Guide to Calgary Holiday Activities

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Calgary 2018 Holiday Activities

December is just around the corner, and of course, like many Calgarians we have started the countdown to Christmas, playing our favourite holiday tunes while setting up the tree. As much as Calgarians hate the six months of winter, we do love our Christmas festivities; From hitting up Christmas markets every weekend, to finding the perfect cafe to stay warm after a day out on the ODR. We don’t mess around when it comes to getting in the holiday spirit, so we have created the ultimate list of holiday activities in YYC to keep you merry and bright this December.

Calgary Christmas Markets

Calgary has no shortage when it comes to Christmas Markets. You will be able to spend days on end finding locally crafted Christmas gifts. Enjoy Christmas beverages and treats as you wander through the aisles of talented vendors. We have listed a few here that we know you won’t want to miss.

Christmas Markets Calgary
Calgary Christmas Market

Calgary Farmers Market is continuing the holiday tradition and will be transforming into the premier destination to find everything for on the table and under the tree. Invite friends and dine at the market while enjoying live holiday entertainment and indulge in the holiday spirit all while you find the perfect gift. There will be plenty of activities for the kiddos too; visit Santa and have tea with Mrs. Claus, live ice carving, Santa’s reindeer, cookie decorating, and more!

When: November 15 – December 23rd, 2018

Time: Thursday – Sunday: 9 am – 5 pm

Admission: Free

Where: Calgary Farmers Market – 510-77th Ave SE, Calgary, AB


Canmore Christmas Artisans’ Market

It’s time for the 23rd Canmore Christmas Artisans’ Market! Join over 85 artisans and artists from Canmore and surrounding areas for the premier market for handcrafted items. You will find everything from jewelry, photography, pottery, paintings, and even all the way to furniture and body products. With so many vendors we are sure you will find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list! Stay for a snack or lunch; several food vendors will be serving up sweet and savoury treats.

When: November 17 & 18, 2018

Time: 10 am – 4 pm

Admission: $3 and is in support of the Canmore Preschool Society.

Where: Canmore Collegiate High School – 1800 8th Ave, Canmore, AB


Spruce Meadows Christmas Market

Plunge into the warm atmosphere that Christmas at Spruce Meadows evokes. You only have to visit the International Christmas Market once to discover a magical world of scents, colours and light to feel the spirit of Christmas. Enjoy 300+ vendors spreading Christmas cheer in the indoor comfort of the Spruce Meadows Market.

When: November 16-18 | November 23-25 | Nov. 30 – Dec. 2

Time: Friday: 9:30 am – 8 pm | Saturday: 9:30 am – 7 pm | Sunday 9:30 am – 5 pm

Admission: $12 at the gate or $10 when you buy online

Where: Spruce Meadows – 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW Calgary, Alberta

Farmers & Makers Market at cSPACE King Edward – Christmas Edition

Join the cSPACE Market every Saturday in December for a very special Christmas Market edition of the Farmers & Makers Market. Filled with holiday magic and everything you need to finish your Christmas shopping. Bring along your crew for a fun time out – there will be something new featured each week.

When: Saturdays, December 1, 8, 15, and 22nd, 2018

Time: 10 am – 1 pm

Where: cSPACE King Edward – 1721 29th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB


Christmas Lights in Calgary

Christmas lights is a great way to get yourself in the holiday spirit and even better, get the whole family together. Here are our recommendations on where to view the most beautiful Christmas light displays in the city

Christmas Lights Calgary
Lions’ Festival of Lights

The Lions’ Festival of Lights is the largest free drive-by Christmas lights showcase in Calgary. For 32 years, Calgarians have enjoyed this spectacular light display at the SE corner of Confederation Park. The display features over 450,000 lights, 90% LED, which we promise will get you into the holiday spirit.

When: December 1, 2018 to January 8, 2019 from 6pm-Midnight

Where: Confederation Park – 14th Street NW, north of 24 Ave

Admission: Free


Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows

Stop by Spruce Meadows with the whole family after the International Christmas Market wraps up and enjoy the amazing lights display. Between December 9, 2018, and January 6, 2019, don’t worry if it’s really cold out, or the kids are getting a little drowsy, as you will stay in your vehicle for the 2 km drive through the Spruce Meadows grounds. The grounds are beautifully decked out with a quarter of a million sparkling holiday lights. It’s truly magical.

When:  December 9, 2018 – January 6, 2019 from 5-10 pm

Where: Spruce Meadows – 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW Calgary, Alberta

Admission: Free



That Christmas glow starts at ZOOLIGHTS this holiday! For many Calgarians, this magical season is not complete without a visit to ZOOLIGHTS, which returns to the Calgary Zoo to light up the night between November 23, 2018, and January 5, 2019. With 1.5 million lights transforming the Calgary Zoo grounds into a magical winter wonderland, including over 200 light figurines and a variety of interactive and choreographed light displays, ZOOLIGHTS shines. This incredible glow-tastic event offers family fun adventures both indoors and out.

When: November 23, 2018 – January 5, 2019. Nightly from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Where: Calgary Zoo – 1300 Zoo Road NE Calgary, AB

Admission: General (16+) – $19.95, Child (3 – 15) – $14.95


Airdrie Festival of Lights

Head out to Airdrie for the city’s Annual Festival of Lights from December 1st to 31st. The event features beautiful Christmas lights, miniature train rides, hot chocolate, bonfires, and much more. Santa will visit on selected dates and there will be other special events, too. Nose Creek Pond is located within the festival area and is a great place to skate outdoors when conditions permit. Don’t forget to check out the Christmas Eve Carols Around the Campfire!

When: December 1 – 31, 2018 from 6 – 9 pm

Where: 1701 Main St S, Airdrie, AB

Admission: Free, but donations are gratefully accepted



Calgary Christmas Tree’s

With Christmas just around the corner, many families are looking forward to a traditional outing into the forest to find their very own Christmas Tree. Wh doesn’t love the smell of a real Christmas tree? Something about a real tree makes your home feel just a little more Christmasy. If you are looking to add a real tree to your home this year, here are a few ways you can get your hands on one in Calgary.

Christmas Tree's Calgary
Visit a Christmas tree farm

For an outdoor experience that isn’t in the middle of nowhere, visit the Raven Ridge Tree Farm. The family-owned and operated business near Rocky Mountain House lets you choose the perfect tree and cut it down yourself. Raven Ridge Tree Farm 403-722-3207,

Support the Calgary Junior Forest Warden Society

Every year, the Calgary Junior Forest Warden Society operates a “cut-your-own-tree” lot just off Highway 66 on the Powderface Trail, about 45 minutes west of Calgary. Each of the seven local clubs help operate the lot. This year it runs Saturdays and Sundays from December 1 until 23rd, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Permits cost $5 per tree, and are sold on site. Permits are required to cut a tree in the area.

Where: Powderface Trail off Highway 66,


Head into the great outdoors

This is an option for adventurous Calgarians. Besides a sharp saw and a roof rack, all that’s required is a $5 permit. Cut down as many as three trees under 2.5 metres in height in any approved area in Alberta. Be sure to always have the permit with you, stay on designated trails and pack plenty of warm clothing.

Enjoy the Holiday Festivities!

Enjoy this holiday season in Calgary and enjoy the time with your friends and loved ones trying out a few of these festive activities. Looking for what else is going in in Calgary? Check out the activities calendar here. 

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