With charming cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture around every corner, Québec City looks wonderful no matter the season.

However, the best time to visit will depend on the type of trip you want. Summer brings high temperatures and big crowds – it's a fun party but not ideal for those who'd like to avoid crowds and peak prices. And seeing the city become a winter wonderland is magical but those low temperatures will shock even the hardiest of travelers.

Here's everything you need to know about Québec City's seasons so you can choose the best time to visit for you.

June to August is the best time to party

Surviving the long, cold winter that's standard in Québec is reason to celebrate and the state capital absolutely explodes with elation during the summer months. The temperature averages in the mid-20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit) and the social calendar is packed. On any given day you’ll find buzzing festivals and people flooding restaurants and bar terrasses (patios) in the city.

June has comfortable temperatures and the festival season kicks off – Kwe! celebrates the culture of Indigenous Peoples with music and culture, and the whole state gets involved with Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, the national day of Québec.

Summer is also a perfect time to enjoy the raw nature in and outside of Québec by cycling, swimming at the beach on the Baie de Beauport, canoeing or cruising on the St Lawrence River. The 12-day Festival D’Été also happens in July and hosts some of the world’s biggest acts for an affordable price. August is also time for Pride in Québec City and a series of free fireworks shows, Les Grand Feux Loto-Québec.

Unfortunately, the downside of the high season in Québec is that it will be busy. Accommodation prices are at their annual peak and Vieux Québec gets jam-packed with visitors snapping photos of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

A family with two kids smiling in the snow in Québec City
Québec City is the ultimate winter wonderland © lisegagne / Getty Images

December to March is a winter wonderland

Yes, Québec City gets cold, but winter is a majestic time to visit if you can brave it. The streets are blanketed with fluffy snow, providing a gorgeous visual and auditory experience — quiet walks after dark when snow is on the ground are special. And the city knows how to embrace sub-zero temperatures by staying active – try a toboggan slide that's been going since 1884 at Les Glissades de la Terrasse, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. 

If you find it difficult to brave subzero temperatures, don't worry. Denmark might have invented the idea of hygge, but Quebeckers certainly know how to get cozy. Warm up in a chalet with a Caribou, a drink with red wine, maple syrup and usually whisky, or have a toasty bowl of poutine, cheese curds and gravy over fries.

Québec City celebrates rather than hides from winter by hosting Carnaval de Québec, which has plenty of fun – usually free – activities for all ages. For the bravest among us, February is also time for Canada’s largest outdoor winter event: Pentathlon des Neiges. Take to the streets during the St Patrick's Day Parade in March and celebrate the advent of spring with a deliciously chilly break in Hôtel de la Glace before it wraps up for the season.

March and April are all about the sugar shacks

While spring has arrived in the states, winter continues its last gasps in Québec City through March and April, with occasional snow storms and frost. This can make the roads treacherous and the brown snow on the side of the road less than charming. So depart the city and flock to a cabane à sucre, or sugar shack, to eat, drink and be merry. Traditional dishes include oreilles de crisse (literally Christ’s ears, but it’s deep-fried pork jowls), cretons (a spread made with pork and spices) and tarte au sirop d’érable (maple sugar pie). 

Woman walking in autumn foliage in Québec, Canada
Take a hike through a park to appreciate the fall colors in Québec © Maridav / Shutterstock

September and October are the best times for fall colors

In the fall, Québec City gets enveloped in gorgeous multi-colored leaves. You’ll see rusty oranges, neon yellows, and the deepest reds as you wander the city parks – an added bonus is the relatively mild weather. As the crowds dissipate after Labour Day and the leaves start to change, check out the city’s farmer’s markets and reap the rewards of the fall harvest. You can also cheer on the cyclists at the Grand Prix Cycliste and go leaf-peeping, of course.

But don't limit yourself to the streets and parks of Québec City – take a day trip to Parc National de la Jacques Cartier or L’Île-d’Orléans where the fall colors are on full display.

This article was first published Jul 1, 2022 and updated Feb 20, 2024.

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cThe crowd watches as people perform during "The Minutes" at the Montreal Cirque Festival on July 14, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, where  thirty-two acrobats took over the street for a travelling performance. (Photo by Sebastien St-Jean / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN ST-JEAN/AFP via Getty Images)


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