Visiting Quebec City in winter isn’t just a bucket list item. It’s a true journey into a world where frozen landscapes come to life as the city transforms into a winter wonderland. Here, we truly live winter to the fullest. As soon as the temperature drops below zero and the thick white snow covers the city, a variety of fun-filled winter activities come to life. Here are some of the things to do in Quebec City in the winter. Arguably the largest winter playground in North America!
Romantic things to do in Quebec City in winter: the Dufferin Terrace toboggan slides
Since 1884, the Dufferin Terrace toboggan slides have thrilled young and old alike. With unique views of the city including the St. Lawrence River and the famous Château Frontenac, these unique slides are one of the oldest attractions in Old Quebec. Climb into your toboggan and hit speeds of up to 70 km/h! Once you reach the bottom, warm up with a delicious cup of hot chocolate from the small booth next to the slides.
Top winter attractions in Quebec City: the Quebec Carnival
Don’t miss the largest winter carnival in the world: the Quebec City Carnival!! Each year from late January to mid-February, the carnival offers more than 200 activities and attracts nearly 500,000 visitors. Immerse yourself in the world of Bonhomme’s, the 7-foot snowman and official representative of Carnival. Come discover the Quebecer’s zest for life in winter! On your bucket list: take a selfie with this famous snowman! Watch or try your hand at ice-boat races, snow baths, mechanical elk riding (a variation on bull riding), and the “ride-cul” race – riding down the slopes on a ski. All of these activities are unique to the Québec Winter Carnival and are ideal for families.
You’ll also notice several French-Canadian traditions, such as wearing the arrow sash and sipping the famous Caribou drink, made with red wine, hard liquor and maple syrup. Also on the program are night parades, massive snow sculptures, ice slides and more.
Where to stay in Quebec City: the Ice Hotel, of course!
As you may already know, Quebecers don’t live in igloos or have pet polar bears. But even though we live in houses, sometimes we want to experience something new and spend a night at the Hôtel de glace in the Village Vacances Valcartier!
A 30-minute drive from downtown Quebec City, this work of art, exclusive to North America, amazes thousands of visitors from around the world each winter. Prepare for a unique northern experience in this impressive structure built entirely of snow and ice. If you’re the brave type, spend the night in one of the 45 rooms, or simply visit the magical hotel and warm up with a cocktail served in an ice glass!
There are also several onsite winter activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Best activities in Quebec City in winter: a hike at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
You’ve probably admired a waterfall in summer, but have you ever seen one in winter? The Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, located 13 km from Old Quebec, will delight nature lovers. It’s the perfect place to admire the beauty of the white winter landscape and appreciate the power of the impressive Montmorency Falls, 83 meters high (30 meters higher than Niagara Falls). From the top, the panorama opens up to the St. Lawrence River and the Île d’Orléans.
Observe the majestic falls from the cable car that will take you all the way to Manoir Montmorency. You can also admire the falls by walking or snowshoeing along the park’s trails. The more adventurous can even climb the frozen cliffs that frame the falls
When the temperature drops below zero, the mist from the crashing waterfall freezes and forms an impressive ice cone called Pain de Sucre (Sugarloaf) at the base of the falls. At night, the falls are illuminated to create an even more magical atmosphere.
More fun things to do Québec City in winter
- Skate on the ice rink at Place d’Youville near rue Saint-Jean
- Stroll through the snow-covered Petit-Champlain in Old-Quebec, which is especially lovely during Christmas
- Cross-country ski miles of trails on the Plains of Abraham
- Nordic walking in the Vallée Bras-du-Nord National Park
- Ski the slopes of Mont Sainte-Anne or Le Massif de Charlevoix with views of the St. Lawrence River
- Relax at Sibéria spa (with sweltering hot saunas, steam rooms and yes, outdoors pools, too)
- Discover a typical Québécois activity: ice fishing