Visiting Québec City in February
Many of our editors agree that the best time to visit Quebec City is when the snow is piling up by the foot, and there’s a fire roaring in the fireplace, and February may be the best month of the best months to experience this. The winter weather makes a hotel room in one of Quebec City’s brick and stone buildings even more welcoming at the end of a day of winter sports and activities. Even a subfreezing room at the ice hotel can feel like a refuge on snowy and windy winter days.
February is the heart of winter in Quebec, so visitors can always rely on fresh snow every few days. This turns the boardwalk overlooking the frozen St. Lawrence River into a picturesque winter wonderland. Indeed, it’s hard to take a bad picture anywhere in the city. Especially when exploring among the centuries-old buildings that line the Quartier Petit Champlain (pictured below).
The main event is the Quebec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec), of course, a 70-year tradition begins on the first Thursday of February. It ends with the legendary canoe races across the semi-frozen St. Lawrence River on Sunday, February 11. Carnaval is the venue for a major International Ice and Snow Sculpture Competition annually.
Many regular wintertime visitors waste no time getting to Quebec City’s famous toboggan slide. Usually a great after dinner activity on their first evening in Quebec. The toboggan slide (known locally as Dufferin’s Slide and/or la luge), is easy to find. It’s located on Dufferin Terrace right on the boardwalk overlooking the river. Right outside the Chateau Frontenac, at the epicenter of the Upper City. La Luge is not just for kids. Moms and dads may have a tough time getting their children off the toboggans when it’s time for bed.
The Quebec City Region is also the home of Village Vacances. It’s the largest winter sports facility in North America. Here visitors can try any of its 42 exciting inner-tube and crazy carpet slides, or go ice skating on the 2.5-kilometer skating rink. Village Vacances is also the site of the incomparable Hôtel de Glace, one of two in the world. Visitors can stay here, or at the Hotel Valcartier, a large, new on-site hotel designed and built with families in mind, with its own indoor water park.
Montmorency Falls is a must-see attraction 365 days a year, but is certainly not to be missed in February. The mist from the 230-foot-high falls forms a mountain of snow, called “the Sugarloaf,” at the foot of the falls. Visitors can view the falls, and the sugarloaf, from a footbridge that crosses directly above the falls. Or you can take a a gondola that runs from the lower parking lot to the Manoir Montmorency, the gateway to the footbridge.
Last but not least Ice Skating at picturesque Place d’Youville is a popular winter gathering place. Whether you’re a local and visiting families with or without ice skates. They can be rented on-site. This is especially easy for guests of the Hotel Le Capitole just across the street. Or from the Marriott, also dimly visible at the opposite end, or the Hotel Palace Royale, just steps away as well.