Planning the Perfect Quebec City Winter Getaway

Planning the Perfect Quebec City Winter Getaway

Quebec City is one of those places you need to visit more than once.

The city is transformed as the seasons change. The residents of Quebec City embrace the winter and the cold. They realize that if you’re going to live in a cold climate, you may as well enjoy it! As a result, there are many new experiences to have as the snow falls on the city. Throughout the winter months, there are a variety of activities and events that just don’t happen in the summer. Here are some suggestions to plan the perfect Quebec City winter getaway.

Hotel de Glace

Planning the Perfect Quebec City Winter Getaway

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Photo Credit: Clément Belleudy

Staying at an ice hotel is one of those elusive bucket list items. Thankfully, there is an ice hotel in North America that’s fairly accessible to Canadians and Americans alike. You can find this frozen wonderland at Hotel de Glace, or Quebec’s Ice Hotel. It’s the only hotel of its kind in the continent. From year to year, the property gets a complete makeover and is constructed from scratch. For 2016, the theme is “Rivers”. Allow your visit to take you on a wondrous journey along imaginary rivers made of ice and snow. There are themed suites with fireplaces, relaxing spa experiences, and even an ice chapel for weddings. Hotel de Glace is only open from the beginning of January through the end of March, making it the perfect addition to a Quebec City winter vacation.

Quebec Winter Carnival

Bonhomme has worked behind the scenes all year long to plan a spectacular Winter Carnival event for you! It’s an annual celebration of winter, snow, and ice. In 2016, Quebec Winter Carnival occurs from January 29th to February 14th and it’s not to be missed. Ongoing activities include a sugar shack, ice slides, winter sports, hot tubs, and drinking at the ice bar. Admire the enormous ice palace in front of the Parliament building. For those daring folks, there’s a snow bath – are you adventurous enough to wear your bathing suit in the snow? Marvel at the snow sculptures, participate in the night parade, watch the challenging ice canoe race, and keep warm by attending the outdoor dance party. Be sure to give Bonhomme a hug for me!

Village Vacances Valcartier

Village Vacances Valcartier is the largest winter playground in North America. You’ll find snowy fun here for the whole family. Visitors can enjoy more than 35 snow slides, skating paths, snow rafting, a children’s playground, a high speed rafting course called “Himalaya”, and a swirling rafting course called “Tornado”. For thrilling winter outdoor excitement, Village Vacances Valcartier is an attraction that you must visit.

Pentathlon de Neiges


Photo Credit: Active Steve

The Pentathlon de Neiges is a new winter sport and everyone is welcome to participate. It’s similar to a triathlon, except there are five different disciplines: biking, running, skiing, skating, and snowshoeing. There are events for solo participants or for those working as a team. Even beginners are encouraged to join in the fun for healthy competition and exercise. There are events for schools, families and friends, and corporate challenges, in addition to the races for competing athletes. Perhaps we could see this become an Olympic event in the future! The Pentathlon runs this year from February 19 – 28, 2016.

Red Bull Crashed Ice

Red Bull Crashed Ice is an extreme winter sport where athletes plummet down icy hills and speed around sharp corners. The skating track flows through the urban centre of Old Quebec, and over 50,000 people attend the event. It’s very exciting to experience the races in person, and I encourage you to check it out. In 2015, Red Bull Crashed Ice came to Quebec at the end of November, though we can expect it to return to the city again in the years to come. Check out our full review, along with a video of Red Bull Crashed Ice.

German Christmas Market

The Quebec City Christmas Market unites a German tradition with Old Quebec. The outdoor event runs from the end of November until just before Christmas. You’ll find vendors selling unique handmade wares, yummy treats, delicious mulled wine and other beverages, and Christmas decorations all around. Learn more about this holiday tradition in our article about the Quebec City Christmas Market.

Wander Around Old Quebec

Old Quebec is equally as charming in both the winter and summer months. There’s something even more enchanting when Quartier Petit-Champlain is covered with a light dusting of snow. In December, the Christmas decorations adorn the buildings and homes all around town. Grab your camera and take a stroll around Old Quebec in the winter for a magical experience. Check out my photo essay: Christmas in Old Quebec.

Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls is stunning during the summer months, but it’s a fascinating destination in the winter, too. The waterfall freezes over and eventually forms an impressive ice cone at its base, dubbed the Sugar Loaf. It’s a massive mountain of ice that you can only witness in the winter. The icy falls are lit up at night, making this majestic scene even more magical.

Toboggan Slide


Photo Credit: Active Steve

At Dufferin Terrace near the Chateau Frontenac hotel, there’s a steep toboggan slide that’s an annual tradition. This long luge is one of the oldest attractions in the city, running since 1884. There are three runs side by side, and up to four passengers can ride a toboggan at a time. Feel the cool breeze as you fly down the icy hill, approaching speeds of 70 km/hour.

Ice Skating

Each winter, there is an outdoor skating rink at Place D’Youville. There’s even a system in place to keep the rink frozen during some warmer periods of time. The ice rink is free for everyone to use, and there are skate sharpening and rental services on site.

Maple Syrup and Sugar Shacks

Once March rolls around, it’s maple syrup season! Indulge in this tasty Canadian treat at one of several sugar shacks in the region. You can learn about how maple sap is harvested from the trees and transformed into maple syrup. Be sure to taste maple syrup as it’s poured and rolled on top of the snow.

Planning the Perfect Quebec City Winter Getaway

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Have you visited Quebec in the winter or the summer?

17 Responses

  1. Valerie
    | Reply

    Quebec has been on my list of places to visit for awhile. I was avoiding visiting during the winter because of the cold, but this post may have just changed my mind!

  2. Trisha Velarmino
    | Reply

    Thanks for the tips, Lauren! I am not a fan of winter activities but your photos are convincing!

  3. Elizabeth
    | Reply

    I have been there to go skiing a LONG time ago. However you had me at the Ice hotel- I didn’t realise there was one there- it might be time to head back! I was just reading about the winter festival and it looks like fun- two mentions in two days it must be a sign!

  4. Tracie Howe
    | Reply

    This sounds like the kind of place I’d like to visit in the Winter. The Christmas market and the toboggan sound like a lot of fun!

  5. Kimberly Erin
    | Reply

    Sugar shacks, Crashed Ice and Igloo fest! How to Canadian in Quebec at winter :P

  6. Janna
    | Reply

    I love waterfalls and that Montmorency Falls is beautiful! That ice hotel is so awesome. I wanna experience that!

  7. Jessica
    | Reply

    Hotel de Glace can make my dream come true to stay in such an accommodation! So cool and bring you an ice era. :)

  8. Hotel de Glace looks so incredible! I want to experience such an accommodation.. it looks so cool :D

  9. Sreeram
    | Reply

    Staying in the Ice Hotel would have surely been an unique experience. I love winter sports and is crazy about mulled wine. I travel to Germany every winter to spend a weekend drinking mulled wine. Quebec in winter seems like my kind of thing..

  10. Dante
    | Reply

    Went to Montreal Last Year and it was amazing. Haven’t been to Quebec City though,

  11. Gemma
    | Reply

    Toboggan sign me up! I’m a big fan of the film, Cool Runnings! We need it to Quebec but will definitely be back. Hotel de Glace looks like a lot of fun. Is it warm inside?

  12. Evan Kristine
    | Reply

    This is rather similar as Finland (where I currently live). Nature is almost identical and as well all the winter activities! My friend is currently in Canada right now to study french and said it is wonderful :)

  13. Joe Ankenbauer
    | Reply

    Sign me up for the toboggan slide! I’ve never been to Quebec during the winter. I need to change that ASAP!

  14. Marta Cunha Grilo
    | Reply

    I want to stay on that Ice Hotel so bad!

  15. Marc
    | Reply

    Thanks for the very interesting article. I’ve been there with my toddlers and we had so much fun.

  16. Yazmin
    | Reply

    I am travelling to Quebec in mid-February. I usually enjoy walking around a city to get to know it. Is it possible to do this comfortably if I gear up correctly? Or would I be risking myself to frost bite/hypothermia?

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Yazmin, it will be quite cold but totally doable! We walked all over the place when we went to Winter Carnival and it was FREEZING. Bundle up in layers, a warm winter coat, and hats/mitts/scarves and you’ll be fine. If you’re really worried, you can buy those “handwarmers” and “toewarmers” that are the little packs you put into your boots and gloves to keep your fingers and toes hot.

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