Thing to do in Quebec City in Winter

50 Things To Do in Quebec City in Winter

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Pamela MacNaughtan

Quebec City in winter is frigid and magical, especially after the first snowfall when the cobblestone streets and historic buildings of Old Quebec City are covered in a layer of fluffy white snow. Turning the city into a magical winter wonderland that transforms adults into playful children.

Winter in Quebec City generally begins in November, with snow arriving sometime in December and hanging around until April (and sometimes early May!).

Plenty of time to work your way through a bucket list filled with things to do in Quebec City in winter. From festivals and Christmas markets to outdoor adventures, indoor parks and food, Quebec City is packed with things to do and experience.

here are 50 things to do in quebec city in winter!

Hôtel de Glace, an ice hotel in Quebec City
Hôtel de Glace

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top 10

Carnaval de Quebec is two weeks of parades, parties, activities, and more. It’s one of the best parts of Quebec City in winter. Plus, there is Bonhomme and his majestic ice palace, and ice canoe races across the nearly frozen Saint-Lawrence River. (February)

Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) opens its doors, beckoning people to wander through its icy hallways and bars and hotel rooms. It has a different theme each year, two ice bars, a stunning chapel, and plenty of hand-carved ice sculptures. Take a tour or spend the night. (January–March)

Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec (German Christmas Market) ushers in the holiday season each year. Shop for Christmas gifts and souvenirs, taste festive treats, listen to live music and enjoy theatrical performances. It is one of my favourite parts of Christmas in Quebec City. This is an LGBTQIA2S+ safe space. (Nov 24th-Dec23rd)

The Toboggan Festival is a New Year’s festival filled with outdoor concerts, food shacks, wine and beer gardens, warming huts, and so much more! Enjoy parties and parades. Dress warmly and dance the nights away. It’s a fun way to ring in the new year. (December)

Enjoy the festive lights in Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale. Wander the snow-covered cobblestone streets and shop for souvenirs, snap a ridiculous amount of Christmas-y photos, and try not to drool too much at the staggering beauty of these historic neighbourhoods.

Ride the Dufferin Slide. One of the original attractions in Quebec 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.

The Christmas Magic Tour is a lovely way to experience the beauty of Old Quebec City during the Christmas season. Wander snowy streets and admire the beautiful decorations. Learn a little history and perhaps do a little Christmas shopping too! A superb 3-hour walking tour.

The Christmas gourmet food tour starts in Old Quebec City. You’ll eat your way through the old city and into the neighbourhood of Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Sample scrumptious Quebecois cuisine, maple treats and possibly ice cider as well. Learn about the history of Quebec City and soak up the winter atmosphere.

Le Grand Marché de noël is a popular Christmas market with locals, who shop at the market throughout the year for fresh produce, meat, cheese, bread, and beer. During the holiday season, the market is filled with artisans selling all kinds of holiday treats and handicrafts. (December)

Snow tubbing at Village Vacances Valcartier. A favourite winter activity with many locals, Villiage Vacances Valcartier is the place to go for riding a rubber inner tube down a snowy hill. Honestly, if you have not tried snowtubbing, you really should. And, after you’re done, consider exploring Hôtel de Glace as well! A ski jacket, pants, and goggles are recommended.


While many tours in Quebec City operate from May to October, there are a few excellent ones that operate in winter as well. Here are some recommendations!

Things to do in Quebec City in Winter: Place-Royale
Place-Royale in winter = magic

A walking tour of Old Quebec City with a knowledgeable tour guide is one of the best ways to begin your time in the city. This FREE 1 hr 45 min walking tour comes with an engaging and fun guide, Sam, as well as interesting facts and insights into the city and its history. While the tour is free, tipping is highly recommended.

Winter Fat Biking Tour of Old Quebec. A somewhat unique way to experience Quebec City in winter. The tour cost includes gear, a guide, a hot beverage and a snack. It’s about 3 hours.

Guided Tours of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac are offered throughout the year, but during Christmas in Quebec City, this historic holiday is filled with gorgeous decorations. Plus, the winter views from the hotel are spectacular. Available on Christmas day.

Old-time guided snowshoe tours on the Plains of Abraham are a popular activity each winter. Join a guide dressed in old-time winter gear, and embrace the crisp winter air and crunchy snow.

Snowshoeing Tour in Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is an invigorating experience. This is a 3-5 hour guided tour which includes gear, transportation, and a warm beverage.

The Old Quebec City Food Tour is a yummy introduction to Quebec City’s food scene. Taste Quebecois comfort foods and traditional favourites at locally-owned restaurants. The tour offerings vary in winter, it is best to check their website for details, as well as booking tickets.

Evening Gourmet Tour (5 Course Dinner) is possibly the most luxurious food tour in Quebec City. I’ve enjoyed this tour through Old Quebec in summer, but Christmastime adds a bit of holiday magic. Plus you can do this on Christmas day!

The Beer & Food Tour explores the streets of Saint-Roch, sampling 9 different beers, tasting some yummy eats, and discovering more about local life in Quebec City. Not a drinker? No problem, you can still book the tour and skip the beer! Just email for a discounted price.

Quebec City craft brewery & beer tasting tour is three hours of visiting some of the city’s best breweries, sampling tasty beers and learning a little history along the way. Tours are only available on Saturdays in November and December. 

Hire a private tour guide. While guided group tours can be fun, hiring a private tour guide allows you to enjoy a Quebec City tour tailored to your interests and passions. Here are some of our favourite tour guides in Quebec City.

don’t forget to tip your guides! tipping is customary in quebec (and canada), and 15-20% per person is recommended.

outdoor adventures

Quebec City winter is best enjoyed outdoors, embracing the crisp winter air and living your best winter life. Honestly, if you want to experience Quebec like locals, outdoor adventures are one of the best ways to do it!

Alpine touring, an outdoor adventure activity that combines downhill skiing and backcountry hiking, is an epic winter activity. Le Massif in Charlevoix is one of the best places for Alpine Touring, with plenty of trails and a ski bus which makes it easy to get to Le Massif from your hotel in Quebec City.

Dogsledding in rural Quebec through a snow-capped forest, pulled by eager dogs who love to run, can be quite invigorating. Les Secrets Nordqiues is one of the better-rated tour providers.

Fat biking in Parc national Jacques Cartier, communing with nature, is sure to perk you up – especially on crisp winter days. This 3-hour excursion takes place in Jacques Cartier National Park, just 20 minutes from Old Quebec City. Perfect for first-timers and experienced cyclists.

Ice canoeing on the Saint-Lawrence River is not for the faint of heart, or legs (ha!). It’s hard work, as travel writer, Robin Esrock (Great Canadian Bucketlist), attests above, but it’s worth it. The excursion lasts roughly 3 hours, with one hour spent getting across the Saint-Lawrence River.

Ice canyoning is a half-day activity. You’ll learn to repel on a rope and abseiling verticals of 20m before repelling down Jean-Larose Falls – all under the watchful eyes of a trusted guide. A thrilling activity.

Skiing and snowboarding in Charlevoix. Enjoy some fresh powder on the slopes of Mont-Saint-Anne or out at Le Massif in Charlevoix. Drive yourself or ask your hotel whether a ski bus is available. Dress warmly and plan to spend the day on the slopes!

Ski-shoeing in Parc national Jacques-Cartier. You have probably heard of cross-country skiing, but have you heard of ski-shoeing?! A mix of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, take a 3-hour guided tour through Jacques Cartier National Park.

Guided snowmobile tour. Did you know that the snowmobile was invented in Quebec? Yup, it was! There are hundreds of kilometres of snowmobiling trails in Quebec, all begging to be explored.

fun outdoor activities

There are outdoor adventures, which generally require a moderate level of fitness, and then there are fun outdoor activities that are suitable for any fitness level. Here are a few activities we love!

Aquarium du Québec is fun for people of all ages, and it’s open year-round. Yay! Visit arctic animals, and watch mealtimes. You can also explore the deep sea, fresh water and saltwater pavilions. This is an outdoor and indoor activity.

Ice fishing on Lac Beauport. Ice fishing can be enjoyed on lakes and rivers throughout the province. While you’ll see ice fishing huts on the Saint-Lawrence River, consider venturing out to Lac Beauport instead. Poles are available for rent on-site. Guides are also on hand to provide training.

Ice skating at Place D’Youville. Every winter, the square in Place d’Youville turns into a large outdoor ice skating rink, complete with a skate rental shop. Enjoy the lights of the old city as you skate the day or night away, and when you’re done, drink delicious chocolat chaud to warm you up!

Nordic spa treatments and thermal experiences can be found in Old Quebec, as well as just outside the city limits. Strøm spa is the closest and the biggest. Halte O Spa is further out, and worth the drive.

Ride the Quebec-Lévis ferry for breathtaking views of Quebec City. Bring a bottle of ice cider or wine and a couple of plastic cups, dress warmly and enjoy the beauty of Quebec’s skyline in all its magical winter glory. It is especially spectacular (and chilly!) after dark.

Terrasse Pierre Dugua-de-mons has one of the best views of Old Quebec. If you want to capture the perfect winter postcard, the terrace should be the first place you go.

Montmorency Falls is breathtaking all year, but in winter snow and ice make these majestic waterfalls sparkle. Take bus #800 and visit the waterfalls on your own, or opt for a guided tour. Either way, consider visiting to do a little ice climbing, snowshoeing, or grabbing some snaps for your Instagram.

indoor activities

As much as we enjoy spending time outside during a Quebec City winter, indoor activities help keep us sane during the long winter months. Thankfully, there are many different activities to choose from to keep yourself busy. Here are some of our favourites!

Observatoire de la Capitale is open from Tuesday to Friday, and on a clear day, the views of the city are breathtaking, especially in winter. Reservations required. They are closed from December 24th to 28th.

La Citadelle de Quebec. Walk along the top of the walls of La Citadelle de Québec towards Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de-mons for a spectacular view of Old Quebec City, and take a tour of the Citadelle and museum. Home to the Royal 22nd Regiment.

Go to 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 (sigh, we miss the Nordiques), there is a minor league team that is quite good, Remparts de Québec, which plays games at the Videotron Centre.

Musée national des beaux-arts de Quebec. Spend an afternoon admiring art by famous Quebec, and international, artists at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Wander through the section which was once a jail, and visit the stunning Pierre Lassonde Pavillion.

Venture into the Musé de la Civilisation and wander through exhibits on the inhabitants of Québec, Canada, and around the world. Be sure to make time for their special exhibits as well! There are a few fab museums open all year!

Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral is home to the Holy Door and a beautiful church. When open to the public, I highly recommend going inside, whether you’re religious or not.

Cathédrale Holy Trinity is a beautiful historic church near Château Frontenac. During the Christmas holiday season, they often hold concerts, some of which are free to attend.

Bora Indoor Waterpark is absolutely divine on a frigid winter day. Spend a few hours outside, snow tubing, or exploring Hôtel de Glace, then enjoy the waterslides and pools inside Bora. Be warned, it may be difficult to get your kids to leave!

food + drink

Quebec City’s food scene is truly fantastic, and getting better every day. While we could go on and on about where to eat and drink, we’ll focus on sharing a few wintertime eats we think everyone should try!

Smoked meat poutine from Le Chic Shack - things to do in qiebec city in winter
Smoked meat poutine from Le Chic Shack

Drink chocolat chaud. Everyone who visits Quebec City should try real chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). The best chocolat chaud in Quebec City can be found at Érico’s on rue Saint-Jean or Bar Artefact inside Auberge Saint-Antoine. There are also excellent cups at La Maison Smith, comptoir boréal, Café Saint-Henri and Au 1884.

Try Maple Taffy. A popular winter snack in Quebec, maple taffy is made by pouring boiling maple syrup on fresh cold snow, then rolling with a popsicle stick. It’s sweet and utterly delicious. In winter, you’ll find maple taffy throughout Old Quebec City. Try places like Au 1884, La Maison Smith Place-Royale, and down on rue du Petit-Champlain.

Eat poutine. Everyone should eat poutine while in Quebec City, unless, of course, you’re celiac (sad face). In winter, we recommend Chez Ashton as they offer discounts based on the weather: -20ºC = 20% off your poutine. Score! Of course, if you want to try gourmet poutine then Le Chic Shack is a good place to start.

Go on a Quebec City pub crawl. Sure, you could do your own pub crawl. It is pretty easy, just visit as many bars as you can until you’re too drunk to walk. OR you can go on a five-hour pub crawl tour, meet new people and know that no matter what happens, you’ll still get back to your hotel or hostel at the end of the night.

Eat traditional tourtière. A trip to Quebec City is not complete until you have tried traditional Québécois cuisine, and it doesn’t get more traditional than tourtière. Despite what you may think, traditional tourtière is usually not made with ground beef, but with cubes of wild game. So good.

Quebec craft beer is practically an institution, and there are a few breweries in Quebec City to enjoy while you’re in town.

  • Korrigane Brasserie Artisanale is a female-owned microbrewery in the neighbourhood of Saint-Roch. They brew seven different beers. The food menu here is excellent as well.
  • La Barberie is on the outskirts of Saint-Roch. It has 12 beers on tap and several others which can be bought by the can or bottle. The menu is a handful of snack items.
  • La Souche in Limoilou has a staggering amount of beers, 66 in total. Some are only available in summer, and others are only available in winter. The food menu is very good here.
  • Noctem Artisans Brasseurs in Saint-Roch has 12 beers on tap, all with cat-like names. The food menu is good and offers some vegetarian dishes.
  • Griendel Brasserie Artisanale has 14 beers on tap and one cider. The space is big with floor-to-ceiling windows. The food menu is quite good.

don’t forget to tip your servers! tipping is customary in quebec (and canada), and 15-25% is recommended.

artisans + producers: quebec city shopping ideas

There are plenty of shops and boutiques to visit in Quebec City, but in my opinion, the best places to shop are ones that support local artisans and producers – whether they are from Quebec City or elsewhere in the province.

Petit-Champlain is the oldest shopping street in Quebec City, and gorgeous in winter when snow covers the 18th and 19th-century buildings. It’s filled with artisanal shops and restaurants. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Boutique Amimoc – Known for their high-quality Quebec-made boots and mocassins.
  • Flamand Sculpteur – A talented wood sculptor.
  • Charlevoix Pure Lane – Sweaters, hats, mittens and other goods made with sheep’s wool from the Charlevoix region.
  • Fromagerie Ferme Audet – Producer of goat cheese, and goat’s milk toiletries.
  • Boutique Oclan – Clothing boutique, famous for its Fucklamode apparel.
  • Les Ptits Mosüs – Children’s clothing boutique

Article 721 in Limoilou is one of my favourite places for Quebec-made products, from prints and clothing to jewellery, skincare, and art prints. They also have a small collection of vintage home goods and second-hand clothing.

Les Trouvailles de Jules is a small boutique/épicerie on rue Sainte-Anne near artist alley. Its shelves are filled with artisanal souvenirs, from Quebec terroir to handicrafts. Including, at times, gorgeous plates by ceramicist, Patrick Lebond.