Québec City is a magical city and probably one of my favourites that I’ve been too. It doesn’t seem that I could ever get sick of this city, and that’s why I was so excited that I would get to experience it in the most Canadian way—during winter.
As a Canadian, naturally I want to hibernate during the winter months, but sometimes you really get a reminder of just how magical winter can be, and a few days in Québec City can definitely remind you of that. Here are my suggestions for how to spend two days in Québec City (and area) during the winter.
Wake up bright and early for some ice-skating, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the Plains of Abraham, one of Canada’s most historical parks located in the heart of the city so it doesn’t require you to travel far.
The skating rink is in place until mid-March and has rentals available, food and beverages, plus a heated chalet for when you get a little too cold.
With more than 11 km of trails, the Plains of Abraham is the perfect spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Equipment is available so don’t worry about trying to bring it with you!
After a morning of winter activities in the park, head for lunch at Chez Ashton—a local chain that serves up a must-eat Québécois and Canadian dish—poutine. Poutine is essentially fries with gravy and cheese curds, so if you’re counting carbs on this trip, you may want to go elsewhere.
Now that you’ve stuffed your face with unhealthy food, why not put on a bathing suit at one of Québec’s Nordic spas? Although these are open year-round, they’re best in the winter as you plunge in and out of hot and cold tubs and saunas in the snowy atmosphere. My favourite was the Siberia Station Spa, but there are plenty of options available.
To end a fun filled day outdoors, treat yourself to dinner at Restaurant Louis-Hébert, which serves delicious French cuisine.
Start day two of your adventures in the city with a visit to Hôtel de Glace, located about 10 minutes from the city centre and made completely of snow and ice. If you’re brave enough to actually spend a night here, I commend you, but you can also just stop by for a visit and tour too. Explore some of the 44 different rooms, have a drink in an ice glass at the ice bar, and take a slide down the ice slide. This place is truly a winter wonderland.
Lunch is available at the hotel but don’t worry, you won’t have to eat outside! The cafeteria is heated.
After lunch, depart from the ice hotel and head for the toboggan ride of a lifetime. One of the oldest attractions in the city, this 70km/h toboggan slide is a must-do between mid-December to mid-March when it’s open. I can’t say I’ve ever had a toboggan experience quite like this one. Each ride is $3.00 CDN or you can buy a package of four rides for $10.00 CDN in the café at the bottom of the slide. More information is available here.
After you’ve relived your childhood with a toboggan ride or two, you’re right near the loading dock to take a ride on the ferry that crosses the St. Lawrence River. This probably sounds a bit crazy in the winter, but seeing the city from the water is an incredible view, and making your way across the river by breaking through ice is pretty unique.
To end off another great day, have dinner at Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill, located in Québec City’s historical (and magical) Quartier Petit Champlain. This restaurant offers great views of the river and delicious dishes.
So after two days in Québec City embracing winter, tell me you’re not a fan of this beautiful wintery city?
P.S. If you’re visiting during the end of January to beginning of February, you need to fit Québec City’s Winter Carnival into your schedule. Read more about my experience at their Carnival here.
Disclaimer: I visited Quebec City with the help of the Quebec Tourism Board. I only recommend things that I enjoyed, and think other travellers would also enjoy. All opinions in this piece are my own and 110% honest.