What makes Québec so original? It’s that there’s so much to do. It’s a real 360-degree feast for the senses.
Québec has more than 1,000 activities and attractions and close to 700 festivals and events year round. The great outdoors is accessible from Québec’s major cities, there’s great cuisine on every table and great culture emanating from museums, comedy clubs and concert halls.
Québecers love winter, inside and out. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice skating are just some of the winter sport favorites. For the adventurous, there's dogsledding; for the more easy-going, there's the steamy relaxation of outdoors spas; and for the party animals, there's dancing outside under the snowflakes and the stars!
Nothing warms up a winter day like a café au lait, a poutine, or some fine cuisine from one of Québec’s world-renowned chefs. In Montréal's underground city that links malls to restaurants, one can shop for made-in-Québec designer clothes. Traditional gifts can be found at many festive Christmas markets. And lastly, visitors can cozy up for the night in a wide selection of accommodation establishments ranging from luxury hotels to log cabins. What's more, they can do it all over again the next morning!
QuébecOriginal - Let it snow
Oui snow, do you?
In Québec, we love our snow, and we’ve come up with so many ways to play in it:
1) Downhill skiing: We get an average of 3 meters (10 ft.) of snow every season at our over 90 ski centers. And we ski day and night!
2) Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing: Trails abound in our mountains, national parks, and in and around our major cities.
3) Snowmobiling: Over 33,500 km (20,815 mi.) of groomed and signposted trails crisscross the entire province.
4) Dogsledding: Become one with nature, befriend your sled dogs and learn to drive with the help of a professional musher.
5) Ice fishing: We catch walleye, northern pike, yellow perch, cod, trout and more while sheltered in little huts on our frozen rivers and lakes.
6) Snow and ice sculpting: Our winter festivals—especially the Winter Carnival in Québec City—amaze us every year with their sculptures.
7) Ice hotel: We drink out of glasses made of ice in the bar, and admire the stunning ice architecture. It’s even possible to spend the night!
8) Building snowmen: We never forget to indulge our inner child. We’re the masters of snowmen, snow forts and everything else made of snow!
So, what will your favorite snow activity be?
Québecoriginal – Skiing in Québec
Québec boasts some of the longest ski seasons in North America. Certain Québec ski resorts open as early as late November, with ski season often running to late April.
Québec ski facts:
- Québec gets an average of 3 meters (10 ft.) of snow every season at our over 90 ski centers.
- Some of our ski hills are as close as 20 or 30 minutes from downtown Montréal or Québec City.
- Québec boasts the largest lit skiable terrain
in North America.
- We also have the highest vertical drop
east of the Canadian Rockies.
- Many regions offer shuttle services between cities and ski hills.
- Daycare centers are available to let parents hit the slopes worry-free.
- Just beginning? No problem! Our ski hills offer snow school for skiers of all levels.
- Skiers can enjoy a wide range of lodging options, from rustic log cabins to the most luxurious hotels, in charming ski villages and big cities.
QuébecOriginal – Snowmobiling in Québec
The snowmobile was invented in Québec in the 1930s by Joseph-Armand Bombardier. It’s no wonder that we love it so much—the vehicle was made for our unique winters!
Québec snowmobile facts:
- More than 33,500 km (20,815 mi.) of marked, groomed and secured trails.
- 203 clubs and 4,000 volunteers who manage trail permits, trails and social activities.
- More than 80,000 snowmobile enthusiasts.
- Find out where you’ve been, and where you’re going, with an interactive trail map and distance calculator
- Check trail conditions
daily, by region and by sector, before your departure.
- Québec hosts a number of snowmobile competitions sanctioned by the SCMX (Super Compétitions Motorisées) for snocross, EPT (Eastern Pro Tour) for ice ovals and CAMAO (Circuit d'accélération de motoneiges Abitibi-Ouest) for snow drag races.
- For information regarding rights of access and insurance, visit the Québec Federation of Snowmobile Clubs online at fcmq.qc.ca.
- No matter where you are, there is a full range of services close at hand, from fuel to rentals and repairs, heated shelters, food and accommodations.
QuébecOriginal – Québec gastronomy
Food is our passion, and we are constantly innovating: we embrace the culinary traditions of our cultural communities and enhance them with the freshest local products and delicacies from our terroir.
Seven Québec must-taste specialties
Poutine is Québec’s signature food. Golden fries are smothered in scalding hot gravy and topped with melting cheese curds, with the optional addition of various condiments according to personal taste. From the chicest of restaurants to food trucks, nothing says comfort food like poutine.
Montréal bagels are smaller and denser than New York bagels. They are poached in water and honey and then wood-fired to perfection. The two biggest names in bagels are St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel, both open 24 hours to satisfy late-night cravings.
3. Maple products
From the sugar shack to gourmet tables, maple syrup shows up in a variety of sweet treats—maple taffy on snow (called tire sur la neige
), maple butter, mousse and sugar pie—and enhances even the most sophisticated of recipes.
4. Smoked meat
Beef smoked to perfection, with a secret blend of herbs and spices. The best places to enjoy smoked meat—Schwartz’s, Dunn’s, Main Deli, Briskets, Mr. Smoked Meat (Lester's Deli)—serve all the elements of a classic sandwich: smoked meat piled high on rye bread with sweet mustard, and an enormous dill pickle on the side!
We have over 300 varieties of cheese in Québec. We love our cheese so much that we even created a designated Route des fromages (cheese route) specifically for cheese-lovers.
Tourtière is a meat pie that's a holiday tradition in Québec. Every family has its own secret recipe!
QuébecOriginal – Accessibility
By air, by land, by rail… there are many ways to get to Québec easily and affordably.
Montréal-Trudeau Airport: Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
There are many ways of getting to downtown Montréal from the airport, including the 747 public transportation bus, regional shuttles, train, taxis and limousines.
Mont-Tremblant: La Macaza – Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM)
The Village of Mont-Tremblant is 35 km (22 mi.) from Mont Tremblant International Airport.
Québec City: Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
Just 16 km (10 mi.) from downtown Québec City, the airport can be reached via Boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel (138) or Autoroute Duplessis (540).
Driving to Québec City?
Highway 20 (Autouroute Jean-Lesage) runs along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, and Highway 40 (Autoroute Félix-Leclerc) is the north shore access to the city.
Driving to Montréal?
All highways lead to Montréal! No matter what direction you’re coming from, directions to the city are clearly indicated.
Montréal is accessible from the United States via Amtrak, and from Canadathough VIA Rail. Québec City and numerous other cities in the province are accessible through VIA Rail.
QuébecOriginal: Québec City Festivals
The province of Québec is home to more than 500 festivals year-round, bringing with them cultural discoveries, heart-thumping excitement and breathtaking beauty. Winter is no exception! Be sure to check out these winter festivities to experience Québec City like a local and make the most out of your visit:
1) Québec Winter Carnival
January 31, 2014 – February 16, 2014
For 60 years now, the biggest winter carnival in the world has been celebrating the joys of winter. Activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, dogsledding, a children’s village, a canoe race on the icy St. Lawrence River, the International Snow Sculpture Competition and the magical Night Parades. Don’t forget to say "bonjour" to the Bonhomme Carnaval!
2) Québec City Lights Festival
December 21 – 31, 2013
Beginning on the winter solstice, Québec City will greet the longest night of the year with a festival of lights! Like the creative and effervescent city it is, Québec will be illuminated, letting its Nordic appeal, history and unique architecture shine bright.
3) Red Bull Crashed Ice
March 21 – 22, 2014
Québec City hosts the finale of this world-famous ice cross downhill race on a 600-meter (nearly 2,000 ft.) course, the longest track of the year. You won’t want to miss this heart racing event.
QuébecOriginal: Montréal Festivals
The province of Québec is home to more than 500 festivals year-round, bringing with them cultural discoveries, heart-thumping excitement and breathtaking beauty. Winter is no exception! Montréal glows all winter long with the lights and the thrills of festival after festival. Experience the city like a local and have a ball at these Montréal events:
1) Montréal en lumière
February 20, 2014 – March 2, 2014
This annual celebration draws 900,000 fans to experience the joys of Montréal in wintertime through a unique program combining performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor family activities, and a full night of exquisitely original discoveries.
2) Fête des neiges
January 15, 2014 – February 15, 2014 (to be confirmed)
This popular family event is staged over three consecutive weekends and features tube sliding, a zip-line, dogsledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, boot and ice hockey, snow-scootering and skating along the river.
3) Montréal’s Igloofest
January 16, 2014 – February 8, 2014
Thousands of electronic music fans brave the long winter nights to come out and dance under the stars in the Old Port of Montréal. With its striking architectural staging, programs that attract the best local and international DJs, the Igloo Village and its famous “one piece” contest, Igloofest is one of the hottest events in the city.
QuébecOriginal: Québec Region Festivals
The province of Québec is home to more than 500 festivals year-round, bringing with them cultural discoveries, heart-thumping excitement and breathtaking beauty. Winter is no exception! Whether you’re in the Québec countryside for skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, dogsledding, Nordic spas, discovery or relaxation, you can complete your winter experience with one of these exciting festivals:
1) Festival Feu et Glace
in Repentigny (Lanaudière)
February 8 – 16, 2014
A magicalatmosphere and a host of family activities await you: Ferris wheel, Tyrolean traverse, ice and snow sculptures, sleigh rides, skating, a sugar shack, live shows, fireworks and much more!
2) Le Mondial des Cidres de Glace
in Rougemont (Montérégie)
February 14 – 16, 2014
Fans of Québec’s famous ice cider rejoice! In a magical setting decorated with ice sculptures, meet cider and agri-food producers and enjoy tastings, ice-sculpting, fireworks and more.
3) Festi-Vent sur glace
in Saint-Placide (Laurentides)
February 14 – 16, 2014
This colorful family event is one of the largest winter kite festivals in North America. Each year, more than 15,000 visitors participate in kite events and other activities.
4) Saguenay en neige
in Jonquière (Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean)
January 30, 2014 – February 9, 2014
Every year, Jonquière is transformed into a city of snow sculptures. Close to 1,000 sculptors from across the province gather here to produce 200 works of art on the banks of the Rivière aux Sables.
5) Tomcod Ice Fishing Festival
in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade (Mauricie)
February 1 – 16, 2014
Join in the ice fishing fun at an enchanting site that is truly unique in the world. Discover a village of 500 cabins along the Rivière Sainte-Anne. Enjoy outdoor activities, artistic performances, entertainment, sporting events... There's something for everyone!
QuébecOriginal: The holidays in Québec
There’s no better place than Québec to revel in the magic of the holiday season. With its white-blanketed landscapes, scintillating cities and holiday spirit steeped in tradition, Québec has everything you need to celebrate a memorable Christmastime.
1) Christmas markets
The perfect place to find personal and unique gifts for your loved ones, Christmas markets can be found in Montréal, Québec City and in many other cities and towns across the province. Often outdoors, with merchants displaying their wares in small wooden cabins, Christmas markets are charming places to spend a snowy evening: sipping mulled wine or caribou (no relation to the animal!) while browsing the shops.
2) Made-in-Québec arts and crafts salons
The Salon des Métiers d’Arts
in Montréal and the Salon des Artisans de Québec
extend across nearly the entire month of December. They feature local artists and artisans selling one-of-a-kind creations: clothing, jewelry, woodwork, pottery and so much more.
3) Montréal’s Christmas in the Park
This festival is held in three locations in Montréal. Free outdoor concerts, dancing, bonfires, poetry and more. The young will love the festive atmosphere, while the young at heart will enjoy reliving the magic of their childhood Christmases.
4) Celebrate Christmas through music and dance
Experience the spirit of Christmas through art at The Nutcracker, performed by Montréal's Les Grands Ballets from December 12 – 30, 2013 at Place des Arts
in Montréal, or hum along to the tunes of the Québec City Gospel Ensemble
. You can also rediscover your favorite holiday songs, in French, with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra
’s special guests.
5) See the lights and visit Santa Claus
Don’t forget to visit Santa in shopping centers all around town, and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the streets and buildings all lit up and decorated for a happy holiday season.
QuébecOriginal: Eat like a local
It’s those little surprises, those local treasures, that really make a trip special. Get off the beaten path and discover these favorite places to eat and drink in Montréal.
La Fabrique Bistrot
on Rue Saint-Denis awakens the senses with its warm conviviality. The kitchen is right there in the center of the restaurant, the service is friendly and the food is the perfect start to a winter’s day.
sure knows how to hit the spot with its secret recipe for macaroons… in 22 flavors! With their crispy exterior and chewy heart-melting center, they're sure to win you over instantly.
Coffee sippingCaffè in Gamba
on Avenue du Parc is the first coffee shop in Montréal dedicated solely to the world of espresso. Its partnerships with the best roasters make this coffee tough to beat. Cozy up beside the fireplace, nibble on tiramisu or cannoli, or even play a game while you savor your hot drink.
on Avenue du Parc is the go-to wine bar among locals looking to discover new vintages and tease their palates with tantalizing amuse bouches. Try a trio and allow the waiter to take you on a journey across three wines.
Midnight snackingLa Banquise
has been a neighborhood legend for the past 45 years. Open 24 hours, and serving 30 different variations of delicious poutine, this restaurant will introduce you to your new favorite midnight snack.
QuébecOriginal: Party like a local
Looking for a truly montréalaise experience? Discover Montréal's nightlife at these favorite local hot spots.
1. Le Lab
This bar offers a multitude of delicious and original combinations of spirits and unexpected ingredients to create surprising drinks. The kind of place that you’d never find unless you were looking, it’s a Plateau neighborhood gem across the street from Parc Lafontaine.
2. Hurley’s Irish Pub
This Montréal institution has live traditional music every night, 19 beers on tap, a selection of more than 50 single malts and 16 whiskeys and delicious, hearty fare.
3. Casa Del Popolo
Established in 2000, this is Montréal’s only family-run neighborhood vegetarian hot-spot. Part fair-trade café, part music venue, part resto-bar and part art gallery, it's the ideal place for indulging your inner hipster.
4. Dieu du ciel
Québec is famous for its microbreweries. This temple of beer—where the brews boast hilarious, irreverent names—can be found in the heart of the Plateau district.
5. Big in Japan Bar
Behind its big, brown door, this unexpectedly charming, candle-lit bar with its retro look and ambiance is open until 3 a.m. every day. Order some sake for a real treat.
6. L’Assommoir Notre-Dame Bar
On the oldest street of historic Old Montréal, this bar is chic and convivial while also cozy and intimate. Its extensive cocktail list is complemented by a wide menu of tapas.
7. Drinkerie Ste-Cunégonde
2661 Notre-Dame Street West
Located in Petite-Bourgogne and open day and night, this neighborhood tavern with its retro décor has a warm and welcome ambiance. Enjoy a formidable selection of scotch, wine and beer to the sound of alternative rock and progressive electronic music.
425 Mayor Street
Furco, in the old fur district, is open every day from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Discover a hip and refined ambiance, great food, and a charming décor. Try to get there early, though, because it doesn't take reservations.
9. La Succursale
3188 Masson Street
For a complete bar menu of scotch, beer and Québec specialties, stop by this welcoming artisanal brewery known for its beer brewed on site and its exotic beer cocktails.
10. Le Saint-Édouard
808 Rosemont BLVD
With its stunning and authentic décor that honors Montréal's heritage, this bar offers diverse local products and beer. Rediscover the experience of a neighborhood bar and be inspired to share your stories.
32 Beaubien Street East
This dimly lit, nostalgically decorated Montréal hipster dive bar was recently voted one of the best gay and lesbian bars in the city. Have a drink and try your hand at the duckpin bowling alley.
12. Taverne Saint-Sacrement
775 du Mont-Royal Avenue East
Nothing goes better with an amazing wine list and selection of alcoholic drinks than feel-good pub food including traditional Québec fare (poutine, onion soup, crab bisque…). You’ll be amused by the irreverent church-inspired décor.
13. Le 5295
5295 du Parc Avenue
This classy cocktail lounge is one of Avenue du Parc’s best-kept secrets—so much so that it doesn’t even have a name, just an address. A Havana-like feel in the bar area contrasts with the Arabian nights ambiance in the second room with its dimmed lights and sofas.