Located on the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Quebec City is the colonial core of the province and one of its most fascinating cities. Home to a variety of spectacular buildings and landmarks, food markets, and charming historic town areas, Quebec City becomes even more beautiful during the holiday season with the holiday lights and Christmas-themed attractions. The highlight of the season is the Quebec City Winter Carnival, but you could find many exciting experiences for the family in Quebec City during the holidays. Find out the top things to do in Quebec City in winter and plan your trip with your friends or family.
About Quebec City Winter Carnival
The Quebec Winter Carnival is an annual pre-Lenten festival that takes place in Quebec City. The event has been celebrated for decades, each year bringing new and interesting attractions and activities for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Find out what you can expect from a trip to the Quebec Winter Carnival.
Bonhomme’s Ice Palace
The Ice Palace is the focal point of the festival and a lively representation of the fun and excitement of the holiday season. Each year, a grand and intricate Ice Palace is constructed for Bonhomme, the castle lord and ambassador of the festival. Bonhomme makes appearances throughout the carnival, often dressed as a snowman.
Carnival events for couples and families
Among the biggest draws of the carnival are the parties, shows, balls, and activities that take place throughout the day and night. Some of the major events that occur at each carnival include the sculpture contests on the Plains of Abraham, which showcase the works of local and international students, and outdoor sporting events like snowshoe competitions, ice canoe racing, and dog sledding. Several dance parties take place throughout the Ice Palaces, and the event’s big finish is a grand ball at the Château Frontenac.
Other fun things to do in Quebec City in winter with family or friends
Along with the carnival, the winter events in Quebec City immerse you in the enchantment of the holiday season. You’ll find plenty more to do in Quebec City in winter, such as touring the historic square, sampling Christmas treats, and getting into the outdoors. Take a look at the other fun events and activities to make the most of a winter vacation in Quebec City.
Place Royale for historic tours
Place Royale is a charming town square that’s home to the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church and the massive Fresque des Québécois, a mural that illustrates the city’s rich history. You can experience it all on a historic walking tour, which is even more impressive with a dusting of snow on the spectacular architecture and holiday lights illuminating the square. During the holiday season, Place Royal has a towering Christmas tree in the centre.
Market at Old Port for holiday shopping
In winter, the Market at Old Port adds a holiday flair to its normal rotation of local artisan souvenirs, seasonal foods, and baked goods. In December, the market hosts a lively Christmas market with European and Canadian holiday treats and knick-knacks. You can shop for gifts for your friends and family, sample the local goods, and maybe pick up some treats for yourself. You’ll also find small Christmas markets throughout the city, especially in Old Town, which is decorated with Christmas lights and displays.
Winter sports for the whole family
Quebec City is close to Mont-Sainte-Anne, a spectacular ski resort in the Laurentian Mountains. Known for its versatile terrain and activities, Mont-Saint-Anne offers beginner and advanced skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and other activities, as well as a snow school if it’s your first time on the slopes. The resort also has a delightful sugar shack on the mountain for maple treats.