Top 10 Activities To Do In Quebec City (Canada)

Quebec City's magnificent Chateau Frontenac
Quebec City's magnificent Chateau Frontenac | Source

Quebec City is one of the most beautiful Canadian cities. Situated in the eastern part of the country, it is very unique with its panoramic view from the St. Lawrence River and has so much to offer like arts, history, indoor and outdoor activities and astonishing sceneries. Let's discover the top 10 activities you should not miss when travelling in this town.

The mascot of the winter festival: "Bonhomme Carnaval"
The mascot of the winter festival: "Bonhomme Carnaval" | Source

In Winter

Winter Carnival

The first Quebec Winter Carnival as it its known today took place in 1955. It is the largest winter carnival in the world. Every year, from the last days of January to the middle of February, people come from all over the world to celebrate winter with “Bonhomme Carnaval”. While the Winter Carnival offers activities for everyone, it is above all a family party where the festive atmosphere warms our hearts and makes us forget the coldest winter days.

If you only have a day or so to participate to the festivities, be sure to go to one of the two night parades which are magic with all the musicians and the colorful floats. In daytime, visit the Plains of Abraham where you will find snow and ice slides, sleigh rides, a sugar shack where you can eat maple taffy on snow or beaver tails, a giant table-soccer game, a hockey floor rink, snow sculptures and so much more like Bonhomme’s ice castle. For the more adventurous, the Winter Carnival offers the possibility to do winter camping or to take a snow bath. You may also want to see the annual canoe race preliminaries or final which take place on the St. Lawrence River.

Ice Hotel

Quebec City's Ice Hotel is the only ice hotel in North America. It is open in the months of January, February and March and is located where Quebec’s former zoo was situated, about 5 km north of Quebec City. This ice hotel has a unique and different architecture each year and includes, among others, an art gallery, a club (with ice glasses!), a sauna, a long ice slide and even a chapel where you can get married (for real – isn’t it a dreaming place to celebrate a wedding?) and lots of bedroom if you want to stay for a night. Tours are available in English and French.

Facts
Figures
First edition
2001
Build cost for the first edition
350,000CAD
Workers needed to build it each year
60
Time needed to build it each year
6 weeks
Dimensions
32,000 sq. ft.
Average of the wall thickness
4 ft
Tons of snow needed each year
15,000
Tons of ice needed each year
500
Only heated rooms
the bathrooms
Number of weddings celebrated in 2003
18
Average temperature inside
– 4°C
Lowest price to stay a night
180CAD
Lowest price for a wedding package
2,349CAD
Quebec City’s Ice Hotel - Facts and Figures

Winter sports

If you like it slow, relax and calm, Quebec City is a wonderful place to walk in winter, especially at night, in the Old Town, when the lights are reflecting in the snow. But if you like to move a bit more, then Quebec City and its surroundings has a lot to offer. In Quebec City itself, on the Plains of Abraham, it is possible to go cross-country skiing (12.6 km) and snowshoeing (3.8 km). At Place D’Youville, you can also do ice skating for free as soon as October. In Quebec City’s surroundings, you can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing too, but you can also go downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, dogsledding, ice fishing and so much more.

Here are good places to practice winter sports near Quebec City.

show route and directions
A markerStoneham Moutain Resort -
600 Chemin du Hibou, Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, QC G3C 1T3, Canada
[get directions]

B markerMont Sainte-Anne -
2000 Boulevard du Beau Pré, Beaupré, QC G0A 1E0, Canada
[get directions]

C markerDuchesnay Resort -
140 Montée de l'Auberge, Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, QC G3N 0J5, Canada
[get directions]

A - Stoneham Mountain Resort is situated 30 minutes north from Quebec City. Go there to do downhill skiing and snowboarding, but also geocaching, snowshoeing and ice skating. Thanks to artificial snow, this resort is open from the end of November through the end of March. It has 41 ski trails that go from easy to extreme and where you may ski on day or night (until 9:30pm). As for snowboarding, it has 3 park zones and an Olympic half-pipe with a wall of 22 feet. They offer a daycare, a rental and a repair service.

B - Mont Sainte-Anne is situated 40 minutes east from Quebec City. Go there to do downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding, but also snowshoeing, dogsledding, paragliding, sliding on tube, ice canyoning and ice skating. Mont Sainte-Anne is open from the third week of November through the middle of April for winter activities. It has 67 downhill skiing trails (from easy to extreme) covering 69.2 km on 3 different sides of the mountain. Cross-country skiing trails include 200 km for classical stride and 191 km for skating stride. As for snowboarding, it has 5 park zones including an XL Park for advanced riders and a unique lit snowpark for night skiing. General schedule is from 9am to 9pm. Also available: a daycare, a rental and a repair service.

C - Duchesnay Resort is situated 30 minutes northwest from Quebec City. Go there to do cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling and to discover hok skiing. This resort offers 47.5 km of cross-country skiing trails including 35.5 km for classic stride and 12 km for skate stride. Many packages are available.

Take a look of Quebec City in winter

In Summer

Summer Festival

The "Festival d’été de Québec” (Quebec City’s Summer Festival) is all about music and street performances. It features over 1000 artists and 300 shows each year. With varied styles of music like rock, electro, world music, blues, pop, punk, soul, hip-hop, country, jazz, reggae, metal, etc., there is something for everyone. Most of the shows take place on outdoor stages. The festival begins the first Thursday of July and lasts 11 days. It also presents family activities such as songs and stories for children (in French).

Take a look of Quebec City in summer

In All Seasons

Old Quebec

This part of the city is its oldest part and is always alive with its little shops, restaurants and tourists. From uptown, the view of the St. Lawrence River and the Chateau Frontenac is really great. Since there are lots of little streets where cars are forbidden, walking is the best way to visit the Old Quebec. Here are some spots you do not want to miss.

The funicular of Quebec City was built in 1879. Back then, the cabins scaled up and down the escarpment by means of a counter weight water process and steam power.
The funicular of Quebec City was built in 1879. Back then, the cabins scaled up and down the escarpment by means of a counter weight water process and steam power. | Source

The Governors’ Promenade is a boardwalk that starts from the Plains of Abraham and that connects with the Dufferin Terrace and the Chateau Frontenac. All along the path, you can see the St. Lawrence River. It is suggested to take the walk from the Plains of Abraham in order to go down the stairs instead of walking them up. Once on the Dufferin Terrace, you should visit this upper part of the Old Quebec before heading to the lower part, either by the stairs or the funicular (both situated at the end of the Dufferin Terrace).

Once in the lower part of the town, you are in the beautiful Quartier Petit Champlain. Whether you like to do shopping or not, you must walk in its beautiful small streets. On winter, it's downright magical! Next to this neighbourhood is situated Place Royale where you can see the oldest stone church of North America. The first home of the city would have been built there by Samuel De Champlain. A little further, at the quai St-André and near the Gare du Palais, you will find the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec (Market of the Old Port of Quebec), which is open year-round and where you can buy local products such as fruits and vegetables, cheese and crafts. Each year in the holiday season, you can go there to enjoy the Christmas market.

A street of the "Quartier Petit Champlain" at night in winter.
A street of the "Quartier Petit Champlain" at night in winter. | Source

Money at your fingertip

No need to carry cash at the park : you can upload money on your finger and use it on the site.

Valcartier Vacation Village

Located 20 minutes from Quebec City, this park is worth the experience. On summer, go there to enjoy the 35 water slides, the wave pool and the 2 theme rivers. If you are more adventurous, you can even go rafting on the Jacques-Cartier River and if you want to stay more than a day, you can take advantage of their modern campground. In summer time, the park is open from June to early September. On Winter, go there to enjoy the 35 snow slides, to do some ice skating or even ice karting! In wintertime, it is generally open from the middle of December through the third week of March. It is the largest winter playground in America. Like they say there : “A day is not enough”!

Montmorency Falls
Montmorency Falls | Source

Montmorency Falls

This large waterfall is the highest in the province of Quebec with its 83 meters high. The view is spectacular from the base, but also from the top on the suspension bridge. To switch from one to the other, you can use the cable car or the staircase with its 487 steps. At the top, there is a restaurant in the Manoir Montmorency. In summer, the Montmorency Falls Park is a great place to go picnicking, hiking, cycling and even to run through a via ferrata (an activity between hiking and climbing). In winter, you can go there to enjoy walking in the snow and snowshoeing, as well as ice climbing and camping. Yes, camping in winter! At night the waterfall and its surroundings are illuminated.

Aquarium Park

Renovated in 2002 and continuously improved since that time, the Quebec Aquarium Park is a fun place to visit with family. In addition to the walruses and seals shows, the tunnel of the Awesome Ocean and basins where you can touch stingrays and starfishes, the Quebec Aquarium Park offers the opportunity to become animal keeper for a day. In summer, there are water games and a tree circuit for children from 6 to 12 years. In winter, no one should miss the “Festi Lumière” which take place outside and where you can enjoy illuminated ice sculptures, animal-shaped structures, trees, etc. This park is situated just besides the bridge of Quebec. As a matter of fact, we can get a good view of the bridges once in the courtyard of the park.

Museums

There are many museums in Quebec City. The two most impressive are the “Musée de la civilisation” (Museum of civilizations) and the “Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec” (Quebec’s national museum of fine arts).

Open since 1988, the “Musée de la civilisation” presents some really different and original exhibitions. Some of them are related to Quebec’s culture and some other to the world culture. In past years, the museum has hosted international exhibitions such as Gold in the Americas, Asterix and the Romans, Circus Magicus and Gratia Dei. A Journey Through the Middle Ages. It is a great place to go with children since there are activities and workshops designed only for them. The museum also presents virtual exhibitions online. It is situated near Place Royale, in the lower part of the town.

As for the “Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec”, it is located on the Plains of Abraham, partly in the old prison of Quebec (in fact, during your visit, you can see prison cells and what prison life was like more than a century ago). There are 6 permanent exhibitions at the museum. All of them relate on artists, history and culture of the province of Quebec. There are also temporary exhibitions about fine arts from around the world. As for children, they have one space dedicated just for them in order to play and learn like artists do.

One of the three buildings of the "Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec" at nightfall
One of the three buildings of the "Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec" at nightfall | Source
The "hiphop" is one of the most popular attraction of the indoor amusement park at the "Galeries de la Capitale"
The "hiphop" is one of the most popular attraction of the indoor amusement park at the "Galeries de la Capitale" | Source

Shopping centers

We find in Quebec City several large shopping centers where you can go on rainy days for example. At Laurier Quebec, you will find more than 350 shops and restaurants and lots of underground or covered parkings. If you like, you can even take a shuttle to reach this shopping center. Just besides this place, there are two other shopping centers: Place de la Cité and Place Sainte-Foy. So all together, they give you access to more than 575 shops and restaurants in a distance of 1 km. Another great shopping center is the "Galeries de la Capitale". There, you will find an indoor attraction park with more than 20 attractions like a rollercoaster, a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. You will also find an indoor skating rink, a mini-putt course and the IMAX theatre with the largest screen in Canada. It's really a place not to be missed with family.

Notice: the list of activities and places mentioned above is my personal list and does not imply the City of Quebec and its partners.

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mbgphoto 2 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

Thanks for all of the information. We are visiting Quebec City in late September and staying at the Chateau Frontenac and then boarding a cruise ship for Nova Scotia and the eastern US seaboard.

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