Wanting to know the details on festivals in Quebec City? You’re in the right place.
Quebec City has festivals and events happening almost every month. From festivals dedicated to beer, music, magic, fireworks, seasonal and several special events and celebrations, there’s always something extra and unique to do aside from the regular attractions.
These festivals and events add a vibrancy of culture and festivity to Canada’s oldest city. The chances are, there is probably something special going on regardless of when you head to Quebec City.
With its 400 year old Old Town which is a picturesque World Heritage Sight, Quebec City provides a gorgeous setting for all these festivals.
As a francophile and someone who travels often to Quebec, I’ve been lucky to experience several (but not nearly enough) of Quebec City’s amazing festivals.
Whether you’re trying to get an understanding of Quebec and its culture, or want to plan your trip around when there will be something fun going on – I’m going to fill you in on what you need to know about festivals in Quebec City.
So, let’s dive in – festivals in Quebec City!
Summer Festivals in Quebec City
If you want to experience the most festivals in Quebec City, come in the summertime! Summer is the most important time for festivals in Quebec.
As you will see, once summer starts in Quebec, there is almost one celebration after another. Here are the festivals and celebrations in order during summer in Quebec City.
1. John the Baptist Day
Jour de Saint-Jean Baptiste
Celebrated on June 24th each year, John the Baptist Day (Jour de Saint Jean Baptist) has been celebrated for 100 years in both Quebec and in other French-speaking areas around Canada. It is arguably the most important celebration in Quebec City.
Jour de Saint Jean Baptiste is based on St. John the Baptist from the Bible, and although the roots of the celebration are Catholic, it is not usually celebrated in a religious way today.
People in Quebec City celebrate by get together with family and friends, and there are many parties on the street, with lots of music. They celebrate by saying “Bonne Saint-Jean-Baptiste!” and sometimes “Vive le Québec” or “Bonne Fête Nationale.”
You see, Saint-Jean Baptiste Day is a celebration of Quebec’s contributions to Canada Its an even bigger deal in Quebec than Canada Day, which is celebrated a week later.
While many Quebeckers consider themselves proud to be Canadian, they are also very proud of their French culture; St. Jean Baptiste Day was celebrated in the 1600s when Quebec was being founded. It was put an end to, and then eventually revived about a century ago.
Good to Know: What does St. Jean Baptiste Day mean for you as a visitor? Many stores and businesses will be closed on June 24th, so prepare for restaurants and grocery stores to not be open – do any shopping/food gathering you need the day before!
2. Festival International de Jazz
Many cities around the world have a jazz festival, and Quebec City is no exception. The largest jazz festival in Canada is actually celebrated in Montreal, but Quebec City has a decent festival as well.
In fact, 2024 will be the 6th annual jazz festival in Quebec City. There will be concerts and performances held in different locations downtown.
Quebec City’s Jazz Festival has their own website where you can get up-to date information and buy tickets.
2024 Jazz Festival Dates: June 30th, 2024
3. Canada Day
Canada Day is celebrated throughout Canada, and while its not quite as big of a celebration in Quebec as St. Jean Baptiste Day, its still important in the city.
A special ceremony takes on the Dufferin Terrace by the river, right outside the famous hotel, Chateau Frontenac. The Canadian flag is raised, and free cake is provided by the Château Frontenac.
In the afternoon, there are a bunch of family-friendly activities on the Plains of Abraham. At night there is live entertainment at the Edwin-Bélanger Bandstand.
Good to Know: Like Saint Jean Baptiste Day, many businesses are closed on July 1st in Quebec City, so be sure to plan around that.
4. Quebec City Day
Fête de Québec
Quebec City Day (Fête de Québec) is on July 3rd every year, two days after Canada Day. It celebrates the founding of Quebec City. This is a unique holiday celebrated only in Quebec City.
Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City on July 3rd, 1608 – so Quebec City will be celebrating its 416th anniversary as a city in 2024.
Quebec City Day is a family-friendly affair. There are performances, ceremonies and live music, and activities for all ages.
5. Summer Festival of Quebec
Festival d’été de Quebec (FEQ)
The summer festival in Quebec (abbreviated as FEQ in Quebec) is one of the biggest music festivals in Canada. It mainly consists of large concerts held outdoors in the summer evenings.
Some pretty big names performed at FEQ in 2023 (Green Day, Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters, Weezer, and several Quebec-based bands.)
Tickets to any of the FEQ performances have to be bought in advance. You can only watch the performances with pre-purchased tickets, which can be bought on the Summer Festival website here.
I visited Quebec City in July and did not attend the festival, as I hadn’t purchased advanced tickets. The coolest thing about being in Quebec City during the summer festival is that the Grande Allée is completely closed to traffic and becomes pedestrian-only street on weekends. The Grande Allée is lined with restaurants, nightclubs and bars, and its a nice place for a stroll in the summer.
Good to Know: If your visit to Quebec City falls during the Summer Festival, it should not affect your plans too much, but enhance the atmosphere of some areas in the city
2024 Summer Festival Dates: July 4th – 14th, 2024
6. Opera Festival of Quebec
Festival d’Opera de Quebec
Quebec City’s Opera Festival is the only French-speaking opera festival in North America. Its the only opera festival where you can watch the performances in French.
The Opera Festival is a smaller scale event with a few shows and concerts taking place in different locations around the city – some indoor (paid) shows, and some outdoor opera music shows that are free to all.
So even if you don’t buy tickets to watch an indoor show, you might be able to catch some of the outdoor performances while you’re in Quebec City.
Quebec City’s opera festival usually goes on for 1 week, at the end of July to beginning of August.
The program, and ticket purchases can be found on the official website for Quebec City’s Opera Festival here.
2024 Opera Festival Dates: TBA
7. Beer Festival of Quebec
Festibière de Quebec
If you like beer, you will enjoy Quebec City’s Beer Festival (Festibière.) It takes place under two huge tents near the waterfront, and there are hundreds of beer samples from dozens of small breweries around the city and surrounding areas.
In addition to the beer samples, there is usually also some live music playing nearby. Its the perfect summer activity in Quebec City.
Festibière usually runs for 4 days in mid-August! Dates for 2024 are still to be announced.
Most Festibière activities are free, but up to date information can be found on the official Festibière website.
2024 Beer Festival Dates: TBA
8. Grand Feu Loto Quebec Fireworks
Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec
Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec is a summer-long firework festival that takes place in Quebec City and Levis, across the river.
The fireworks usually happen once a week for the duration of the summer season (from late June to mid-August.) Fireworks begin at 9:20pm on the days they happen.
You can buy a seat only for the any of the fireworks shows, or an inclusive package which includes seating, parking, foods and the fireworks show.
2024 will be the 28th annual Grand-Feux in Quebec. Packages and seats for the 2024 season need to be booked in advance on their website.
2024 Fireworks Dates: TBA
9. New France Festival
Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle–France
The New France Festival (Les Fetes de la Nouvelle France) is small festival, but worth attending while you’re in Quebec City. People of all ages can learn about and experience the way of life of the settlers from France who dominated the area in the 1600s.
There will be people dressed in traditional attire, and lots of food, music and games, presentations of different craftsmanship such as medicinal herbs, renaissance games, etc.)
Adults will enjoy the ambiance and the step back into time, and there is stuff to entertain children as well. There is a large sketch where kids are welcome to collectively colour, as well as a children’s play area.
Once available, tickets for the 2024 New France Festival can be bought on the Fêtes de La Nouvelle France website.
New France Festival Dates: August 1st-4th, 2024
10. Quebec City Pride
Fête Arc-en-ciel (FAEC)
Quebec City Pride (called Fête Arc-en-ciel – “rainbow festival” in French) is the festival for celebrating freedom of choice, and diversity in Quebec City especially as it relates to 2SLGBTQ+ rights.
The pride festival in Quebec City draws 60,000 people each year of all ages, and there are numerous events taking place over the course of a weekend.
Free entertainment takes place during the day at Place d’Youville and on Saint-Jean street; in addition, there are conferences, support meetings for families, and even some adult-only parties held in the evening.
Pride Quebec City is held over the Labour Day weekend (first weekend of September) every year. The 2024 event schedule, when available will be posted on Quebec City pride website.
2024 Quebec City Pride Dates: August 30th – September 2nd, 2024
Spring Festivals in Quebec City
Heading to Quebec City during low season? There will still be lots of exciting things going on between the months of March and May
1. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Défilé de la Saint–Patrick à Québec
Despite St. Patrick’s Day being more of an Anglo-Saxon holiday, it is still celebrated enthusiastically in Quebec City!
In the 1800s, there were many Irish that settled in Quebec City after fleeing the famine in Ireland, and Quebec City takes pride in honouring its Irish roots, and taking advantage of the day to celebrate, wear green and party with friends and family.
There are a handful of Irish pubs in Quebec City where there will be special parties for St. Patrick’s Day – Pub Saint-Patrick, Pub Galway, Irish Pub Claddagh and Le Trefle, to name a few.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is sometimes held on a different day than the actual St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th.) In 2023, the parade took place on March 25th.
The Quebec City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade Facebook page will post the information about 2024’s parade information.
2. ImagiNation Writer’s Festival
The ImagiNation Writer’s Festival in QuebecCity is a week-long festival in April that brings together English-speaking authors and writers from around the world. It’s one of the few English-centred events in Quebec City.
ImagiNation is put on by the Morrin Cultural Centre in Quebec City, which is focused on anglophone culture in Quebec City. They have a few events such as Books & Wine, and Books & Brunch where you can meet and network with other writers and authors.
You can buy books from writers attending the festival from La Maison Anglaise at a discounted price during the festival.
You need to buy a pass online to attend the festival – dates and prices for 2024 are still being arranged. Once plans are solidified, you can buy tickets from the Morrin Centre website.
ImagiNation Writer’s Festival 2024 Dates: TBA
3. Quebec Exquis! Gourmet Festival
If you consider yourself a foodie and have an appreciation for haute cuisine and fine wines, then you’ll love the Quebec Exquis Gourmet Festival. There are food tastings, wine samples, demonstrations and food workshops.
Quebec Exquis is a newer festival that has only been running for the past 4 years. Unfortunately, it was not run in 2023. According to an announcement on their website, they were taking a break to analyze the future direction of the festival.
The festival, when running, usually takes place in the month of May. We hope to see Quebec Exquis! Gourmet Festival will be back in May 2024.
Quebec Exquis! Gourmet Festival 2024 Dates: TBA
Are you looking for foodie experiences in Quebec City? Consider booking a food tour. There are a number of them in Old Town that run year round. Here are 3 things to know before booking a food tour in Quebec City.
Winter Festivals in Quebec City
Quebec City has several festivals to compliment the cold season. There are several ways to get outdoors and embrace winter
1. Igloo Fest
Contrary to its name, it has nothing to do with igloos – but with music. IglooFest is said to be the coldest music festival in the world. It came to to Quebec City for the first time in 2023, and will be back in 2024.
IglooFest is for fans of electric music who are 18+, as all the shows happen in the evening. IglooFest is held in early March at Jean-Béliveau, a public square in Quebec City.
There are food stands, and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) sold on-site, as well as unique IglooFest Quebec merchandise.
Tickets to Igloo Fest for 2024 can be bought on their official website.
IglooFest 2024 Dates: TBA
2. German Christmas Market
Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec
Quebec City at Christmas is magical, and the the German Christmas Market (Marché de Noël Allemand) is a big part of it. This European-style Christmas Market takes place in Old Quebec City from mid November through to mid December each year.
There are also numerous winter and Christmas themed family-friendly activities that take place in and around the market, such as meets with Santa (who is bilingual), crafts, old-fashioned puppet shows, and ice-skating.
In addition to the German Christmas Market, there is also a second market; large and indoor in Quebec City with over 200 vendors which is held at the Grand Marché which is in the outskirts of the city (about a 15 minute drive from Old Town.)
People come to Quebec City specifically to see the German Christmas Markets – we did. We flew from Toronto as a family of four. While Toronto in December is a special place to experience Christmas, there’s something special about being in the old (walled) city with 400-year old buildings. I love old fashioned Christmas, and Quebec City does that perfectly.
The German Christmas Market will take place from November 23rd- December 23rd this year in 2023!
Good to Know: The German Christmas Market is only open from Thursdays through to Sundays, so be sure to factor this into your plans if you’re visiting Quebec City specifically for that. Weekends at night are the busiest time, so keep this in mind as well.
3. Quebec Winter Carnival
Carnaval de Québec
“Carnaval” in Quebec is one of the most famous, iconic Canadian festivals. Unlike many of the other festivals which are geared primarily toward adults, Carnival is one of the best things to do in Quebec City with kids.
During Carnaval, there are special decorations throughout the city, parades, and games involving the ice and snow.
Adults will love watching the snow games, while kids will enjoy seeing “Bonhomme” the iconic snowman, the face of Carnival. In fact, schools around the country often learn about Carnaval, and many Canadian kids will recognize Bonhomme.
Most of the experiences at Carnaval are free, but there are also VIP events that you purchase an effigy for. Tickets for VIP experiences, as well as Carnaval merchandise, can be bought in advance here.
Good to Know: If you visit Quebec City during Carnival, be sure to check out the Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace) – the only Ice Hotel in North America! The ice hotel is located in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, about 30 minute drive from downtown Quebec City.
3. Toboggan Festival (New Year’s Eve)
Leave it to Quebec City to have a special New Year’s Eve celebration every year! Toboggan consists of several events taking place in Quebec City during the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, as well as a big celebration on December 31st.
During Toboggan, there is a Winter Village open daily from 5 to 11pm. There are bonfires, food, free ferris wheel rides and outdoor bar service, followed by entertainment by DJs.
On New Year’s Eve, there’s a big bash at Place d’Assemble National with DJs. VIP tickets are currently sold out on their website. There are also of course, fireworks on the evening of the 31st to ring in the new year.
Many bars on Grand Allée will be open for food, dancing and celebrations on New Year’s Eve. Be sure to make reservations, as spots can fill up.
Toboggan 2023 Dates: December 28th – 31st, 2023
Fall Festivals in Quebec City
With the arrival of the colourful foliage comes a variety of festivals that you can enjoy in Quebec City in fall
1. Quebec City Film Festival
Festival de la Cinéma de la Ville de Quebec (FCVQ )
Quebec City Film Festival features 100s of feature and short films from around the world. It was founded in 2011, and is held in mid-September every year.
Because many of the films are made locally, most of them are in French, but there are subtitles for those who don’t speak French.
Information on September 2024 dates and to buy tickets can be found on the official FCVQ website.
Quebec City Festival Festival 2024 Dates: TBA
2. Quebec City Celtic Festival
Festival Celtique de Québec
The Celtic Festival of Quebec is a celebration of the Scottish roots of many residents in and around Quebec City. There’s Scottish food, music and dance and Scottish-themed paraphernalia.
As you can imagine, its the largest French-speaking Celtic festival in North America, and has been running for the past 17 years.
Quebec City’s Scottish festival is held over a weekend in mid-September at Domaine Maizerets. Domaine Maizerets is a park in north Quebec City (10 minute drive, or 45 minute walk from Old Town.)
Celtic Festival 2024 Dates: TBA
3. Quebec City Magic Festival
Festival de Magie de Québec
The Quebec City Magic Festival started in 2011, and its the largest magic festival in North America. Its a gathering of magicians from around Quebec and the world. There are magic shows and people doing magic in the streets.
The Magic Festival events are suitable for all ages, from kids to adults. Tickets for specialized events, as well as detailed program information can be found on the Festival de Magie website closer to the date.
Magic Festival 2024 Dates: TBA
4. Quebec Gourmet Table
Québec Table Gourmande
Quebec Gourmet Table takes place in restaurants in Quebec City that are participating. If you’re a foodie, or have an appreciation for high cuisine – Quebec Gourmet Table is for you!
The chefs of the participating restaurants organize a fixed price for visitors and clientele to experience the richness of the diverse Quebec cuisine.
You experience Gourmet Table by making reservations the participating restaurants and enjoying a fixed price meal for either lunch or dinner. Usually these meals come at a discounted price, so you get a pretty good deal.
Gourmet Table is usually in held from early to mid-November each year. According to their website, the even will be running from November 3rd – 19th this year in 2023.
Holidays in Quebec City
There are a few holidays in Quebec City that you should be aware of. While these aren’t ‘festivals’ perse, they often involve big celebrations , and sometimes a civic holiday that might mean that there are businesses closures in Quebec
- Christmas Day (Noël) – December 25th
- New Year’s Day (Le Novel An) -January 1st
- Good Friday or Easter Monday (le Paques) – March or April
- National Patriotes Day (same dates as Victoria Day in the rest of Canada) – held on a Monday in mid-May each year
- Thanksgiving Day (L’Action de Grâce )- usually the 2nd Monday of October each year
Festivals in Quebec City: FAQs
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about year-round festivals in Quebec City
What is the big festival in Quebec?
The biggest festival in Quebec City is the Summer Festival (Festival d’Été de Québec) and the Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Québec.) There are countless festivals in Quebec City every month, but these two are the largest, drawing in tourists from all over the world.
What are the celebrations and festivals in Quebec?
Quebec celebrates Canada Day and St. Jean Baptiste Day. Quebec City, in addition, celebrates Quebec City Day. In addition, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and St. Patrick’s Day are celebrated by most people in Quebec.
What are some festivals in Quebec City?
Quebec City has dozens of festivals throughout the year. Every month, there is something special going on. Some of the festivals include Summer Festival, Winter Carnival, a fireworks festival, jazz festival, hot air balloon festival,
Festivals in Quebec City: Conclusion
As you can see, Quebec City is a great place to experience a variety of. festivals and special events throughout the year. Summer especially is buzzing with non-stop events – almost one after another.
Summer, winter, fall or spring – there is often something happening to enhance your visit. I bet you’ll find there will be something (big or small) happening almost all the time, regardless of the season.
While you’re in Quebec City, enjoy the festivals – but don’t forget to spend some time in the historic Old Town, as well as natural beauty outside the city, such as Montmorency Falls.