There's no denying it: Winters in Québec City are cold. Average high temperatures in December and January struggle to breach 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and snowfall is common. However, don't let the cold weather get you down; the Québecois sure don't! Residents deck the halls for the holidays and then spend their January and February weekends enjoying Carnaval celebrations.
Spring weather is mild and wet. Temperatures have just started to climb come March and April. Average highs rest anywhere from the low 30s to the mid-40s. So why deal with the chilly, damp climate? Two words: maple syrup. During maple harvesting season, many cabanes à sucre (maple sugar shacks) near Québec City invite visitors to watch as they boil the sap into syrup and other tasty treats. Come May, temperatures settle in the low 60s, so you'll find both pleasant weather and great deals.
The summer months usher in pleasant weather and heavy crowds. Average highs hover in the 70s from June through August and dip down into the 60s come September. But the warm weather isn't the only thing drawing tourists (although it makes al fresco dining and sidewalk cafés much more enticing): Many come to participate in the city's numerous festivals. Because summer is such a busy season, plan on making hotel reservations at least three weeks in advance to ensure availability.
As the temperatures drop and the crowds thin, Québec City transforms into an extremely budget-friendly destination. Hotels slash prices during this shoulder season, and you won't have to plan more than three weeks in advance to snag great savings. Temperatures range from the high 30s to the low 50s, making for mild sightseeing conditions. Just make sure you have your camera ready: The maple trees don their bright fall foliage, adding a colorful spruce to the city's landscape.
Québec Intercultural Storytelling Festival (October; Biannual)