Winter Wonderland Getaway in Quebec City

If your family is craving the ultimate winter wonderland experience, Quebec City, Canada, delivers just that!

Visiting Quebec City can feel like worlds away but you don’t have to leave North America to experience the old world charm of this winter wonderland! Quebec City, Canada Licensed from Adobe Stock © vlad_g

Located in the Quebec province along the Saint Lawrence  River, Quebec City is primarily French-speaking and offers visitors all of the  old-world charm of Europe without leaving North America. The absolute best time  to visit is during the annual Winter Carnival, which runs for two weeks from  late January to February. The 2017 carnival runs from Jan. 27 through Feb. 12.

Annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City Annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada. ©Ville de Québec

How to Get There

Fly into Quebec City (YQB) and rent a car at Quebec International Aiport. It’s just a 25-minute drive to the Historic District of Old Quebec, the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist and the site of the Winter Carnival.

Where to Stay

The iconic Château Frontenac towers over the old city, providing a picturesque skyline along the Saint Lawrence River. The hotel’s location is ideal for families visiting during the Winter Carnival as it’s only a short walk to many of the activities.

Château Frontenac The iconic Château Frontenac towers over Quebec City, Canada. Licensed from Adobe Stock © pololia

What to Do

To attend the Quebec City Winter Carnival you need to purchase an Effigy (a pass that hangs on your jacket) for everyone 8 years old and up -- children 7 years old and younger get in free! This gives you access to the festival’s complete lineup of activities, including sporting competitions and entertainment.

Bonhomme Bonhomme, the official mascot of the annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada.

Here are a few activities not to miss:

Bonhomme’s Ice Palace – Bonhomme, AKA “Good Man”, is the official mascot of the Winter Carnival. You can visit him across from the Parliament Building at his magnificent ice palace, which changes theme from year to year.

International Snow Sculpture Competition International Snow Sculpture Competition entry at the annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada. Licensed from Adobe Stock © OmbreJaune

International Snow Sculpture Competition – You’ll be amazed at the works of art that can be created from ice and snow. Sculptors from around the world come to compete in this annual event at Parc de l'Amérique-Française.

Giant Ice Slide Giant Ice Slide at the annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada. ©Ville de Québec

Giant Ice Slide – The 120-meter slide is made entirely out of ice. Sleds can be rented for a thrilling trip over the famous ramparts of Quebec City.

What to Eat

The Quebec City Carnival wouldn’t be a carnival without some amazing food. But you won’t find cotton candy and popcorn at this festival. Instead, visitors can enjoy delicious treats from local vendors, including beaver tails (fried dough topped with cinnamon and sugar or Nutella), maple taffy (maple syrup poured on snow and wrapped around a stick) and poutine (French fries topped with gravy and fresh cheese curds).

Beaver Tails Beaver Tails are a popular treat at the annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada.

If you can’t make a trip with your family during the Winter Carnival, don’t fret— Quebec City isn’t any less magical once the event is over. The snowy landscape remains long after the celebration, and there are plenty of things to see and do, including ice canoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing, ice skating, skiing and snow tubing.

Snow tubing Snow tubing in Quebec City, Canada. ©Village Vacances Valcartier Valcartier Canada Copyright 2015 / Stéphane Audet Photo 2011

Another attraction not to be missed is Hotel de Glace, one of only a handful of ice hotels in the world. You can tour the hotel, made entirely out of ice and snow, in the afternoon, or choose to spend a night. There are rooms large enough for families and special sleeping bags are given to children so they can warm up quickly. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Hotel de Glace Hotel de Glace in Quebec City, Canada – one of the only ice hotels in the world. ©Luc Rousseau



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Stefanie Fauquet

About the Author

Stefanie Fauquet is the founder of, where she blogs about her favorite subjects: food, travel and life adventures. She lives in the Tampa Bay area with her husband and 12-year-old daughter.