So, maybe I’m a bit biased, being from Quebec City and all. And maybe it’s just because it feels like home and home is where your heart is, especially for Christmas, but I have a feeling you will see it my way before we get to the end of this article.
It’s the obvious reason and you probably don’t feel the same if you were born in Florida or any other summer paradise, but who has never dreamed of a white Christmas? Trust me, I would choose the beach and palm trees over snow-plows and leafless trees any day, except for Christmas. The snow just makes everything more magical and dreamy! The lights seem brighter, the Christmas trees seem greener and everyone is in a better mood when the ground is carpeted in white. Plus, snowmen are real fun to build! If you are worried about the cold, stop worrying: true, it can get pretty cold during Canadian winters, but while January is the worst time of the year to visit , December is pretty mild with the temperature staying around 0°C.
Old Quebec during Christmas season is my all-time favorite! The shops get all decked out for the holidays and the main attractions like the Château Frontenac and City Hall get covered in red and green lights. If you think the Christmas trees and the ornaments are pretty during the day, wait until you see them at night! My family and I like to get to Old Quebec at about 8 PM on December 24th. Most people are at home celebrating with their families so we get the whole place to ourselves to explore at our own pace and take as many pictures as we want. Most restaurants are still open late so if you get hungry, you can get some chocolate waffles as a midnight snack. The only place you will have to hit early is the Beaver Tails as this one closes pretty early (don’t go calling it animal cruelty, it is actually a delicious flat pastry that you can cover in pretty much anything sweet.) After you are done looking at the Castle and the upper town, don’t forget to go down the “escalier casse-cou” to get the best view of the lower part of town. This part is actually my favourite. The tiny walking streets sparkle with lights and the shops are held in 400 year old buildings that take you back to 1600s France.
It may get cold, but winter never stops us from having the time of our lives! One of my favourite activities to do during the Holidays is visit the Quebec Aquarium at night. While most exhibits are closed, you can walk around the aquarium for the best light display in town. You can also see a polar bear, some owls, walrus and arctic foxes. It is a great activity for families or for adults. You can also go skiing at one of our many mountains or go skating. There is a skating rink in the middle of town at Place D’Youville, but my favourite is in Shannon. There are no buses that can bring you, but if you have a car or if a friend can give you a ride, it is totally worth it. It is completely free, you can even rent skates free of charge and it is open day and night. There is space to play hockey, but there is also a trail in the forest if you just want to skate around. Another popular activity is Valcartier Vacation Village where you can go tubing in more than 35 snow slides of all sizes. If you get tired of the snow, you can visit their brand new indoor water park. With a wave pool, surf wave and more than 14 slides, there is fun for everyone. While on the site, don’t forget to visit the Ice Hotel. Completely built with ice and snow, you can go for a visit or stay for a night or even get an ice drink at the bar. It is different every year!
With hostels in the Downtown area for less than 20 CAN$ and the dollar pretty low, everyone can afford a vacation in Quebec City. Most outdoor activities can also be done for free and you can get a good poutine for as low as 3$.
All you need is a good coat, some boots, mittens and maybe a warm hat and you are ready to go! And if you stay until New Years, don’t forget to come celebrate on Grande Allée for a DJ, good food, a big wheel and some fireworks.
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