Quebec has a reputation as a festive destination, even in the cold of winter! The host of festivals and events that take place in the province during this snowy season provide plenty of reasons to love (or learn to love!) the chill. After all, freezing temperatures are an integral part of the Quebec winter experience, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to celebrate its northern character.

Winter festivals and events of all types have that little je-ne-sais-quoi that warms your heart and injects a dose of heat into chilly months: a welcoming atmosphere and friendly people, invigorating sports that make you want to move, energizing live music and typical Québécois fare that comforts both body and soul...

Being out in the cold doesn’t mean you have to suffer! You’ll simply need to keep a few tips in mind to stay warm while you enjoy your winter festival experience to the fullest. Read on for our tricks on how to live your best and most festive winter!

Psst... Looking for fun festivals to go to this winter? Be sure to check out our list!

Choose the right clothes

Photo credit: Patricia Delisle

If you’re in Quebec, chances are someone somewhere is talking about the weather! Have a look at the forecast before heading out so you can dress accordingly. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing what to wear.

Layer up
If you’re at a festival, you’re just as likely to spend time chatting around a campfire as dancing in a crowd in the middle of a biting breeze. Cold weather, discomfort caused by going from indoors to outdoors and variations in temperature definitely affect everyone. Dressing up in layers of clothing makes it easier to deal with these variations.

Think of three layers as a rule of thumb for maximum comfort: the first layer wicks away perspiration, the second provides insulation and warmth, and the third protects against the elements like snow and wind.

Dress for the right occasion
How cold it is, how long you’ll be outside and what kind of activity you’ll be doing are all things to consider. Is it just below freezing (-5°C or 23°F) or extremely cold (-25°C or -13°F)? Is there a lot of humidity or wind? Are you going to be moving around or not? Are you staying out an hour or a whole evening?

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to choose the right clothes: waterproof boots for walking in the slush, thermal underwear and woollen socks for extreme cold, snow pants for playing in the snow, and so on. Keep this Scandinavian saying in mind, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!”

Know when to suit up
You definitely don’t want to dress too warmly, too fast: you’ll start sweating, which could make your clothes damp – and then you won’t be able to stay as warm once you’re outside. Instead, plan to put on your warmest clothes at the last second.

Bring extra clothes or accessories
This applies mainly for clothes that keep your extremities warm. Gloves, socks and hats can get wet quicker, so bring along some spares. Be sure to also bring extras for the kids and for yourself if you’ll be playing outside!

Pay special attention to fingertips
Keep your delicate digits (fingers as well as toes) warmer with the help of heated liners or inserts for your mittens, gloves and boots, such as Hothands®. If you’re planning multiple winter outings, consider the reusable versions that are now available from some brands.

Get your cellphone outfitted, too!
Worried about protecting your cellphone from the cold? You can buy an insulated case, or keep your device close to your body (in an inside coat pocket). And speaking of tech, you might want to get a pair of touchscreen gloves so you can take pictures of your festival experience without freezing your fingers!

Make sure to stay warm!

Photo credit: Patricia Delisle

Now that you’re dressed warm, the challenge is going to be staying warm! The right clothes are a good start, but there are also ways to stay warmer for longer once you’re outside – and make your festival experience even better.

Keep moving!
Don’t stay in one spot! Hop, dance and do a bit of physical activity to get the blood flowing. You’ll see: there’s always a party atmosphere at Quebec’s festivals and plenty of opportunities to shake things up and get some heat going!

Bring a hot drink
If outside food and drinks are allowed on site, think about bringing along a thermos with a hot drink to warm up, and healthy snacks if necessary for a boost of energy. If you prefer to travel light, know that many events and festivals have concession stands or food trucks on site, offering a chance to sample locally made specialties.

Take breaks indoors or around heated areas
When you’re on the website or mobile app of the festival you’ll be visiting, see if there’s any information about heated indoor areas, terraces with heat lamps, or fireplaces or campfires. This is particularly important if you’re visiting with young children or people who are sensitive to prolonged exposure to the cold.

Stay hydrated
Since it’s harder to feel the sweat under layers of clothing, it’s important to stay hydrated. When dehydrated, the body has more difficulty regulating its temperature, so the risk of hypothermia is higher. (Alcohol also lowers body temperature, so it’s all the more important to alternate with water if you do drink alcohol outside).

Ready to go out...? Almost!

Make sure you don’t miss a thing and get all the latest information by following your festival of choice on social media or downloading the festival’s mobile app. You’ll find everything you need to know right at your fingertips!

By following these simple tricks, you’ll be able to stay warm and focus on what’s important: having an amazing winter experience and enjoying the company of your loved ones!

Have fun this winter!


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Consult the directory of attractions and events that are members of Événements Attractions Québec

Photo credit: TQ - Jean-François Hamelin