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Québec City at its Best

How to Visit Québec City in Winter Without a Car?

As soon as the first major snowfalls hit, Québec City shifts into winter gear. There are all sorts of winter activities to be enjoyed in the heart of the city or close by, and you won’t need a car to get there! Instead of wrestling with the snowy roads, head out on foot, hop aboard public transit, or take a shuttle and revel in the joys of winter.

Ice Skating

Accessible on foot
Ice Skating at Place D'Youville | Credit:  Francis Gagnon
Credit: Francis Gagnon

Starting in mid‑November, you can hit the ice at Place D’Youville. With the lights and music, it’s the ultimate urban setting for a turn around the rink, any day of the week. Open until 10 p.m., it’s especially beautiful at night, in the glow of the surrounding city. Starting in early December, the ice oval on the Plains of Abraham will also be ready to welcome skaters daily. Both rinks are free and offer low‑cost equipment rentals.

Toboggan Run

Accessible on foot
Toboggan Slide on the Dufferin Terrace | Credit:  Francis Gagnon
Credit: Francis Gagnon

In the heart of Old Québec, on Dufferin Terrace, there’s a tradition that dates back over a hundred years: the toboggan run. From the top of the structure, first erected in 1884, you’ll enjoy a magnificent view of Château Frontenac, the St. Lawrence River, and the Lower Town before you go racing down the slide on a toboggan. What fun!!

Snow Tubing and the Ice Hotel

Shuttle service

Old Québec Tours has a shuttle that will take you out to Valcartier Vacation Village, where you’re in for a wild ride! With 35 slides, snow rafting, and the Tornado tube spinner, it’s North America’s biggest winter playground! While you’re there, be sure to visit Hôtel de Glace, a stunning hotel made of ice and snow that gets rebuilt every year with a different design. If you only have a few hours to spare, you can also go tubing at Centre de glisse Myrand instead. Just take the RTC 807 bus and get off at Myrand.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Accessible on foot & public transit
Cross-country Skiing on the Plains of Abraham  | Credit:  Francis Gagnon
Credit: Francis Gagnon

Also on the Plains of Abraham, you’ll find nearly 14 km of cross‑country ski trails and approximately 4 km of snowshoeing trails. If you’re staying nearby, you can even put your skis or snowshoes on right at your hotel and head straight for this fantastic urban park. You can also take the 800 or 802 bus (get off at Bardy) for a visit to Domaine Maizerets, where the trails criss‑cross landscaped areas and natural woodlands.

Downhill Skiing

Shuttle service
Downhill Skiing Mont-Sainte-Anne

If you’re dying to hit the slopes, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif ski areas are both easily accessible from Québec City. Just hop on the Ski Bus, which picks up passengers at all the major hotels in the city centre. It’s a safe, speedy way to travel. Plus, you’ll be free to admire the magnificent Côte de Beaupré or Charlevoix scenery along the way!

Dogsledding

Shuttle service
Dogsledding | Credit:  Francis Gagnon
Credit: Francis Gagnon

If you’d like to give dogsledding a try, you can take the Ski Bus out to Mont-Sainte-Anne for a dogsled tour with Les Secrets Nordiques. There’s also Aventures Nord-bec Stoneham, which runs a shuttle service that can pick passengers up from any hotel in Old Québec.

Ice Fishing

Accessible on foot
Village Nordik at Port of Québec | Credit:  Village Nordik at Port of Québec
Credit: Village Nordik at Port of Québec

Discover the joys of ice fishing right in the Port of Québec at the Village Nordik of the Port of Québec. Located at the Louise Basin, this delightful little urban fishing village even has an inflatable igloo rental service, if you’re worried about the cold. There are plenty of fish to hook, including trout, walleye, yellow perch, burbot, and pike.

Backcountry Skiing (ski hors-piste)

Shuttle service
Backcountry skiing | Credit:  Hôtel de Glace
Credit: Hôtel de Glace

If you’ve always wanted to try backcountry skiing—a combination of cross‑country and downhill skiing—beautiful Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is the perfect place to start. Quatre Natures offers a day-long backcountry skiing package with a professional guide that includes all the necessary equipment as well as transportation to and from Québec City.

Snowmobiling

Shuttle service
snowmobiling | Credit:  Sophie Gagnon Bergeron
Credit: Sophie Gagnon Bergeron

Your Québec City winter experience wouldn’t be complete without a day of snowmobiling. Stadacona Aventures has a package deal that puts you in the driver’s seat, with six hours on a sled, all the necessary equipment, a guide, a meal, and even a local beer and cheese tasting session. Transportation to and from Québec City is available for a fee.

Ice Canoeing

Accessible on foot
Ice Canoe River | Credit:  Francis Gagnon
Credit: Francis Gagnon

Here’s something you won’t get to try anywhere else: ice canoeing. From the city centre, head out onto the icy St. Lawrence River in the company of a seasoned guide who will customize the adventure to suit your physical abilities and show you some spectacular views of the city.

Fatbiking

Public transit
Fatbike Domaine de Maizerets | Credit:  Domaine de Maizerets
Credit: Domaine de Maizerets

Fatbiking is a hot new winter sport that lets you ride over the snow on bikes equipped with oversized tires. To try it at Domaine Maizerets, hop on the 800 or 802 bus and get off at Bardy.

As you can see, even without a car, you can enjoy all kinds of winter fun in Québec City. So be sure to pick a few favourite activities, bundle up properly, and make the most of the season during your stay.

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