Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Pamela
When is the best time to visit Québec City? Honestly, any time of year is a good time as the city is beautiful no matter the season, and there are always things to do in Québec City. If you’re looking for one of the biggest (and best) music festivals in Canada, then come in summer and check out Festival d’été de Québec.
If your skin tingles at the thought of gazing upon the vibrant fall foliage, then come in September-October and be prepared to have your mind blown. If you dream of sleeping in Hôtel de Glace, then winter is the best time to visit Québec City.
In summer, Québec City is filled with people visiting from around the world; solo travellers, families, couples, tour groups exploring historic sites and cruise ships lining the port. The streets of the Historic District of Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are filled with art installations, artists, street performers, music, and festivals.
The summer season typically starts mid-June and runs until mid-September. During these months, the average temperatures are 11ºC to 25ºC (51ºF to 77ºF) without humidity. There will be days, however, when the humidity spikes and outside temperatures can feel like 35ºC to 40ºC (95ºF to 104ºF); this typically happens in June, July and August.
Festivals and events abound, the most popular being Festival d’été de Québec, a 10-day music festival in July; Grand Feux Loto-Québec , Fête de la Nouvelles-France (New France Festival), ComediHa! Fest-Québec and Festibière Québec in August; Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec in September.
Finding hotel deals in Québec City in summer can be a challenge, so it is best to book early if possible (we suggest using sites like Booking.com). We suggest you start looking no later than March if you’re planning to attend Festival d’été de Québec or Fête de la Nouvelles-France.
If you’re planning to visit Québec City in summer be prepared for busy sidewalks and occasional street closures as several streets become pedestrian-only. Spend time on patios, dine on gourmet foods, visit museums, and venture into different neighbourhoods.
AUTUMN / FALL
The patios of summer slowly shut down as the temperatures begin to cool in mid-September, however, don’t fret, autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons in Québec City.
It is a time when children are back in school and the Saint-Lawrence River is dotted with cruise ships exploring New England and Canada. The Québec City fall foliage is absolutely stunning, and Fairmont Chateau Frontenac looks even more beautiful surrounded by trees of ruby reds, golden yellows, and rusty oranges.
The autumn/fall season typically starts in mid-September and runs until the end of October (the autumn colours generally last until mid-October, depending on the temperatures, rain and wind). During this time, the average temperatures are 2ºC to 18ºC (35ºF to 64ºF).
Autumn is the perfect season for road trips into the regions close to Québec City. Make time to admire the fall foliage on Île d’Orléans or Îsle aux Coudres, venture into the Laurentian mountains to admire the autumn colours in Charlevoix, drive out to Tadoussac and through the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
Planning to visit Québec City in autumn? Plan for cool days and even cooler nights. The city will be busy with cruise ship passengers and tour groups, but nowhere as busy as it is during the height of summer. Some patios remain open, with heaters to add warmth.
Québec City sits along the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River, which is one of the reasons why it can be hot and humid in summer, and frigid in winter. There are periods of quiet when the city returns to the locals, as well as periods of increased tourism as people arrive from around the world to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, visit Hôtel de Glace (Québec City’s ice hotel) and participate in Carnaval de Québec.
Winter is the longest season in Québec, and typically starts in November and runs until end-March (sometimes until mid-April). During this time, the average temperatures are -25ºC to 8ºC (-13ºF to 46ºF). Depending on the year, November can be cool, but dry.
Rain typically starts towards late November and into December, and if the temperature drops things become quite icy. January and February are the coldest months with temperatures dropping as low as -25ºC (-13ºF). March and April are cold but manageable.
When the snow falls, Québec City turns into a magical fluffy white wonderland. In November and December, the Christmas markets are in full swing, and neighbourhoods like Petit-Champlain turn into a living Christmas card.
This is the perfect time to try Québécois cuisine such as tourtière, which is typically served at Christmastime. In January, the Hôtel de Glace opens its doors, and the city prepares for Carnaval de Québec.
Spring is the shortest season in Québec City, sometimes it is so short it is almost non-existent. In spring the days slowly begin to warm and the flowers start to bloom.
A welcome reprieve from the clutches of winter. The streets, for the most part, are void of crowds until mid-May when hoards of school children descend on Québec City for their end-of-year class trips.
The spring season typically starts in April and runs until end-May. Average temperatures for this time are -1ºC to 17ºC (30ºF to 62ºF). While there are plenty of sunny days, there can also be quite a bit of rain; and while days can be warm, the nights are still cool.
Spring is the perfect time to experience a quieter side of Québec City. The city is beautiful as the flowers bloom and there are rarely lines for restaurants and attractions. It is also the season of sugar shacks, a Québécois experience everyone should try at least once in their life.