I’m going to go ahead and assume that you would never be unhappy with a visit to Quebec City, especially with kids. We were there in the winter, when it was below freezing every single day and we still had the time of our lives and our kids did too!
If you’re looking for a winter destination, but you’re not too keen on needing it to be a ski location, then Quebec City would be at the top of the list for perfect family spots.
Quebec has that old world charm that is terribly hard to find in North America. Upon your entrance into Old Quebec you’re immediately brought back in time or entering a fairy tale, its honestly hard to tell. It’s one of the prettiest little cities I’ve ever seen!
Here are our top winter activities to do with your children during a winter stay in Quebec City.
Dufferin Terrace Slides – This toboggan experience is incredible! You rent your toboggan (pay per ride) and you pull it up to the top of the ramp. The ramp will get you cruising 40 miles per hour! It’s thrilling to say the least! This is especially fun for large families because each toboggan is allowed to hold 4 people. So we didn’t have to worry about making extra trips up to ride with each of our children. The Terrace Slides are also located right beside the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, so the view is incredible and you’re alongside the St. Lawrence river which is beautiful while its filled up with floating ice upon its surface.
The Quebec Aquarium – We were really surprised to find that many of the aquarium exhibits were outside, but it was really fun seeing seals, walrus and polar bears outside, in the freezing cold and knowing that they were happy in their elements. The aquarium also has some indoor tanks, the jellyfish room was our favorite by far. Hundreds of jellyfish floating around with an awesome lighting display to really show off their insane details. It’s also a really great opportunity to warm up and pet the sting rays before you head out into the freezing cold again!
The Quebec Ferry– The ferry gives an exciting chance to see the best view of Old Quebec, a quick ride across the river and back is a nice way to take some downtime and stay indoors (the ferry has an inside portion) and it’s really incredible cutting through the water with its chunks of ice.
Montmorency Falls – The cable car ride down the mountain is fun for the kids! When you get down to the bottom you walk across the frozen gorge and arrive at the waterfall, blowing little wisps of ice in your face. If you’re adventurous, or your kids are not too young, you can zip line across the gorge, even in the winter. There is a little cafe where you can pick up some hot chocolate before you make your way back up the mountain in a cable car.
Hotel de Glace – This is our number one suggestion, it’s incredible to visit the Ice Hotel. This was the 19th year that they’ve made the hotel in Quebec and outside of Sweden, it’s the largest one out in the world. Every year it’s a different layout and a different theme, so you could visit every year and it would be a different experience. Make sure you visit during the day and at night, because when everything is lit up, the hotel seems like its an entirely different hotel. You can spend the night, we hope to next time, or you can just get tickets to walk through the hotel during the day. All of the rooms are vacant until the hotel guests check in at 9 pm (when you book a room at the ice hotel you also have a room at Hotel Valcartier) so you can tour each one and get a drink from the bar made entirely out of ice. Not just the bar, even the glass you drink out of is made out of ice! They have artisans working all day to continually make these ice glasses because they’re only able to use each glass one time!
Snow Tubing at Valcartier – When you visit the ice hotel, make sure you plan on spending the entire day at Valcartier. They have an indoor water park, which we were invited to try, but we didn’t travel with our swimsuits (when will we learn?) it looked awesome and WARM 😉 But what we did try out was their Snow Tubing and let me just say that this place is way too much fun for the entire family. We know that we will be visiting Quebec again, it’s just too good not to. And though we hope to visit during a warmer time of year to better enjoy walking around the quaint city, we know we will also come back in the winter. And when we come back, we will for sure spend a couple nights at Hotel Valcartier to spend a couple of full days riding all of the snow tubing trails, 35 of them!
Ice skating – they have many opportunities for ice skating in Quebec, but this is our very favorite location because of the scenery! It’s just so pretty skating outside and still having the ambiance of Old Quebec all around you.
What to eat in Quebec!
Le Chic Shack – this place has excellent burgers, the buns are almost like a croissant! Le Chic Shack also makes handmade sodas, we loved the blackcurrant/blueberry and the blood orange! And poutine.
Cafe Boulangerie Paillard – excellent sandwiches and soups and gelato!
Table – Table was located in the hotel where we stayed, we dined here for both breakfast and dinner. Both were absolutely delicious. The Poutine was one of our very favorites of the whole trip.
Le Petit Chateau – We had wonderful dessert crepes, cheese fondu and poutine. But everything looked delicious.
Van Houtte Coffee – This coffee shop was right on the corner outside of our hotel and we picked up muffins and beignets a couple of times!
We stayed at Hotel Pur and we couldn’t have asked for a lovelier stay. The rooms are really pretty with murals on the walls and floor to ceiling windows which allow you to get an excellent view of Quebec City! The staff was also so very kind, they spoiled us with fresh cookies and glasses of milk brought to our room in the evening.
All in all, would I recommend Quebec to you as a family destination? 100% yes! Quebec is the perfect place for a family winter holiday!
*we partnered with the tourism board of Quebec but all reviews are our own and completely truthful.