When the cobbled streets and historic buildings are covered in a layer of white fluffy snow, Québec City turns into a magical winter wonderland, enticing everyone to come out and play.
Winter in Québec City can be cold and crispy. That does not mean you should hide inside your hotel. In fact, we highly recommend embracing winter like the locals and being as active as possible.
Here are 44 things to do in Québec City in winter that will make your trip a memorable one.
CARNAVAL DE QUEBEC
You can watch the ice canoeing races during Carnaval, or you can opt to ice canoe across the Saint-Lawrence River yourself. It’s hard work, but worth it. Learn more here.
LES PROMENADES FANTOMES
Embrace a touch of Québec City’s darker side with a ghost tour (complete with costumed guides) through the old city. Les Promenades Fantomes offers five tours – we recommend their Halloween tour.
GHOST TOUR OF QUEBEC
Learn more about Québec’s unique history by taking a 90-minute tour of Old Québec, led through the streets by lantern light and costumed guides. Learn more here.
CHRISTMAS FOOD TOUR
Start in Vieux-Québec and eat your way into the neighbourhood of Saint-Jean-Baptist. Try classic Canadian streets like maple, and French delights like ice cider. Learn more here.
Helico offers three helicopter tours of Québec City, starting with a 15-minute flight over the old city. While spring and summer or beautiful, the best landscapes are in autumn and winter. Learn more here.
Go day dog sledding in Mont-Sainte-Anne: visit the kennel and spend an hour riding in a sled. Transportation from Québec City is included.
EAT MAPLE TAFFY
A popular winter treat in Québec. Made by pouring boiling maple syrup onto cold snow and rolled with a popsicle stick, maple taffy is a must try.
VISIT HOTEL DE GLACE
Wander through the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel), and admire the craftsmanship of a hotel and chapel made of snow and ice. Take a shuttle from Vieux Québec for a day trip, or spend the night!
On a clear winter day, take the ferry from Québec City to Lévis, and back. Bring a bottle of ice cider and a couple plastic cups, enjoy the beauty of Québec’s skyline in all its magical winter glory.
VISIT LA CITADELLE DE QUEBEC
Walk along the top of the walls of La Citadelle de Québec, visit the museum, or take a tour. Home to the Royal 22nd Regiment. Learn more here.
Everyone needs to eat poutine while in Québec City. In winter we recommend Chez Ashton as they offer discounts based on the weather: -20º = 20% off poutine. Score!
VISIT PARC DE LA CHUTE-MONTMORENCY
Located just outside the city, Montmorency Falls are 272 ft tall, and stunning in winter. Visit the falls in winter to do a little ice climbing, snowshoeing or tobogganing.
VISIT MUSEE NATIONAL DES BEAUX-ARTS DU QUEBEC
Spend an afternoon admiring works of art by Québec and international artists at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Check out their new wing, and have lunch in their café. Yum!
SHOP AT THE GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKET
Every year a German Christmas market opens up across from Notre-Dame Basilica in Vieux Québec. The market is open late-November to mid-December.
CHRISTMAS MAGIC TOUR
In December, Cicerone offers Christmas walking tours through Vieux-Québec and down to the Christmas Market at Marché du Vieux-Port. A great winter walking tour. Learn more here.
MUSEE DE LA CIVILISATION
Looking to escape the chilly weather? Venture into the Museum of Civilization and wander through exhibits on the inhabitants of Québec, Canada, and around the world. Learn more here.
TUBBING AT VALCARTIER
A favourite winter activity with many locals, Valcartier is the place to go for riding a rubber tube down a snowy hill. Ski jacket, pants, and goggles are recommended. Learn more here.
OBSERVATOIRE DE LA CAPITALE
On a clear wintery day walked to Observatoire de la Capitale for stunning views of Québec City from 132m above the ground. From the top, spot Fairmont Château Frontenac and the Saint-Lawrence river, the ski runs on Mount-Saint-Anne, Vieux Québec, and more.
VISIT LE MONASTÈRE DES AUGUSTINES
Whether you are looking for a unique place to stay, a deliciously healthy meal, health and wellness courses, or a museum to explore in an extra chilly day; Le Monastère des Augustines is the best place in the city to visit.
VISIT MAISON DE LA LITTERATURE
We love that Québec City repurposes decommissioned churches, turning some into beautiful libraries, like Maison de la Littérature. Since opening, this library on rue Saint-Stanislas in Vieux Québec has become an Instagram sensation.
RIDE DOWN THE DUFFERIN SLIDE
One of the original attractions in Québec City, the Dufferin Slide is run by Au 1884 (beside Fairmont Château Frontenac on Dufferin Terrace). For $10 you get 3 rides down the slide on a long wooden toboggan – and a lifetime of laughs and memories.
EAT AT AUX ANCIENS CANADIENS
A trip to Québec City is not complete until you have enjoyed traditional Québécois cuisine, and aux Anciens Canadiens is the restaurants in the city for Québécois fine dining. A truly unique dining experience.
CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S ON GRAND ALLEE
Possibly one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in Canada takes place in Québec City. Spend the night wandering around illuminated art exhibits and enjoy live outdoor concerts. There is nothing quite like a wintery street party !
WATCH A HOCKEY GAME
One should always make time to watch a hockey game while in Canada, and although there is not an NHL team in Québec City, there is a minor league team that is quite good, Remparts de Québec.
FESTIVE LIGHTS AT PETIT-CHAMPLAIN
Pettit-Champlain (and Place Royale) are beautiful neighbourhoods in winter. Be sure to wander through the streets after dark to admire the Christmas decorations and festive lights.
Go cross-country skiing around the Plains of Abraham! Each winter a cross-country track is opened up on the Plains of Abraham, which also rents gear to visitors who want some winter exercise.
ICE SKATING AT PLACE D’YOUVILLE
Each winter the square in Place d’Youville turns into a large ice skating rink, complete with a skate rental shop! Enjoy the lights of the old city as you skate the day or night away!
CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is home to the Anglican Diocese, and the first Anglican church built outside Britain. The cathedral is small, but intricately decorated – including some gorgeous stained glass windows!
MUSEE DES URSULINES DE QUEBEC
The Ursuline nun arrives in Québec City in 1639 with a mission to educate the first nations people, as well as the settlers. Their museum is small, but provide a fascinating look into the city’s history.
If you want to capture the perfect winter postcard shot of Québec City, visit Terasse Pierre-Dugua-de-Mons near La Citadelle: Château Frontenac, the Saint-Lawrence river, and Vieux Québec covered in fluffy white snow? Sign us up!
Over the years the building that houses the Morrin Centre has been a barracks, a jail, a college, and now home to the Literary & Historical Society of Québec, as well as an English library. Visit the old, then cross the street to visit the new (Maison de la Littérature).
FUNICULAIRE DU VIEUX-QUEBEC
Riding the Funiculaire is fun any time of year. We especially love the view of Petit-Champlain and Place Royale. It is also a fabulous way to travel between the upper city and the lower city on a bitterly cold day.
DRINK CHOCOLAT CHAUD
Everyone who visits Québec needs to drink chocolat chaud (hot chocolate), and not the kind from Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s. Go to Érico’s on rue Saint-Jean for the best chocolat chaud you will ever drink.
L’ILOT DES PALAIS
A historical and archaeological site in Vieux Port, L’ilot des Palais is the site of the Jean Talon’s short-lived brewery in Québec City, as well as a prison, and king’s storehouse.
EPICERIE J.A. MOISAN
The oldest grocery store in North America, J.A. Moisan is a gourmet grocery shop as well as a Victorian-themed bed & breakfast. We recommend buying a couple foodie souvenirs while you’re there!
BAR-HOPPING ALONG GRAND ALLÉE
Party the chilly winter night away in the bars, pubs and clubs along Grand Allée — and when you’re done, walk over to Chez Ashton for pre-dawn poutine.
GUIDED SNOWSHOE TOUR
Visit the Plains of Abraham museum and take a guided snowshoe tour! Embrace the snow and crispy air and explore the city.
FOOD & BEER TOUR
Broue Tours is a relatively new tour company in Québec City, and already one of the best. Not a drinker? No problem, you can still book the tour and skip the beer! Just email for a discounted price.
There is something divine about putting on your bikini or trunks, running into the cold, and slipping into a hot tub surrounded by snow. We love us some some nordic spa time.
Spend half a day learning to repel on rope and abseiling verticals falls of 12-19m – all under the watchful eyes of a trusted guide.
Did you know that the snowmobile was invented in Québec? Yup, it was! Once there is enough snow on the ground, take a snowmobile tour through the mountains or countryside.
SIP ICED CIDER
Québec makes some of the best iced cider you will ever drink. Venture over to Île d’Orleans and visit Domaine Steinbach Ciderie et Relais Gourmand for an iced cider tasting.
Another favourite winter activity in Québec, ice fishing. Each year there are several huts set-up on the Saint-Lawrence river.
We are so happy that you are planning a trip to Québec City during the winter months, and we would love to hear about your plans! But, before we do that, there are a couple things you may need to pack for your trip!
- Ice Crampons – Old Québec is full of hills, some of them a tad steep. In winter the streets and sidewalks can be slippy (trust us, we have the scars to prove it!), wearing ice crampons will help keep you on your feet.
- Snow Goggles – Before you roll your eyes, you should know that the wind can get very chilly and wearing ski goggles can help your face from feeling like it is permanently frozen.
- Wooly hat – What do they say? 10% of your body heat escapes through your head? Maybe it is more. Either way, a warm wooly hat is a MUST.
- Snowpants – It sounds silly, but you will feel out of place in Québec City if you are walking around in winter and not wearing snowpants. Plus, you will need to wear them for several of the activities in this post.
- Camera – You’re visiting one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, you will NEED to take photos and plenty of them. While we enjoy using our Fuji X-T1, we highly recommend a smaller camera like the Nikon 1 (we have used this on several occasions and love it).