Attractions, Activities, and Exciting Things to Do in Quebec City
Here is a list of the most notable things to do in Quebec City during the winter whether you want to escape the elements or make the most of them! From sightseeing to restaurant recommendations, you’re sure to find something that’ll pique your fancy,
Look at our other articles:
- Old Quebec City : 30+ Awesome Things to Do
- 20+ Most Delicious Old Quebec City Restaurants for 2018
- 12+ Quebec City Tours Companies [Full Guide]
1. Walk through Old Quebec
Old Quebec is what you see in the fairytale-like pictures of Quebec City. Surrounded by fortifications, it’s the only walled-city in North America, North of Mexico, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can spend hours, a day or your whole trip discovering this quaint area. Here is what we suggest you to do:
- Stroll in the charming old European-like streets
- Warm up with hot chocolate or coffee from La Maison Smith at Place-Royale
- Shop in galleries on Rue Sault-au-Matelot or antiques on Rue Saint-Paul
- Get a picture with the Château Frontenac on the Dufferin Terrace
- See the Fresque des Québécois and the most beautiful street in Canada in Petit Champlain neighbourhood
2. Take the Old Quebec City Food Tour
The Old Quebec Food Tour is where foodies and history enthusiasts unite. While you walk the cobblestone streets, your passionate, local tour guide recounts the vibrant history of this area. In 3 hours you stop in 6 different tasting locations, like a traditional French bakery, a 17th-century Monastery, and more! You’ll even get to try maple taffy, rolled directly in some frosh snow. There’s no better way to learn about a city’s heritage than to be guided by a local and to taste its delicious, traditional food.
3. Go skating at Place d’Youville
There’s no better way to embrace the winter season than to strap on some skates and hit the ice! Located tight next to the city’s fortress-like outer wall, at Place d’Youville you’ll be gliding along with a view. They have skate rentals onsite, no admission fee and a system that keeps the ice cold even in warmer weather… so what are you waiting for? Head over to Place d’Youville for some proper wintertime fun!
4. Discover the best new restaurants in town
Quebec City is definitely a foodie town and new restaurants are always popping up. Get ahead of the crowd and discover these new hot spots:
- L’Orygine – In the heart of Old Montreal this sleek yet cozy restaurant serves inventive and delicious dishes crafted from local, organic ingredients. Come for lunch or dinner and get a taste of Quebec, reimagined.
- Lōuise Taverne & Bar à Vin – You get to choose between the two sides: Tavern vs. Wine Bar. They serve either hearty and flavourful tavern classics or inspired and zesty snack bar bites to accompany a long list of wines, beers and cocktails. Perfect for just drinks or a full dinner.
- Honō Izakaya – Unique Japanese dishes you can’t find elsewhere in Quebec. This brand new place in the heart of St. Roch may be a little hard to find, but is absolutely worth a try. Get a few dishes to share with your friends after work.
- Le Ket’Chose – A sweet bistro in Limoilou, it’s fine dining with a comfortably casual vibe. They serve exquisitely delicious dishes that are meant to be shared, and have a little wine list of carefully chosen private import wines.
- Le Voisin – A resto-bar that’ll make you feel right at home with it’s warm ambiance and decor. Delicious and inventive meals, great cocktails, and a focus on wine picked by the expert sommelier.
5. Explore your area’s nightlife scene
For a historical town, Quebec City still has it’s big share of party-goers. In every district you will find a different nightlife atmosphere. Whether you want a wild night out a place to sip and chat with friends, there’s something for everyone. Here are our suggestions:
- St. Roch – Noctem, Korrigane, MacFly (retro arcade bar), Deux22
- Saint-Sauveur – Griendel, Chez Tao, Kraken Cru
- Saint-Jean-Baptiste – La Ninkasi St-Jean, Pub Nelligan’s, Le Projet
6. Have a full Scandinavian experience at Strøm Nordic Spa
Treat yourself well this winter! The Thermal Experience at Strøm Spa will take you through a circuit of alternating hot and cold baths that’ll help you get the most out of the experience. Eliminate toxins, relax your muscles and get some much needed peace and quiet. After a trip here, you’ll surely leave feeling cozy and zen inside out – especially if you add on a massage or facial to soften up that windswept skin. Stromspa.com
7. Take part in the spectacular Quebec Winter Carnival
If you’re lucky enough to be in town from February 8th to February 17th, 2019, Carnaval(as it’s commonly known) is an absolute must! Say hello to the famed Bonhomme mascot as you move from one spectacular wintery activity to the next. Start at the giant snow sculpture in the Loto-Quebec Royal Court and see where it’ll take you. Canoe races, good food, music, dancing, interactive games, and even a drag show… for ten days the whole snowy town of Quebec is brimming with lights, life and celebration that’s sure to entice people of all ages.
8. Look out from Observatoire de la Capitale
Get the best view of Quebec City! Located on the 31st floor at the very top of the Marie-Guyart Building, Observatoire de la Capitale gives you 360 bird’s eye view of the city. Decorated with a wall-to-wall infographic timeline of Quebec City’s history you can even learn a few things at the same time.
9. Traverse the snow with cross country skis or snowshoes
Feel like it’s time to discover a new winter sport? Quebec City has you covered whether you want to stay within the city bounds or make a day of it at an incredible national park. Here’s the top spots to strap on some snowshoes or cross country skis around town:
- The Plains of Abraham – This historic battle ground that has been transformed into a striking urban park, perfect for exploring and getting active! Best part is: it’s easily accessible from the heart of the city by foot or public transit.
- Station Touristique Duchesnay – Ideal for both a romantic getaway or fun-filled weekend with kids, Duchesnay has everything you could ask for to make the most of winter. Rent some equipment, explore beautiful trails and unwind at the spa afterwards!
- Camp Mercier – Taking you a little further out of town, Camp Mercier on the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve is the ultimate place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. With some of the best snow, trails and views, it’s easily worth making the trip. On top of that, skiing is free if you spend the night!
10. Spend a day at the museum
Quebec City is home to some incredible museums. Discover local art and culture, travel the world without leaving the city, and understand the area’s history as you soak in these expertly curated exhibitions:
- Musée de la Civilisation – From grand monuments to artifacts of day-to-day life, ancient history to current developments… this museum highlights our culture and heritage. Providing a perspective that traverses time and space, the current exhibition “My 2000-Year-Old Double” (open until May 12th, 2019) matches contemporary faces with historic look-alikes immortalized in Greco-Roman and Egyptian artworks.
- Musée de l’Amérique Française – Part of the Musée de la Civilisation complex, this museum traces the local history of French influence, colonialism, and religious presence all the way back to the earliest settlements, before Champlain even arrived on the continent!
- Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (MNBAQ) – Take a break from history and take a peek (or good long stare) at Quebec’s premier fine arts museum! Also until May 12th, 2019 you can even discover “White Mirage,” an exhibition dedicated entirely to snowy wonder of the winter season.
11. Get in touch with nature at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
The Montmorency Falls are a must-see attraction just 15 minutes outside of Quebec City, and they’re arguably even more striking in the winter. Head to the top of the waterfall by the cable-car to discover fresh, peaceful trails and a spectacular view of the area in its frozen glory. You can also try snowshoeing on the surrounding trails. If you’re even more bold and test yourself by ice climbing up the frozen cliffs (with a full safety briefing, of course). Afterwards, cozy up and have a meal at the Manoir Montmorency to get the full experience.
12. Discover the hidden gems of Quebec’s heritage
Beyond the city’s grand museums, a visit to the historic sites and landmarks of Quebec will reveal the intimate and personal stories of people who walked the city’s streets centuries ago, and the ones who built them.
- La Citadelle de Québec – This striking fortress on the Plains of Abraham is a museum of military history. While you’re there, make sure to take its stunning views of Old Montreal, the Chateau Frontenac and St. Lawrence river.
- Morrin Centre – Military barracks, public prison, prestigious college and now cultural centre, this space has seen a lot. Step into its diverse shoes to get a real taste of the past.
- Maison de la Littérature – Nestled in a Gothic Revival church is a library and hub for all things literary. For those of you who speak (some) french, countless stories await… even ones that haven’t been written yet.
- Monastère des Augustines – Inspired by the work of the Augustinian Sisters of Quebec, this monastery is now a wellness centre where you can view archival exhibitions, have a cup of tea and even rent a room. Here, you’ll discover a perspective on holistic well-being that’s rooted in history.
13. Simply have some fun at Valcartier Vacation Village
Valcartier is Quebec’s local winter vacation destination for endless family fun. If you want to feel truly Canadian, spend a night or two at the infamous (and stunning) Ice Hotel. Then, during the day test out each of the 35 different snow tubing slides including Everest, the highest accelerating slide in North America. Now that’s a rush! Wait… you’re tired of the snow? No problem! Quickly transition to beach vacation mode at the indoor water park, which is also sure to deliver on the thrills.
14. Get a mouthful of a Quebec classic: poutine!
No trip to Quebec City can truly be complete without trying poutine at least once, and we’re here to set you on the right track to make sure you get the best of the best.
- Chic Shack – Located in a prime Old Quebec location, not only is this spot easy to find, their poutine has got an upgrade. Try it with braised beef or wild mushrooms, and maybe a signature milkshake, too.
- Chez Gaston – This spot isn’t glamorous, but it serves, simply, the best poutine around, just the way the locals like it: hot, cheesy, gravy covered and late at night. Stop by after exploring the bars and breweries of St. Roch.
- Chez Victor – This place has just about everything you could ask for at its several locations: a long, loaded menu of fun poutine creations, vegetarian and vegan options, and even beer pairings.
- La Souche – We also recommend beer fans head over to Limoilou to grab a poutine at this microbrewery. Both the beer and poutine are crafted to perfection – a recipe for success for an awesome night out.
15. Enjoy a unique shopping experience
There’s nothing like taking home a special souvenir to remember your trip by, but these stores aren’t just your average gift shop. Why not wear your memories of Quebec City while supporting a local designer or even hang them on your Christmas tree.
- Camellia Sinensis – Situated on St-Joseph in the St-Roch neighbourhood, this super zen and newly renovated tea shop offers tea tastings and excellent artisanal products. So stop by, grab a drink and talk with the super friendly tea experts. A good cup of tea can go a long way!
- Jupon Pressé – With hints of retro style in every piece, Jupon Pressé has a selection of clothes from funky dresses to whimsical outfits. Their collection is a mix of pieces from Quebec designers as well as international designers. You’ll find the latest trends, timeless classics, and pieces that are a little more avant garde.
- Boutique de Noël – Yes Quebec City has a Christmas boutique that’s open year-round in the Old Town! Shop Christmas ornaments to bring back home and always have a souvenir of your trip to Quebec City.
- Boutique Amimoc – Another awesome destination for bringing home something specifically Canadian. Check out their boots, shoes and moccasins so you can bring a piece of Quebec with you wherever you go. Whether you choose something traditional or modern, you’ll be supporting local indigenous business in style.
16. Dine in an upscale Quebecois restaurant
Quebec city has some amazing fine-dining cuisine. From traditional French style to locally-sourced modern inspiration, you can splurge on a whole variety of great eats. Here are some of our favourites, all inspired by the rich local food traditions:
- Chez Boulay Bistro Boréal – Taste the flavours of Canada’s forests as you join them on a unique foray into Nordic cuisine, featuring regional ingredients often overlooked by other kitchens. Short on time? Stop by one of their Comptoirs Boreal for a quick Canadian bite.
- Le Saint-Amour – This highly acclaimed restaurant presents delightful innovation using local cuisine, and the plating itself is a feast for the eyes. Try one of their tasting menus for the full experience, or order a la carte and discover new flavours, whichever dish you pick.
- Laurie Raphaël – Experience gustatory poetry made from seasonal ingredients at this warm and intimate restaurant located near the Old Port of Quebec. In preparing their menu, the chefs keep core values at heart so you’ll taste the richness of tradition in every bite.
- Légende – This restaurant presents a tour of Quebec’s culinary history spanning all the way back to the traditions of the First Nations, and infuses them with modern day ingenuity and sensibility. Told through a thoughtfully created menu, here you can savour stories of centuries past.
17. Take part in a sugar shack experience
Canadian maple syrup is a world leader in sugary, sweet, pourable goodness, and Quebec is a top producer. Naturally, it’s smart to make sure you put a sugar shack on your itinerary to get a taste of the good stuff and learn all about what makes our syrup top notch.
- Relais des Pins – In March and April it’s maple syrup season, so head over to Orleans Island, see the tap lines for collecting maple water (soon to become a syrup), and take part in a feast – live music and all!
- La Bûche – Here, you can have an urban sugar shack experience year round. Sample a whole selection of local traditional foods, have snowy maple taffy even when its warm out, and join into a whole other world of experiences at this authentic and cozy spot in Old Quebec.
Thank you for reading and we hope your Quebec experience is an amazing one!