Québec's Hôtel de Glace
Inquiring about the best day trip from Québec City, the answer was unanimous - if you're there in the winter, you've got to visit the Ice Hotel. While the idea of paying to spend the night sleeping on a block of ice, surrounded by walls of packed snow, does not appeal to me in the slightest, a quick visit couldn't hurt, right?
A short drive later, and we were there. The Hôtel de Glace was so much cooler than I'd imagined, in more ways than one. The temperature was well below freezing that day, but walking into the stunning main hall, with its ice columns and ice chandelier, made me forget about the cold, temporarily.
Every winter the hotel rebuilds, with a new theme and decor each year. My favorite room when we visited was the one with vegetation frozen into blocks of ice, but from browsing Google image search, it looks like they've only gotten more creative.
There's also an ice chapel that hosts weddings, and my favorite - an ice bar. While vodka seems like an obvious choice, we went with coffee. We had a bit of a drive ahead of us, and it was time to warm up. (Of course, if you stay on the property overnight, you have full access to the sauna.) While I still don't think I'd enjoy an overnight stay, I'm so glad the ice hotel allows day tours, giving people who prefer a bit of heat and humidity a chance to experience this awesome place as well.
One last quick tip - if you visit, bring extra camera batteries. Mine died pretty quickly in the cold. I also think the frigid temps had something to do with a plastic piece in my camera shattering a short while later, effectively killing it. Luckily, it made it through the rest of this trip intact!