November is here, and that means it’s officially time to dust off your ugly Christmas sweaters and begin preparing for the holiday season.
This month is full of holiday markets, unique festivals and iconic performances happening around the city to commemorate the annual Remembrance Day celebrations and get you in the festive mood for the holidays!
Here are 49 things to do around Calgary this November!
Go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing
Getting snow early this year means that our mountainous backyard is waiting for us with a fluffy layer of snow, perfect for winter sports and activities. Take advantage and get some shredding in during this great pre-season, or take your snowshoes for an adventure around one of the many picturesque lakes that the Rockies have to offer – don’t forget to bring hot chocolate and your camera!
What: With an interpretive guide take a frosty walk through the forest and feast your eyes on the beauty of the Northern Lights, while sipping on steamy hot chocolate – it doesn’t get much better than that. This is perfect for the whole family, as the tour is for ages 12 years and up, or even for a romantic date night.
Where: Kananaskis Village Center – 1 Mt. Sparrowhawk Cresent
What: Calling all beaded and un-bearded folk! Join in on the first ever Bearded Run, hosted by the East Village to raise awareness for mental health. Do a quick 5km run around the RiverWalk and the beautiful St. Patrick’s Island and get rewarded with a free beer and a neat swag bag that will help you live out the bearded lifestyle – all while supporting a great cause!
Where: RiverWalk, East Village – 553 Riverfront Avenue SE
What: The annual Field of Crosses is back! Take time out of your day to walk through the 3,000 crosses that were set-up by volunteers, to pay tribute for those fallen for our country. If you are looking to become more involved in the Remembrance Day festivities, help out with the Calgary Poppy Fun annual fundraising campaign or the Canadian Legacy Project’s Veterans Food Drive, both which coincide with the field of crosses.
Where: Memorial Drive between 3 Street NW & Centre Street
When: November 1 to 11
TV Marathon Party
Netflix and chill? But serious on the Netflix part! November is a great month for TV, and what better way to binge on your favourite shows then with your good friends. Gilmore Girl’s fans rejoice! On November 25 be sure not to miss the highly anticipated Netflix Original Series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – wine and cheese night perhaps? If you’re a country music fan be sure to check out the 50th Annual Country Music Awards live on November 2 – that will be a night in history you won’t want to miss.
What: Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian Fine Art photographer based in Toronto. Many of his works examine the relationship between “nature and how it is transformed by industry” through different metaphors and dichotomy’s. His most recent exhibit, Relationships and Configurations, based in the Okotoks Art Gallery is an interactive piece that urges people to consider “the relationship between humans and the earth” through remarkable photographs and vivid subject matter. If you haven’t seen this exhibit already, you have one more month to check it out!
What: There is no better way to kick off the holiday season then with a special appearance from Kris Kringle himself aka Santa Claus. Come down early in the day for the opportunity to get your picture taken with Santa, verify your spot on the naughty or nice list and make a Christmas wish. Then stick around for dusk, when Banff avenue magically lights up with a procession of lively performers, colourful floats and of course the jolly ol’ man himself!
What: There is nothing better then spending the last few days of Fall enjoying the beautiful weather, colorful views and getting some much needed cardio in before the holidays. Join Joanna Magnik of the Sweat Style as she leads a group around the RiverWalk and St Patrick’s Island on a 5-8k run every Tuesday night at 630pm – the best part, it’s free! All running levels welcome.
Where: RiverWalk Plaza – adjacent to the Simmons Building in East Village
What: Join Lunchbox Theatre as they combine music and history and take you on an adventure back to WW2, examining the lives of soldiers and how our daily lives are changed by war throughout time up to 2016. This engaging and authentic performance that will pull at the heart strings and make you proud to be a Canadian!
What: Harry Potter fans rejoice! Experience all seven Harry Potter books in a condensed theatrical performance by only two actors, Oliver Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner. Yes, they will reenact all 360 characters, while pulling off a real-life Quidditch Tournament and incorporate a live fire-breathing dragon. This is truly an Unauthorized Harry experience that is great for any level of Harry Potter fandom!
Where: Boyce Theatre, Stampede Park – 1410 Olympic Way SE
When: November 10 to 27
Cost: Get tickets online – there aren’t many left so hurry!
What: Instead of Saturday night at the movies try spending date night at the theatre! Check out this fun and suspenseful new musical drama brought to you by Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre and support our local talent.
What: If you haven’t had a chance to view the brand new National Music Centre (NMC) along 9th avenue then we suggest you do in the near future – we can almost guarantee you will not be disappointed. The NMC Air Workshop series is the perfect opportunity to view the space, while getting the chance to directly interact with the participants in their Artists in Residence program. This month, join Joshua Van Tassel and James Bunton as they share insider tips into their creative process and share a taste of their new music in this public workshop.
Where: The National Music Centre – 850 4th Street SE
What: Seriously, who doesn’t have a soft spot for George Bailey and his hilarious and meaningful holiday adventure? Experience this heartfelt holiday classic as it comes to life in a live 1940’s radio style broadcast on the Lunchbox Theatre stage. Remember, “when you hear a bell that means an angel just got his wings!”
What: The Esker Foundation presents an iconic exhibition that combines film, sculpture, performance, collage and installation created by Jasmina Cibic. Experience the core of Cibic’s practice, political ideology in an interactive and engaging work of modern art, hidden in the heart of Historic Inglewood.
Where: The Esker Foundation – 444, 1011 9th Avenue SE
What: If you have a passion for the mountains, unexpected journeys and diving into a great book or film, then this festival is definitely something that is worth taking a road trip up to Banff for. Spend nine days indulging in worldwide expeditions, epic adventures told by international authors, photographers and filmmakers and feel alive in the Canadian Rockies!
Where: Banff Centre – 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive Banff, Alberta
When: October 29 to November 6
Cost: Varies per event
Finding the perfect gift for that special someone can prove to be a challenge, however if you start early enough you can beat the rush and snag some great finds before everything is either picked over or out of stock. With Calgary’s economy still in the dumps it’s more important than ever to support our local business owners and entrepreneurs. Checkout these holiday markets on throughout November and find a unique gift that gives in more ways than one!
Alberta Dames Modern Vintage Market – Saturday, November 5
Okotoks Christmas Festival – November 11 to 13
Calgary Christmas Market – Thursday – Sunday, November 18 to December 11
Curated. Holiday Market YYC – November 18 and 19
Cochrane Christmas Market – Sunday, November 20
Market Collective – November 25 to 27
Banff Christmas Market – November 25 to 27
Little Modern Market – Saturday, November 26
Shop Calgary’s Trendiest Neighbourhoods
Instead of going to the mall and fighting for a parking spot this year, grab a coffee from a local coffee shops and head to some of Calgary’s best up-and-coming neighbourhoods, such as Inglewood, East Village, Mission and Bridgeland. Here you will find quaint boutiques, uncommon shops and lifestyle concept stores that carry natural + ethically made products that are good for the environment and the people using them – win win! We can assure you that you’ll have no problem finding a gift for everyone, even the most challenging ones on your list.
What: If you love strolling through the monthly night market that happens monthly during the summer season, then this will be right up your alley! Grab your date and some delicious hot chocolate and baileys and get some early Christmas shopping done at the only Calgary fall/winter night market.
What: Beginning November 12 Greater Goods, a boutique located in a beautiful heritage building in Bridgeland, will be hosting a series of 9 pop-ups shops each featuring a different local artist each week. From fresh coffee from the Calgary Heritage Roasting Company, to beautiful creative textiles created by ElleBee Tree to handcrafted wooden shelfs in the shape of the mountains nailed together by Needle and Pine, you can find an amazing selection of local handmade goods at each popup event. You can also grab a tea and a treat made by PrettySweet to munch on while you shop!
What: Looking for something more creative and relaxing to do with a group of friends on a Friday or Saturday night? Join Raw Canvas for an evening of great food and drinks, music and of course painting – but in the dark!
What: Brunch is one of the most sought after meals of the day, as it’s hard to resist a buttery eggs benny or golden flapjacks. Every Sunday until Novmeber 13, Heritage Park is offering a delectable breakfast buffet at the beautiful historical Wainwright Hotel. If you are interested in indulging one Sunday, which we highly suggest you do, they recommend calling and making reservations, as seats tend to fill up quickly – we are not surprised in the slightest!
What: If you have been to Italy or one of Calgary’s amazing Italian restaurants, you will agree that nothing compares to the taste of fresh pasta done right. With a professional chef instructor and a room full of students, learn how to make the perfect ravioli with various fillings that will bring a delicious piece of Italy into your home.
What: If you are attending the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, then we highly suggest you take part in this unique culinary adventure. Pick set menus, for both lunch and supper, from over 30 participating restaurants and enjoy delicious first class meals that will satisfy your taste buds and leave you wanting more!
When: October 24 to November 6
Cost: Lunch Menus are locked in at $9, $14 & $19, 3 Course dinner Menus are $29, $39 & $49
What: Looking for a twist on the classic “dinner and drinks” date or you just want to do something fun and different with your friends? These food tours are the perfect solution! For $100 experience some of Calgary’s most cutting edge culinary delights from Fine Cheese, to Korean BBQ, to authentic Spanish cuisine.
Where: 17th Avenue, tasting locations include – Cibo, Itza Bakeshop, Parc Brasserie, Ox & Angela and Anju Restaurant
When: Runs until Saturday, November 26
Cost: $100/ person
Sip a Cocktail at a Local Speakeasy
The 1920’s prohibition has long come and gone, but the glorified speakeasy has still stuck around. There is still something rebellious and mysterious about finding your way to a location through a secret passage, rather than just merely walking through the front door. Calgary has recently added to its growing collection of secret bars that are perfect if you are looking for a delectable glass of wine or the perfect cocktail. Check out SS106 Aperitivo Bar, Frenchie Wine Bar, Model Citizen, Subrosa yyc and Proof Cocktail Bar for a classy evening straight out of the 20’s.
What: Marda Loop is an area of Calgary that continues to grow and get better each and every year. Join them for a night of drinks, food, beauty and shopping happening at the various businesses throughout the community.
Where: Marda Loop (Various Locations)
When: Thursday, November 10
Festivals and Other Events
Image: CORE Shopping / Facebook
Board Game Night
Looking for a low-key and relatively cheap night to hide away from the cold, but still be social? Hit up one of Calgary’s board game cafes and bond with friends over an old classic or work on your problem solving skills as you learn to play something new. For a small hourly fee check out Pip’s Board Game Café, Boxcar Café and new to the scene, Hexagon Café. Whether you are a seasoned pro or board game newbie, these are all great spots to grab a beer, glass of wine, coffee or warm desert, while you challenge your friend, significant other or family to the latest and greatest board game.
What: The Fashion Calgary Portrait Campaign aims to celebrate the top 30 influencers that are making a large impact on yyc’s arts and culture scene. The Gala will be held at Aloft Calgary and will raise funds to support the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta, while honouring the top 30 individuals of the campaign. You will enjoy food from some of Calgary’s top chef’s along with the opportunity to get dolled up with a complimentary makeup application at one of Nordstrom’s beauty counters. This is a fabulous affair you won’t want to miss!
What: Calgary is best known for its unbelievably tight knit, supportive community, and #LoveYYC Day is just one example of that. Right now Calgary could use a little love and this is an event to bring us together and remind everyone of Calgary’s unwavering strong spirit to overcome anything that is thrown our way. Tourism Calgary is urging everyone to get social and share why you #LoveYYC as they gear up for #LoveYYC Day on November 5th. During this day various businesses around YYC will be hosting events and special offers, such as beer tastings, free admission to some of Calgary’s iconic Historical spots like Gasoline Alley and discounts on food at different spots around the city.
What: For only $15 indie rock lovers will get the chance to see 6 different bands, such as the JJ Thomas Band and HungryHollow, receive discounts on beer/drinks and finish the night with free admission into the after party at Cowboys Night Club. That sounds like a pretty decent deal to us!
What: The holiday’s are a season based on community and giving in order to spread the holiday cheer. This year the Core is hosting “Find Christmas Downtown,” an event that involves a group effort to decorate 100 Christmas Trees that will end up being delivered to local families who wouldn’t otherwise have a tree in their home – talk about the gift that keeps on giving! They urge teams to make the experience memorable by dressing in their best ugly Christmas sweaters, as there will be a photo booth at the event, along with VIP opportunities, entertainment, and exclusive offers. What a great way to kick off the holiday season!
Where: The Core Dome Tower 333 – 7th Avenue SW Suite 900
What: We are all crushed to hear that this Broadway classic is doing a farewell tour – which gives us all even more of a reason to unleash our inner dancing queen for one more night. This wonderful musical, played along to the hit songs of Abba, stole our hearts in the 90’s and it continues to do so time and time again. Join Sophie, the bride-to-be, her mum Donna and her 3 dads as they dance, sing and cry in this beautiful musical – and yes audience dancing is encouraged!
Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14th Avenue NW
What: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame classics, Chicago and Wind & Fire are coming to Rock the Saddledome on their collaborative North American Tour this November. Be ready for a night of throwbacks and feels as these two talented bands come together and play all of their greatest hits. It will be a truly unforgettable experience!
What: If you missed him on the Coca-Cola stage this summer have no fear! Now is your chance to see Coleman Hell perform live at Mac Hall, at the University of Calgary this November. Lets just say he knows how to get a crowd pumped-up with his upbeat single – Fireproof.
Where: MacEwan Ballroom – 2500 University Drive NW
What: You may remember this Canadian Rockband, formed in Halifax Nova Scotia, from their breakthrough single in 2008, “Weighty Ghost” – a throwback for most millennial’s! A few years may have pasted since then, but they are killing it with their brand new album “The Great Detachment.”
Where: MacEwan Ballroom – 2500 University Drive NW
What: Grab your cowboy boots and be prepared to be wooed by this country duo, Florida Georgia line in their largest world tour yet. If that wasn’t enough to get all you country fans excited, they are also bringing Dustin Lynch and heartthrob, Chris Lane out on the road with them- yeehaw! It will be a concert you certainly won’t want to miss as they “roll their windows down and cruise through our city!”
What: This show will be sure to dazzle you with a world class performance that will bring some of your favourite Disney classics to life. Witness Lightning McQueen race the Disney Pixar’s Cars crew in a high-speed thrilling race or take an adventure with the Toy Story Crew as they work to escape the Sunnyside Daycare. You will also see appearances from Frozen and the Little Mermaid, as each of the characters work to being you a heartfelt story that ends happily ever after!
What: The relatedable, not so graceful celeb, Amy Schumer is finally coming to our town to share her controversial, yet hilarious words of wisdom with us here in YYC. She may not say what you always want to hear – but you can be sure that she will put a smile on your face no matter what!
What: Calgary is officially first place in the western division – how exciting! Come out and cheer on our boys as they play in the 104th Grey Cup Playoffs on Noveber 20 and get one step closer to bringing home the cup.