The Best Times to Visit Quebec City, According to Locals

When to visit the Canadian destination for good weather, fall foliage, and more.

Nestled in the heart of French Canada, Quebec City is renowned for its historic architecture, lively festivals, and vibrant cultural scene. The historic district of Old Quebec looks like it is straight out of a fairytale, especially under a blanket of snow. And with a full calendar of events — including one of the world’s largest and oldest winter carnivals — the destination attracts travelers year-round. That said, certain months offer better weather and more activities than others.

“July and August are the two busiest months in Quebec City, and the weather is usually the best, with sunshine and warm temperatures,” says Christian Gingras, a local guide with Tours Voir Québec.

<p>Bao Le/Getty Images</p>

Bao Le/Getty Images

Culture seekers should visit at the beginning of July during the city’s massive music festival, Festival d'été de Québec, says Simon Bovoli, director of concierge service and luxury experiences at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. For skiers and snowboarders, January and February are beautiful, he adds. These are Quebec City’s three travel seasons:

  • High Seasons: June to September and January and February

  • Shoulder Seasons: October, March, and May

  • Low Seasons: April and November

Below are more details on to the best times to visit Quebec City, depending on your interests.

Related: This Iconic Quebec City Hotel Has Hosted the Likes of Charles Lindburg, Grace Kelly, and Winston Churchill

Best Times to Visit Quebec City for Smaller Crowds

Quebec City is most crowded between Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24) and Labor Day, and then tourism spikes again during the holiday season and the Quebec Winter Carnival, which typically runs for 10 days at the beginning of February. 

Those looking to avoid the tourist droves should aim to visit in mid-September, November, April, or May. “I really like the weeks following Labor Day, because the larger crowds have left, the weather is still very nice (even though the nights are cooler) and all sites and activities are still going,” says Gingras.

The beginning of October is the best time to see fall foliage in Quebec City, though cruise ship traffic tends to spike during this time, he adds. But with plenty of parks near the city, it’s easy to escape the crowds.

Best Times to Visit Quebec City for Good Weather

<p>Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure</p>

Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure

Quebec City has four distinct seasons, and each offers its own draws, so defining "good weather" is tricky. Summers are warmer, with highs around 77 degrees Fahrenheit and lows around 57 degrees Fahrenheit (but the humidity can make it feel hotter). Temperatures remain balmy in the evening, creating a pleasant atmosphere for outdoor dining and festivals.

In the fall, temperatures range from 36 degrees Fahrenheit to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal season for hiking and leaf-peeping. “Fall in Quebec City also means harvest season, and this leads to incredible meals featuring local produce in most of our restaurants,” says Mathieu Savard, general manager of Hotel 71. “It is also the perfect time to discover the beauty that Quebec’s nature has to offer while going on a hike or sailing across the St. Lawrence River.”

Winter in Quebec City is freezing, with some January days dipping below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the snowy conditions create a magical setting for skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, visiting Nordic baths, and even spending a night at the famous Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel).

While spring can be rainy and slushy as the snow begins to melt, milder temperatures arrive in May and the beginning of June, with highs of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and longer days ideal for exploring before the summer rush begins.

Best Times to Visit Quebec City for Lower Prices

<p>Vladone/Getty Images</p>

Vladone/Getty Images

The least expensive time to visit Quebec City is during the off-season months of November and April. While the weather can be unpredictable during these months, hotel room rates are often at their lowest, and the city is not as crowded.

It’s not uncommon for the first snowfall to occur in November, so it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit (you may even spot some of the season’s first decorations in Old Quebec). You can also head to the Quebec City German Christmas Market or be one of the first to skate on the ice rink at Place D'Youville.

April has its charms as well, with the month marking the peak of the sugaring season (or maple syrup season), which typically runs from the end of February to early May. It’s a great time to sample fresh maple taffy hardened on ice and other sweet confections at sugar shacks around the province.

Best Times to Visit Quebec City for Fall Colors

<p>LSOphoto/Getty Images</p>

LSOphoto/Getty Images

Quebec City is famous for its spectacular fall foliage, with the colors typically reaching their peak between the end of September and the beginning of October.

“In the fall, I love driving around the island of Orléans, just a 15-minute drive from the city,” says Bovoli. “You can go apple picking at one of the island's many orchards and enjoy the views of the surrounding trees and mountains, which showcase vibrant fall colors.”

Other fall hot spots include the Plains of Abraham (Quebec City’s “Central Park”) and Jacques-Cartier National Park, a glacial valley about 45 minutes from downtown by car.

September and October also mark the busiest times of year for fall foliage cruises. Book a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River to see the autumn hues from a different perspective.

Worst Times to Visit Quebec City

While there isn’t a bad time of year to visit Quebec City, there are less favorable times to visit depending on your interests. The snow typically melts in April, creating slushy conditions on sidewalks and in parks, which can be disappointing for those looking to do outdoor activities. Hikers planning to visit Quebec’s parks may also want to avoid June, as the black flies can be particularly bothersome at the beginning of the summer.

While many consider July and August to be the best months to visit weather-wise, others might find the crowds and humidity overwhelming. Opposite to that is the winter, which can be unbearable if you’re not dressed appropriately. As the locals say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Plan (and pack) accordingly, and you’ll be fine.

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