Top Things to do in Québec City at Christmas Time | Complete Travel Guide
Québec City should be on everyone's holiday bucket list.
With its unique European charm, Christmas markets galore, a booming culinary scene, and every corner of Old Québec decorated for the Christmas season, it's truly a magical place to experience in Canada during the holidays.
In this post, we're diving into the top things to do in Québec City at Christmas time. We'll also touch on things like how to dress for Québec City weather, Québec City hotels and best restaurants:
- How to travel to Québec City from Toronto
- How to pack for the weather in Québec City
- Is Québec City tourist friendly?
- Things to do in Québec City at Christmas time
- Where to eat in Québec City
- What hotel to stay at in Québec City
How to travel to Québec City from Toronto
It takes approximately 8+ hours to drive to Québec City from Toronto. If you're not up for the road trip, there are two other main methods of transportation you can take to get there.
The first is travelling by train. There are six daily trains to Québec from Toronto's Union Station. Though there is no direct train to Québec City, you can transfer trains in Montreal to reach your final destination. This journey will take approximately 9.5 hours. On my recent trip to the city, I travelled business class with ViaRail and thoroughly enjoyed the trip as it provided the opportunity to comfortably catch up on work, rest, or catch up on entertainment on my devices while being well fed and watered.
The other common method of transport is travelling by plane. A flight will of course be your quickest option, taking only 1 hour and 30 minutes. There are direct flights to Québec City from Toronto Pearson International Airport.
You can also take a bus to Québec City, but I would not recommend it as the journey can be 13+ hours.
How to pack for the weather in Québec City
Travelling to Québec City during Christmas time will almost guarantee that you experience cold and wet weather conditions, though the temperature can fluctuate from day-to-day. Remember that even the slightest change in temperature can change snow to rain and wind can greatly impact the conditions. It's important that you pack options and plenty of layers for your trip. In particular, I would recommend including these top 10 items in your luggage:
a good winter parka
layering accessories (hat, scarf, and mittens)
waterproof winter boots (bonus for good tread on the bottom as there are plenty of stairs and cobblestone streets that will require sturdiness)
layering basics including tights/long underwear
t-shirts for layering
a nice pair of shoes for dinner or a night out
a night dress/outfit for dinner or a night out
One of the things I love most about Québec City is how walkable it is. You'll want to make sure that you're dressed comfortably to optimize your time and enjoy wandering each nook and cranny of this beautiful, historic city.
Is Québec City tourist friendly?
Each time I have gone to Québec City, I have found it to be a friendly and welcoming place. Although speaking French is helpful, your lack of ability to speak it will not hinder your ability to navigate the city or have conversation with locals, for the most part.
Québec City is also best explored by foot. Being a very walkable city, especially in Old Québec, tourists don't have to worry about navigating by car, finding parking, or learning the rules of the road. The train station is a short Uber/taxi from Old Québec City.
Be sure to engage with those around you, I'm sure they will be happy to help you explore this beautiful destination and to share any tips or recommendations they might have!
Things to do in Québec City at Christmas time
Outdoor Ice skating at Place d'Youville
Located in the heart of the city, ice skating in Place d'Youville offers great vibes and beautiful views, as well as skate rentals and sharpening services right on site. Cozy up after your ice skate with a warm beverage from a vendor in the nearby Christmas market.
German Christmas Market
With five venues to choose from, the German Christmas Market in Québec City is a magical place to indulge in sweet treats, enjoy live entertainment, shop artisanal crafts, or sip mulled wine by the fire.
The Christmas market in Québec City truly feels like a slice of European Christmas right here in Canada.
This year, the German Christmas Market runs from November 24 to December 23, 2022.
Toboggan down Au 1884
The oldest attraction in the city, this exhilarating and historical wooden slide located on Dufferin Terrace takes you racing down a slope at high speeds as you take in spectacular views of the Fairmont le Château Frontenac and St. Lawrence River below.
Christmas Decorations in Old Québec
Starting at the end of November, Québec City turns into a magical, Christmas wonderland with enchanting illuminations, holiday decorations, and festive displays to fill your Instagram feed. Be sure to wander around Old Québec as every cafe, restaurant, and store has its own unique charm that will leave you feeling as though you're the star in your very own Hallmark Christmas movie!
Escape for an afternoon of rest and relaxation at Strom Spa Nordique, located just 10 minutes from Old Québec City. With a restaurant on site, salt flotation bath, warm and cold plunge pools, saunas, meditation beds and so much more, it’s the perfect oasis for the spa lover!
Where to eat in Québec City
Québec City is a great place for the foodie or those looking for a unique or romantic dining experience.
Bistro Le Sam
Located in the luxurious Fairmont le Château Frontenac, Le Sam offers a cozy and dimly lit ambiance with spectacular views above the St, Lawrence River. A carefully curated menu offers visitors a delectable dining experience, no matter the palate, accompanied by spectacular service. If visiting during the holidays, be sure to try a cocktail from their feature holiday cocktail menu!
Located in a historic maritime warehouse, Chez Muffy provides an intimate and welcoming atmosphere for a cozy dining experience. This is a great place for those looking to enjoy a unique three course meal. Each item has been prepared with such attention to detail, it's hard not to savour every bite! In addition to excellent presentation and hospitable service to match, I absolutely love Chez Muffy's emphasis on sustainability, with its menu focusing on seasonally inspired dishes prepared with ingredients from the hotel's farm and garden.
La Maison Smith
Looking for something quick and more budget-friendly? Pop into La Maison Smith (there are multiple locations around the city) for a snack or tasty breakfast. With a quaint and comforting atmosphere, this cafe is obviously a favourite amongst locals with its constant flow of traffic. Be sure to try one of their giant, warm, flaky croissants!
What hotel to stay at in Québec City
Fairmont le Château Frontenac
Starting with the obvious, there's a reason the Fairmont le Château Frontenac is world famous. With it's stunning architecture, unparalleled views of the St.Lawrence River and luxurious interior, it's also fabulously located, making for an all around perfect hotel for your stay in Québec City. The Château Frontenac is also pet-friendly for those looking to bring their fur baby with them to the city.
Located in the Centre-Ville neighbourhood, Hilton Québec is only a 10 minute walk from Old Québec City. The hotel has a heated pool (with lifeguards onsite), a spa, and childcare services available which also makes it a great family-friendly option.
For those looking for a more sustainable option, check out Auberge Saint-Antoine. A luxury museum hotel located in Old Québec, Auberge Saint-Antoine uses its own farm and garden for producing fresh and locally produced ingredients for its onsite restaurant, Chez Muffy. They've also committed to plastic reduction and increasing recycling efforts, including through the lifecycle of linens, towels, and other commonly used hotel items. Toiletries are refillable and locally produced, and only green-labeled and biodegradable cleaning products are used on property (to name a few of their efforts).
Electric charging stations for vehicles are available onsite.
Auberge Saint-Antoine is also pet-friendly and offers babysitting services and family-friendly children's programming.
It's clear that Québec City is a unique and beautiful slice of European charm right here in Canada that is worth the visit any time of year. However, with its festively decorated cobblestone streets, German Christmas markets, and endless things to do and experience during the holidays, Christmas time may just be the most magical time of year to visit!
What do you think? Have you travelled to Québec City at Christmas time?
Disclaimer: Our trip to Québec City was sponsored by Destination Québec cité. The content of this blog is generated for entertainment and informative purposes. All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.