Quebec City is widely known as a winter city, and after this most recent trip, I 100% understand why. This city just knows how to do winter, and how to make it fun for everyone!
As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Quebec City is rich in history and heritage and thus has much to discover and explore. Of note is the city’s unique architecture, which consists of a mixture of French and British influences. The city’s historic district was the first urban area in North America to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, both for its role as the birthplace of French civilization in North America and as the only remaining North American city to be surrounded by fortification walls.
This condensed guide outlines what to do and see while in Quebec City during winter, including where to eat, stay, explore, and get the best views during your visit! Also make sure to check out my Quebec City Travel Guide for even more great recommendations for your Quebec City vacation.
Having stayed in Quebec City a couple times now, I’ve been able to experience different accommodations across the city. When planning where to stay in Quebec City, I’d highly recommend looking into either the Hilton Québec or Fairmont Château Frontenac. While Château Frontenac provides historical luxury accommodations in the city core and offers views of not only the St. Lawrence River but also the old city, it is *itself* a must-see landmark. And Hilton Québec promises some of the best and most expansive views of Château Frontenac, Vieux Québec, and the St. Lawrence River in one (as pictured above), while also being located just outside of the historic district. So if you’re looking for fantastic hotel views of Vieux Québec as well as walkability, Hilton Québec is right up your alley! Not to mention, it has a variety of other ameneties, including an in-house restaurant, an executive lounge, a heated outdoor pool, and a gym!
Eating and trying new foods and restaurants are among my favourite things to do while travelling. Luckily, for anyone travelling to Quebec City, it’s a foodies’ paradise and figuring out where to eat is a piece of cake! If you had to choose among all of the cities’ restaurants for your winter trip to Quebec City, I’d recommend prioritizing La Bûche.
La Bûche is a sugar shack inspired restuarant offering a modern take on traditional Québec cuisine in a festive atmosphere. I love that La Bûche keeps its festive decor up year-round, so that you can really experience its unique dining atmosphere regardless of when you visit. Other great restaurant options include Le Bedeau, Le SAM Bistro, and CABU. Click here for a full list of must-eat Quebec City restaurants (just scroll down to the “Where to Eat” section).
Quebec City’s reputation as a quintessential winter city is reflected in its variety of fun and unique winter activities. As someone who typically avoids the cold and most things winter-related, being here during winter has actually warmed me up to the season. I’m even looking forward to going back to experience more winter fun in Quebec City!
Here is a list of must-do winter activities in and around Quebec City:
– Experience Le Carnaval de Québec! (Although 2023 carnival season has come to a close, it’s not too early to start planning for the next one! Next year, @carnavaldequebec will run from February 2nd to 11th, 2024)
– Go ice skating at Place D’Youville
– Enjoy hot chocolate and the city’s iconic toboggan slide at @au1884
– Visit l’Hôtel de Glace @hoteldeglace, the only ice hotel in North America
– Chase frozen waterfalls at Parc de la Chute Montmorency
– Ride the funicular between upper and lower town, and enjoy the views!
– Discover Le Grand Marché
– Eat at the local restaurants and enjoy popular local cafés
If you’re looking for a little more thrill, consider adding the following activities to your Quebec City winter itinerary:
– Go snow tubing and snow sliding
– Go snowshoeing
– Head to the slopes for skiing and snowboarding
– Try dogsledding
– Try your hand at ice fishing
– Go snowmobiling
– Relax at a Nordic spa
– Go climbing and canyoning
Suggested Itinerary for a Winter Carnival Weekend in Quebec City
Friday (Day 1)
– Arrive in Quebec City by plane or train, and check in to your hotel
– Explore Old Quebec on foot and familiarize yourself with the city
– Grab dinner at Le Bedeau
– Relax for the evening (Hilton Québec guests can take advantage of the heated outdoor pool)
Saturday (Day 2)
– For Hilton Québec guests, enjoy breakfast in the Executive Lounge overlooking the city
– Start the day with a visit to l’Hôtel de Glace
– Return to downtown Quebec City for lunch at La Bûche
– Tour the Carnival grounds
– Head to Terrasse Dufferin and ride the iconic Au 1884 toboggan slide
– Return to your hotel to prepare for dinner
– Enjoy dinner at Chez Boulay
– Attend the Carnaval de Québec night parade
-End the night at the after-parade night show
Sunday (Day 3)
– Sleep in
– Grab brunch at Le Champlain, located in Fairmont Château Frontenac
– Check out of your hotel (if needed, see if you can store your belongings or secure a late check out)
– Visit Strøm Spa for some afternoon pampering (make sure to grab a snack at their restaurant (Restaurant Nord)
– Head back to your hotel to pick up your belongings before heading to the airport/train station for evening departure
Regardless of when during the season you visit Quebec City, it is a fantastic winter destination that offers a ton to see, do, and explore. And of course, if you can tack on a couple extra days for adventure activities like snowshoeing and dogsledding, you won’t regret it! In fact, spending more time in Quebec City is my goal for the next winter season. Make sure to follow along here and on Instagram (@la_wandereuse) to see everything I get up to!
Thank you so much to @quebeccite for making my return visit to beautiful Quebec City possible! I will return again and again to continue exploring all that it has to offer. All opinions are my own.