Quebec City in 2 days in Winter: finding fun in winter
3rd July 2020
Whether you are looking for a winter weekend getaway or a quick side trip while in Canada, the historic and charming city of Quebec has a lot to show off especially in winter. Think ice hotels, ice bars, sledding, eating maple syrup with snow and so much more all in the oldest settlement in North America. Get your warm mittens and hats join us experience the fun things to do in Quebec City in 2 days in winter.
Quebec City: the best winter destination in Canada
When going to Eastern Canada, Quebec City is a must-visit, especially in winter. Some would go as far as to say that a visit to Canada is not complete if you’re not visiting Quebec City. How could you not? This beautiful snow-laden city is filled with rich history, classic European-style architecture, fortified buildings, old-cobblestone streets, quaint decorations especially in winter, unique food experiences, and fun night markets and festivals. Quebec City is the first European settlement in North America and most of the structures still stand today. They are a great reminder of the history of the city.
I went to visit Quebec City with a good friend of mine. We drove from Montreal to the city and stayed at another friend’s place. He has lived in the city his entire life and he was generous enough to write an itinerary of the fun things to do in winter in Quebec City in 2 days of our stay.
If you are also looking into what to do in Paris in 2 days, check out this blog.
Things to do in Winter in Quebec City in 2 days
Most of the main attractions are located in Old Quebec which is a historic area recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Old Quebec is divided into Upper Town where the Chateau Frontenac is located, and the Lower town where you can explore Rue Petit Champlain and Place Royal. All sites within Old Quebec are walking distance of each other. The Ice Hotel and Montmorency Falls is about 16 and 12 km outside of downtown Quebec City, respectively. We were able to squeeze a bunch of Old Quebec attractions with Ice Hotel on day 1 and the Montmorency Falls on the second day along with watching a hockey game of our friends’ children. We had to get back to Montreal before night fell to meet with our friends there. You can definitely do it differently but what is sure is that you will be able to make the best out of your stay in just 2 days.
1. Ice Hotel
On our first day, we had planned to go right away to downtown Quebec City but our friend said that it is better to do the Ice Hotel and Village Vacances Valcartier in the morning to avoid the crowd. We got there at 9 in the morning and it was perfect. The sun was shining, the snow was glistening and there were only a few people exploring the Ice Hotel.
The famous Ice Hotel is the only one of its kind in North America. This architectural marvel is made entirely of ice. Inside the Ice Hotel are even more unbelievable ice carvings. Each of the rooms has unique themes with the walls and the ice furniture carved to match the theme.
The coolest part (metaphorically and literally) of the hotel was the ice bar. The drinks are served in ice glasses and you’ll be sitting on rag-clad ice benches while jamming to modern pop music. What could be cooler than that?
2. Village Vacances Valcatier
The Ice Hotel is located in Village Vacances Valcatier. It also features the biggest winter playground in North America with 35 different snow slides, skating paths, and fun snow forts. They even have an indoor water park!
If you are a family with kids, or just someone who is looking for a fun holiday, then this is for you. We found so many kids learning how to ski or skate, some are taking turns sliding down on sleds. For adults, the Village also features an indoor pool and sauna. I was really surprised when we walked in with our heavy winter coats and saw people walking about in the halls with just their swimming shorts on while the snow was thick outside. I highly suggest spending more time in the Village and enjoy all of its facilities especially if you travel with children.
3. Place Royal
We seemed to have traveled back in time when we made our way on foot to Place Royal. This quaint little square is covered with cobblestone and lined with buildings dating back from the 17th century. These buildings have become souvenir shops and cafes for tourists to enjoy.
Inside the square is the Notre-Dame des Victoirie, built in 1688 making it the oldest stone church in North America. We sat at the coffee shop next to it which also happens to be as old as the square. It felt like time stopped with every sip of delicious coffee.
4. Rue Petit Champlain
After Place Royal, we made our way to Rue Petit Champlain, which was just a few blocks away. You might have known this street from various travel accounts in social media as it was one of the places constantly recommended to visit during winter. The old cobblestones street was laden with a little bit of fresh snow on the ground while colorful and bright light decors on the shops line the street. Souvenir shops feature different crafts showing French-Canadian and Inuit and First Nation artistry. This street is the oldest commercial center in North America and also named the most beautiful street in Canada.
5. Chateau Frontenac
The grand Chateau Frontenac stands on the hill of upper Old Quebec overlooking the icy St. Lawrence River and the lower part of the old town. This magnanimous structure was opened in 1893 and has since hosted important people in history from various world leaders and royalties to generals and celebrities.
But you don’t have to be a world leader to visit Chateau Frontenac. Tour guides often let visitors inside certain floors and rooms in the Chateau. You can find these tours in Tripadvisor. When we went there, we welcomed ourselves to the halls decorated with pictures of it’s glorious days featuring parties in their grand dining rooms. Original china plates from the Chateau’s opening also decorate the walls.
6. Dufferin Toboggan Slide
Older than Chateau Frontenac that sits next to it, the Toboggan Slide at Terrase Dufferin has been a classic Quebec attraction for more than a century now. A toboggan is a traditional sled made of flat wood that is slightly curved on front. Toboggan has been used as a means of transport in North Canada. Nowadays, people use it to slide down hills for that fun adrenaline rush. This slide can send you down as fast as 70 km/hr!
1. Montmorency Falls
This magnificent waterfalls is located 12 km out of Old Quebec City and totally worth the drive. Montmorency Falls drops over to St. Lawrence River. The falls might be popular in summer but winter offers a totally different but equally amazing views. During winter, when the water freezes at the drop, ice formation occurs called Sugarloaf which resemble icy sugar cotton candies. A suspension bridge connects the two edges of the waterfall and looking over the edge of the river and to the falls can be intense.
Other activities such as ice climbing and snowshoeing at the national park can also be done.
2. See a Hockey Game
The quintessential Canadian past time should not be missed where ever you are in Canada. When my friend and i went to Dominican Republic, we met several Quebecoise that live close to Quebec City. We were invited to see their kids’ hockey game which was such an honor since I got close to the kids during our time in Dominican Republic. In Canada, they really start them young. There was even a boy that was 5 years old that looked so cute in his fluffy hockey suit and hockey stick.
Quebec Winter Carnaval
I was pretty bummed when all of our friends told us about meeting Bonhomme during Quebec’s biggest winter festival, only to find out that it won’t be happening during my visit. The Quebec Winter Carnaval is a week-long festival happening every second week of February. It was once the largest winter festival in the world with millions of people attending various winter activities in Quebec City. Day time and nighttime parades led by Bonhomme Carnaval, the festival’s mascot, fill the streets everyday. Parties are held in the streets and in private homes. Winter sports competitions are also all over. Food festivals feed hungry Quebecoise day and night. Looks like I will have to come back next winter!
So there you go! It was a little bit jam-packed on the first day. I felt that we could have spent the whole day in Ice Hotel and the Village Valcartier with a side trip to Montmorency falls. Then the second day would be spent in Old Quebec City. But we had to tweak our plans to accommodate our friends. Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there and we believe that we covered all the best things to do in winter in Quebec City in 2 days.
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