrong with your flight. Like it did with ours! We were scheduled for a leisurely 11 a.m. departure from Quebec City’s airport on Friday of our trip. And on Wednesday night, we were surprised with text messages informing us that our flight had already been canceled. Air Canada rebooked us for the same flight the next day, but we wouldn’t have been able to stay that long, so we switched to a flight that left at 6 a.m. on Friday in the hopes of beating the incoming snow storm. By the time we made it to Montreal, where we had our layover, the storm was in full force and we were delayed for hours on the runway as our plane was de-iced.

5. It’s one of the most magical places to travel in December

travel to quebec city in december

Despite the potential for canceled flights, unpredictable weather, and the bitter cold… I can hardly think of anywhere better to visit in December if you’re ready to embrace the Canadian cold and holiday spirit. It may have been sub-freezing most of the time we were there, but the festive feelings and cozy vibes of the whole city lends itself to a magic that would be hard to replicate elsewhere.

Quebec City is the only place I’ve ever been that has real pine trees on each and every light pole in the city, each one decorated with twinkling lights. The only place I’ve been that had firepits surrounded by circles of chairs out in public spaces, inviting frozen families and groups of friends to stay awhile in the warmth of the fire. The only place I’ve been where I could be cozy at dinner, inside a restaurant eating rabbit poutine (at Le Lapin Sauté ), watching sparkling snow fall outside the window.

Yeah, maybe that’s too specific, and yeah, I obviously haven’t been everywhere. But on top of all that, December is actually one of the least popular months to visit Quebec City. So why not pack your warmest, marshmallow-iest coat and take advantage of having one of the world’s prettiest Christmas towns practically all to yourself?

Have I convinced to you to visit Quebec City in December yet? The cold of Canada in the winter is so worth it to see the city sparkle like it does! Let me know what you think in the comments.

travel to quebec city in december

Originally Published on December 30, 2022.

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Winter in Quebec City: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

RENAULT Philippe / Getty Images

Quebec City , Canada, thrives on tourism. So, even though temperatures in winter can dip well below zero, the historic city is still open for business with plenty to offer. Unlike Old Montreal , Quebec City's downtown is teeming with worldwide travelers between the months of December and March. They flock in droves to enjoy the province's skiing at world-class resorts, and then they stop off to experience the picturesque city in all its winter glory. 

Making an effort to get to Quebec City, and packing the bulky winter clothing it takes to endure it, sure pays off when you behold the beauty of the historic district all lit up for the holidays. Additionally, special winter events, including the world-famous ​ Quebec Carnival , ensures there is plenty to do to keep visitors busy in this city blanketed in snow.

Quebec City Weather in Winter

If you visit Quebec City between the end of November and the beginning of March, you will encounter plenty of snow and freezing cold weather. The annual snowfall here is 119 inches, most of which falls within this six-month window. Don't expect more than eight hours of daylight in December and January, but things get slightly better in February, with about nine hours of sunlight.

The coldest months of December, January, and February stay well below freezing, making November and March seem balmy in comparison, with highs of 41 and 33 degrees Fahrenheit (5 and 0.5 degrees Celsius), respectively. Still, don't be surprised if temperatures during your vacation dip down below the sub-zero mark, and it may feel even colder with wind-chill.

  • Average December temperatures: 25 F (minus 4 C) / 9 F (minus 13 C)
  • Average January temperatures: 18 F (minus 8 C) / 0 F (minus 18 C)
  • Average February temperatures: 21 F (minus 6 C) / 3 F (minus 16 C)

Kypros / Getty Images

What to Pack

No matter how prepared you might be, Quebec City tends to evoke a stunned look on tourists as they tremble across cobblestone streets wearing painfully inadequate clothing. A hoodie, jeans, and running shoes won't cut it here mid-winter. Packing essentials include insulated, waterproof boots that are comfortable enough to walk in, an insulated parka or down coat that hits well below the waist, a warm hat, gloves or mittens, long underwear (merino wool works best), sweaters, and winter socks.

If your trip to Quebec City includes skiing, don't forget your ski and snowboard gear, including warm and waterproof pants and a jacket, goggles, a helmet, and even sunglasses and sunscreen (the sun's reflection off the snow can result in a bad sunburn). 

Winter Events in Quebec City

The Quebec Winter Carnival is the city's biggest draw and takes place over three weeks in February. However, smaller events, like the German Christmas Market and the Aquarium's Festilumières, are not to be missed if you have kids, as kid-centric activities, games, and even a visit from Santa could be the highlight of your little one's vacation.

  • Visit Old Quebec a few weeks before Christmas for Quebec City's German Christmas Market . This traditional European market features vendors selling artisan gifts and German treats like bratwurst, mulled wine, and gingerbread. Kindermarkt, a dedicated area for kids, provides child-centric performances and activities, as well as an opportunity to visit Santa.
  • Head to the Aquarium du Québec for Festilumières , an outdoor display of 500,000 LED lights synchronized to music. This kid-friendly exhibit features marine animals, a slide, and an enchanted forest. Snow tubing and games also provide fun at this multiweek celebration that typically takes place in December and January.
  • The Quebec Winter Carnival is the biggest winter carnival in the world. Thousands of people head to Quebec to partake in the sub-zero merriment that takes place at various locations across the city. The carnival's authenticity is reflected in its programming that celebrates the city's rich history. Highlights include ice slides and mazes, dog sledding, a night parade, snow sculptures, gourmet treats, and carnival grog. An admission fee is paid once for access to weeks worth of February activities at several locations throughout the city.

Winter Travel Tips

  • Thousands of people arrange their travels around the Quebec Winter Carnival, making the month of February one of the busiest months to travel to Quebec City. That said, hotel and transportation rates can be high and reservations are suggested.
  • Quebec's fascinating and rich history is best discovered on foot and by an expert. Join a guided sightseeing tour to appreciate this extraordinary city.
  • Try ice skating at any one of the outdoor rinks or winding skating trails located in several parks throughout the city. Skates are often available to rent at reasonable rates. 
  • Make a point of venturing outside of the Old Quebec district for an authentic local feel. Foodies can find excellent, affordable restaurants throughout the city, as well. Just ask a local for their favorite suggestions.
  • Each year an ice slide opens at the back of the Chateau Frontenac along the Dufferin Terrace. For $2, you can grab a wooden toboggan to lug to the top. Then, climb on in and ride down the hill at speeds that will take your breath away.
  • Several downhill ski resorts are within an hour of Quebec City, with Mont-Saint Ann and Le Massif being the closest. Shuttles are available to and from the ski hills. 

Learn more about what to see and do by reading our guide to Quebec City's Top Attractions .

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imperfect idealist

Québec City Winter Itinerary: Things to Do + Where to Stay

Station Cadeau gift shop with a rich red and yellow exterior and wreaths

Québec City is the quintessential winter destination, offering beautiful snowscapes, quaint architecture, and cold-weather activities. Whether you’re visiting for a day or longer, here are some festive things to do, traditional foods to eat, and places to stay.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a small commission on any purchases, at no extra cost to you. This income helps me keep my blog running and is much appreciated!

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Québec City

1. visit the ice hotel.

The Hôtel de Glace is made entirely of ice and snow, making it an ethereal winter experience. To visit the hotel, you’ll have to venture about 30 minutes outside Québec City to the Valcartier Vacation Village, located in a more remote part of the region.

Each year, there are around 40 rooms in the Ice Hotel, with around 20 having a specially-sculpted design based on the annual theme. The 2021 theme is “Québec tales and legends.” In 2020, each room represented a previous year’s theme, and some of the standouts were the Jurassic Park, carnival, and jazz themed rooms.

While staying in the Ice Hotel will set you back 400+ CAD, you can visit for much cheaper; day passes are 23 CAD. If you’ll need transportation to the hotel, you can book a $55 tour from Québec City , which will pick you up in the old town. The “tour” is really just a bus ride there, and you can explore on your own (tickets to the Ice Hotel are included in the tour).

See my guide to visiting the Hôtel de Glace for more info.

Bright ice sculptures and an ice chandelier

2. Take a ride down the giant toboggan slide

The toboggan slide offers a stunning winter view of the famous Château Frontenac hotel, Dufferin Terrace, and St. Lawrence River.

The slide reaches speeds of up to 70km/hour (43mi/hour), making it exhilarating but not too intimidating. I personally didn’t experience that “stomach drop” that you’d typically feel during a roller coaster, so I found it more of a mild/moderate ride. Many kids and families were enjoying the ride as well.

Open from mid-December to mid-March, the toboggan costs around 4 CAD per person, with a pack of four tickets saving you a few bucks. You can have up to 4 people per toboggan, or go down solo.

view from the top of the toboggan slide with the Chateau Frontenac in the distance

3. Walk through Old Québec (Vieux-Québec)

Old Québec is split into two parts: the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville) . The Upper Town is a bit more modern, but still incredibly quaint. It’s where you’ll find the Château Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, old city walls, and colorful residences. There are many gift shops and both modern and traditional restaurants.

You can take the iconic Breakneck Stairs (Escalier Casse-Cou) down to the Lower Town, or take the funicular, which costs 3 CAD. Stroll through the Quartier Petit-Champlain, known for its local boutiques and particular-picturesque buildings. At the Place Royale, there’s a large Christmas tree and the oldest stone church in North American, Notre-Dame-de-Victoire.

Just a couple blocks away is the Instagram-famous Umbrella Alley (Rue de Cul-de-Sac). You’ll find more traditional restaurants and local shops nearby.

Chateau Frontenac in the snow in the distance

4. Go ice skating right by the old city walls

There’s nothing more festive and wintery than skating at an outdoor rink with a beautiful backdrop. In the Upper Town at Place D’Youville, you’ll find just that. Go skating during the day in the winter sun, or at night under the twinkling holiday lights. Make sure to reserve your one-hour slot online . Once you’re there, you can rent skates for 10 CAD.

Old Quebec city walls

5. Try traditional Québécois food

If you like sweets, you’ll love maple taffy (tire sur la neige), which is frozen maple syrup wrapped around a stick. They make the taffy right in front of you on beds of snow!

Another classic is maple sugar pie (tarte au sucre), but it’s unfortunately not vegan, though it is vegetarian. It’s kind of like a pecan pie without the pecans.

My personal favorite are maple cream cookies (surprisingly vegan!), which are two maple leaf-shaped cookies with maple cream sandwiched in-between.

For savory foods, poutine is probably the best-known dish. The fries drizzled with gravy and topped with cheese curds are sure to keep you warm and fill your stomach in the winter. I tried the vegan poutine at Le Chic Shack, and it wasn’t great, but there is also vegan poutine at Poutineville, so I’d recommend giving that a try instead.

6. Go snowshoeing or skiing

You can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing right in the city at the Plains of Abraham (Plaines d’Abraham). Entry to the park is free, but if you need to rent equipment , go to the skaters’ chalet. If you’d rather just walk in the snow, that’s also a possibility.

For a change of scenery, you can go to Jacques Cartier National Park for your wintertime activities. The park is 30 minutes from the city and features beautiful snow-capped mountains and evergreen trees. If you need transportation and equipment, consider booking an all-inclusive tour for $70 , which is led by an experienced guide.

7. Visit the Montmorency Falls

Frozen Montmorency Falls in the winter

Just 15 minutes from Québec City, the Montmorency Falls are even taller than Niagara Falls. In the surrounding park, you can go ziplining, go hiking, or do via ferrata. There’s a suspension bridge at the top of the falls, letting you see the power of the water up-close. You can also take a cable car ride . Entry to the park is a few dollars for parking, around $5 per adult.

To get to the park via public transport, take the 800 bus towards Beauport, and get off at Brideau. You will need to have cash if you want to buy the fare on the bus, or you can purchase tickets in advance at any point of sale in the city.

8. Experience the Winter Carnival

The Winter Carnival happens yearly in the first week of February. There are all kinds of activities, from axe throwing to tubing to music performances. Go to admire the ice castle, snow sculptures, and parades. Tickets cost 15 CAD during pre-sale and 25 CAD afterwards.

Where to Stay in Quebec City

Au Petit Hotel's cute red and yellow exterior

If you’re looking to rent an apartment, check out these well-rated options:

  • Condo in the Upper Town that sleeps up to 4 people
  • Condo in Old Québec with parking that sleeps up to 6 people

For hotels, here are some popular options:

  • Fancy: Fairmont le Château Frontenac (the famous castle-like hotel)
  • Moderate:  L’Adresse sur Grande-Allée Lofts (modern lofts near the Plains of Abraham)
  • Moderate/budget: Au Petit Hôtel (the cutest exterior, located in the Upper Town)
  • Budget: Hôtel du Nord (a bit further beyond Old Québec)

What to Pack or Bring

It’s extremely cold and snowy in the winter in Québec City—January’s average temperatures are a high of 18°F (-8°C) and a low of 3 °F (-16°C).

You’ll basically need all your typical warm-weather things. Warm, waterproof boots are especially a must with the thick snow. I just used my hiking boots, which worked well enough, though they weren’t as tall as I would’ve liked.

If you’re coming from a different country, it’s helpful to have a travel credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. If you need cash, I recommend the Wise free borderless account. It allows you to hold 50+ currencies and withdraw the equivalent of 100 USD from ATMs for free each month. If you don’t have the local currency in your account, they’ll draw from the currency that’s the cheapest for you and use the real exchange rate.

Depending on your current cell service provider, you’ll also likely need a Canadian prepaid SIM card if you want to use mobile data.

After you go, let me know what you think of the city! If you’ve been, feel free to suggest anything I missed in the comments. If you’re also planning to stop by Montreal, check out my other itinerary .

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One of the things I really regret is not having visited Quebec City when I lived in Montreal. I really would have loved to see it, but just never got around to it, unfortunately. Hopefully, I’ll make my way back to North America at some point.

I think you’d love it! I hope you’ll get the chance to visit Quebec City one day (and see me too hehe).

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Justin Plus Lauren

3 Days in Quebec City: The Ultimate Quebec City Itinerary

Posted on Published: February 27, 2024  - Last updated: March 9, 2024

Categories Blog , Canada , City Guides , Quebec , Quebec City , Travel Guides

Visiting Quebec City? Allow us to show you how to spend the perfect 3 days in Quebec City. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, Quebec City has a little something for everyone. I’m going to showcase our Quebec City 3 day itinerary so you can use it to help plan your trip.

Justin and I have visited Quebec City on multiple occasions during many different seasons. We’ve experienced Quebec City in the summer, fall and winter. While these travel plans can be used most of the year, please feel free to reference our post about the best things to do in Quebec City in the winter if you’re traveling between December and March.

This article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you.

Quebec City Itinerary 3 Days

Without further ado, here’s how to spend an incredible 3 days in Quebec City. You’ll have an overview on what to see and do each day. Also, I’ve made note of our favorite restaurants and possibilities for overnight accommodations, too.

Quick Guide to Quebec City

Here are some of the best tours, activities, attractions and lodging in Quebec City. If you’re planning your trip at the last minute and you’re looking for must do activities, look no further!

Best Tours and Activities in Quebec City

  • Quebec City Walking Tour
  • Guided Bike Tour of Quebec City
  • Half Day Trip to Montmorency Falls
  • Wine Tasting on Ile d’Orleans
  • Quebec City’s Nordic Spa

Best Hotels and Accommodation in Quebec City

Le Saint Pierre Auberge Distinctive

Quebec city marriott downtown, hilton quebec.

Table of Contents

3 Days in Quebec City Map

Want to see everything visually represented on a map? Here are all the attractions, restaurants, and hotels listed in this Quebec City itinerary. Feel free to reference this map as you plan your trip or as you’re venturing on your Quebec City trip.

Save this map to your Google maps for future reference. Click the little star next to the title so you can see this map as you’re traveling around Quebec City.

3 Days in Quebec City: Getting There

Chateau Frontenac and the St. Lawrence River

As we’re from the Toronto area, we’ve both driven and flown to Quebec City. It’s about an eight hour drive for us. Flying to Quebec City is always an excellent option as the city itself is very walkable and you won’t need a car. Here’s where you can search for the best rates on flights to Quebec City .

Like I mentioned, once you’re in Old Quebec, you won’t really need a car to get around. It’s possible to walk everywhere and there’s even a funicular that connects the upper and lower areas of Old Quebec.

If you do intend on seeing any attractions outside of Old Quebec City, this is where you’ll either need a car or you’ll need to book a tour with transportation. I’ve mentioned most of these activities on the third day of this 3 days in Quebec City itinerary.

I will mention tours as we go, but it is easiest to get around if you have your own car. It’s possible to rent a car, even if only for the day. At Discover Cars, you can compare car rental prices among many companies to find the best deals. We regularly use Discover Cars when we travel and love them. Find the best car rentals in Quebec City here.

3 Days in Quebec City: Day 1

Old Quebec Lower Town

For the first day of our three days in Quebec City, we explored the city and got oriented with our new surroundings. We spent most of our time in Old Quebec. Quebec City’s old town is divided into two sections: Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville).

Upper Town is above the escarpment on Cape Diamond (Cap Diamant) and Lower Town is below the escarpment. There is both a funicular and a staircase called the “Breakneck Stairs” that connect Upper Town to Lower Town in Old Quebec. Learn more about the interesting staircases of Quebec City .

For this Quebec City 3 day itinerary, we’re going to start in Lower Town of Old Quebec. This is where Justin and I started our adventure. It’s a fabulous first impression of Quebec City as this is the oldest, most historic, and arguably, the most beautiful area.

If you love guided tours, I recommend familiarizing yourself with Quebec City by taking a walking tour. This is a great introduction to the city and allows you to learn about the city from a knowledgeable guide. Check out this Quebec City walking tour .

Place Royale

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church

Place Royale is a historic plaza that’s home to the famous Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church. Most notably, Place Royale is where French Civilization started in North America. The square itself is very photogenic with lots of brightly painted doors and windows.

In the summer months, there are window baskets bursting with colorful flowers. During the winter, there’s a light dusting of snow everywhere, holiday decorations, and a Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza.

Be sure to take a peek inside the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church. It’s a small Roman Catholic church, built from 1687 and 1723 and restored in 1816. This church is ornately decorated inside, and there’ s a small souvenir shop as well. I also recommend enjoying a coffee on the patio or doing some shopping in this area.

If you’re visiting in the summer, it’s also possible to admire exhibits from the Passages Insolites outdoor art exhibition around Lower Town. These art installations will be around Place Royale, Quartier Petit Champlain and beyond.

Quartier Petit Champlain

Quartier Petit Champlain

Just a little beyond Place Royale, Quartier Petit Champlain is a very picturesque and popular neighborhood in Lower Town. It’s one of the most popular shopping streets with lots of local souvenir shops and treats.

It’s one of the most expensive places to shop because it’s so pretty and popular, so expect to pay a premium for some items. However, there are a few shops with unique items crafted by local artisans that you can’t find anywhere else.

Aside from the shops, there are a few small parks and some intriguing murals in Quartier Petit Champlain. When we spent 3 days in Quebec City, we walked through both Quartier Petit Champlain and Place Royale quite a few times.

I recommend visiting these popular tourist attractions earlier in the morning or in the evening because they will be most crowded in the afternoon. Now, it’s time to venture to the upper section of Old Quebec. Care to ride the funicular or walk up the Breakneck Stairs?

Ride the Funicular

Quebec City Funiculaire

I suggest riding the funicular up and taking the stairs on the way down. Be prepared to pay cash only for the funicular ride. It costs $5 for one ride and they only accept cash. There are no advance tickets, simply pay when you arrive.

The funicular is free of charge for wheelchair users and children under 46″ tall. It also accommodates strollers and pets. Please check the funicular official website for the latest details regarding opening times and prices.

Dufferin Terrace and the Chateau Frontenac

Dufferin Terrace and the Chateau Frontenac

Once you reach the top, you’ll come across the iconic Chateau Frontenac , a famous hotel in the city. It is thought to be the most photographed hotel in the world, so why not join in on the fun?

It’s possible to hear musicians and singers performing on the boardwalk, Dufferin Terrace. If you’re interested, you can walk inside the Chateau Frontenac or even have a drink at the bar if you’re not staying there.

Notre Dame de Quebec Cathedral-Basilica

Notre Dame de Quebec Cathedral-Basilica

Though we aren’t religious, we stopped to admire the architecture and decor of the Notre Dame de Quebec . It’s the oldest parish in North America, north of Mexico. There are lavish gold decorations and beautiful stained glass windows inside the cathedral. There is also a courtyard and a garden on the grounds of the church, too.

We also had the rare opportunity to pass through the Holy Door. The Holy Door of Quebec City is the only holy door found outside of Europe, and one of only seven holy doors worldwide. Quebec City’s Holy Door was established in 2013 during the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Notre-Dame de Québec parish. It will be sealed after December 8th, 2024.

Fortifications of Quebec

Fortifications of Quebec

As we walked up Rue Saint-Jean, we immediately noticed the gates and fortifications of Quebec City . On this Quebec City 3 day itinerary, you must see the fortifications of Quebec City and walk the walls if you can. This is one of the most unique historical attractions that makes this Canadian city so special.

Quebec City often feels more like a European city, and this contributes to the European vibes for sure. Quebec City is the only remaining walled city in North America, north of Mexico. It’s one reason why Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fortifications of Quebec

Starting at Porte Saint-Jean, we climbed up the stairs and walked along the old wall, passing over the city streets below. We walked above a couple of other old city gates until we eventually reached the Citadel. There are ceremonial guards and a museum to explore.

There’s also a changing of the guards ceremony that takes place daily during the summer months at 10:00am. We missed this daily ceremony, although you may want to fit it into your travel plans during your 3 days in Quebec City.

Observatoire de la Capitale

Observatoire de la Capitale

If you want to see a view of Quebec from one of the highest points in the city, take a trip up the elevator to the Observatoire de la Capitale . We spent about an hour here to fully soak up those 360 degree panoramic views. We also watched short videos about the history of Quebec.

There’s also some historical details and mementos about the Quebec Winter Carnival, including the world famous mascot, Bonhomme. This is a great attraction to visit in all seasons. For details about opening hours and prices, please take a look at their official website .

Parliament Building

Parliament Building Quebec City

The Quebec Parliament Building is very close to the Observatoire de la Capitale. We explored the exterior of the Parliament Building and its beautiful gardens. It’s a very captivating building with a variety of statues on the building itself, honoring important historical figures.

If you’re interested to see the inside of the parliament building, it’s possible to book a guided tour in French or English of the National Assembly of Quebec (you can also reserve a Spanish tour in advance). The tours are 75 minutes in length and they are free. Be sure to book your tour in advance and arrive 30 minutes before your tour begins.

Governors’ Promenade

Governors' Promenade

From the Citadel, we walked along the edge of the Plains of Abraham until we reached a lengthy boardwalk between the fortification wall and the escarpment overlooking the St. Lawrence River. This boardwalk is called the Governors’ Promenade and it consists of many stairs and fantastic views.

You can spend a little more time at the Plains of Abraham before tackling the Governors’ Promenade if you choose. It’s a large park that I’d liken to Central Park in New York City or High Park in Toronto. While historic battles took place at the Plains of Abraham, it’s now a huge green space in the city where you can go for a walk or enjoy a picnic.

Back to the Governors’ Promenade, it’s a lengthy boardwalk that connects the Citadel/Plains of Abraham to the Dufferin Terrace. I suggest starting at the Citadel, so it’s mostly a downhill trek down many flights of stairs (otherwise, you’ll be walking up all of those stairs!).

Regardless, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the St. Lawrence River from an elevated perspective up on Cap Diamant. Eventually, you’ll be back where you started in Upper Town at the Chateau Frontenac/Dufferin Terrace. We made our way back down to Lower Town.

Coffee Break at Les Cafes du Soleil

Les Cafes du Soleil

Need a little caffeine boost after all that walking? We decided it was time for a mid-afternoon coffee break. While there are tons of chain coffee shops (yes, please enjoy the Tim Hortons if you don’t have one in your hometown), we always try to seek out independent coffee shops on our trips.

We ventured over to Les Cafes du Soleil in Lower Town of Old Quebec. It’s a quaint little coffee shop with only a small seating area for guests. Their coffee is absolutely delicious and definitely geared towards coffee lovers. There are coffee beans sourced from various coffee regions all over the world. I enjoyed relaxing and unwinding there after a busy day in the city.

Ferry to Levis

Ferry to Levis

Taking the ferry round-trip to Levis and back is another great way to unwind at the end of the day. You’ll be able to witness the beauty of Quebec City from a new vantage point.

The ferry offers stunning views of Old Quebec, Cap Diamant, and the Chateau Frontenac. It takes approximately an hour to drift across to Levis and back. The ferry ride is one of the most inexpensive activities in Quebec City at $3.95 one way.

Besides the gorgeous views, it’s great to feel the fresh breeze off the river after walking around on a hot, summer day. Please consult the official Quebec City-Levis ferry website for the latest schedule and fare details.

3 Days in Quebec City: Day 2

Upper Town Old Quebec

It’s always good to factor in rainy day activities while traveling. It’s bound to happen, right? Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do indoors in Quebec and these were on our list anyway. I suggest saving these activities for the day when it’s most likely to rain.

There are so many great outdoor activities in Quebec, and you want to save the sunny days for those ones. Even if it doesn’t rain, you’ll want to check out these wonderful indoor attractions in Quebec City.

Musee de la Civilisation

This was an easy choice for us: the Musee de la Civilisation was right across the street from our hotel in Lower Quebec. I suggest either visiting this museum or the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec (fine art museum) during your 3 days in Quebec.

At the Civilization Museum, there was a powerful exhibit on display called Haiti in Extremes that showcased the works of Haitian artists. These expressions of creativity highlighted themes such as death and life, and living with the struggles during natural catastrophes, harsh living conditions, poverty, and political unrest.

There are also permanent installations about the history of Quebec at the museum. When you plan your visit, take a look at the museum’s website to see if there are any temporary exhibitions that catch your attention. Regardless, this is a great museum to check out if you’re a fan of history, old civilizations, or learning more about Quebec City’s past.

Street Art and Murals in Quebec City

Quebec City fresco mural

Are you a fan of graffiti and street art? First, don’t miss the historic fresco painted on the wall of Maison Soumande on rue Notre-Dame. It’s next to Place Royale, so you can easily add this one onto your first day in Quebec City.

There are other places to view street art in Quebec City , too. We stumbled upon some graffiti and street art beneath a highway overpass. Walk along Rue Saint-Vallier E as you approach the Saint-Roch neighborhood to admire this graffiti for yourself.

You’ll likely come across even more murals in Quebec City as you explore both Old Quebec and the areas just outside of Old Quebec.

Coffee Break at Nektar Cafeologue

Nektar Cafeologue

Nektar Cafeologue is one of those coffee shops where you feel like you could really make yourself at home. There are many places to sit, and many people hunched over their laptops working on personal projects.

It’s a great place to gather with your travel buddies. We rested our tired legs after walking all over the city with some delicious coffee. This is also one of the first places in Quebec City to offer plant-based milk for lattes and espresso beverages, so it has a special place in my heart.

Erico Chocolaterie

Erico Chocolaterie

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to stop by Erico Chocolaterie for a scoop of ice cream (or in my case, vegan soy chocolate ice cream) and some chocolates. It’s a “creative chocolate shop and chocolate museum”, although the main feature is the chocolate shop.

J.A. Moisan

This is the oldest grocery store in North America, so we had to take a peak inside. There were a variety of interesting things for sale, although nothing that I haven’t seen elsewhere at home. I personally love visiting grocery stores when I travel, how about you?

Perhaps if you are visiting Canada or Quebec from overseas, this store may be more interesting or appealing to you. You might be able to find things like maple syrup and other typically Canadian items for less money elsewhere, though they did have a great collection of tasty treats.

Morrin Centre

Morrin Centre

The Morrin Centre is a must see attraction in Quebec City. Definitely include this one on your Quebec City 3 day itinerary, even if you aren’t a huge fan of tourist attractions. This one is unlike any that we’ve visited elsewhere.

The Morrin Centre is Quebec City’s first prison, English college, English cultural center and English library. The building has such a fascinating history and the guided tour lasts about an hour. We learned a lot about the history of Quebec City from our guide interwoven with details about the Morrin Centre.

Place Royale and La Pizz for the Patio

La Pizz Quebec City

After our time at the Morrin Centre, we walked back down to Old Quebec’s Lower Town to Place Royale. We chose a little restaurant with a lovely patio (La Pizz) and ordered a pitcher of sangria to savor.

It’s a fabulous place to relax, chat and people watch. Thankfully, it had stopped raining by that point, too! I highly recommend stopping for a meal, a drink, or a snack as you can’t beat stopping on a patio in Place Royale in the middle of all the action.

An Evening Stroll in Old Quebec

Place Royale in the evening

As day became night, we went for a short walk around Place Royale, Quartier Petit Champlain, and around the Notre Dame de Quebec in Upper Town. Quebec City has an entirely different vibe at night once most of the tourists have left for the day. It is very quiet and peaceful.

Quebec City is extremely safe, so you don’t have to worry about wandering around when it gets dark outside. Also be forewarned: many restaurants are closed after 9:00pm, which seems very early to me (particularly in Lower Town). Be sure to eat before 9:00pm or check the restaurant hours.

3 Days in Quebec City: Day 3

Montmorency Falls

It’s time for the third day of this Quebec City 3 day itinerary. Since we drove to Quebec City from Toronto for this trip (about an eight hour drive), we had the freedom to drive outside of the city.

If you’re interested in visiting any of the below attractions but you don’t have a car, I make some suggestions within the individual blog posts about each attraction about how to get there. Renting a car is a good idea, too.

These destinations are home to some of the gorgeous natural locations outside of Quebec City. Montmorency Falls and Ile d’Orleans are not far from Quebec City at all. In fact, Montmorency Falls is still within Quebec City itself. If you love nature, waterfalls, or quaint countryside, be sure to check out these beautiful gems.

Ile d’Orleans

Ile d'Orleans

Ile d’Orleans is an island just outside of Quebec City across the St. Lawrence River. It is thought of as the Cornucopia of Quebec as the people rely on farming traditions to sell fresh produce, preserves, wine, and more.

We spent a few hours here circling the island to view beautiful scenery and taste the fresh fruits and veggies. Many people ride their bikes around the perimeter of Ile d’Orleans.

Driving a car around Ile d’Orleans allows you to spend half a day on the island while seeing most of its sights. We stopped for lunch here and sampled wine and fresh produce on our ventures around the island.

Don’t have access to a car? This guided tour includes transportation to Ile d’Orleans from Quebec City, as well as multiple stops at wineries around the island.

Canyon Sainte-Anne

Canyon Sainte-Anne

If you love waterfalls, you will love Canyon Sainte-Anne . About a half hour away from Quebec City in the town of Beaupre, Canyon Sainte-Anne offers scenic hiking trails and incredible views of a spectacular canyon from multiple positions, including a bridge that’s suspended across the gorge.

Spend a couple of hours at Canyon Saint-Anne hiking around all of the trails and walking across the suspension bridges. It’s a little bit of a drive outside of the city, but it’s one of the best day trips from Quebec City.

Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls

While we elected to visit Montmorency Falls on following morning before we drove home from Quebec City, you can fit it into your day after visiting Canyon Sainte-Anne. If you want to visit all three places in one day, make sure that you get an early start to the day. I don’t want you to feel too rushed!

It’s also possible to reach Montmorency Falls by bicycle or public transportation. It is a breathtaking waterfall that’s even higher than Niagara Falls. If there’s one day trip from Quebec City that you should take, it’s a trip to Montmorency Falls.

Montmorency Falls

We spent at least a couple of hours there, witnessing this beautiful waterfall from up above and down below. There’s a cable car that will transport you from the top to the base of the falls. Walk across the suspension bridge at the top, and view the waterfall from multiple vantage points from down below.

Don’t have a car? Take this tour to Montmorency Falls that includes a bonus stop at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre. Not only will you see this beautiful waterfall, but you’ll also visit the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and Quebec City’s countryside / Beaupre Coast.

Cycling along the River in Quebec City

Cycling in Quebec City

If you’re looking for more things to do in Quebec City, I suggest cycling along the river for an hour or two. While we borrowed bicycles from our hotel (Hotel 71), there are several places where you can rent bikes in Quebec City. Pre-book your bike rental so you don’t need to figure it out when you arrive.

There are many bike paths throughout the city so you can do a self-guided tour. If you prefer bike tours, it’s possible to book a guided bike tour in historic Old Quebec that includes bike rentals.

3 Days in Quebec City: Restaurants and Dining

Throughout your 3 days in Quebec City, you’ll be looking for the best restaurants and dining options. As we follow a vegan diet, we found all of the best places to accommodate a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle in Quebec City.

For a full listing, take a look at our Quebec City vegan guide . Here are a few of our top picks, even if you don’t follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Le Monastère des Augustines

Le Monastère des Augustines

The restaurant at this  Quebec City monastery  is a hidden gem. Le Monastere des Augustines is a hotel, wellness center, museum, shop and restaurant. You don’t need to stay at the hotel or frequent the wellness centre to dine at the restaurant, though I recommend checking out the museum while you’re here.

The restaurant at Le Monastere des Augustines focuses on healthy, fresh, and organic meals. There’s always a vegan and vegetarian option for a main course. Your meal includes unlimited trips to the salad bar, which is completely vegan.

Chez Victor

Chez Victor

Chez Victor  is a gourmet burger restaurant in Quebec City that’s been an institution since 1991. When we visited Quebec City, there were four locations. Now, there are several locations in Quebec City and two in Levis across the river. There’s even a Chez Victor food truck!

There are three vegan burgers: Le Veganator (seitan patty), Le Verguez (vegetable patty), and Le Champoulet Frit (fried mushrooms). They’ve also introduced a vegan poutine to the menu since we last visited, as well as a vegan chocolate cake.

Don Végane

Don Vegane  is Quebec City’s first vegan restaurant. This beautiful restaurant is the perfect place to meet your friends or go for a date night. There are a variety of starters and main courses that will tempt every palate.

To start, choose from tostadas, Caesar salad, dumplings, panko cauliflower or a Thai soup. For the entree, try the bibimbap, spaghetti Bolognese, beet tartar, mushroom risotto, curry masala or others. There are also plant-based desserts and a wide array of cocktails and mocktails.

3 Days in Quebec City: Where to Stay

We’ve had the opportunity to stay at four different hotels in Quebec City: two in Upper Town and two in Lower Town. Justin and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at all four hotels, although the two in Lower Town had the most character out of them all. We’ll provide a brief overview of all four so you can decide accordingly.

Le Saint Pierre Auberge Distinctive

Le Saint Pierre Auberge Distinctive is an enchanting boutique hotel that will make your stay extra special. It’s likely our number one hotel choice for this Quebec City 3 day itinerary.

This property feels like its straight out of Europe as it’s inside a beautiful, historic building. I really loved the exposed brick walls, and there are so many fascinating details about the room that are original to the structure.

BOOK YOUR STAY  |  READ MORE REVIEWS

Hotel 71

Hotel 71 is almost next door to Le Saint Pierre Auberge in Old Quebec’s Lower Town. The building itself is an old architectural gem, once home to the National Bank of Canada. However, the design and decor of Hotel 71 has a modern flair.

We adored the contemporary elegance and the views of the St. Lawrence River from our room. It’s also wonderful to always have access to delicious coffee, both in the room and downstairs in the public seating area.

Quebec City Marriott Downtown

Quebec City Marriott Downtown is located in Old Quebec’s Upper Town, and it’s a fabulous place to stay when spending an extended weekend in Quebec City. It’s right outside Place D’Youville at the Saint Jean gate of the fortifications.

This is an ultra modern hotel in the middle of it all. You can easily walk to all major attractions from here. There’s also a restaurant on site, as well as a fitness center.

BOOK YOUR STAY | READ MORE REVIEWS

Hilton Quebec

Hilton Quebec , also in Upper Town of Old Quebec, is in the perfect vacation for this Quebec City 3 day itinerary. It’s a very modern hotel with many amenities, including a gym and a heated outdoor pool.

One of my favorite parts of the Hilton Quebec was the impressive lounge on the 23rd floor. Relax with a coffee here during the day or enjoy a meal or a cocktail at night. Regardless, the views of the city are some of the best you’ll see!

3 Days in Quebec City in Winter

Justin and I have been fortunate to visit Quebec City in late November and February, enjoying the holiday season in Quebec City as well as winter celebrations. Justin and I attended the thrilling ATSX ice cross competition (formerly known as Red Bull Crashed Ice ), which doesn’t come to Quebec City every year (but definitely check it out when it does!).

There are so many reasons to visit Quebec City in the winter, including events and festivities. Quebec City looks so beautiful with a dusting of snow; it’s pure magic. It’s truly one of my favorite times of year to visit. Here’s how to plan your perfect Quebec City winter itinerary .

Quebec City Christmas Market

Quebec City Christmas Market

If you’re visiting at the end of November through December, you absolutely must check out the Quebec City Christmas Market . It’s the best holiday market that I’ve visited in Canada, hands down.

The Quebec City Christmas Market is an authentic German market with delicious food, mulled wine, and vendors selling traditional handicrafts. It’s a fun event for the whole family.

Stay at the Ice Hotel

Hotel de Glace

Another amazing reason to visit Quebec City in the winter months is an opportunity to spend the night at the ice hotel. Hotel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America, and it’s a bucket list adventure that you should do at least once in your lifetime.

There’s nothing quite like sleeping on an ice bed, drinking at the ice bar, and then there’s the question…where do you go to the bathroom? Read all of the insider details of our stay at Quebec’s Ice Hotel .

Go Tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier

Village Vacances Valcartier

The ice hotel is part of a larger complex called Village Vacances Valcartier , which is the ultimate winter playground. There are tons of tubing hills where we had so much fun.

You can also partake in other winter festivities, like rolling maple syrup taffy in snow. Check out how we had a blast and felt like kids again at Village Vacances Valcartier.

Attend Carnaval de Quebec

Carnaval de Quebec

And the ultimate reason to visit Quebec City in the winter? The Quebec Winter Carnival , of course! Rub shoulders with the world famous mascot, Bonhomme, and participate in a variety of winter festivities.

There’s an ice castle, ice sculptures, a toboggan hill outside the Chateau Frontenac, a parade, and all sorts of other celebrations of winter. If you are looking to embrace winter, you’ll have to schedule your Quebec City 3 day itinerary during the Quebec Winter Carnival.

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Here's the best way to spend 3 days in Quebec City. We list the best attractions, restaurants & hotels after visiting Quebec City many times.

Lauren is the full-time travel blogger and content creator behind Justin Plus Lauren. She started Justin Plus Lauren in 2013 and has travelled to 50+ countries around the world. Lauren is an expert on vegan travel as one of the very first vegan travel bloggers. She also focuses on outdoor adventure travel, eco and sustainable travel, and creating amazing travel itineraries for cities and small towns.

Saturday 18th of November 2023

What a terrific review. I am thinking in spending three days in Quebec during the Xmas holiday. Your guide provides me with a good tour at hand. Thank you!

Lauren Yakiwchuk

Monday 20th of November 2023

Thanks so much, Beatriz! You might be interested in our guide to visiting Quebec City over Christmas, too! Here it is: https://justinpluslauren.com/quebec-city-christmas/

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

hi there, thanks so much for your gear review of Quebec City. it will help me out a lot next year.

Wendy Frankel

Thursday 7th of April 2022

Thank you so much for your detailed list of things to see. It really helped us outline our trip. Can you add additional locations for great ice cream!!

Happy you found it helpful! We really enjoyed the ice cream at Erico Chocolatier when we visited.

Wednesday 10th of April 2019

Hopefully I can make a trip there this summer to check out all these spots!

Wednesday 30th of November 2016

What a detailed itinerary! My girlfriend and I will be visiting the city in December and this guide is super helpful in giving us some ideas on what to check out.

I especially loved your article about the stairs and the funicular as well. Can't wait to explore the city!

Thanks guys!!

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Katie's Bliss

A Nashville lifestyle blog covering affordable fashion, baby finds, home decor and more

travel to quebec city in december

Oh Quebec City! I’d had this magical place on my bucket list for a few years and I’m happy to say that it 100% lived up to my expectations. Talk about a winter wonderland! Carter and I took a little holiday-themed girl’s trip last week and had the best time  staying at the beautiful  Fairmont Le Château Frontenac   and exploring Old Quebec City. It was a short and sweet two night trip, but we still left feeling like we saw so much and got a major fill of Christmas cheer. If you’re looking for a charming winter destination to visit on your next trip, I highly recommend Quebec City!

Quebec City December Travel Guide

OUTFIT DETAILS //  Down Parka  | Sweater | Skinny Jeans | Boots | Plaid Scarf | Saint Laurent Bag |  Similar Beanie  | Knit Socks | Gloves

QUEBEC CITY DECEMBER TRAVEL GUIDE

What to pack.

If you’re planning a trip to Quebec City in the winter you need to pack warm clothing. I repeat. You need you pack warm clothing. The essentials absolutely include a down parka and weatherproof snow boots that are suitable for below freezing temperatures. It was in the 20s my first day in Quebec City, but by the next morning it had dropped down to the 10s and the following day was a balmy 7 degrees.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel

OUTFIT DETAILS // Abercrombie Sherpa Parka | Grey Sweater | Leggings | Sorel Boots | Similar Beanie | Fringe Scarf

Beyond a coat and boots you’ll need all the winter accessories: a warm hat that covers your ears, gloves, scarf and very thick socks (I layered 2 pairs and my toes were still cold!) I included details on a few of the exact outfits I wore later on in the post, but below you’ll find some of my cold weather clothing recommendations. These are the boots I wore most of the trip and I can’t recommend them enough ! I also am obsessed with my down winter parka .

WINTER PARKAS

COLD WEATHER ACCESSORIES

SWEATERS & PANTS

where to stay

FAIRMONT LE CHATEAU FRONTENAC

If you’re visiting Quebec City there’s no way you can miss the  Fairmont Le Château Frontenac . This gorgeous castle-like hotel is conveniently located within the city walls of Old Quebec making it the perfect place to stay if you plan to explore on foot. While the hotel has historic roots, it’s been completely restored so you can expect all the modern amenities and level of service you’d find at any 4-star luxury resort. Carter and I shared a Deluxe City View room and could not have been more comfortable. I don’t think I’ve ever slept in such a cozy hotel bed!

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel

The  Fairmont Le Château Frontenac  is BIG. There are over 600 guest rooms so you truly feel like you’re staying in a large castle (or you’re a student at Hogwarts :P) As December is one of the most popular months for tourism in Quebec City, the hotel was at full capacity while we were there, but it really didn’t feel crowded or congested. To be honest I actually enjoyed seeing so many other travelers and families visiting for holiday-themed trips with their kiddos.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel

As you can see from my photos, everything about the hotel was so enchanting from the outer architecture to the elegant interiors seen in the lobby and restaurants. It’s elevated setting also makes for some incredible views of the surrounding city and St. Lawrence River. Can you imagine living here?

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel

Other than the Uber we took to and from the airport, we didn’t have any need for a vehicle during our time in Quebec City. It’s very walkable and there are many shops, restaurants and Christmas markets within a 5-10 minute walk of the hotel. I would just note that since the hotel is located in an elevated area of Old Quebec, you will have to tackle walking up and down a significant amount of stairs to reach  Quartier Petit Champlain and some of the other areas of Old Quebec near the river. If that doesn’t sound too appealing to you or you’re traveling with a grandparent or kiddos, there is the Funicular (a cable car) that you can ride up and down the hill for $3 one way.

Quebec City December Travel Guide

OUTFIT DETAILS // Wide Leg Pants | Knit Bodysuit | Black Pumps | Saint Laurent Bag  |  Watch | David Yurman Bracelets |  Lipstick

day 1 itinerary

LUNCH: La Buche

DINNER: Lapin Sauté

SIGHTSEEING: Quartier Petit Champlain Quebec City toboggan slide Quebec City boardwalk Rue Sous le Fort (street for good photo opp)

Quebec City December Travel Guide

OUTFIT DETAILS // Abercrombie Puffer Coat | Plaid Shirt | Distressed Jeans |  Boots | Beanie | Mittens

We wanted to make the most of our first day, so we booked an early morning flight that got us to Quebec City and checked into our room by noon. We had a connection Montreal, but other than it was super easy getting there from New York. We were famished by the time we settled in so the first thing we did was head straight to lunch at La Buche . It was just down the street from the hotel and we ordered all the fried things. I also couldn’t resist trying La Buche’s famous bloody mary. SO tasty.

Quebec City December Travel Guide

From there we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the hotel grounds checking out the shops and streets in  Quartier Petit Champlain , the Quebec City boardwalk  and the city’s epic Quebec City toboggan slide (that sadly wasn’t open for the season yet.) Everywhere you looked was decorated with garland and Christmas lights so we were fully entertained just walking for a few hours taking pictures.

Quebec City December Travel Guide

There were even a few pop up fire pits and sitting areas where you could stop to warm up. At one we even met Santa Claus! For an awesome photo opp head towards the river and to the end of  Rue Sous le Fort and look back. You’ll see a gorgeous view of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the Funicular cablecar and the streets of lower Old Quebec.

Quebec City December Travel Guide

After taking a break back at the hotel later that afternoon to wash up, we headed back down to Quartier Petit Champlain for our dinner reservation at Lapin Sauté . The restaurant is located on the cutest street and has the most charming exterior– very photogenic! The temperature had dropped significantly after sunset so the warm flaky rabbit pot pie I ordered really hit the spot.

Quebec City December Travel Guide

day 2 itinerary

BREAKFAST:  Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

LUNCH:  bites at the Quebec City German Christmas Market hot chocolate break at Café La Maison Smith

DINNER: cocktails + bites at Bar 1608 dinner at  Bistro Le Sam *both spots located inside Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel

SIGHTSEEING: Quartier Petit Champlain Place Royal Notre-Dame-des-Victoires German Christmas Market Boutique de Noel de Quebec

travel to quebec city in december

OUTFIT DETAILS // Abercrombie Puffer Coat | Plaid Shirt | Distressed Jeans | Plaid Scarf |  Boots | Beanie | Mittens

Despite getting in a lot of exploring on our first day, we kicked off day two bright and early because we wanted to get up and about before the streets became full with other tourists. It was even snowing that morning too, which made the entire experience that much more magical (and the early 7AM alarm totally worth it.)

Quebec City December Travel Guide

We headed down towards Quartier Petit Champlain (I mean, it’s just too pretty!) and also checked out nearby Place Royal and the surrounding cobblestone streets. One landmark that you should definitely pass by is  Notre-Dame-des-Victoires , a small Roman Catholic church and one of the oldest churches in North America. It’s located in a cute cobblestone square with lots of little shops and cafes. Highly recommend grabbing a hot cocoa from nearby  Café La Maison Smith and taking it all in! 

Quebec City December Travel Guide

After our morning adventures we stopped back at the hotel for a very indulgent and big late breakfast. Ugh I LOVE a good buffet and the one at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac was heavenly. Due to our late-ish breakfast we skipped having a sit down lunch that afternoon and instead just grabbed a few small bites (aka candy and hot wine) throughout the afternoon as we explored Quebec City’s charming German Christmas Market . The temperature dropped to the teens as the day progressed so we were happy to discover the market was located in the upper area of town nearby our hotel (the stairs down to the lower parts of Old Quebec were NO JOKE.)

Quebec City December Travel Guide

OUTFIT DETAILS //  Sweater | Skinny Jeans | Boots | Plaid Scarf | Saint Laurent Bag |  Similar Beanie  | Knit Socks | Gloves

I also couldn’t resist stopping in the famous Boutique de Noel de Quebec for a few Christmas ornaments. It’s one of the most famous holiday decor shops in the city and was basically Christmas heaven. I always love to get an ornament or two from any place I travel and there was no shortage of good finds in the shop.

Quebec City December Travel Guide

So I’ll be honest. By the time the sun went down at 4PM we were exhausted. Exploring on foot all day is tiring in itself, but add freezing temps and snow… SO much harder. We had originally planned to find a restaurant in town for dinner, but decided to stay in and try two of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac’s dining options. The first spot we headed was the gorgeous Bar 1608 . The gold circular bar and lounge has two fire places and an incredible view of the river. Right as we walked in we knew we made the right decision. It was super cozy and had an incredible drinks menu of wine, beer and custom cocktails, not to mention some really epic cheese and charcuterie boards.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel

For dinner we headed to Bistro le Sam and each indulged in a big glass of red wine and a hot bowl of French onion soup (who knew cheese boards could be so filling?) I wish I’d a bigger appetite because the menu looked amazing. I remember seeing a lobster roll, crab cake, onion rings, salmon tartar, truffle popcorn and duck wings… Basically just all of my favorite things!

Quebec City December Travel Guide

OUTFIT DETAILS // Sweater Dress | Faux Fur Wool Coat | Over The Knee Boots | Knit Thigh High Socks |  Saint Laurent Bag  | Red Lipstick

If we’d had more time!

Looking for more ideas of what to do in Quebec City? Here’s the full list of sightseeing and restaurant recommendations I’d compiled before my trip. While we managed to check off a good handful of these, I’m kind of glad we didn’t get to do everything because now I have an excuse to go back 😛

QUEBEC CITY LANDMARKS + SIGHTSEEING

Quebec City boardwalk Quebec City ice toboggan Quartier Petit Champlain (prettiest decorated street) Place Royale (pretty street & cobblestone square) Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (oldest stone church in North America located in Place Royale) Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville (shopping + German Christmas Market) Rue Sous-le-Cap (cute street) Rue Christie (cute colorful street) Rue Couillard (cute street) Rue du Sault-au-Matelot (cute street) Pierre-Dugua-De Mons Terrace (for good city view photo) The Funicular (photogenic cable car ride down to town) Boutique de Noel de Quebec (holiday shop) Place D’Youville (cute area + ice skating rink) Grande Allée and the Parliament Building (bars, restaurants + good area for walking around)

QUEBEC CITY RESTAURANTS + BARS

Le Continental (restaurant in Fairmont Le Château Frontenac) La Grolla (fondue) Le Lapin Saute Auberge St. Antoine + Bar Artefact (hotel bar with fireplace + good hot chocolate) Café La Maison Smith (hot chocolate) Chez Muffy at the Auberge Saint-Antoine L’Affair est Ketchup Chic Shack (casual burger spot) Bistro Sous le Fort (traditional French food) Pub de L’Oncle Antoine (cute old stone pub) Gaël Vidricaire (pastries + hot chocolate) Bar Ste-Angèle (drinks + live jazz)

Quebec City December Travel Guide

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Quebec City Winter Travel Guide

Quebec City December Travel Guide

December 13, 2018

Elizabeth says

December 13, 2018 at 9:50 AM

So detailed! Thanks for sharing about your trip. Your travel guides are like no other!

December 13, 2018 at 11:56 AM

Wow! Once again, your pictures are gorgeous! No one captures a visit like Katie. This is not a city I would consider visiting before enjoying this post. It’s like having a European city around the corner.

Have a great warm day!

Katie Meshko says

December 14, 2018 at 9:17 AM

WOW!! It looks SO beautiful and so fun. I would love to visit one day. Also, you look gorgeous and all of your outfits are perfect! XO, Katie | http://www.meshkomoments.com

Ashley says

December 15, 2018 at 2:44 PM

Quebec City is one of my faves! Loved reading the post. One note: I think you meant Le Champlain is in the Chateau Frontenac – Le Continental is just down the street from it though! Cannot wait to take our next trip.

Fortune Dushey says

December 16, 2018 at 9:19 AM

These photos look like post cards! They’re picture perfect! Sounds like it was a fun and festive getaway!

Shannon says

July 5, 2019 at 6:29 AM

You are beuatiful and your pictures & outfits were too. I enjoyed reading this as I am preparing for a 1st Christmas away from home for my family. We plan to stay a few nights in the city (hopefully at the Fairmont) and a few in Mont Sainte Anne.

MIchelle says

August 14, 2019 at 8:58 AM

How did you do that braid? Tutorial?

Cathrain says

September 22, 2019 at 7:25 AM

This is beautiful! Was this taken on early December? We’re planning to go here next year. Do you mind sharing the exact dates you went? Thank you!

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Afternoon Tea Reads

Quebec City In Winter: 11 Unspoken Realities To Know

Posted on Published: December 2, 2022  - Last updated: April 24, 2024

Categories Charlevoix , North America , Québec , Travel

Ah Quebec City in winter! It’s such a magical place! Well in theory anyway..

The freshly fallen snow, hot chocolate, and your favourite winter activity all sounds wonderful until you’re actually there…

Winter in Quebec City is cold, a tad hazardous, and most of the time you just wish you could be inside ( it’s very similar to winters in Montreals actually !).

I visited Quebec City just before the start of the winter travel season in November. It made me realize quite a few things about Quebec City winter travel.

So before you visit Quebec City in winter, read this! Maybe you’ll realize it’s not for you, or you can be better prepared so you can actual enjoy winter in Quebec City! At the end of the day, winter can be quite magical if you’re ready for it !

Psst! This blog post contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you!

Quebec-city-in-winter-pinterest

The Romanticism of Quebec City Winters

If you’ve ever seen photos of Quebec City in winter, there’s no denying how romantic it looks. I mean, the freshly fallen snow on the roads and rooftops! The Christmas lights are all lit up!

They host a large German Christmas market in Quebec City in December, and one of the largest winter festivals ever… Quebec City Carnival in February! You’re sure to have a good time with ice sculptures, an ice slide, outdoor skating and more!

And, if you are looking to experience the perfect Christmas in North America, Quebec City might just be your best bet.

Based on data over the last 65 years, there’s 97% chance of having a white Christmas in Quebec City (having at least 2 cm of snow). And there’s 60% chance of having a perfect Christmas – that means snow on the ground and a snowfall during the day.

You might also be interested in reading… The Top 10 Montreal Winter Festivals To Make The Most Of Winter 2022 – 2023

fairytale-quebec-city-in-winter

My Experience With Winter In Quebec City…

I lived in Quebec City during the month of November and although this was only the start of winter in Quebec City, just know it doesn’t get better…

I’m also from Montreal and they share a lot of winter similarities. The main difference is that Quebec City is known to get more snow and just be colder ! My November in Quebec City was like Montreal Decembers… to put it into perspective!

Needless to say, I got a very good idea of what Quebec City winters are like. I experienced full fledged snow storms and had to break out my top winter travel gear !

P.S. These Are My Opinions!

In case you haven’t realized it yet, this post is all based on my opinions about winter in Quebec City. Perhaps some points are a tad exaggerated – but it’s all based on realities.

Maybe you like being outside in the cold – I don’t. The point of this post is to shed light on the fact that not all winter vacations are picture perfect winter wonderlands! There’s a lot of struggles when traveling in the winter (and Quebec City is no exception!).

quebec-city-in-winter-old-gates

Winter In Quebec City: 11 Things You Should Know

Before embarking on a winter retreat to Quebec City, there are some things you should know!

Québec City Things To Do In Winter

Discover Christmas Magic in Old Quebec Tour →

Snow Show Excursion From Quebec City To Jacques Cartier National Park →

Ski Excursion From Quebec City To Jacques Cartier National Park→

See more Québec City organized tours with Viator .

1. Quebec City Winter Weather Is Downright Unpredictable

Even though the official first day of winter is only December 21 , Quebec doesn’t like playing by the rules.

It can be snowing in the city as early as the end of October. And you’ll most likely have snow in November, but, you never know!

As I mentioned, I lived there for the month of November and we only had our first snowfall mid November which was quite unusual. In fact, my first weekend there, it was over 20 degrees (celsius!). My tour guide said that there’s normally at least 5 cm of snow during the first week of November .

The city quickly caught up though, not even two weeks later and we it full blown winter in Quebec City.

one-week-different-quebec-city-weather-in-winter

We had 20 cm on the first snowfall and it just never ended! Everyday it snowed at least once. As beautiful as it was, there was just so much snow !

Temperatures typically range from 5 to -13 but I was there in November and had more like January temperature by the end of our stay. So you have to be prepared for colder temperatures than you think it’s going to be… and that’s mainly because of the feels like temperature…

travel to quebec city in december

2. Understand The Feels Like Instead Of The Actual Temperature

If you’ve travelled to Quebec before, you might have already noticed that the temperature it says it is outside, is not the temperature it actually feels like.

So this is your first lesson about winter in Quebec City. The temperature will always feel colder than it actually is ! You might notice that December and January are only -10 to -15. Not so bad… I mean, for a winter in Quebec!

But, then you arrive and it’s much colder than -10 or -15 degrees. That’s because it really feels like -20 or even -30. You need an entirely different set of clothes for those temperatures.

Unfortunately, you can’t see the feels like until the day of, and they don’t keep records of previous years.

Just know that when you’re trying to plan your vacation, expect it to be colder than it actually is!

winter-in-quebec-city-old-quebec-streets

3. Don’t Depend On Activities To Be Open When You’re Visiting

Winter is a tricky month. Not only are things just closed for the winter, but even some winter specific activities might not be open.

So just like you can’t depend on good weather during the summer for certain activities, the same can be said for planning a trip to Quebec City in winter.

travel-planner-close-up-thumbnail

Plan the ultimate vacation

My  digital travel planner template  has everything you need to plan your vacation: research templates, travel planner itinerary, travel budget templates…etc. . You can print it out or use it digitally on your phone, tablet, or computer.

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Winter Activities Are Still Weather Dependant

A lot of Quebec City winter activities that you think should be open might not be. For example, outdoor skating rinks and ski hills need certain weather conditions before they can open and even to remain open.

Skating rinks will need a few days of cold temperatures. Ski hills obviously need enough snow! Don’t forget that if it’s just too cold, you might not want to be outside for the whole day either way.

P.S. The skating rink in Place D’Youville is the exception to the rule. It can open no matter the temperatures. So you can rely on the opening dates for that rink!

skating-in-place-d'youville-quebec-city

Closures Due To Snow… I Think?

Then there will be some other Quebec City sites that are just closed for no other apparent reason than too much snow . These are like parks, lookouts, or bridges they’ve closed.

Sometimes the stairs to a lookout was just completely covered in snow. And even if the city didn’t officially close them you wouldn’t have been able to make it up anyway.

Random parks that have no safety risks were also completely closed off… those I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it’s just lack of snow removal staff?

Related 40 Things To Do In Quebec City: Top Attractions To Hidden Gems

closed-bridge-in-quebec-city-in-the-winter

4. You Need To Dress Appropriately

All the while, other outdoor activities still go on and now they’re just less bearable because it’s cold. Winter doesn’t stop us in Quebec.

For example, walking tours will happen regardless of the temperature. Now, imagine being on a walking tour… in Quebec City… in winter. It gets cold, really fast. You walk a bit, but most of the time you’re standing around listing and looking at points of interest.

digital-packing-list-square

You might also be interested in…

My digital and printable packing guide on Etsy . Filled with packing planning prompts for your next trip!

Let’s just say, standing and winter do not mix. You really have to make sure to dress appropriately if you’re planning on visiting Quebec City in winter so you can actually still do all the winter activities.

The same goes for other outdoor activities, like skating. If you’re not dressed appropriately, you’re not going to be able to last outside and ultimately have a good time.

You can read my guide to packing for winter in Montreal as a guide for Quebec City as well. Remember, Quebec City is colder and snowier than Montreal .

My Quebec City Winter Travel Must Haves To Stay Warm

TeeHee 80s Vintage Comfortable Ribbed Cable Knit Leg Warmers for Women 3 pairs (Cable Knit with Rib)

Heads Up! Winter Packing Isn’t Light – Some Tips

You need to pack a lot for a Quebec City winter vacation! Don’t try to pack light, you’re going to thank me later when you’re able to last on a walking tour or go skating outside for a few hours!

Try to pack light and thin materials that are warm. My favourites are merino wool or cashmere. Even a think silk tank top ( like this one on Amazon ) can work wonders!

You also don’t want to forget all those winter accessories. I’m talking hats, gloves, scarves, even leg warmers. For me it’s always my legs that get cold. I’ve even worn two pairs of pants to stay warm on outdoor tours.

If you’re planning on being outside even for a second, you need to pack appropriately.

Save Space On Winter Packing

P.S. I just discovered compression sacs ( like this one on Amazon )! I just bought it and am very excited to try it out this winter. I mean, just think, you can bring all those winter essentials for a quarter of the size! They’re usually meant for sleeping bags, but I’m curious to see how they’ll work for winter packing!

Frelaxy Compression Sack, 40% More Storage! 11L/18L/30L/45L Compression Stuff Sack, Water-Resistant & Ultralight Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack - Space Saving Gear for Camping, Traveling, Backpacking

  • SAVE 40% MORE SPACE: Frelaxy Compression Stuff Sack is an incredibly simple and practical solution to space-saving, they will give you more space to pack what you need and give you an unprecedented portable experience.

A layflat image of what to wear in Montreal in Winterp to Montreal in the winter

5. The Sun Sets Early (Days Are Really Short!)

If you were expecting to jam pack your days from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., you might be in for a bit of a surprise. The sun sets early in Quebec City in winter and rises late .

The sun can rise as late as 7:30 A.M.and set as early as 4:00 P.M. That leaves you with eight and a half hours of daylight.

Your day will feel a lot shorter compared to summer and that’s because it is. Depending on when you wake up, it might even still be dark outside…

Because of this, you have to plan your days a bit differently during Quebec City winter trips. You want to make sure you’re outside when the sun is out!

This is especially important if you’re planning on driving or going on day trips from Quebec City ( see my suggestions for day trips !). It’s never fun to drive in a new city at night, and even less fun when it’s winter (when driving conditions aren’t great to begin with).

blue-hour-quebec-city-early-sunsets-in-winter

6. Driving In Winter In Quebec City Is Not Recommended

Driving in Quebec City in winter is not advised. If you’re not used to driving in the winter, I would strongly suggest not starting now.

Driving in winter includes road closures, getting stuck in snow banks, and black ice!

You don’t technically need a car in Quebec City and it’s an easy train ride in from Montreal or Ottawa.

P.S. It’s a law in Quebec to have winter tires from December 1 until March 5 . And all season tires don’t count. If you’re coming to Quebec with your own car, without winter tires, that’s probably not a good idea.

I would even recommend leaving your car somewhere and driving a rental through Quebec. Quebec rental cars will have appropriate winter tires.

You need a different tire to be able to handle driving on snow and ice. It helps a lot with being able to stop on time.

driving-conditions-quebec-city-in-winter

7. Snow Is EVERYWHERE!

I’m not even exaggerating when I say this. Snow ends up EVERYWHERE.

I won’t deny the fact that it’s beautiful, but that doesn’t mean it comes without any struggles…

travel-journal-thumbnail

Never forget a favourite travel memory

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It’s On The Roads & Sidewalks (& Covers Up The Ice!)

I just spoke about driving in winter and most of the problems come because of the amount of snow there is. It makes driving harder, but also even just walking around the city.

For starters, snow banks create road blocks . They will either make you manoeuvre around them or you can decide to walk through them.

Regardless, at one point, snow will inevitably end up in your boots while walking around in Quebec City in winter… there’s no avoiding it. Whether it’s kicked up, or you find yourself sinking into a giant snowbank. It just means you’re officially welcomed to winter in Quebec!

snow-covered-ice-in-quebec-city-winters

But the more problematic part comes in when the snow covers up ice. You can be going about your day, and all of a sudden you step on a patch of ice underneath the snow. You had no chance of seeing it and down you go!

Another fun part is that Old Quebec is built on a hill. Let’s just say – hills and ice DO NOT MIX ! So just be careful even when walking please!

I Use Crampons For Safer Winter Walks

Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats for Walking, Jogging, or Hiking on Snow and Ice (1 Pair), X-Large

  • Traction cleats that fit over shoes for safely walking, hiking, or jogging on packed snow or ice
  • Made of high-strength, abrasion-resistant 1.4 mm stainless-steel coils and heavy-duty rubber; secured to shoes with durable rubber straps
  • Provides 360 degrees of traction on cold surfaces for all-direction stability
  • Durable rubber foot frame with removable over-foot strap ensures an excellent fit
  • Tested safe from breakage in temperatures as low as -41 degrees F; available in S, M, L, and XL sizes to fit most shoes

clearing-the-snow-petit-champlain-quebec-city

It’s Also All OVER Your Car

If you did decide to drive to Quebec City in winter, try your best to park inside . Otherwise, you’ll most likely be spending your morning cleaning your car. This takes time, and you’ll also get snow all over yourself .

Oh and remember I said that the snow covers ice? Well your car is no exception. There could be a frozen ice layer on your car underneath the ice that you now have to scrape off. Fun times right!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

P.S. Make sure you have the appropriate winter car essentials!

BIRDROCK HOME 34' Folding Emergency Snow Shovel for Car | Small & Compact | Tool for Snow Camping, Skiing, Snowmobiles, Avalanche Survival | Lightweight Aluminum & ABS Plastic | Red

Good Luck Reading Information & Commerorative Plaques

Did you think you would walk around Old Quebec and read all the information plaques? Well think again!

All of those thoughtfully laid out informative plaques have been completely covered up by snow!

You don’t want to use your mitts to wipe it off because then your hands will be wet and cold. Or if you don’t care about that, you’ll also most likely be too lazy.

snow-covered-commemorative-plaque-in-quebec-city-in-winter

It’s On The Rooftops (Which Becomes A Hazard)

After a day of snow fall in Quebec city, the rooftops are packed full of snow!

It will look beautiful. But the problem is that it ends up melting, or becoming too heaving, and eventually falling on the unknowing passersby below (which could be you!).

Sometimes you’re lucky and it’s just snow, other times there may be some extra ice added in (just for good measure of course!).

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Needless to say, it’s terrifying walking on the streets of Old Quebec in the winter.

It’s so dangerous that home owners need to pay to have the snow professionally removed from their roof.

So if you end up visiting Quebec City in the winter, you’ll most likely notice a lot of roof work! No ones replacing their roof… they’re just removing the snow.

danger-falling-snow-in-quebec-city-in-winter

8. Forget About The Picture Perfect Winter Wonderland Photo…

The best part about the snow? It can also completely hide a massive building that’s right in front of you! You can be standing right in front of the entire Chateau Frontenac and it’s almost entirely disappeared in the fog of snow.

You can also forget about seeing the view from Dufferin Terrace or the Citadel. It’s just going to be white, or grey.

Even if it’s not snowing outside, the days all seem to be grey (obviously not every day is grey, but it seems to be a higher chance in the winter in Quebec City).

quebce-city-whiteness-in-winter

The skies are just grey. The trees are bare. And the grass is brown. There’s just a lack of colour in your photos during winter.

Then if you have snow on the ground, your photos become one dimensional of whiteness!

If you’re hoping to get that perfect picture of Quebec City in winter with snow filled rooftops, get that idea out of your head now. You need perfect conditions for that. You still want blue skies, and the snow to be fresh. All within the limited daylight you now have!

All I’m saying is that it’s harder than you think to get picture perfect photos in the winter!

snowfall-in-old-quebec-in-december

9. Snow Ultimately Turns Into Slush & Brown Mounds

One of the reason why getting the picture perfect Quebec City winter photo isn’t possible is because the snow just doesn’t last.

For starters, the snow is professionally removed from rooftops.

The snow on the ground doesn’t stay white and fluffy for very long either. It will most likely turn into gross brown slush from being trampled on by so many tourists.

brown-slush-on-the-ground-quebec-city-petit-champlain

Then once the city comes to remove it… it becomes giant brownish mounds on the side of the road.

Oh and once it’s slush, cars can now drive by and splash it all over your clean clothes… and yes this happens more often than you think! And it’s not fun!

snow-mounds-in-quebec-city-streets

10. Snow Is Over Glorified Rain…

When it’s raining, you don’t stay outside admiring the rainfall. So why do you admire snowfall? I mean it’s beautiful, but it’s still water! Just frozen water that takes a bit longer to melt.

If you’re expecting to do anything in Quebec City in the winter you have to be ready for snow. Treat it as though it’s raining. So, when taking a picture, expect that your phone or camera will get wet, or maybe plan to bring an umbrella!

When you come back inside, your jacket and boots will be sopping. It’s all a huge hassle – just like when it’s raining!

snow-is-like-rain-in-winter-quebec-

11. You’ll Just Want To Stay Inside With Hot Chocolate & A Book

At the end of the day, the snow mixed with the cold weather, just makes you want to stay inside.

Cozying up with some room service and a movie in the hotel room will call your name every day in the winter in Quebec City. It’s hard to leave the warmth and coziness to be cold and wet. Trust me, I’ve been there.

And when you do end up leaving, you go from one indoor place to the next. It’s too cold and takes too much energy to do anything else. So don’t try to push yourself, enjoy Quebec City in the winter for what it is!

Museums and restaurants will be your best friend!

Quebec City Winter Pro Tip: Make Dinner Reservations As Early As Possible

A dinner reservation in Quebec City is hard to get on a good day (when it’s warm outside and they have extra terrace seating). It’s just harder in the winter with less seats, and people staying longer inside to warm up.

Do yourself a favour, make dinner reservations as early as you can in Quebec City.

See my favourite Quebec City restaurants .

cappucino-to-stay-warm-in-quebec-city-in-winter

P.S. Famous Hotel De Glace Realities

The Ice Hotel (La Hotel de Glace) which is a popular Quebec City winter destination is actually 30 minutes away by car.

It’s also crazy expensive! I’m talking luxury hotel prices for a cold night in a hotel made of snow. It’s essentially glamping in the winter… So it’s just worse.

If you do book a night in the Ice Hotel, you also get a room in the Hotel Valcartier so you have modern day amenities (private bathroom and shower, and a place for your luggage). But that room actually costs a fraction of the price and you’ll most likely end up spending most of your time there.

So now you’re paying luxury price hotel fees for a non luxury room…

You’re better off booking a room in Hotel Valcartier ( see it on Booking.com here ) and visiting the Ice Hotel to see what it looks like.

Related Top 10 The Best Hotels In Quebec City For Every Budget

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Need A Place To Stay In Quebec City In Winter – My Recommendations

I’ve visited Quebec City and stayed in a few places over the years, here are my recommendations.

If you’re on a budget but want to stay in the city centre, there’s no better place than Au Petit Hotel ( see it on Booking.com ). It’s a small but mighty hotel and for a night or two it gets the job done! Plus, you’ll feel like you’re staying in old time Quebec when you stay here!

I’ve also stayed just outside Old Quebec at the Hilton Québec. If you’re going to stay here, you have to upgrade your room to one with a view. This way, you’ll have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Chateau Frontenac, plus you’ll have all the luxuries of staying in a hotel. It’s not far from Old Town either, only about a 5 minute walk. See it on Booking.com .

I’ve also heard only good things about the Clarendon Hotel in Old Town Québec. It’s be a bit pricier than Au Petit Hotel, but it’s also a more regular size hotel room. Plus, this is THE location to be in Quebec City. See availability and room rates on Booking.com .

For more accommodation options in Quebec City on Booking.com , or for more recommendations read my blog post .

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Winter Bucket List (Printable)

Don’t let the winter cold get to you this year, get out and try new winter experiences with my downloadable  Winter Bucket List .

I’ve put together a list of fun winter activities perfect to stay busy this winter. Plus if there’s anything extra you think of, there are two blank winter checklists for you to fill out with your own ideas!

See it on Etsy >>

Read More Related Posts

  • 40 Things To Do In Quebec City: Top Attractions To Hidden Gems
  • Best Restaurants In Quebec City & Quebecois Food To Try
  • Top 10 The Best Hotels In Quebec City For Every Budget

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Travel Away

Your Guide to Quebec City’s Best Winter Activities

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Canadian winters might be bitterly cold, but in Quebec City, it’s all about embracing the chill with ice slides, snow tubes, and strolls along powdery cobblestone streets draped in sparkling holiday lights.

North America’s oldest fortified city is at its dreamiest during the cold season, when a dusting of snow makes everything look so magical, and the highly anticipated Quebec Winter Carnival heats up the Old Town with toasty terraces, alfresco ice bars, and tons of outdoor activities.

The end-of-the-year celebrations are particularly festive in Quebec City. Or, come Christmastime, the entire town transforms into a scene straight from a holiday card, replete with festive joy and tasteful decorations.

From savoring the Christmassy charms of Quartier Petit-Champlain to soaking in a Nordic spa, these are the best things to do in Quebec City in winter.

Stroll Around Petit-Champlain District

Petit Champlain, Quebec City

There’s a reason all winter visitors to Quebec City flock to Quartier Petit-Champlain . Resembling a quaint European village, this picture-perfect neighborhood in the Lower Town is all narrow cobblestone streets lit by Victorian lamps and characterful stone facades decked out in garlands and glittering Christmas lights.

Immerse yourself in the fairytale-like atmosphere as you stroll along the snow-blanketed Rue du Petit-Champlain and then warm up with a chocolat chaud by the fireplace in one of the inviting cafés and bistros lining the street. As the oldest commercial neighborhood in North America, expect to find lots of charming independent boutiques and artisan shops selling original souvenirs and locally made products.

Browse the German Christmas Market

The German Christmas Market, Quebec City

Every winter, Le Marché de Noël Allemand recreates the magic of a traditional European Christmas market in the heart of Old Quebec with over 80 adorable wooden chalets dressed for the holidays and filled with original festive treats.

With choral singing, beautiful decorations, and the scent of roasted almonds wafting through the crisp, cold air, it really feels like stepping into a winter wonderland. In addition to German specialties like glühwein, bratwurst, and gingerbread, you’ll find tons of delicious maple products, local handicrafts, and unique Christmas gift ideas for everyone on your list.

Quebec City’s German Christmas Market is set out in the Town Hall square and gardens every year. In 2023, the market will be open from November 23rd to December 23rd.

Take a Spin on Patinoire de la Place d’Youville

Patinoire de la Place d'Youville

Framed by fanciful castle-like architecture on one side and imposing historical buildings decked out in Christmas decor on the other, the Patinoire de la Place d’Youville is one of the most scenic of Quebec City’s ice skating rinks.

Located on Rue Saint-Jean, just outside the Old Town, the open-air rink is open from early December to mid-March and comes equipped with a refrigeration system that guarantees the ice surface remains perfect at all times. Skating at night, when the turrets and arches of the old town walls are awash in colorful lights, is an experience not to be missed during the holidays.

Take in Magical Ice and Snow Architecture at Hôtel de Glace

Ice hotel in Quebec

One of Quebec City’s most amazing winter attractions, the fleeting Hôtel de Glace lures visitors into a magical world of ice and snow. Its frozen rooms are rebuilt from scratch every year following a new thematic concept, but always feature intricately snow-carved walls, artistic lighting, and rock-solid ice beds with thermal sleeping bags. The themed suites are particularly spectacular with their private spas, romantic fireplaces, and surreal ice art.

For those who can’t brave the freezing temperatures, but still want to admire the stupendous ephemeral architecture, North America’s only ice hotel also offers guided day tours of the facility , followed by a cocktail in the on-site ice bar. You can also couple this with lunch in the hotel’s restaurant or a visit to the Ice Workshop, where you can learn how to make your own ice glass.

Hôtel de Glace is located just a short drive north of the city center, right next to Valcartier Vacations Village.

Embrace the Cold at Quebec Winter Carnival

Quebec Winter Carnival

Quebec City is magical at Christmastime, but it is during the Carnaval when it truly comes to life. First held in 1894, this action-packed celebration is one of the world’s largest winter carnivals, offering everything from ice sculpture workshops to vibrant night parades.

Most events are clustered around several main sites in the heart of Vieux Quebec, but there are oodles of fun family-centered activities spread out across the entire city. Highlights include the iconic Ice Canoe Race on the St Lawrence River, the St-Hubert Snow Bath, and the two Saturday Night Parades, which take place along Grande Allée.

The 69th edition of the Quebec Winter Carnival is set to take place on February 2–11, 2024.

Relax at a Nordic Spa

SKYSPA Quebec City

After a day out and about through the narrow, snowy streets of Old Quebec, there’s no better way to warm up than with a visit to the spa. Luckily for you, this city has a strong love affair with Nordic spas, boasting a plethora of indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy circuits designed to rejuvenate the body and mind.

The 2000-year-old Scandinavian ritual of alternating hot, cold, and deep relaxation is given top status at Strøm Spa Old Quebec . Nestled on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, only a few steps from downtown, this 32,000-square-foot facility has an unrivaled mix of water basins, alongside saunas, steam baths, and dedicated relaxation areas.

Alternatively, check out the panoramic Sky Spa – perched on the 17th floor of Quebec City’s Complexe Jules-Dallaire building, or head to the revered Sibéria Spa , whose hot pools, invigorating waterfalls, and wooden retreat rooms are blissfully tucked away in a lush forest by the Yellow River.

Go Down the Legendary Toboggan Slide Au 1884

Quebec City in winter

There is no shortage of winter activities in Quebec City, but few are as exhilarating as whizzing down the century-old Au 1884 toboggan slide in an old-fashioned wooden sled at speeds of up to 70 km/h.

Stretching along the Dufferin Terrace boardwalk, right beside the famous Château Frontenac, Glissade de la Terrasse is not only one of the oldest attractions in town but also a downright memorable one. The icy run is open all winter long (weather permitting) and rewards riders with sweeping views of the frosty St. Lawrence River.

Join the New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Year’s Eve in Quebec City

Oodles of European charm and joie de vivre , along with a huge public 4-day celebration on Grande Allée, make Quebec City one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in North America.

The festivities kick off on December 28, when the town’s most famous strip turns into a massive outdoor party, complete with live music, exciting shows, and activities for the whole family. There will also be a Ferris wheel offering a bird’s eye view of the provincial capital, as well as food trucks, heated bar terraces, and giant fireplaces for partakers to warm up during the event.

The Jour de l’An à Québec reaches its peak on the evening of December 31st when revelers from around the world gather at Place de l’Assemblée-Nationale to dance the night away, ring in the New Year, and watch the spectacular fireworks display.

Walk Through an Enchanted Forest at Festi Lumière

Festi Lumière

An annual light festival held at the Aquarium du Québec every winter, Festi Lumière transports visitors into a winter fantasyland complete with majestic evergreens, whimsical light projections, and marine animal-shaped structures – all wrapped up in joyous holiday music.

After Christmas, the gardens surrounding the aquarium turn into an enchanted forest, with trees and pathways bathed in 500,000 colorful LED lights. Slide runs, inflatable games, and an outdoor bar with fire pits round up the entertainment offerings.

Play at Valcartier Vacation Village

Valcartier winter playground

Located just 20 minutes north of downtown Quebec, Valcartier Winter Playground is the perfect escape from the city. From December to March, the resort plays host to the largest winter playground in North America, offering over 35 snowy slopes, along with beautifully illuminated skating paths and designated kid’s zones.

In addition to snow tubing, which is by far the park’s main attraction, visitors can also engage in snow rafting, relax with a massage at the Aroma Spa, have lunch in one of the restaurants on the premises, or enjoy a day of tropical fun at Bora Parc, the onsite indoor waterpark.

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15 Incredible Things to Do in Quebec City in Winter

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  • Activities and Interests
  • Destinations
  • Quebec City
  • Seasonal Travel
  • Winter Travel

Note: The Travel Awaits team regularly updates content to provide the latest, and most accurate information to our readers. The updated content in this article may not reflect the views or opinions of the original author.

Quebec City has quite the backdrop during the winter months. A gorgeous snowcapped castle overlooking the icy Saint Lawrence River and snow-dusted cobblestone streets make this charming French Canadian city look like something out of a fairy tale. But it isn’t just about appearance; Quebec City has some of the yummiest food and most fun shopping in all of Canada. Plus, there are dozens of things to see and do.

If you enjoy wintery weather, Quebec is the perfect place to visit. If you’re not a cold-weather fan, you will still love it. Winters in Quebec City are cold, but you will be so enchanted that you won’t even notice the cold weather as long as you dress appropriately.

Here are our top suggestions for the mature traveler visiting Quebec City during the winter.

Petit Champlain street in Old Quebec City during winter.

15 Incredible Things To Do In Quebec City In The Winter

1. explore old quebec city.

Old Quebec City is one of the most picturesque locations in all of North America. A UNESCO World Heritage Site , it looks more like a city you might find in Europe than in North America . The streets are well-lit, and if you are there during the holidays or carnival when extra decorations are everywhere, you will be spellbound by this charming city.

The best way to explore is on foot, so you can hop in and out of the local stores. You might also consider a horse-drawn carriage to explore the town or a hop-on, hop-off bus tour with stops at all the important sites for maximum Quebec City winter fun.

2. Take A Walking Tour

The best way to explore the heart of Quebec is on foot. Consider taking a walking tour. Sign up for a tour of the city with a guide or do a self-guided walking route. I’ve done both and enjoyed the self-guided one the most because I wanted to stop, peruse things, and take pictures because this Quebeck town makes you feel like you’re in a Hallmark movie .

Be sure to spend some time in what is considered the oldest commercial street in North America. Petit-Champlain is picturesque with its narrow, winding cobblestone streets. This is where you will find local shops, restaurants, and cafes. Located on the lower level of the town, if you don’t want to walk the icy or snowy streets to the other areas, you can always take the funicular to the top. It is a quick ride.

You will also want to visit Place Royale , where historic buildings such as the towering Notre Dame Des Victories cathedral frame this gorgeous little plaza.

The Funiculaire in Old Quebec City.

Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

3. Ride The Funiculaire

The Funiculaire transports you from the picturesque Lower Town up to the steep terrace upon which Chateau Frontenac perches overlooking the entire city. It is a quick 3-minute ride and provides a great view.

The funicular was put into service in 1879 and still continues to transport visitors up and down the terrace.

Fascinated by funiculars? See our picks for the 11 best funiculars in the world .

The Dufferin Terrace in Quebec City during winter.

Albert Pego / Shutterstock

4. Walk The Dufferin Terrace

Stroll along Dufferin Terrace for a spectacular view of the Saint Lawrence charming river and Chateau Frontenac, as well as a toboggan run in the winter. The terrace is like a very wide boardwalk at the beach. I highly recommend taking the time to visit the remains of the Saint-Louis Forts and Chateaux , which lie beneath this iconic promenade. Note that there are steps down, and the pathway beneath the terrace is not always flat.

Winter views of Quebec City in Canada.

Quebec City Tourism

5. Take In The View

Historic buildings surrounding the towering Chateau Frontenac give Quebec City winter skyline a stunning look. Along with its charming European vibe, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Quebec City, the Saint Lawrence River with floating ice, and more from the terrace behind the Chateau Frontenac and the Governor’s Promenade during the winter .

6. Visit The Le Chateau Frontenac

Perched high on a hill overlooking the Saint Lawrence River is a giant Fairmont hotel, The Chateau Frontenac . It is the most iconic building in the city and is considered the most photographed hotel in the world.

When I first visited, I viewed it from the outside and promised myself I would stay there in the future. My promise came to fruition the following year, and I can attest it felt like being in an actual castle!

I highly recommend touring the hotel even if you can’t stay there. During the Quebec City winter holiday season, Chateau Frontenac is decorated beautifully.

The toboggan slide in Quebec City, Canada.

7. Enjoy Some Outdoor Fun

If you are into outdoor sports, Quebec City is the place to be. Be aware all these activities require you to be in good physical shape, and there is a danger of falling on the ice.

One of the unique and exhilarating attractions right outside the Chateau Frontenac is the toboggan slide, Glissade de la Terrasse .

One of the oldest attractions in the city, this one-of-a-kind slide has been located on Dufferin Terrace since 1884.

You are provided with an old wooden sled to tug up the ramp, and then groups of up to four can pile on the toboggan. When the operator releases the latch, the sled hurls down an icy track. Those who ride it claim they feel like a kid again!

A few other Quebeck activities you can enjoy outdoors include ice skating, skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snow rafting.

The Patinoire de la Place d’Youville is one of the most scenic ice skating rinks in Quebec. Located on Rue Saint-Jean, the open-air rink is open from mid-October to mid-March. A perfect addition to your Quebec City winter trip.

Skating at night with Old Town as a backdrop is a delightful experience.

Valcartier Vacation Village is located just 20 minutes north of Quebec City and offers over 35 snow-covered slopes, illuminated skating paths, and more.

Mont-Saint-Anne offers skiing, snowboarding, and other outdoor activities.

8. Walk Through Festi Lumiere

Enjoy the winter light fantasyland complete with magnificent evergreens, light projection, and more set to holiday music all winter long. The aquarium gardens are popping with color as 500,000 colorful LED lights turn the pathways into an enchanted forest. The annual light festival held at the Aquarium du Quebec runs till the end of February. There are a lot of reasons to visit during the winter in Quebec City .

An ice hotel in Quebec City, Canada.

9. Visit Quebec City Ice Hotel

You don’t have to stay there if the thought of sleeping in a room surrounded by ice makes you shiver. But make time to tour the Hotel de Glace . A mere 10 minutes outside the city, Ice Hotel in Quebec City is one of only a handful of ice hotels in the world and the only one in North America. Hotel de Glace is completely rebuilt each year with a different theme. The massive Ice Hotel structure boasts 44 rooms with snow-carved walls, rock-solid ice beds with thermal sleeping bags, and artistic lighting. Imagine an ice suite featuring private spas and romantic fireplaces.

It is a different kind of luxury, and the best way to experience it is an overnight stay. But freezing while you sleep isn’t something most mature travelers look forward to.

The day tour will suffice, and it includes walking through each room, the chapel, and the ice slide (brave souls can give it a slide!). You have the opportunity to take in the ice and snow architecture without sleeping there. I suggest taking the tour and following it with lunch at the hotel’s restaurant or visiting the Ice Workshop to learn how to make an ice glass. Quebec City Ice Hotel is right next to Valcartier Vacation Village and is usually open from January 2 to mid-March.

A visit to Hotel de Glace is undoubtedly one of those bucket-list items for the more adventurous traveler.

Bonhomme, the mascot of the Quebec City Winter Carnival.

10. Celebrate The Quebec City Winter Carnival

A winter trip is not complete without attending the Quebec City Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec) . Think massive snow sculptures, street parties, family-friendly rides and activities, and the world’s most famous seven-foot snowman, Bonhomme.

One of the world’s most famous winter festivals, the Winter Carnival hosts ice canoeing events and a nighttime parade. Quebec City has welcomed visitors to join the party that runs from the end of January to mid-February.

Sweet maple taffy from Quebec City during winter.

Robin O’Neal Smith

11. Taste Sweet Maple Taffy

You can’t miss tasting this sugary-sweet maple taffy that is the quintessential Quebec treat. While eating it is delicious, making your syrup lollipop is a fun experience. Maple syrup drizzled over a fresh blanket of snow begins to harden after about 30 seconds. Then you dip the edge of a popsicle stick onto the taffy and roll it up. This treat is sure to satisfy the sweet tooth, and you might even want to create a second one. (Ask me how I know!)

Maple taffy stations are all around town. You will find them during the Winter Carnival, and Maple Sugar Shacks pop up everywhere in March and April when the maple sap begins to flow from the trees.

12. Relax At A Scandinavian Spa

Just 20 minutes from downtown Quebec City, Siberia Spa welcomes visitors year-round to relax in its outdoor Scandinavian-inspired spa. Based on the thermotherapy concept, guests luxuriate in sweltering hot saunas and eucalyptus-infused steam rooms before plunging into frigid cold pools. This practice is said to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, and strengthen the immune system.

They have many other luxury spa treatments and lounges. It is an excellent way to spend a day or even an evening after being out in the cold weather exploring the city.

There are several spas in the town, too.

Sampling maple smoked salmon in Quebec City.

13. Enjoy the Food

Home of delicious French Canadian food, Quebec City is a foodie’s dream come true . You can find maple everything in Quebec City, plus lots of other food such as poutine and tourtiere .

Poutine is a dish of crispy french fries topped with “squeaky” cheese curds and gravy. Tourtiere is a meat pie. It includes a pie crust with minced meat and spices.

If you enjoy food, I suggest taking a food tour in Quebec . I took one when I visited two years ago, and it was delightfully delicious.

We sampled food, maple candy, chocolates, and some drinks. Food tours are an excellent way to sample various foods, plus enjoy a guided walking tour and learn about local culture and history! My favorite maple food treat on our food tour was the maple smoked salmon!

I could go on forever about specific places to visit. There are museums, historical sites, day trips to Montmorency Falls, Ile d’Orleans, and Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. There is so much to see and do in Quebec City during every season. I’m positive you will be planning the next trip before you leave. Enjoy your time in this charming French Canadian City.

14. Ride the Ferry

Québec‑Lévis ferry across the St.Lawrence River to Levis and back is not just a means of transportation, but a fun, affordable, and accessible activity as well. You will enjoy seeing the winter in Quebec City like never before.

From watching the ice float down the river from the pier to taking in the most beautiful views of Quebec City, its icy waterfront, and views of Chateau Frontenac rising above Québec’s picturesque Old Town, the 12-minute journey each way will melt your heart.

The Quebec-Levis crossing is easy to ride and offers a fun way to see the city from the water and a viewpoint you can rarely see without a boat tour.

15. Dog Sledding

While at Mont Saint-Anne, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to go dog sledding with Les Secrets Nordiques , a company that runs dog sledding trips. 

The best thing about Les Secrets Nordiques is that they provide cold-weather clothing like snow pants, parkas, and snow shoes. If you are bringing your winter gear, don’t forget to take hand and foot warmers with you as well.

The cost is about $100 per person but make sure to book in advance because this is a popular activity.

During the winter months, the temperature is usually in the 20s during the day and drops into the teens or below at night. So pack appropriately and wear lots of layers so you can shed them if you warm up.

Sweaters, wool socks, scarves, gloves, a hat, lined leggings, warm boots, and a winter coat are a must.

While Quebec City is French Canadian, most people speak English as well.

A few shopkeepers only speak French. Be aware that French is the dominant language in Quebec City. So learn a few basic French words before your visit.

If you stay in the heart of Old Town, you will be able to walk to most places, but if you need transportation, taxis are less expensive in Quebec City than Ubers. You will find taxis around the city. Just hail them down when one is needed. Or take a tour bus. Old Quebec Tours offers various routes with hop-on, and hop-off capabilities. We used this the last time we visited.

Quebec City uses Canadian Currency. You can use your international credit card if you have one.

How Much Time Do You Need in Quebec City in Winter?

Spend at least 3 days in Quebec City during winter to fully enjoy all the fun winter things. Explore Old Québec on the first day, then branch out to such other neighborhoods as St-Roch and Montcalm for the rest of your visit.

Does Québec City Get a Lot of Snow?

Yes. With an average snowfall of over 124 inches each year, Québec City is a winter wonderland. Based on data over the last 65 years, there’s a 97% chance of having a white Christmas in Quebec City.

Can I Depend on Activities to Be Open When Visiting Quebec City in Winter?

Not entirely. Winter doesn’t just bring closures, but some winter-specific activities might be canceled too. Just as you can’t depend on good weather during the summer for certain activities, the same can be said for planning a trip to Quebec City in winter. 

Is Driving in Winter in Quebec City a Good Idea?

Due to road closures, getting stuck in snow banks, and black ice, driving in Quebec City in winter is not advised. Even with snow tires, it is challenging to climb the hills in Old Quebec.

Is Quebec City Romantic in Winter?

Yes, there’s no denying how romantic Quebec City looks in winter. With all the freshly fallen snow on the roads and rooftops and the Christmas lights, it’s a winter fairytale. The city’s European charm, restaurants, and beautiful historic streets all add to Québec City’s romantic reputation.

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Robin O’Neal Smith is a freelance and travel writer. A young baby boomer, Robin and her husband have traveled throughout North America, many of the Caribbean Islands, and Europe. She loves cruising and inspiring others to live their dreams of travel. Follow her travels on her personal site where she discusses travel, food, and more!

travel to quebec city in december

29 Things to do in Quebec City in Winter that are Worth Braving the Cold

Quebec City is a magical place, no matter the season… but it’s particularly special in winter. You can trust me on that one. I just got back from my fourth trip to Quebec City and have now experienced it in all seasons! We wondered at the flutterings of the season’s first snowfall, bathed outdoors in a Nordic spa, and cuddled up inside with hot mulled cider. As I discovered, there are plenty of things to do in Quebec City in winter.

See below for things to do in quebec city in winter

Things to do in Quebec City in Winter

If you didn’t know, the entirety of Old Quebec City is a UNESCO heritage site. You’re driving through typical Canadian towns and then BAM – you’re hit with a charming hilltop village that looks like it was dropped straight outta 18th century France.

This historic and European element makes Quebec City the perfect spot for a winter weekend getaway. Just pack your mittens!

1. Have a Thermal Experience at Strom Spa Nordique

One of our favorite activities in Quebec City was the thermal experience at  Strom Spa Nordique . We made our way down to the Ports de Quebec, where Strom Spa Nordique is set along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.

After a quick tour, we bundled into cozy white robes and were left to our greatest worry of the day: which steaming bath should we dunk in next?

Strom Spa Nordique is filled with a variety of indoor and outdoor baths, saunas, steam rooms, pools, and cold plunges. The typical ‘thermal experience,’ inspired by Nordic bathing techniques, follows this cycle: 1) heat 2) cold 3) relax. We did precisely that for a few delicious hours.

The spa is open all year round, no matter the weather. In fact, winter is one of the best seasons to have a spa day at Strom Spa Nordique. The outdoor sidewalks have underground heating, and heat lamps ensure your bathrobes remain toasty warm while you take a dip.

515 Boulevard Champlain, Québec, QC G1K 0E4, Canada

One of my favorite things to do in quebec city in winter, the Nordic Spa!

2. Grab Lunch Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River

Don’t leave  Strom Spa Nordique  without grabbing lunch at the Nord Restaurant. This beautiful, Scandinavian style restaurant is set in a glass building directly overlooking the Saint Lawrence river. You’ll feel like you’re dining al fresco in the snow… but actually be kept warm by the crackling indoor fireplace.

The Nord Restaurant sources 90% of the ingredients locally during the winter months – which is a big feat for a snowed-in province! It is also open to both spa and non-spa guests alike. Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time. 

11am – 7pm, Sunday – Wednesday and 11am – 8pm, Thursday – Saturday.

RELATED |   Gluten Free Quebec City Travel Guide

Amazing gluten free food, check out my  gluten free guide to Quebec city.

3. Explore the Quartier Du Petit Champlain

Don your cap and mittens, and head to Quebec City’s quaint  Quartier du Petit Champlain . This neighborhood is really a row of streets at the bottom of the Old Quebec City hill, right by the ferry port.

Descending the many staircases into Quartier du Petit Champlain feels like going even further back in time. The streets are full of colorful doorways and cute boutiques to pop into.

In the winter, Quartier du Petit Champlain is frosted in snow, each window display blinking in fairy lights. As night falls, the streets light up with an overhead Christmas light display. Definitely set aside a couple hours to wander.

Exploring Quartier du Petit Champlain in winter.

4. Warm up with a Hot Mulled Cider

One of my favorite winter drinks is hot mulled cider (or wine – I’m not too picky!). I discovered a love for this back when I lived in England. Thanks to its European influences, Quebec City’s mulled cider scene does not disappoint.

On a frigid afternoon, we ducked into  Le Lapin Saute , one of the cutest and coziest restaurants in  Quartier du Petit Champlain . We both ordered a hot mulled cider which more than hit the spot. Across the street, you can also pop into La Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault, which stocks dozens of locally produced ciders. 

One of the most important things to do in quebec city in winter - drink some mulled cider!!!

5. Buy a Pair of Local Wool Mittens

While you’re still in Quartier du Petit Champlain, be sure to visit  Charlevoix Pure Laine . This shop is also a workshop, that features the beautiful crafts produced from local Charlevoix wool. Peruse the offerings – ranging from hats and mittens to scarves, ornaments, skeins, socks, and more.

If you’re like us, you won’t be able to resist buying a little something here. Particularly as the snow falls outside, you’ll want something to keep those fingers and ears warm… we’ve got plenty more exploring to do!

61½, rue du Petit-Champlain, Québec City, Québec, G1K 4H5

6. Take the Levis Ferry for the Best View of Quebec City

One of the very best views of Quebec City can be found on the $3.85 ferry to Levis. Levis ( pronounced Lee-vee ) is a town across the Saint Lawrence river. Many people live there and commute via the ferry into Quebec City. However, it is also a perfect activity for travelers!

The ferry runs in all seasons, including winter of course. We each grabbed a hot coffee from Cafe La Maison Smith, before boarding the ferry for our scenic journey.

You can buy return tickets at the Quebec City ferry terminal. The journey is approximately 12-15 minutes each way, and you do need to disembark once you reach Levis (although, like us, you can immediately reembark!).

Check the Quebec-Levis ferry schedule here.

Quebec City Ferry Terminal, 10 Rue des Traversiers, Québec, QC G1K 8L8, Canada

Me on the Levis Ferry pondering which is the best out of my things to do in quebec city in winter.

7. Take the Funicular

You know by now that Old Quebec City is set on a hilltop…but some of the cutest areas, like Quartier du Petit Champlain, are at the bottom of the hill.

If you’re not a fan of stairs, don’t worry. There is a  funicular  that runs between Dufferin Terrace (the top of the hill) to Quartier du Petit Champlain (the bottom of the hill).

The funicular is set at a 45 degree angle, and although the journey is very short, it does offer beautiful views. Tickets are $4 each way… in my opinion, higher value for money on the way  up,  ha!

It runs in all seasons, although it is closed on Christmas day.

16 rue du Petit-Champlain, Québec, QC, G1K 4H4

Check for hours here .

One of the coolest things to do in quebec city in winter, taking the Funicular! Pictured here the entrance.

8. Take a Ride in a Toboggan

Quebec City is pretty famous for its toboggan slide , which originates from 1884. This is one of the oldest winter traditions in Quebec City.

What is a toboggan, you say? Basically a steep slide you sled down, reaching up to 70 km/h!

The Quebec City toboggan slide is open from mid December through mid March, depending on weather. It is generally open 10am-5pm, depending on weather. At $4 for the basic slide, this is a steal. You can also order a slide + hot chocolate for $7, or a four slide package for $12. 

Check opening times and weather announcements here.

The famous toboggan slide in Quebec city, one of the best things to do in quebec city in winter.

9. Sleep in a Monastery

During our most recent trip to Quebec City, we stayed at  Le Monastere des Augustines . This hotel entered my radar on my previous trip to Quebec City…and I just  knew  I had to stay here one day. A bucket list experience for sure.

Why is Le Monastere des Augustines so special? Well, this is not only a wellness hotel, but it is also the site of the first hospital north of Mexico, and home to the Augustinian Sisters, who founded the monastery in 1639.

A few years ago, the sisters realized they needed to protect their heritage, and the hotel was founded.

“Hotel” really is not representative of all that Le Monastere is. It is a non profit, a museum, a retreat, and so much more. We had the opportunity to sleep in the “authentic” rooms, where sisters slept years ago (you can also book contemporary rooms). 

Winter, in my opinion, is the season to turn inward, reflect, and maybe even hibernate a bit. If you’re looking to do so in Quebec City, Le Monastere is for you!

77 Rue des Remparts, Québec, QC G1R 0C3, Canada

Back entrance to le Monastere des Augustines.

10. Take a Tai Chi or Yoga Class in the Ancient Vaults

Le Monastere , as I mentioned, is a wellness hotel. That means they have plenty of daily events and classes, many of which are also open to the public if you book ahead of time.

Every day, at 12:30pm and 5pm, Le Monastere offers a gentle fitness class in their underground vaults.  Classes are taught in both French and English, so no worries there.

A tai chi or yoga class is a perfect activity to warm up your body on a cold winter day. Practicing in these ancient vaults was an experience not to be forgotten!

One of the most unique things to do in quebec city in winter, yoga or Tai Chi in the ancient vaults.

11. Attend a Vespers Service of the Augustinian Sisters

Yes, there are still eight remaining Augustinian Sisters who live at  Le Monastere . Each day, they hold a vespers at 5pm, which is a short 20 minute service full of beautiful singing. They also hold lauds at 8am if you are an early bird.

Little known is that these beautiful services are open to the public, just head inside Le Monastere lobby, and up to the second floor where you can enter the church.

A beautiful vespers service of the Augustinian sisters.

12. Linger Over a Six Course Dinner of Local Food

I absolutely love to try the local cuisine when I travel. Quebec City has an incredible foodie scene, with many restaurants focused on sourcing their ingredients locally.

I definitely recommend going all out for dinner in Quebec City – I’m talking tasting menu, six courses, the whole shebang.

For an intricately designed six course meal, make a reservation at  Le Monastere’s  restaurant. Another great pick is  Bistro L’Orygine , which serves gourmet tapas style dishes.

Delicious seared scallops at Bistro L'Orygine.

13. Explore Quebec City’s Ice Hotel

Quebec City is home to North America’s only Ice Hotel… yep, you read that right. A hotel  literally  made from ice. Talk about a winter wonderland.

Most people will opt to just visit the Ice Hotel. Bundle up in your coat, and enjoy a cocktail out of a glass made of ice from the Ice Bar.

To go all out, you can actually book a room to stay at the Ice Hotel. These come with entrance to an outdoor spa, and a room that is actually made of ice!

Ice Hotel opens for the season on January 4 2023 and closes in mid March. 

Guided tours are run 12pm-5:30pm, the Ice Bar is open 10am-12am. Entrance is $29.99.

A very cool experience (pardon the pun) at the Ice hotel, definitely one of the best things to do in quebec city in winter.

14. Wander Through the Christmas Market

In keeping with the wintery European vibes, Quebec City actually has its own German Christmas Market.

The heart of Old Quebec City comes alive with sparkly lights, and dozens of Christmas stalls. Peruse the stalls for crafts, sweets, and of course (because it  is  Canada after all) poutine!

Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, 2 Rue des Jardins, Québec, QC, G1R 429

Open from November 24 until December 2 3.

Thursday-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.

Who doesn't love a Christmas market, one of the best things in December.

15. Shop at Le Grande Marche de Quebec

In addition to the Christmas market, winter in Quebec City is still a good time to visit a regular market. Quebec City has some great markets that feature local crafts, foods, drinks, and other products. Unfortunately, many of these shut for the winter months when produce is hard to come by.

The brand new  Grande Marche de Quebec , however, is open all year! This market is a gourmet spot that can’t be missed. 

ExpoCité, 250, boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel, édifice M, Québec, QC, G1L 5A7

Monday-Friday, 9am–6pm. Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm.

Me outside the Le Gran Marche, ready to go shopping in the market.

16. Go Skating at the Place de You’ville

Along Rue St Jean, you’ll find place D’Youville – a public square in the heart of Old Quebec City. In winter, the square is transformed into an  outdoor ice skating rink !

Better yet, skating is absolutely free… you just have to rent your gear if you don’t have any.

995, place D’Youville, Québec, QC, G1K 3P1

Open mid November until mid-March

Outside skating in Quebec city.

17. Go Shopping in a 100% Christmas Themed Boutique

While you’re in place D’Youville, don’t go too far… you can easily make your way over to  La Boutique de Noel .

This shop is  all  about the Christmas decorations, and all year ’round! However, a visit to La Boutique de Noel is definitely one of the best things to do in Quebec City in winter… especially if you haven’t finished your shopping.

There are also plenty of (non-Christmas themed) shops nearby worth checking out.

47 Rue De Buade, Québec, QC G1R 4A2, Canada

Sunday-Wednesday 9am-9pm, Thursday 9am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 9am-10:30pm.

travel to quebec city in december

18. Have Afternoon Tea in a Castle

You won’t be able to help noticing that a massive and elegant castle stands proud over Quebec City. This is the  Chateau Frontenac  – a luxury hotel and arguably the most iconic piece of architecture in Old Quebec.

Staying a night at the Chateau Frontenac is just how you would imagine sleeping in a castle (this is where we stayed on our previous trip to Quebec). However, even if you’re not a guest, there are plenty of experiences to be had at the Chateau.

You are able to take a  guided tour  of Chateau Frontenac for $23 (adult, non-guest). There are also plenty of dining options.

Personally I would opt for the  afternoon tea , which is offered on weekends for $55. Afternoon tea comes with live music, scones, devon cream, sandwiches, kombucha, and of course the tea.

Check rates and details on Chateau Frontenac here.

A snow capped Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.

19. Go to the Quebec Winter Carnival

Quebec City transforms into a  winter carnival  for one week each year. And the phrase ‘carnival’ is not taken lightly. The streets are taken over by parades, ice sculpting competitions, ice skating, polar plunges, and ice canoe race, an ice palace, and so much more.

The winter carnival is from February 4-11 in 2023.

Ice canoeing across the Saint Lawrence river.

20. Browse La Maison de le Litterature and the Morrin Centre

If you want to warm up inside with a good book, then make your way to  La Maison de la Litterature  and the  Morrin Centre . The Morrin Centre is a cultural center and museum, whilst the Maison is where all the books are! It is mostly in French but there are also exhibits in English.

This is also a beautiful spot for any design lovers to check out. The white interior, spiral staircase, and story-spanning windows must be seen (and photographed!).

Maison de la Litterature, 40 Rue Saint-Stanislas, Québec, QC G1R 4H1, Canada

Tuesday-Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-5pm, Monday closed.

travel to quebec city in december

21. Check Out the View From Observatoire de la Capitale

One of the best views in Quebec City can be found at the  Observatoire de la Capitale . Climb to the 31st floor and catch a view over the entirety of Old Quebec City!

There is also the ‘horizons discovery experience’ at the Observatoire, which is an educational exhibit that explains the surrounding skyline.

Adult tickets cost $14.75, more details and pricing can be found  here .

1037 Rue de la Chevrotière, Québec, QC G1R 5E9, Canada

Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday-Monday closed.

One of the cool things to do in quebec city in winter, a view over the snow capped city.

22. Check Dogsledding Off Your Bucket List

Have you ever been dog sledding? I went for the first time in Michigan last year, and it was the most exhilarating experience. I was so happy to find that Quebec City offers dog sledding in the winter! 

There are a few companies near Quebec City that offer dog sledding packages –  check them out here . Each company varies in price and length of sledding.

Based on my experience I highly recommend a package where you drive the sled yourself.

travel to quebec city in december

23. Go Snow Tubing

Being from the north, I know how fun snow tubing can be! If you’ve never tried it, you need to give it a shot whilst in Quebec City.

Not far from Quebec City,  Village Vacances Valcartier  turns into an absolute winter playground. There are over 35 various snow and ice runs to tube down!

You can also go snow rafting in a group, or ice skating. This is something people of  all  ages will enjoy.

Entrance to Village Vacances Valcartier is $25.99/per person.  You can book here .

The Village opens for the season mid December and closes mid March.

things to do in quebec city in winter, snow tubing!

24. Take in the Art at Musee de National des Beaux Arts

Head indoors and take in some of Quebec City’s museums during your winter visit. I always love to visit art museums, and Quebec City has a very good one in the  Musee de National des Beaux Arts .

The museum is located outside the city walls, on the top of the hill. It could easily be combined with a visit to  Strom Spa Nordique  (although you will have a long staircase to climb to reach the bottom!).

Adult tickets cost $25, more details and pricing can be found  here .

179 Grande Allée O, Québec, QC G1R 2H1, Canada

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, Monday closed.

25. Get Tipsy Over Craft Cocktails

Winter is a great time to spend a night, indoors, sampling craft cocktails. After a few of Quebec City’s finest, you won’t feel quite so cold on your walk back to the hotel…

We loved our craft cocktails at  Bistro L’Orygine  – each was a surprising concoction and mix of flavors. ‘The Violet,’ which had a rum base, blackberry syrup, and foam, was our favorite by far.

Or, you can head to Batinese and order the massive ‘Grosse ‘Rita’ – just be sure to take a few friends with you to finish it off.

Check out more Quebec City cocktails to die for here.

things to do in quebec city in winter, cocktails at Bistro L'Orygine.

26. Admire the Notre Dame de Quebec

The  Notre Dame de Quebec  is a stunning cathedral that was built all the way back in 1647. It is a centerpiece in Old Quebec City and worth a visit.

Unfortunately, during my past two trips to Quebec City, the Notre Dame has been undergoing construction. However, you are still permitted to go inside and admire the architecture from there.

Notre Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral, 16 rue de Buade, Quebec City

27. Take a Food Tour of the Ile d’Orleans

The Ile d’Orleans is an island in the St. Lawrence River that is known for its agricultural products.

It is one of the top attractions and day trips from Quebec City. I figured due to the agricultural emphasis that in the winter, there wouldn’t be much going on here. I was so wrong!

The foodie scene of Ile d’Orleans is alive and well at all times of the year – there is plenty to see (and taste) in the winter, including wineries, cideries, a chocolate factory, a fromagerie, maple syrup farms, and more. 

Book a three hour food tour here.

things to do in quebec city in winter, a food tour of the Ile d'Orleans

28. Take in the Sights of Montmorency Falls in Winter

The  Montmorency Falls  are a stunning set of waterfalls just a short drive from Quebec. It is definitely worth a visit in winter, to take in the frozen formations at the base of the falls.

The more adventurous among us may opt to go ice climbing here, as it is one of the premier destinations for ice climbing in Canada.

things to do in quebec city in winter

29. Dig in to Some Poutine

Last but not least, I can’t forget Canada’s delicacy:  poutine.  Yup, those fries slathered in gravy and cheese curds are what you came to Canada for, right? Whether that sounds appetizing to you or not, you absolutely need to give poutine a try while in Quebec.

For the best poutine in Quebec City,  Le Chic Shack  generally takes the title. If you have to eat gluten free like me, then head over to  Bistro Le Veravin , which offers five types of gluten free poutine!

RELATED |   A Gluten Free Guide to Quebec City

Poutine looking very tasty!

Where to Stay in Quebec City

Have I convinced you to pay a visit to Quebec City in winter, yet? I hope so! I’ve mentioned some places to stay in Quebec City already. But let’s review my top recommended hotels for all budgets.

Le Château Frontenac ($$$)

Far and away the most classically luxurious accommodation in Quebec City. Sleep in a literal castle, enjoy gorgeous views, and old-world charm in the center of it all. I’ve stayed here twice and it is always a treat.

Check rates and book Le Château Frontenac here.

Le Monastere des Augustines ($$)

Quebec City’s premier wellness hotel, but so much more than that. When you choose to stay at  Le Monastere des Augustines , you are supporting a non-profit, museum, hospital, and monastery. This is my own personal top pick. I have to say, it’s one of the most memorable hotel experiences I’ve ever had.

Check rates and book Le Monastere des Augustines here.

HI Quebec City Hostel ($)

I’m a lover of hostels, especially the Hostelling International brand which I regularly write for. They are a super reliable brand (and non profit) that I have frequented all around the world. Here, you’ll find cheap prices for clean and cozy accommodation. If you want a step above dorm sleeping, book a private room.

Check rates and book HI Quebec City Hostel here.

travel to quebec city in december

Things to do in Quebec City in Winter – The Details

Quebec City, a UNESCO heritage site and city.

In the province of Quebec, Canada.

Quebec City is fabulous all year round, but I recommend a visit in winter! This list of things to do in Quebec City in winter covers everything you need to know to plan a wintery visit.

How to get there?

We drove to Quebec City (from Michigan… yup it was a long drive!). You can also book a  VIA Rail  train, or look into flying into Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB).

I hope this list of 29 things to do in Quebec City in winter got you excited for your trip! And if you haven’t booked your trip to Quebec City yet… what are you waiting for?!

I’d love to hear your own favorite things to do in Quebec City… it’s difficult to pick but my top choices would be bathing at  Strom Spa Nordique , experiencing the wellness hotel  Le Monastere des Augustines , and of course exploring the incredibly quaint  Quartier du Petit Champlain .

travel to quebec city in december

Pin it for later…

Quebec City in winter is VERY cold, but it's also a winter fairyland! Here are 29 of the best things to do in Quebec City in winter.

* Quebec City Tourism Board  hosted my most recent trip to Quebec City. In addition to that trip, I have also visited Quebec City three other times (on my own dime!). As always, all opinions remain my own.

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My husband & I are considering going to Quebec City for my 56th birthday. I’ve seen other articles . But yours is the best so for !!! I’m convinced !! Thank you for sharing that the old city is on the top of a hill. You did a great job describing it !! Bless you ! Carrie

Aww thanks so much! I still need to update this article with 2022 dates for the events/festivals. But I LOVE Quebec City and highly recommend a visit!

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Quebec City announces water restrictions for a third of residents during major repair work

Starting wednesday, people who don't respect rules could face fine of $1,000.

A person holding a watering hose.

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Starting Wednesday morning, about 35 per cent of Quebec City's population will need to reduce their water consumption for at least 10 days as the city carries out maintenance on a major water main. 

Residents in five boroughs will be banned from using water for various outdoor purposes, including watering the lawn, washing vehicles, spraying down driveways and alleys and filling pools in order to maintain the quality of drinking water. 

The restrictions are due to major repair work on a water main in the Les Rivières borough, which provides drinking water to much of the population. Work is expected to start Wednesday at 7 a.m. and last until July 5.

At a news conference Tuesday, Quebec City officials asked residents to limit their domestic consumption of water, such as foregoing doing laundry and using dishwashers, during the first two days of work (Wednesday and Thursday) to limit the impact on drinking water.

"If we all work together, it is possible that there will be no noticeable effect for citizens," said Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand. 

Consumption of cloudy water is not recommended, particularly for at-risk populations such as pregnant people. For others, Marchand says drinking cloudy water is not a problem — but it's "not fun." 

"It's not the taste we're looking for," he said. 

Officials advised residents keep reserves of drinking water on hand for the first 48 hours of work and to reach out to the city if they notice a change in colour and taste of their water.

A map of Quebec City with certain sectors highlighted.

The restrictions will affect 12 different sectors across five boroughs, where about 175,000 people live. 

The affected sectors: 

  • Lebourgneuf.
  • L'Ormière.
  • Felix-Leclerc.
  • Ancienne-Lorette.
  • Université Laval. 
  • Saint-Sacrement.
  • Haute-Ville.
  • Vieux Québec.
  • Saint-Roch.

Fines for flouting rules

Watering vegetable gardens and edible plants using a manually-controlled water system will only be permitted between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. 

The partial filling of a swimming pool for maintenance is also permitted up to a maximum of 30 centimetres of water measured in the shallowest part of the pool. 

Christine Beaulieu, acting director of the water quality and laboratory section of the water treatment department, says regular surveillance will be done to ensure people are following the rules.

Anyone who flouts the restrictions are subject to a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence and $2,000 for a repeat offence.

She said the goal is for people to be informed, not punished, so warnings will be given before any fines. 

Beaulieu said anyone with questions or concerns about the quality of their drinking water should call 311, not 911. 

Written by Sabrina Jonas

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Christmas & Holiday Season

Arbre de Noel à place Royale

Québec City’s Holiday Season is simply magical! Lights, decorations, and snow create an enchanting setting like no other within Old Quebec. Starting at the end of November, Old Québec is transformed into a real  Christmas village , just like out of Charles Dickens's novel « A Christmas Carol ». No wonder CNN ranked Québec City among the world’s top 15 destinations in 2022 for celebrating the Holidays!

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German Christmas Market

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Step into historic petit-champlain street, a living christmas card.

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IMAGES

  1. Quebec City December Travel Guide

    travel to quebec city in december

  2. December in Quebec City: The Ultimate 3-Day Winter Guide

    travel to quebec city in december

  3. Quebec City in December & Why You'll Want to Visit

    travel to quebec city in december

  4. Quebec City December Travel Guide

    travel to quebec city in december

  5. Why You'll Want to Visit Quebec City in December

    travel to quebec city in december

  6. Best Times to Visit Quebec City

    travel to quebec city in december

VIDEO

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  3. Québec the prettiest town in Canada

  4. Quebec City Walking Tour Dec.2022

  5. Best Summer Getaways in Quebec:Unveiling Hidden Gems

  6. Vlog 06 Quebec City

COMMENTS

  1. What to Do in Québec City in December

    Here are some suggestions: Snow tubing: Opening of Village Vacances Valcartier on December 16. Alpine skiing: Start of the ski season at Stoneham , Mont-Sainte-Anne and Massif de Charlevoix in early December. Ice skating: The ice rink at Place D'Youville is already open while the one on the Plains of Abraham will open on December 14.

  2. December in Quebec City: The Ultimate 3-Day Winter Guide

    Sunset Time: The sun sets in December around 4 - 4:30 pm. Keep this in mind when planning your schedule! Weather: Quebec City is usually anywhere from -10º F to 30º F in December. You'll usually find either crystal-clear skies or overcast days with fresh snowfall, so it's best to be prepared for anything.

  3. 12 Wonderful Things To Do in Quebec City in December

    It's a yearly event held in early December in Quebec City, perfect for finding special and one-of-a-kind gifts ahead of the festive season. 3. Kaleidoscopes Festival. December 27 to 31, 2023 (2024 Date TBC) Every winter in Quebec City, the Kaleidoscopes Festival happens at the tail end of the German Christmas Festival.

  4. Local's Guide to Quebec in December: 31 Things to Do 2024

    Quebec Weather in December. It is cold and snowy in Quebec in the winter, especially in January and February. The average temperature in Quebec City in December ranges from -12 °C (10°F) to 5°C (23°F). It's slightly warmer in Montreal, -9°C (16°F) to -2°C (28°F). Snowfall is also common, with Quebec City's December weather receiving ...

  5. Best Times to Visit Quebec City

    Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels ...

  6. 28 Charming Things to Do in Quebec City in the Winter

    The cost of the ferry is $3.60 CAD each way. Ferry on the Saint Laurent River | Address: 10 Rue des Traversiers, Québec, QC G1K 8L8, Canada. The food markets in Quebec City are chock full of locally produced products, including 29869276 varieties of delicious maple things.

  7. 29 Unique Things You Can't Miss In Quebec City In Wintertime

    The best Quebec City walking tour is the Guided Visit of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac which is all about the history of the chateau, and the Old Quebec Grand Walking Tour (about 2 hours). 25. Onhwa' Lumina. Onhwa' Lumina hands down one of the most unique and memorable things to do in Quebec in winter.

  8. 5 Days in Québec City in Winter

    Montmorency Waterfalls Park. Head to Montmorency Falls Park to walk and admire the winter landscape. The ice-bound cliffs bordering the falls are popular with daredevil climbers, so keep your eyes peeled. 11.81 km. 5.

  9. 10 Reasons Why Québec City is the Best Christmas Destination

    Here are 10 reasons that make Québec the best Christmas destination and the best city to travel to in December. André-Olivier Lyra . 1 The Charming Architecture of Old Québec. Inside the Old City walls is a picture-perfect setting unique in North America; a little like walking into a magical kingdom. And Old Québec's narrow cobblestone ...

  10. 5 Things To Know Before Visiting Quebec City in December

    So here's my list of 5 things to know before you visit Quebec City in December! 1. IT WILL BE COLD. It's Canada in December. It might seem like a no-brainer that it's going to be cold, but I'm here to tell you that it's going to be even colder than you think. With that in mind, be sure to bring your heaviest coat, waterproof or heavy ...

  11. Quebec City in Winter: Weather and Event Guide

    Quebec City, Canada, thrives on tourism.So, even though temperatures in winter can dip well below zero, the historic city is still open for business with plenty to offer. Unlike Old Montreal, Quebec City's downtown is teeming with worldwide travelers between the months of December and March.They flock in droves to enjoy the province's skiing at world-class resorts, and then they stop off to ...

  12. Québec City Winter Itinerary: Things to Do + Where to Stay

    Things to Do in Québec City. 1. Visit the Ice Hotel. The Hôtel de Glace is made entirely of ice and snow, making it an ethereal winter experience. To visit the hotel, you'll have to venture about 30 minutes outside Québec City to the Valcartier Vacation Village, located in a more remote part of the region. Each year, there are around 40 ...

  13. 3 Days in Quebec City: The Ultimate Quebec City Itinerary

    You'll be able to witness the beauty of Quebec City from a new vantage point. The ferry offers stunning views of Old Quebec, Cap Diamant, and the Chateau Frontenac. It takes approximately an hour to drift across to Levis and back. The ferry ride is one of the most inexpensive activities in Quebec City at $3.95 one way.

  14. Quebec City December Travel Guide

    QUEBEC CITY DECEMBER TRAVEL GUIDE what to pack. If you're planning a trip to Quebec City in the winter you need to pack warm clothing. I repeat. You need you pack warm clothing. The essentials absolutely include a down parka and weatherproof snow boots that are suitable for below freezing temperatures. It was in the 20s my first day in Quebec ...

  15. Quebec City In Winter: 11 Unspoken Realities To Know

    Table of Contents. The Romanticism of Quebec City Winters. My Experience With Winter In Quebec City…. Winter In Quebec City: 11 Things You Should Know. 1. Quebec City Winter Weather Is Downright Unpredictable. 2. Understand The Feels Like Instead Of The Actual Temperature. 3.

  16. 13 Winter Activities to Try in Québec City

    Try Fat Biking. Rolling through the forest on a bike with big fat tires is one of those winter activities that everyone needs to try at least once. The sport is fast gaining in popularity all over, and the Québec City area is no exception. Among the many options, you have Empire 47, where the impeccably groomed trails and wide selection of ...

  17. Your Guide to Quebec City's Best Winter Activities

    Located just 20 minutes north of downtown Quebec, Valcartier Winter Playground is the perfect escape from the city. From December to March, the resort plays host to the largest winter playground in North America, offering over 35 snowy slopes, along with beautifully illuminated skating paths and designated kid's zones.

  18. Quebec City in December & Why You'll Want to Visit

    305. Quebec City in December is not traditionally a time for tourists and as such it's a great time to go. Prices are lower, there's lots to do both inside and outdoors and there's a real magic to the city - especially with so many Christmas lights and beautiful decorations. Over a December weekend you could easily fit in a visit to all ...

  19. 15 Incredible Things to Do in Quebec City in Winter

    14. Ride the Ferry. Québec‑Lévis ferry across the St.Lawrence River to Levis and back is not just a means of transportation, but a fun, affordable, and accessible activity as well. You will enjoy seeing the winter in Quebec City like never before.

  20. 29 Things to do in Quebec City in Winter That are Worth ...

    61½, rue du Petit-Champlain, Québec City, Québec, G1K 4H5. 10am-5pm. 6. Take the Levis Ferry for the Best View of Quebec City. One of the very best views of Quebec City can be found on the $3.85 ferry to Levis. Levis ( pronounced Lee-vee) is a town across the Saint Lawrence river.

  21. Québec City Winter Vacation Guide

    The Best of Québec City. Festivals, outdoor activities, recommendations and more! Discover all the cool things to do that make Québec City a unique winter destination.

  22. Quebec City Travel Guide

    Getting to Quebec City from Chicago was actually incredibly easy. We flew Air Canada from Chicago to Montreal and then had a connecting flight to Quebec City. A friend of mine took a train from Montreal to Quebec City and said that was an easy route as well. We ended up using points for our flights, but even without them, the flights weren't ...

  23. Quebec City announces water restrictions for a third of residents

    Starting Wednesday morning, about 35 per cent of Quebec City's population will need to reduce their water consumption for at least 10 days as the city carries out maintenance on a major water main.

  24. Québec City Christmas Guide

    Québec City's Holiday Season is simply magical! Lights, decorations, and snow create an enchanting setting like no other within Old Quebec. Starting at the end of November, Old Québec is transformed into a real Christmas village, just like out of Charles Dickens's novel « A Christmas Carol ». No wonder CNN ranked Québec City among the ...