When Boyfriend and I traveled to Quebec, Canada a few years ago to have some winter fun at Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham ski resorts (and tackle my fear of heights!) we first spent a few days finding fun things to do in Quebec City.
The center of Quebec City has quite a European feel to it, with walkable distances between the main sights and a historic feel to it. We spent three days checking out its sights and wandering its streets. Here’s what we think are some top things to do in Quebec City in winter.
9 fun things to do in Quebec City in winter
- 1. Wander the Old Town
- 2. Stroll by the harbor
- 3. Learn about the history of Quebec at the Place Royal
- 4. Look for the graffiti at the Quartier Petit Champlain
- 5. Admire the view from the Terrasse Dufferin and the Promenade des Gouverneurs
- 6. Visit the Citadel of Quebec
- 7. Walk the Plaines d’Abraham
- 8. Have poutine
- 9. Visit the Ice Hotel
- 10. Go on a walking tour
- Where to stay in Quebec City
- How to get around in Quebec City
- How to get to Quebec City
- Don’t forget travel insurance
- Stay connected while visiting Quebec
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9 fun things to do in Quebec City in winter
1. Wander the Old Town
With its small houses and sights such as the Notre-Dame de Quebec and the beautiful Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, a former castle, Quebec’s Old Town is a fun place to simply wander around. Just make sure you dress up warmly when you go in winter!
Visit the Chateau Frontenac
Althought the Chateau Frontenac is a hotel now, it’s possible to go on a one-hour tour of the castle.
2. Stroll by the harbor
The Port of Quebec isn’t that spectacular of a sight, but there’s a fun indoor market hall there where you can buy fish, produce and all kinds of other products. There’s also a Naval Museum and a Museum of Civilization.
3. Learn about the history of Quebec at the Place Royal
Walk along Place Royal on your way back to the Old Town. Aside from being a cute place with fun stores, it’s considered the birthplace of the French colony in North America. There’s an interpretation center for people who want to learn more.
4. Look for the graffiti at the Quartier Petit Champlain
From the Place Royal, it’s only a short walk into the Quartier Petit Champlain, probably the most quaint and European-like neighborhood of Quebec City. Here you can find small boutiques and restaurants, a cable car taking you up to a higher part of the city and a massive mural.
5. Admire the view from the Terrasse Dufferin and the Promenade des Gouverneurs
When you take that cable car up, you’ll reach the Terrasse Dufferin by the Chateau Frontenac. It’s a walkway and a viewing point that overlooks the St. Lawrence River. At the south end of the Terrasse, there’s a slide from which people can slide down on their sleds in winter.
Behind those slides, lies the Promenade des Gouverneurs, a lovely path that runs high up along the riverside and takes you past the back of the Citadel of Quebec and all the way to the Plaines d’Abraham.
If you’d rather see the city from the water than looking at the water from the city, you can go on a 90-minute river cruise along the Saint Lawrence River.
6. Visit the Citadel of Quebec
The Citadel of Quebec is still an active army base but it can be visited on a guided tour. We got to walk the grounds and entered some of the buildings that were set up as little exhibition spaces. In summer, you can also see a Changing of the Guard here.
Not only is the Citadel the biggest fortress built by the British in North America, it’s also home to Canada’s only French-speaking infantry contingent, the Royal 22nd Regiment. You’ll learn all about its history during the tour.
7. Walk the Plaines d’Abraham
The Plains of Abraham is now a large urban park on what was once a massive battlefield. Inside the park, you’ll find a museum commemorating the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, walking lanes, picnic tables and – in winter – a snowshoeing area and cross-country skiing options.
8. Have poutine
I’d heard quite a few people rave about poutine when I told them I was going to Quebec but must admit it wasn’t for me. Being Belgian, I see the art in preparing a proper pack of fries, but covering those fries in some kind of gravy and white, chewy cheese… Nope, I wasn’t too fond of it.
Still, it’s such a typical dish that you need to give it a try. You can find poutine all around the city and with all kinds of toppings but cheese with gravy is the classic combination.
If you really want to dig into Quebec cuisine (see what I did there), consider going on a food tour around the city. This 2.5-hour tour includes 15 tastings in the city’s top foodie neighborhoods.
9. Visit the Ice Hotel
If you visit Quebec in winter, the Hotel de Glace or Ice Hotel is a must. We didn’t stay there (brrr, hell no!) but we did visit and it was worth the bus trip from the city center!
10. Go on a walking tour
We did all of the above by ourselves, but if you’d rather get a good introduction to the city, including historical information from a professional tour guide, consider going on going on this 2-hour walking tour around the city. It gets amazing reviews.
As we only had a few days in the city, we certainly didn’t see it all. We didn’t go to the Aquarium or spend a lot of time visiting museums and roaming the shopping streets. But I hope this post gives you an idea of a few what to do in Quebec City, Canada. We sure had fun in Quebec City!
Where to stay in Quebec City
Budget option: Hotel Chateau Bellevue
The three-star Hotel Chateau Bellevue is where we stayed on our trip to Quebec. It’s located in Quebec’s historical district, right by the St. Lawrence river, the Terrasse Dufferin and other sights. WiFi is free throughout the property while breakfast and valet parking come at an extra cost.
Boutique option: Hotel Cap Diamant
This small three-star hotel offers rooms with an authentic Victorian interior and modern facilities such as air conditioning and free WiFi. A continental breakfast is included in the room price and when the weather’s nice, guests can enjoy the hotel’s garden.
Luxury option: Auberge Saint-Antoine
This four-star hotel is located in the beautiful Vieux-Port area of Old Quebec, by the river St. Lawrence. It offers luxurious rooms and has two on-site restaurants as well as a gym. WiFi is free throughout the property while breakfast can be booked extra.
Apartment option: Les Lofts St-Pierre by Les Lofts Vieux Québec
Les Lofts St-Pierre by Les Lofts Vieux Québec offers affordable and spacious four-star apartments right in the heart of Old Quebec. WiFi is free, toiletries are provided, and parking space is available upon request.
For a wide choice in rental apartments, I recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
How to get around in Quebec City
The historical center of Quebec City is very walkable but if you’d rather save your feet or make sure you don’t miss any of the must-see sights in Quebec City, consider getting a ticket for the sightseeing bus.
How to get to Quebec City
Quebec has an international airport that welcomes flights from all over the world. To find the best flight options from your destination, check Skyscanner.
From the airport, you can either get a taxi, bus 78, or an Uber.
If you’d like to try Uber but don’t have an account yet, you can get a discount on your first ride if you create your account using my links.
You can also book a transfer beforehand. That way, it’ll be waiting for you when you arrive and you won’t have to worry about payment as that’ll already be taken care of. Taxi2Airport is a safe choice. This platform offers 24/7 support in 10 languages and always finds you the cheapest transfers among their verified taxi partners. It also gets a rating of 9/10 on Trustpilot with more than 14,000 reviews.
Book your airport transfer here
Don’t forget travel insurance
No matter how well you plan your trip to Quebec, there’s always something that can happen that’s beyond your control. Maybe your luggage never arrives or you can fall and break something. When something like this happens, good travel insurance has you covered.
I’ve had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I’m covered for every trip I go on but if you travel just a few times a year, you can get insured for each trip separately too.
Don’t have travel insurance yet? Check out World Nomads. They cover a wide range of activities for people from 140 countries.
Stay connected while visiting Quebec
If you want to stay connected during your trip so you can share photos, call loved ones over WiFi and easily use apps like Google Maps, check out Skyroam mobile WiFi.
They offer both day passes and monthly subscriptions providing you with 4G throughout your trips. I’ve been using their daily passes not just when I travel outside the EU (no roaming charges for me in the EU) but also as a backup for when I think I’ll go over my phone’s data plan.
Check out Skyroam here.
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