Québec City is easy to fall in love with throughout the year, but it is extra special during the Holiday season, and in the company of great friends. This year my friends wanted to go to Europe for a quick getaway but because of the late planning (not me), the flight prices were ridiculous. What was the next best option? Quebec City! And so, we began our friendsgiving journey to Quebec City!
Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America and is the only fortified city north of Mexico. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Québec City is super charming with it’s cute architecture, adorable café and restaurants, and its overall European feel – perfect for my friends who didn’t get to go on their European getaway!
Quebec City is only a 95-minute flight from New York City but we decided to drive and start our adventure off with a 9-hour road trip. I am not going to lie – it was super tiring being on the road and in the back seat for so long, especially after a day of work – Well, not a full day, but still… We had 4 bathroom stops in the first 3 hours (I know… impressive considering there were no kids in the car) and by hour 6 I was secretly looking up flights for the return trip back. =)
With that, here is the guide for a successful friendsgiving getaway in Quebec City:
1. Have friends! …. who want to and can travel =)
2. Find a way to get to Quebec City (preferably by plane)
3. If you absolutely have to drive, make sure there is a limited amount of drinking before and during the trip, to minimize the frequent stops! =)
4. Find accommodations with lots of shared space so you can chat and do things together. We chose a cute Airbnb with a cute kitchen and living room, just outside the old city. We spent countless hours chatting and playing board games.
5. Thanksgiving dinner
Instead of cooking, we decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner at the famous Le Chateau Frontenac, which looks like a castle straight out of a fairy tale. The breathtaking hotel went through a restoration project that blended its enchanting past with modern innovations, making your stay memorable and inspiring!
Walking through the lobby, it felt like we were transported back in time and were invited to a grand dinner in the castle ballroom. We made our way to the back of the hotel to Le Sam Bistro Evolution – where they have creative dishes and innovative drink cocktails! We started our dining adventure with the mixologist who asked us a few questions to get to know our taste and then she crafted custom cocktails for each of us.
Who needs a Thanksgiving turkey when you can start your meal with an amazing lobster salad and oyster Rockefeller? If that’s not enough, we also had a rack of lamb with foie gras, red snapper, the butcher’s cut – which was a suckling pig and a steak with, of course, more foie gras! We ended the feast with the best crème brulee and other amazing sweets.
I think this can easily be our new Thanksgiving tradition!
6. Things to see and do
Aside from eating and playing board games, believe it or not, we did end up leaving the apartment to enjoy the city. Besides the Le Chateau Frontenac, which is a destination in itself where you can enjoy a meal (like we did) or go for a cocktail at 1608 – Wine and Cheese Bar, these are a few of the sites we enjoyed in Quebec City:
Petit Champlain – Just steps from the Chateau, is the lower town with cute cobble stone lined streets with lots of restaurants and shops. It is the oldest commercial district in North America and is definitely worth a visit. Instead of walking down the steps to the lower town, you can also take the funicular for a few dollars.
Place de l’Assemblee Nationale (National Assembly of Quebec) – is Quebec’s legislature building and you can go in for a free-guided tour of the building.
Musee National Des Beaux Arts Du Quebec (National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec) – is a great way to spend an afternoon. The museum consists of 3 pavilions, each in a separate building: historic, modern, and contemporary art. Each is unique and interesting, but the modern section is in a converted old prison, which was super neat! The museum is also in the Art District so you can stroll down Avenue Cartier for some shopping and great restaurants.
Rue Saint-Jean – Rue Saint-Jean is known as the area that brings culture, heritage, and festivities together. It runs outside and inside the old city walls, and on both sides you will see lots of cute shops, artisanal boutiques, and endless assortment of restaurants and cafes. It’s the perfect place to enjoy yourself while you hunt for unique finds!
Skating Rinks – In the winter months the city comes to life with a wide array of skating rinks. One of the cutest is the Place D’Youville skating rink amid the ambiance of the old city wall, just across from Porte Saint-Jean and Capitole de Québec.
Le Drague Cabaret Club – One of the only gay dance clubs in Quebec City offering drinks, music and entertaining drag performances. It is walking distance from the old city and is well worth the visit for a fun evening out.
Tip! If you have time, consider visiting:
- Parc de la Chute-Montmorency – only a few minutes outside of Quebec City and is one of Quebec’s most spectacular waterfalls. It is 83 meters high, which is taller than Niagara Falls. There is also a cable car that you can take across the falls for a better view.
- Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) – about 45 mins outside of Quebec City is the famous ice hotel. The whole complex is made out of ice and you can even stay in one of its 45 guest rooms with beds made of ice. If that’s too intense you can also opt for a day trip to discover the fascinating architecture of the ice hotel.
One of the most important steps in having a successful friendsgiving trip is to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. We did that and more – we survived a very long drive, multiple rounds of competitive board games, and freezing in the cold together. This was our Thanksgiving and I wouldn’t trade it for anything less than a do-over with a plane ride instead of a road trip. =)