If you’ve never experienced Québec Carnival, this is the year to go. Since first taking place in 1955, the fête has evolved to become one of the greatest winter celebrations in the world.
Here are the 10 best things to do during Québec Carnival 2015 from January 30 to February 15.
Watch extreme canoeing
Thrill seekers gather to watch courageous athletes take on the St. Lawrence River’s icy waters in their canoes on Sunday, February 8th.
Wear a bathing suit
Are you crazy enough to wear a bathing suit in the middle of winter? Accompany Bonhomme Carnaval and other brave participants with only your bathing suit on Saturday, February 14th. A volleyball court will be set up on the snow on the Plains of Abraham to show everyone that Carnival attendees are up for anything.
Get a drink
A Carnival first, Bulles, Whisky et Cie will showcase more than 100 products and cocktails in a festive atmosphere with industry experts and scotch and whiskey enthusiasts at the Le Concorde Hotel ballroom. Access to this event, held on February 3rd and 4th, costs $15 and includes a tasting glass.
Have fun with the kids
Bonhomme’s winterland is a dreamy escape for the whole family to enjoy. The Plains of Abraham become a true thematic winter park with artistic storyboarding and the original Carnival activities specially created for the event. Join the party from January 30th to February 15th, and discover the dazzling universe of the winter King, Bonhomme Carnaval!
One thing is certain, it will be cold in Québec City during the winter Carnival. From January 7th to February 15th, the best place to get warm is in the Parks Canada space. Located in the Artillery Park in the heart of the old city, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cozy fire, a marshmallow bar and some northern brews.
Take a selfie
The best selfies are taken in front of the renowned Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world.
Enjoy a romantic dinner with a view
Ciel! Bistro-Bar is the only rotating restaurant in the city and offers a breathtaking 360° view of Québec City.
Experience a world class race
As part of the 2015 Québec World Winter Masters Games, the participants will get to compete on a 2.5-km snowshoe loop trail on the Québec Winter Carnival site and in the streets of Old Québec. The world’s top athletes will offer spectators a high-level race. The World Winter Master Games 2015 start on January 31 and run until February 8 in Québec City.
La Relâche will be held on Friday, February 6th, from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. During this event, the Carnival and many employers invite workers to come celebrate at the Centre des congrès de Québec. With a renewed concept, La Relâche will be divided into three components: the festive crescendo of La Relâche will start with lounge music, followed by an array of bands that will sweep participants into a musical whirlwind from the 80s to today. Finally, night owls will take over the Centre des Congrès as it turns into a giant nightclub with a series of local and international DJs.
Attend a concert
Relax in the SAQ Bistro, and enjoy daily shows from Quebec’s best folk singers. From 1pm to 3pm, this is the best place to hear live music and unwind with friends.
For more event information and things to do around town, visit carnaval.qc.ca. For accommodations, a number of hotels throughout Quebec City are offering special effigy packages from $159 during Carnival.
How to get there: Take Amtrak to Montreal, then transfer to VIA Rail Canada trains for Québec City. It takes approximately 14 hours, but the scenery is an arctic dream. Those seeking a more express route can fly. Continental flies non-stop from Newark in an hour and twenty minutes, or various airlines fly from LaGuardia and JFK (always with a stopover in Montreal or Toronto). From Jean-Lesage International Airport, a taxi is your best bet into downtown and should cost around $35. You can make your way around town riding the Ecolobus, which loops the city and runs on electricity. The funicular will give you an aerial view as you travel between the Upper and Lower towns.