Take on the holidays in stride with this Quebec City Christmas Guide!
In Quebec City Christmas is no joke, so get in the holiday spirit with these fun wintertime activities! From holiday markets to spending a night in an ice hotel, this city knows how to embrace the cold, no matter what you celebrate. Bundle up, hit the cobblestone streets, and you’ll see the city transformed into a winter wonderland!
1. Check out the German Christmas Market
Want a one stop shop for all things Christmas? From November 22 until December 23, this charming holiday market lights up Old Quebec with its traditional charm, exciting programming and endless gift ideas. Bringing the magic of the big European Christmas Markets across the ocean, this month long celebration is sure to quench your Christmas spirit (or quench your thirst with some spirits). Roam amongst the quaint wooden kiosks, discover local Quebec artisans, European delicacies, or even catch a show… is it even a Quebec City Christmas without a trip to the Marché de Noël Allemand? website
2. Take the Old Quebec Food Tour
Not sure where to start amongst all the festivities? Try taking the Old Quebec Food Tour and you’ll hit the ground running. You’ll sample food and drink from 5 local restaurants, see the sights, and learn all about the history and culture of Quebec City from an expert local guide while you’re at it. Traditional or modern, local and delicious, the food on this trip is plenty for a filling and hearty lunch. Plus, you’ll be able to make the most of the season and try maple taffy rolled directly in some fresh snow! An Old Quebec Food Tour is surely the best way to celebrate Christmas in the city… and makes for an amazing gift too! Learn more & book here
3. Stroll through the Petit Champlain District
Take the funiculaire cable car down to lower Quebec City and it’ll feel like you’re stepping right into a Christmas card. Sparkly holiday lights line the narrow streets where historical architecture meets independent boutiques and restaurants. Beautifully decorated for the holidays, Petit Champlain is a picture perfect place to shop for presents made by local artisans, treat the family to a wintery day out with the fun kids’ activities, and see what else you can discover. website
4. Get drinks at Miracle, a Christmas themed pop-up bar
Yes, you read that right, a pop-up bar for the holidays… this is truly a Miracle! Quebec City Christmas is even better when you go all out, and you can count on that in this gloriously kitsch space with an eye for detail. They’ll be serving holiday themed cocktails, comfort food, and the seasonal tunes we love all December long at Maelstrøm Café in Saint-Roch. instagram
5. Discover local artisans at Salon Nouveau Genre
Running for two weekends this December at the Église Saint-Fidèle in Limoilou, Salon Nouveau Genre is the perfect place to discover unique creations by local artists and artisans this holiday season. Each weekend brings a different selection of vendors, and there’s a couple big additions for the market’s 10th anniversary. This year, they’re introducing artisanal foods into the mix and featuring young creators from 10-17 years old. Discover art, fashion, design and even music from 250 of the city’s most ingenious creators, and support the next generation too. event page
6. Book a holiday package at the new Strøm Spa
Tired of running around looking for presents? Get away for a few hours and treat yourself to an afternoon at the Strøm Spa. Their Thermal Experience will take you through a circuit of alternating hot and cold baths. It’ll eliminate toxins, relax your muscles and leave you feeling cozy and zen inside out. Check out their holiday packages for a special deal to pamper yourself. Or, give the gift of relaxation to someone you love. Food and wine pairings, special gifts, or additional treatments (a much needed massage anyone?) take these packages to the next level, and you get all the credit! website
7. Go ice-skating at Place d’Youville
The approaching winter does not mean you have to stay inside. Stay warm by getting active and step onto the rink at Place d’Youville. It’s right next to the city’s fortress-like outer wall so you’ll be gliding along with a view. With skate rentals onsite, no admission fee and a system that keeps the ice cold even in warmer weather, what are you waiting for? Head over to Place d’Youville for some proper wintertime fun. website
8. Make the most of hot chocolate season
It gets frosty in Quebec City during the holidays, so indulge in a little hot cocoa! Our top chocolaty picks will warm your hands and surely sweeten up your Quebec City Christmas experience. First, check out Champagne Chocolatier in Saint-Roch. You’ll be transported to a colourful island paradise full of sweets when you step into this shop. And their velvety hot chocolate? Out of this world! Next, Maison Smith is a cozy cafe oasis for locals and travelers alike in the heart of Old Montreal. Try their rich hot chocolate, made with ganache, and a pastry that melts in your mouth. Meanwhile, Érico will not only serve you a whole hot chocolate MENU, but a complete chocolate experience. Attached to the shop is a chocolate museum waiting to be explored with all the senses!
9. Listen to Christmas Carols at the Notre-Dame de Québec
Stop by this historic Basilica in the heart of Old Quebec and you’ll be reminded of what Christmas is all about. Their life-size nativity scene (open Dec 9-Jan 7) is accompanied by recordings of traditional carols that’ll bring you back to Christmases past. Seeing it in person will certainly give you something to reflect on. If you’re lucky, there might even be some live performers to immerse you in the scene. Plus, you can attend one of several masses on Christmas Eve and truly get in touch with the season’s spirit, but keep in mind they will be given in French. website
10. Take a wintery walk in the snow
Christmastime fun doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead, take the family out for a hike that’ll bring togetherness, holiday cheer and won’t put a dent in your gift giving budget. First of all, the Plains of Abraham is both a colonial battle site and a beautiful river-side park that’s easy to access from the heart of the city. There’s even a skating rink and opportunities to cross country ski and snowshoe! If you’d rather get out of the city than recount tales of heroic bloodshed, try taking a day trip to Jacques-Cartier National Park. There, you’ll find breathtaking views of glacial valleys and, similarly, endless fun for any little ones. Tobogganing, skating, skiing snowshoeing or a good old wintertime hike await just 30 minutes north of Quebec City. Simply bundle up and get moving!
11. Try tourtière, a classic Quebecois Christmas meal
This meat pie is traditionally made with a mixture meats, vegetables and spices and is certainly a Quebec winter classic. If you want a taste of the tradition, try an authentic version of it today an amazing local restaurant. La Bûche is a wonderful spot for all things traditionally Quebecois. You’ll feel right at home it it’s rustic and eclectic interior, which makes for the perfect atmosphere to savour their delightful and unique Tourtière. Restaurant LÀ LÀ also serves up the good stuff, keeping it as authentic as possible with a mix of various meats, including wild game – just like the pioneers would have had it! Finally, if you’re not sure it’s your thing, try the tourtière at the Buffet de L’Antiquaire, buffet style means you’ll be able to sample the pie… and so many other delicious Quebec foods!
12. Hit the shops
Shopping is bound to be on your mind this season. Holiday gifts, winter gear, and big seasonal sales make it the perfect time to check out Quebec City’s premier retail destinations. Laurier Quebec is a big mall packed full of your favourite stores that’ll carry anything on your list. Meanwhile, Galeries de la Capitale has an IMAX theatre, so if you’re ever tired of shopping you can sit down for an out of this world cinematic experience. To feel the spirit at the heart of the city check out the stores along Rue Saint-Jean, where you’ll weave past historic buildings and find authentically “Quebec City” Christmas gifts. Or, walk along Rue Saint-Joseph for a shopping experience that’s off the beaten path, yet not far from downtown. This street is also full of of spots to get dinner, dessert or just drinks after a long day of fun.
13. Spend a night in the Ice Hotel
If you’re visiting from out of town you’ll probably need a place to spend the night. This is Canada, after all, why not try an igloo? I’m really serious. What could be a more exciting experience than truly embracing the frosty winter and staying at Quebec City’s iconic Ice Hotel? The rooms opens on January 3rd, so it won’t be an option for the holiday season. But instead you will be welcome to get cozy in its frosty suites all winter long. To warm up afterwards you can visit the neighboring indoor water park. Staying here is truly the best of both worlds. website
14. Delight in the goodies at the Marché de Noël du Vieux-Port
When Quebec City Christmas meets a Farmer’s Market it’s truly a beautiful thing. Stock up on stocking stuffers, pantry favorites, and seasonal indulgences from local food producers. Not hungry? Find meaningful gifts from local artisans and craftspeople. As you support the local community, shopping for gifts and treats here invokes a nostalgia that reminds you of what the spirit of the season is really all about. Make sure you take moment to look up at the space’s beautiful seasonal decor, too! website
15. Soak in the art at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts de Québec
Get out of the cold for a few hours, and indulge in an afternoon admiring the galleries and exhibitions of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts de Québec. Until January 6, 2019 catch their exclusive Marcel Barbeau. – In Motion exhibition. The show explores the artist’s contributions – driven by curiosity, exploration and innovation – to the contemporary art scene since the 1940s. Elsewhere in the gallery you’ll find the museum’s fresh displays of its permanent collection. Prominent Quebec artists can be seen throughout, such as in the exhibition Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? which presents an exploration identity and history until November 2019. website