Set among the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, the Christmas Markets in Quebec City invite visitors into a world of holiday magic. Explore our comprehensive guide to the most beautiful Christmas Markets in the city.
Christmas markets are one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday season worldwide. While many countries in Europe, such as Germany, Finland, Austria, and the Czech Republic, are famous for their world-class festivities, Canada has slowly been upping its German Christmas market game.
The Toronto Christmas Market has made waves with its stunning location inside the city’s historic Distillery District. Still, North America’s most beautiful city has been making its own play in the German Christmas market scene. After a recent visit to the stunning streets of old Quebec City, I can tell you that it may be the most wonderful Christmas market on the continent.
Quebec City is gorgeous on the best of days. Canada’s second-oldest city was established in 1608 and exudes all of the European charm of the old world from which its founders heralded.
A tour of the German Christmas markets in Quebec City is normally something that I’d do with Christina and my kids. In fact, one of my favorite family getaways is exploring Quebec City with kids. My family would often make the Toronto to Quebec City drive on our summer adventures further along the St. Lawrence Shores to Tadoussac, Saguenay, or the Mingan Archipelago.
But this visit to experience winter in Quebec City didn’t include my kids. Instead, I was with my good friend and business partner, Chris Mitchell. Chris runs a travel website called TravelingMitch, and the two of us were determined to pack as much holiday magic into our few short days in the city as possible.
While the Christmas markets are amazing for families, they’re also a pretty unforgettable experience for couples or even just groups of friends. The lively atmosphere, public skating rinks, creative shopping experiences, and ample opportunities to imbibe with mulled wine or scrumptious food make it fun for anyone.
How To Plan Your Visit To The Quebec City German Christmas Markets
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With just a few days remaining to Christmas, the Christmas Markets in Quebec City were at their most lively. What I loved about how the markets are set up in the city is that, unlike many Christmas Markets, the Quebec City Christmas markets are set up in a way that encourages people to explore the city.
The Christmas market in Quebec City was the initiative of the city’s German community. It was launched out of a church basement in 2008 as a single day of festivities. But the popularity of the German market grew.
By 2010, it had extended to two weekends, and in 2011, it moved to a more prominent location in front of the historic l’Hotel-de-Ville in Old Quebec City. By 2023, the market had expanded to five locations throughout Old Quebec, each situated among some of the city’s most iconic backdrops, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, and Quebec City’s famous walled city at Place D’Youville.
Chris and I, along with our friend Patrick Lemaire from Destination Quebec Cite and Olivia Lexhaller, Directrice Générale of Marche de Noel Allemand de Quebec (the Quebec City German Christmas Market). Olivia has been involved with the Quebec City German Christmas market since its inception.
Together, we wandered from site to site, experiencing the best experiences at each of the unique locations. Each of the spots where the Christmas market takes place is uniquely designed to represent a different aspect of German heritage.
Bergdorf – Le Village Alpin Desjardins
We started off in “Bergdorf,” where the alpine chalets were decorated with mountain scenes representing the German region’s skiing heritage.
Located in Place D’Youville, overlooking the snow-covered walls of Old Quebec, this section of the Quebec City Christmas market features the market skating rink along with delightful vendors featuring authentic German handicrafts combined with local artisan delicacies, including Charlevoix cheeses and the classic Gluhwein, a delightful mulled wine that has been heated to help keep the winter chills at bay.
Sandwiched between the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Quebec City Hall, Marktplatz is one of the largest sections of the Christmas markets in Quebec City. Here, we found an amazing selection of artisan crafts and iconic holiday displays, and the cathedral backdrop made for a stunning scene.
Holiday music was pumped from speakers all around us; it was hard not to fall into the Christmas spirit. Combining stops at the chocolatiers and the Quebecois maple syrup vendors for classic maple taffy is a must while you’re here.
Jardins de l’Hôtel-de-Ville
Featuring some of the largest installations in the Quebec City Christmas markets, Jardins de l’Hotel-de-Ville was one of our favorite stops in the city. Jardins de l’Hotel-de-Ville features the Alpine Chalet, a restaurant that serves gourmet German food reinvented by local chefs.
This is also where the family favorite Kinderchalet Ravensburger and the Théatre de marionnettes are located. These fun, engaging attractions offer shows and experiences for families and children. I know that my kids would have loved this.
But I found the most fun in the Jardins de l’Hotel-de-Ville was our stop at the Winterbar, where we were treated to a “SkiShot.” This Quebec City holiday market tradition involves four shots of schnapps laid out on a wooden ski. Four people need teamwork and timing to down the drinks without spilling a drop.
Backed by art galleries and Cathédrale Holy Trinity, the shops that line Rue Sainte-Anne are a must-stop on a tour of the Christmas markets in Quebec City.
With a great range of boutique shops that reflect the eclectic art of the nearby shops, the Rue Sainte-Anne section of the holiday market makes for a wonderful stop along the walk to the beautiful Chateau Frontenac.
Château de Noël
Located just across from the market shops along Rue Sainte-Anne, Chateau de Noel offers the iconic backdrop of the world’s most photographed hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. For families, this is the spot to get your photo taken with Santa Claus in an absolutely unforgettable location.
This isn’t the only photo-op here, so bring your camera. You can snap photos in Santa’s sleigh or among an array of other backdrops sprinkled around the park.
More Great Places To Explore Around The Quebec City Christmas Markets
Quebec City is an incredible place to be during winter. The Quebec City Christmas market might only run until the 24th of December, but there is an amazing range of holiday-themed attractions nearby that can be experienced throughout the winter months.
1884 Toboggan Run
It’s mind-blowing to think that the Quebec City toboggan run has been an attraction in the city longer than the iconic Chateau Frontenac has been in existence.
Built in 1884, this is one of the best things to do during winter in Quebec City. You can borrow one of the run’s signature wooden toboggans and race down the exciting run at speeds of up to 70 km per hour!
After the adrenaline has worn off, step into the 1884 cafe overlooking the St. Lawrence River for one of the best hot chocolates in the city. You can pick up tickets for the toboggan run on their website.
Hotel de Glace
Without a doubt, one of the most famous attractions in Quebec City during the winter months is the city’s incredible ice hotel. Visitors from around the world have been making the journey to the city for over 20 years to see or even sleep at the Hotel de Glace.
This incredible structure is made entirely of ice and snow; each year, it features a new theme. The hotel includes a lobby, ice bar, chapel, and beautifully designed rooms.
Quebec City Winter Carnival
If the stars don’t align and your winter visit to Quebec City doesn’t happen in the month before Christmas, don’t fret! The Quebec City Winter Carnival runs for ten days from late January to early February.
Get your photo taken with the famous Bonhomme Carnival, watch the canoe races across the ice flows from Levis, or simply enjoy all of the music and festivities of Canada’s most amazing winter carnival.
Tucked within the borders of Quebec City is the only Indigenous community located within a major Canadian city. The town of Wendake is home to some of the Wendat First Nation, and the community here is a must-stop for those fascinated by Indigenous culture in Canada.
Among the suburb’s most impressive attractions are the Musee des Premiers Nations, a brilliant First Nations museum, and the Wendake Hotel Musee Premieres Nations, a luxury hotel owned and run by the Wendat community.
One of the newest things to do in Wendake is the brilliant Ohnwa Lumina, a First Nations-themed light show that transports visitors through an otherworldly landscape of stories, legends, and beauty. I experienced a similar attraction in the city of Sherbrooke, Quebec, just a few years ago.
Where To Stay In Quebec City
It’s not hard to find great hotels in Quebec City. This popular tourist destination has many incredibly popular places to stay in. Here are a few of our favorites.
There is no more iconic hotel in Quebec City than the Chateau Frontenac. Not only is Chateau Frontenac listed as a National Historic Site of Canada, but it is also the most photographed hotel in the world. The great location of Chateau Frontenac means that you have easy access to the best things to do in Quebec City. The luxury rooms combined with three hotels and friendly staff make this one of the best hotels in Quebec City. You can find the best prices and availability here.
Situated among the Old Port in Quebec City, Auberge Saint Antoine is a popular Quebec City hotel known for its incredible service. There is often live music in the lobby and a collection of artifacts from Quebec City’s history. You can check out the prices and availability here.
Hotel Du Vieux Quebec
The Hotel du Vieux Quebec is considered by many, including Trip Advisor, to be among the best hotels in Quebec City. They have their own rooftop beehives and feature farm-to-table organic cuisine at their in-house restaurant, Bistro Hortus.
Hotel du Vieux Quebec also offers free walking tours of Old Quebec during the summer months. You can check out the best prices and availability here.
During my last stay in Quebec City, I had the pleasure of staying at the centrally-located Hotel Atypiq. This hotel only has a single bed per room, so it may not be ideal for families. But if you’re visiting Quebec City on a couple’s escape or on your own, it’s fantastic.
The uniquely designed rooms make for great use of space. They include a double bed that rises up to the rafters, opening up the room for those needing to work or entertain guests. There’s also a rooftop terrace with a firepit (marshmallows are offered up by the hotel front desk).
Quebec City In Winter
If you’re enjoying the Quebec City Christmas Market, you’ll want to spend some time exploring the city itself. Check out our video, which is all about exploring Quebec City in the winter.
Enjoy Your Time At The Quebec City Christmas Markets
Have you ever visited the Christmas markets inQuebec City? Tell us about your experience in the comments below. Or, head over to our Facebook Page and share a photo of your travels. We would love to share in your journey.
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