6 night trip to Montreal/Quebec City in late December?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Nov 14, 2012 12:41 PM Last Post By: heffersnork
Oct 25, 2012 9:49 AM
I was thinking we could fly to Montreal, spend 2 nights, train to Quebec City, spend 4 nights, fly back to Chicago. In late December is there enough for us to see/do to keep us occupied that long? We're in our mid twenties and enjoy sightseeing, eating/drinking, and I'd like to try some winter activities. I routinely play ice hockey so I'd enjoy checking out some of the picturesque ice rinks/paths available for public skating near Christmas. Dogsledding sounds like an awesome excursion to try as well.
Does this seem like a good trip idea/plan? What types of things could we see/do during that time of year? (Most of the other posts/guides I've found list things to do during the summer - I'm curious how we'd spend our time in the winter)
Oct 25, 2012 2:11 PM
1December weather in Chicago and Montreal will be similar; random googling says that the average high in Chicago is 35F/2C while in Montreal it is 28F/-2.3C. Quebec City is chillier at 23F/-5C. If you can keep yourself busy in Chicago in December, you should be fine in Montreal. On the other hand, would you recommend visitors to come to Chicago in December? The main problem are the early nights. It'll get dark around 430 but perhaps that's not too much earlier than in Chicago?
Given how warm it has been this year, I wouldn't expect much snow or ice, at least in Montreal. I wouldn't count on the rinks being open until after Christmas...but these things are always so unpredictable.
If you are able to focus your trip on cafés, bars, and restaurants, you should be okay. (Visit Chowhound as a way of getting acquainted with Montreal's food scene). Montreal's museums are understated but they could occupy some hours (Fine Arts Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, Pointe-à-Caillèire Archaeology museum, the Biodome, and my personal favourite, the Canadian Centre for Architecture).
If it were me, I'd reverse the time spent in Québec and Montréal. There are a greater array of activities, more diverse neighbourhoods, and better restaurants and night life in Montreal. However, it is easy to get lost in the charm of Vieux Québec and enjoy a nice, slow-paced vacation.
Oct 25, 2012 2:28 PM
2Sounds like you have a good base plan. I second what ref_traveller said on the time spent in both cities (or I would do 3/3), but it all depends on what activities you'd like to do more.
As ref_traveller said, you have to keep in mind that, some unlucky years, there is no white Christmas in the province, and so it would be wise to have a plan B (in the form of more urban activities) just in case. However, Quebec city gets more snow and is generally colder than Montreal, so you should plan most of your outdoor activities in Quebec city.
The most difficult part will be getting to those winter activities (if they are not in the city), for public transportation is not always ideal. Maybe you could rent a car for a day once you have planned your activities? You'll definitely be able to see some ice rinks in both cities, if weather permits (here's an article about Montreal's: http://montreal.about.com/od/seasonalattractions/tp/montreal_skating_rinks_patins.htm , it's a bit old, but still accurate, I believe). If the NHL finally starts the season, you could also try to catch a match of the famous Canadiens de Montréal (but tickets won't be cheap and should be bought in advance). If not, maybe the Junior Hockey League team in Quebec city (Ramparts) will host a match. The bar and restaurant scene is more developed in Montreal than in Québec city, but you'll certainly find both interesting. The same goes for concerts, theatre and other cultural events. If you are into music, the bands that play traditional music are the most active in December, you should be able to find a concert in both cities.
Edited by: Comdyn
Oct 26, 2012 7:03 AM
3You better stay for only 2 night in Montréal because there's not a lot of winter activity there. If you like icehockey maybe going to a game of the Canadien the Montréal could be interressing for you, if your girlfriend agree with this idea. The Musée des beaux arts of Montréal is an amazing place to see too with their exhibitions about old centuries. Warm clothes is a good idea but it will be more usefull in Quebec city because it's colder than in Montreal. In Quebec city you must see the old quebec with the Chateau Frontenac and Place Duferin. For dogsledding you must go further then Quebec city, just ask when you get in Quebec city but for a day trip it's not that expensive and really enjoyable. Hope you'll have a great trip.
Oct 26, 2012 7:12 AM
Visiting Québec and Montréal city in December, around Christmas, is a great idea. There are a lot of things to do and to see in the Vieux Québec (popular quarter in Québec city), there is also a great ice rink . If you wish, you can visit the Hôtel de glace, which is a hostel completly made of ice, this is beautiful. There are some ski resorts and great places to enjoy nice food (like poutine!) with a drink.
Oct 26, 2012 7:14 AM
I see that you really like hockey and you want to do winter activities ! At Carré D'Youvile in Quebec City there is an outdoor ice rink. If you like to eat/drink you must go to Quebec's well known street, Grande-Allée. There are a bunch of bars and restaurants on it. You could also go check on http://www.evenko.ca/ to see if there is any interesting shows during your stay in Montreal or Quebec City.
have a nice trip !!
Oct 26, 2012 7:19 AM
6If you wish to go ice skating, there is a nice outside rink in Québec city, at place d'Youville. Also, you can walk beside the St. Lawrence shore. There, you will find lovely cafes and restaurents, such as the Cafe du Monde. Finally, for the outside activity, you would have to go a little further, such as Stoneham Mountain Resort. Oh, and if you have a little money to invest, you can always take a tour of Quebec city in carriage!
Oct 26, 2012 7:33 AM
To give you another little advice for your trip, you should consider going to the outdoor ice rink at Place d'Youville in Vieux-Quebec during your trip. With the cold temperatures we have these days, it would not be surprising to have snow by the beginning of November. But, like others have said, we cannot predict exactly those things. Spending half of your nights in Montreal and half of them in Quebec City is a great idea. First, because the possibilities in each city are different and that, even if Montreal might offer you more possibilities in terms of activities and nightclubing, you really have to see what Quebec looks like during Christmas times. I hope you will enjoy your trip in our province.
Oct 26, 2012 9:17 AM
8You guys are awesome, what a great plethora of advice. I'll be spending time this weekend going through all of it in more detail... I booked our flights yesterday and do need to start looking at lodging too. I'm pretty good at researching hotels but would you have any preferences on which area of the cities to stay in during the winter? Latin quarter vs. Old town, etc? I'd look to at least narrow down which area of Quebec City and Montreal I look at for hotel options.
Oct 26, 2012 10:43 AM
9My standard advice is that the best neighbourhood for Montréal - where you will find the best range of restaurants, cafés, and bars - is the Plateau. Unfortunately, there are not too many places to stay there, aside from a couple of b'n'bs. You might not want to stay in Old Montréal because you will get plenty of that vibe when in Québec City. That leaves downtown and Latin Quarter...both are good options. Try to get something near a metro station so you can easily travel up to the Plateau and Little Italy/Jean-Talon Market.
Oct 28, 2012 6:25 AM
10Quebec City is worth as much time as you can spend there. One of the world's most beautiful cities with a dramatic location, and that does not diminish in the winter. Twice I have spent a week there. You will feel transported to another time.
If you go, visit Chez Temporel for croissants. They are always hot out of the oven and fantastic.
Oct 31, 2012 8:56 PM
take the ferry to Lévis and back for killer views of Château Frontenac and Cap Diamant. Preferably early AM while the sun reflects over the city . Although at dusk the city skyline is not bad from the ferry either. Go through the Petit-Champlain (small) neighbourhood, self-proclaimed the oldest street in North America, nothing less :) It will be all lit up, with small Christmas trees on both sides of Petit-Champlain pedestrian street, and usually there are Christmas carols singers going from store to store. See some pics here . If you arrive before Christmas: do not miss the Christmas market at Marché du Vieux Port (farmer market) - lots of goodies to sample, and many fine local berry liquors as well. For free :) DO NOT MISS the little maple sugar cones while you are at the market - you might see some for sale in the tourist shops/traps for a high price, but it's THE place to buy them; there are 3 kinds: 100% maple butter, 50% maple toffee/50% maple butter, or 100% maple taffee. If you happen to enjoy live trad music, there are free sessions every Tuesday evenings at Nelligan's, the only real Irish pub in the city (there are the usual fake ones too) on Ste-Genevièeve St, corner of St-Jean, outside the walls. In Québec City, you have 95% of chances to see a white Christmas, according to Environment Canada's statistics.
if you arrive before Dec 22, I strongly suggest that you pay a visit to the very popular yearly Salon des métiers d'art http://www.metiers-d-art.qc.ca/smaq/index.php?lang=en craft fair. For souvenirs made in Québec, very high craftmanship quality and free sampling of goodies as well. Free entrance daily from 11AM. It is HUGE. At Place Bonaventure, metro station of the same name, across the street from the train station.
Kudos to shelemm for finding my favorite café ;)
Nov 14, 2012 12:41 PM
12If you like skating, Lac Beauport, when frozen, is a huge plowed rink, There is also a place near the st. Charles river. great bar hopping\eats along saint Joseph and Grand allé. I wouldn't eat right in the old city-overpriced tourist food. ask where the locals go, Cartier street will get you away from the tourists and in with the locals.
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