20 Things To Do In Quebec City At Christmas

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Quebec City’s charm and character has had centuries to evolve since 1608, developing a distinct culture unique to that area. Exploring one of Canada’s oldest cities is delightful, with lots to do from visiting the Citadel de Quebec and Château Frontenac to taking in the dramatic cliff view overlooking the St Lawrence River. Christmas in Quebec City offers a special magic, whether you’re enjoying French Canadian food or admiring its historical architecture. 

What’s more, Quebec City has hot summers and cold winters, making summer its peak tourist season. The shoulder seasons are also a great time to visit, but the city comes alive around Christmas time. You can visit vibrant markets and Christmas activities that are reminiscent of a European vacation. If you have yet to visit, it’s time for a Quebec City Christmas experience. 

Quebec City Christmas 

Top Tours

2 Hour Christmas Magic Tour in Old Quebec
Le Petit Champlain is a delightful place to explore when visiting Quebec City at Christmas.

Weather In Quebec City

The weather in Quebec City serves up a range of temperatures, from 30°C in summer to n -30°C in winter.

Around Christmas, the average temperature in Quebec City is -3°C to -10°C, moving lower as January approaches.

Winter in Quebec city is snowstorm season, so you can expect heavy snowfall that could impact your travels.

It’s best to pack warm clothing, jackets, and shoes and bring hats and gloves for the winter season.

Although Quebec City can be bitterly cold in the winter, it is a magical and stunning destination to see under the snow, with glistening Christmas lights shining through.

It’s well worth braving the cold, and the city has plenty of cosy places to warm up and escape for a while.

How To Get To Quebec City

Quebec City is on the Eastern side of Quebec, 264 km (164 miles) from Montreal along the St Lawrence River.

If you are driving from Montreal, it will take about three hours to get to Quebec City and the city does not have it’s own international airport, so the closest international airport is Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal.

From there, you can catch a regional flight to Quebec City or travel by train, bus or road. Trains and buses run frequently. 

Recommended tour: Old Quebec City: 2-Hour Grand Walking Tour

20 Things to Do in Quebec City at Christmas

1- Visit A German Christmas Market

Hand-made Christmas decorations made from anise, cinnamon, cones and dried fruit.
Go shopping for handmade decorations in Quebec City at Christmas time.

A German Christmas market is a quintessential Christmas experience in any city but the one in Quebec City is excellent and should be on your bucket list of Christmas experiences.

Quebec City has five Christmas markets: Place d’Youville, The Jardins de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, Ste-Anne Street, Place d’Armes and Dufferin terrace.

Sip mulled wine as you wander around hundreds of wooden kiosks selling locally made products.

If you need to get any last-minute Christmas shopping done or are just looking to browse, this is the place!

The Christmas market also has a beautiful program of music and shows going on each night of the market that shouldn’t be missed.

2- Skate At An Outdoor Rink

Ice Skating
Going ice skating is one of the fun activities to do when visiting Quebec City for Christmas.

If you’re new to skating or already a pro, the Place d’Youville outdoor skating rink is an enjoyable Christmastime activity.

Whether you skate under the colourful lights at night or during the day, skating at Place d’Youville is a wonderful experience in Quebec City.

There’s free skating ifrom 10 am to 10 pm.

They offer skate rentals and sharpening services if you don’t have your own pair.

The rink is a family-friendly location, so it’s a great place to try this quintessential winter activity and sharpen your skills.

3- Watch The Ice Climbers at Montmorency Falls

Montmorency Falls is a stunning waterfall attraction just 15.5 km (9.6 miles) outside of the city center.

Ride the cable car or take a walk on the trail to marvel at this 272.3 ft (83 m) high waterfall, which is taller than the famous Niagara Falls. 

When the temperature is below freezing in the wintertime, the falls freeze solid and it’s the time of year to spot the ice climbers ascending the falls.

If you’re feeling courageous, École d’escalade l’Ascensation offers introductory ice climbing classes that teach you the techniques to climb Montmorency Falls.

If not, just seeing the frozen falls from the viewpoint is a wonderous experience. 

Recommended tour: Quebec City: Montmorency Falls with Cable Car Ride

4- Shop In Quarter Petite Champlain

Quarter Petite Champlain is a historic district in Downtown Quebec City with cobblestone streets lined with small shops selling everything from local jams to wool scarves and sweaters.

What makes this area special is you can feel a hint of Europe in the atmosphere and architecture of Quarter Petite Champlain. 

Christmas, a blanket of snow, and magical lights add to this district, making it the perfect place to wander around in a fairytale. 

It’s the perfect opportunity to snap some beautiful Christmas photos with snow-covered roofs in the background. 

The decorative trees and festive lights add to the vibrant atmosphere, making this historic neighbourhood a place that shouldn’t be missed when planning a trip to Quebec at Christmas. 

5- See The Nutcracker at Grand Théâtre De Québec

The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas production that’s famous around the world.

But whether you’ve never seen it at all or you’ve watched it 100 times, it’s worth catching a showing at the Grand Théâtre de Québec.

The modern design and state-of-the-art theatre and lighting brings the Nutcracker to life on stage.

The soothing music and dancers twirling on stage to this famous storyline will put you in a Christmas spirit. 

6- Stroll Or Ski Through The Plains Of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham is an important location in Canadian history where the battle of the Seven Years’ War took place.

This historical land was turned over to the Quebec Government and turned into a historical site open to the public.

It’s a popular summer destination, but in the winter, the Plains come alive with locals and visitors enjoying the snow.

In the winter, the Plains of Abraham feature free winter activities like cross-country skiing, walking, snowshoeing, sliding and skating. 

Spend a sunny December afternoon strolling the plains or trying one of their fun winter activities.

7- Eat Traditional Quebecois Tourtière At Le Petit Coin Latin

Stroll into one of the oldest cafes in Quebec City for a delicious slice of traditional meat pie called Tourtière.

This original Quebecois dish is made up of ground pork, onions and spices and baked into a delicious pie.

It’s a French-Canadian Christmas tradition to share tourtière with friends and family.

You’ll find this dish served everywhere, including the well-known restaurant Le Petit Coin Latin, which is the perfect place to warm up and try something new.

8- See The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac Under A Blanket Of Snow

Beautiful Architecture Of Quebec City At Night, Canada
A fairytale place to celebrate Christmas is Quebec City.

The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac stands out from the Quebec City skyline as an architectural gem. 

The Canadian Pacific Railroad Company built this stunning hotel in 1893 and it has been a well-known landmark ever since.

The hotel itself is a must-see when visiting Qurbec City but is even more enchanting under a fresh blanket of snow on a crisp winter day.

Take a walk along the Dufferin Terrace and marvel at the architecture from all angles.

Recommended tour: Quebec City: Guided Visit of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

9- Blast Down The Au 1884 Ice Slide

Winter Tubing Ramp In Quebec City In Canada
Winter tubing ramp in Quebec City, Canada.

The Au 1884 ice slide is one of the most fun activities to try in the winter in Quebec City.

The massive wooden slide is at the Dufferin Terrace in front of the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac.

The slide sends eager riders down it’s icy track at lightning speed on a traditional wooden toboggan.

Riders can reach up to 70km (43 miles) per hour.

Tickets for the slide are sold at the bottom either individually or in packs of four.

Despite what you might think, the slide is perfectly safe for riders of all ages.

It offers sweeping views of Fairmont Chateau Frontenac and the St Lawrence River.

After a ride down the icy track, return the toboggan and head to the cafe for a warm hot chocolate or coffee and enjoy the other racers headed down the track.

10- Go Dog Sledding 

A winter visit to Quebec City truly isn’t complete without a dog sledding ride.

31 km (19 miles) outside of town, Passion Husky hosts a team of friendly sled dogs ready to take you on a winter adventure.

Dog sledding is an easily accessible adventure with multiple departures during the day.

You’ll get to experience what it’s like to drive your own team of dogs, as the guides will give you step-by-step instructions to guide the dogs and sled along the trail.

Feel the wind in your hair on this wild ride through a winter wonderland in Quebec. 

11- Ride the Funicular Railway

The Funicular Railway is a fun year-round attraction in Quebec City that links the Upper Town with the Lower Town.

It’s a fun way to explore both parts of the city without tiring yourself out climbing stairs.

At Christmas, you can see the snow-covered city with decorations and lights from a bird’s eye view, making it a truly worthwhile experience.

12- See the Christmas tree at Place Royale

Place Royale is a historically significant part of the city that comes alive during the holiday season.

Among the historic churches and buildings, you’ll find picturesque Christmas trees, decorative lights and groups of carollers.

Spend some time in Place Royale and soak up the European holiday vibe as you stroll the square.

13- Go Skiing at Mont Saint Anne

Mont Saint Anne is a 2,625-foot peak just a 50 km (31 miles) drive outside of Quebec City.

This gigantic mountain has over 70 skiing trails on three sides of the mountain and is even open for night skiing.

They also offer snow parks for skiers and snowboarders with more experience to practice going over obstacles and taking jumps.

Don’t worry, beginners can try it out too at their beginner’s park right next to the bunny hill.

Join a lesson or rent a pair of skis and hit the slopes to experience a truly Canadian winter activity.

14- Tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier

Another fun, family-friendly winter activity is the Vacances Valcartier winter playground, which offers excitement for kids and those young at heart.

Try out their inner tube slides that blasts you down the hill.

They have courses designed with everyone in mind, with varying height requirements for tougher slides but plenty of family-friendly ones too.

The snow park also has a 1 km-long skating path that’s perfect for beginners or experts.

You can grab a rental at the desk and spend an exciting day on the ice or snow.

Village Vacances Valcartier makes the perfect day trip from Quebec City.

15- Enjoy A Holiday Drink At Miracle

Get your festivities on with a holiday drink at this fun Christmas pop-up bar.

Miracle is a fun and trendy pop-up bar that comes to many major Canadian cities during the holiday season.

They serve delicious holiday-themed cocktails and have many props in the bar that make a great photo op! Grab an eggnog cocktail in a Santa mug and feel the holiday spirit come alive.

16- Get Festive at the The Grand Marché de Québec

Quebec City: Old Quebec 5 Course Gourmet Food Tour
Wandering the Old Town of Quebec at Christmas is delightful.

The Grand Marché de Québec is a foodie destination and market that is enjoyed year-round by locals and visitors.

Grand Marché especially comes alive at Christmastime, turning the ordinary market into a winter wonderland. 

Take a culinary workshop and learn to make a new dish for the holidays before shopping around the market for artisanal goods.

In addition to locally made products, they also have a seasonal stock of Christmas treats just for the holiday season.

Recommended tour: Quebec City: Old Quebec 5-Course Gourmet Food Tour

17- Have a festive hot chocolate experience at Érico

Nothing says the holidays like festive chocolates, and no one does chocolates better than Érico.

This chocolatier in the Saint Jean Baptiste neighbourhood of Quebec City has been creating delicious chocolate since 1987.

In addition to local chocolates, truffles and sweets, they also offer a rich and creamy holiday-themed hot chocolate.

One of their gourmet hot chocolates is the perfect way to warm up after a chilly day of exploring.

18- Spend The Day At A Sugar Shack 

Visiting a sugar shack is a time-honoured winter tradition in Quebec that has spread to the rest of Canada.

Sugar shacks sell maple taffy, which is made by pouring hot maple syrup over snow and then rolled to create a thick, sticky taffy.

Taffy is usually can found at most winter markets, but to truly experience the full sugar shack experience, head to Petite-Rivière-Saint-François.

This small town is worth the 92km (57 miles) drive outside the city.

At Domaine à Liguori, you can enjoy the traditional maple taffy in their authentic sugar shack, as well as a home-cooked meal at the cabin.

Take a walk through the winter wonderland of trees or hit the slopes on a tube.

A visit to Petite-Rivière-Saint-François at Christmastimes is one to remember.

19- Sing Christmas Carols At Notre Dame de Québec Basilica

The Notre Dame de Québec Basilica is a stunning cathedral dating to the mid-1600s.

An architectural marvel inside and out, the cathedral truly comes alive at Christmas.

Enjoy singing with carollers outside the church, or step inside for a Christmas mass, a peaceful experience and an escape from the busy streets.

Christmas Mass is held on 24 December at 7 pm and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you are in Quebec City for Christmas Eve, attending mass is a quintessential experience.

20- Drink Oncle Antoine’s Famous French Onion Soup

Nothing warms the belly and the heart than a piping-hot bowl of hearty soup.

If you haven’t had French Onion soup in Quebec City, there’s no better place to try it than Oncle Antoine’s.

The pub itself has a beautiful 17th-century brick interior and low ceilings with a cosy feel, adding a classic pub ambiance to the meal.

Their French Onion soup is a Quebec classic and a must-try when visiting the city.

Bonus: Hôtel de Glace

If you are traveling to Quebec over the holiday season but are planning for an extended stay, a night in the world-famous Ice Hotel is worth the wait.

Opening up to the public just after Christmas in mid-January, it’s the perfect wintery sleepover.

Majestic ice sculptures and crystal clear ice make up the 44-room hotel, with hot tubs and saunas for guests as well as a bar where your cocktails are served in a glass made of ice.

The hotel only lasts a few months in the winter, so it’s worth sticking around Quebec City to get a reservation.

Recommended tours:

Looking for something fun to do this Christmas? Try these:

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Amanda is a Vancouver based travel blogger and writer who helps others have one-of-a-kind travelling experiences through her helpful and informative pieces. She began her writing career writing for her own travel blog in 2018 and has been writing for freelance clients since 2020. When she isn’t writing about travel, she enjoys writing about education, sustainability and technology. When traveling she likes to discover hidden gems while getting up close with nature and the cultures in a destination. Amanda loves to travel through South and South East Asia with Nepal and India being her top two favourite countries. She also loves visiting far off places in her home country of Canada.