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We might have crashed the country’s immigration website on Election Day, but Canada offers much more than a respite from politics. One visit to Québec City this time of year and you’ll understand why CNN ranked it among the world’s top 10 destinations to celebrate the holidays. From twinkling, tree-lined streets and ski slopes to European-inspired Christmas markets, there’s enough winter magic here to transport you to another time and place.
A Christmas lover’s dream
Leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, Québec City is transformed. The city’s most iconic neighborhoods and landmarks are lit up by Christmas lights, offering visitors an enchanting walk through Old Québec’s decorated streets. Peek into the historical Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church in Place Royale and take in stunning architecture as you explore your way to the end of Rue du Petit-Champlain, where you’ll find the kind of winter wonderland you’ve only ever seen pictures of.
Strolling down Petit-Champlain’s cobblestone streets during the holidays is like traveling back 400 years to Québec City’s founding. With every shop and restaurant window decorated for the holidays, a stroll through Old Québec brings up the sights and sounds of a Dickensian Christmas village straight from the pages of A Christmas Carol.
A culture buff’s European Christmas market
The city’s German Christmas Market in the heart of Old Québec will immerse you in the old-world charm that only European Christmas markets can offer. At first sight, you’ll take in dozens of glowing wooden kiosks lined up under strings of holiday lights. Step further into the market and scents of gingerbread, mulled wine, pastries, and other German-inspired succulents will soon turn into cravings.
Here you can shop for one-of-a-kind wares handcrafted by local artisans to the tune of live choral singers. Along with more vendors, a towering wooden filigree tree and stargazing path promise to make 2016’s market even more unique than the last.
A skier and snowshoer’s delight
Less than 20 minutes from city center are breathtaking natural sites for sightseers and winter sports enthusiasts alike. Take in Québec’s glacier valleys, falls, and canyons. These natural beauties offer the perfect adventure for skiers, snowboarders, and those looking to snowshoe.
If you’re really looking to pick up speed, try a traditional toboggan run, one of the oldest attractions in Québec City. Sliding down at speeds up to 45 mph, you can take in stunning winter views of Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world, on the Dufferin Terrace.
But that’s not all. Find out what other winter activities and holiday sights are waiting in Québec City.