55 things to do in Calgary this December 2017

Dec 1 2017, 2:03 am

There’s officially one month left in 2017 – let’s make it a spectacular one!

December is the month to enjoy yuletide events, sip on delicious cocoa, cozy up by the fire, and munch on delicious Christmas baking. It’s truly the happiest time of year as it allows us to celebrate all the best things in life, making it the perfect way to bring 2017 to an end.

From holiday performances to local markets to fun snowy activities, Calgary has it all when it comes to winter holiday festivities. Here are 55 things happening in and around the city that you simply cannot miss out on this month!

Get Outdoors

Skating on Lake Louise/Fairmont

Toonie Day

  • What: Ski Mt. Norquay for only $2 on December 13 – yes that is less than a cup of coffee! If you thought this deal couldn’t get any better, then think again. Not only do you ski for $2, but your money is also donated to a local charity at the end of the season. Help them beat their $20,000 total from last year!
  • When: Wednesday, December 13
  • Time: All day long
  • Where: Mt. Norquay – 1520 Banff, AB
  • Admission: $2

Winter ice skating at Olympic Plaza

  • What: Skate amidst the beauty of downtown Calgary at everyone’s favourite outdoor rink.
  • When: Monday, November 20 to mid-March
  • Time: weather dependent, from 10 am to 9 pm
  • Where: Olympic Plaza – 228 8th Avenue SE
  • Admission: Free

Go skating on Lake Louise

  • What: Lake Louise was rated as 2014 World’s most Beautiful Skating Rink and trust us, it definitely lives up to its reputation. Glide hand-in-hand with your special someone as you enjoy the tranquil views and take in the fresh mountain air. The lake is even lit during the evening so you can skate under the stars and then warm up by a cozy campfire. Skate rentals are available.
  • Where: 111 Lake Louise Drive
  • Admission: email or call the Concierge Team for prices and ice conditions before heading up.

Festive Wagon Rides

  • What: Spend the afternoon sipping on a mug of hot cocoa as you tour around Banff in a snowy wagon ride with Banff Trail Riders. Be sure to dress accordingly.
  • When: Every Sunday between November 19 to December 17
  • Time: Noon to 4 pm
  • Where: The wagon leaves from the parking lot of the Whyte Museum – 111 Bear St, Banff
  • Admission: Free!

Hit the Slopes

  • What: Getting snow early this year means that our mountainous backyard is waiting for us with a fluffy layer of the white stuff, 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. Each hill also has a variety of Christmas themed activities happening throughout the holiday season, be sure to check the websites before heading up so you don’t miss the festivities.
  • Check the websites for Sunshine, Mount Norquay and Lake Louise to check hours of operation and see which trails are open!

Skate with Santa

  • What: Join Santa, his elves and the Ice Princesses on the ice at Olympic Plaza for an exciting all-ages holiday fun-filled afternoon. You will also have the opportunity to donate toys for the KISS 95.9’s annual Toy Angel Campaign.
  • When: Saturday, December 9
  • Time: 1 to 4 pm
  • Where: Olympic Plaza – 228 8th Avenue SE

Ski with Santa

  • What: Head down the mountain and try not to hit Santa or Mrs. Claus – that’s one way to stay off their naughty list.
  • When: Saturday, December 23
  • Time: All Day
  • Where: Lake Louise Ski Resort – 1 Whitehorn Road
  • Admission: Regular ski pass

Kananaskis After Dark: Stargazing and Photography Tour

  • What: With an interpretive guide, take a moonlit walk through the forest and feast your eyes on the beauty of the Northern Lights and a sky full of stars, while sipping on steamy hot chocolate – it really doesn’t get much better than that. All photography levels welcome.
  • When: See the schedule here!
  • Where: Kananaskis Village Center – 1 Mt. Sparrowhawk Cresent
  • Tickets: Online, $69

Go Tubing at Canada Olympic Plaza

  • What: Calgary’s only tube park is the largest of its kind in Western Canada and now boasts 12 lanes, a four person tube option, and a dedicated magic carpet. A village including a food trailer, a deck with heaters, a fire pit, and washrooms have also been added for the 2017 season.
  • When: During the winter season
  • WhereWinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, The Acura Tube Park – 88 Canada Olympic Road SW
  • Admission: Tickets cost $28 for an adult to slide for two hours, and senior, youth, and family discounts are available.

Get Active


Santa Shuffle (StockPhotosLV/ Shutterstock)

Santa Shuffle – Fun Run and Elf Walk 

  • What: Grab the whole family and participate in this fun holiday-themed run/ walk to support the Salvation Army in their fight against poverty.
  • When: Saturday, December 2
  • Time: 10 am
  • Where:  Eau Claire Market – 200 Barclay Parade SW
  • Register: Online, $70-$225

Rockies Run Collective

  • What: Join Lululemon every Saturday morning for a fun morning run through iconic mountain landscapes and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy town streets!
  • When: Every Saturday morning
  • Time: 9 am
  • Where: Lululemon Banff – 121 Banff Avenue, Banff
  • Admission: Free!

Spruce Meadows Run Series – Dashing Through the Glow

  • What: Dash through the dark winter wonderland in this 10 km, 5 km or 2 km run held by the Running Room and Spruce Meadows.
  • When: Friday, December 8
  • Time: 7 pm
  • Where: Equiplex Building, Spruce Meadows – 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW
  • Tickets: $55 and up

December Markets + Holiday Shopping


Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market

  • What: With over 300+ vendors, Spruce Meadows evokes a magical world of Christmas at Reindeer Alley, Candy Cane Lane, Founders Plaza, Twin Peaks, and so many more!
  • When: Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 3
  • Time:
    • Friday: 10 am – 8 pm
    • Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm
    • Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Where: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW
  • Tickets: Online, $12 (save $2 when you buy online)

Poppy-Barley Holiday Pop-Up at The Loft

  • What: Now is your chance to grab yourself a pair of beautifully handcrafted boots – if you don’t own a pair already! Each shoe is designed here in Canada and ethically made in Mexico, so you can wear your shoes proudly knowing you’re supporting safe and responsible shoemaking production. Come be the first to see their Holiday 2017 Collection. #SupportCanadianDesigners
  • When: December 1 to 9
  • Time:
    • Monday-Friday: 11 am  to 6:30 pm
    • Saturday-Sunday: 10 am to 5:30 pm
    • Or book an appointment to secure yourself a spot
  • Where: The Loft – 405 11 Avenue SE

Granary Road Christmas Market 

  • What: Calgary’s newest market has a whole lot of festive fun planned for this holiday season. Get your photo taken with an alpaca wearing a festive scarf, enjoy delish holiday treats, let Santa and Mrs. Claus know what is on your Christmas list, sit back and enjoy a sleigh ride, and so much more!
  • When: Every Friday to Sunday until December 23
  • Time: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Where: Granary Road – 226034 112nd Street W
  • Admission: FREE

Curated. Holiday Market

  • What: Shop over 85 different vendors for four weekends leading up to the Christmas season. Come get your photo with Santa, while enjoying live entertainment, childrens workshops and more!
  • When:
    • Market 1: November 24-26
    • Market 2: December 1-3
    • Market 3: December 8-10
    • Market 4: December 15-17
  • Time: Hours vary, check the schedule
  • Where: Deerfoot City – 901 64 Avenue NE
  • Tickets:$5

Market Collective Holiday Series 

  • What: Everyone’s favourite local market is back and they are transforming Inglewood’s historic Yellow Warehouse into a cozy winter wonderland for the first three weekends in December. Shop over 150 vendors, engage with unique art pieces and interactive stations, and be sure to save room for a delicious snack from Food Truck Alley. They will also be collecting donations for the Calgary Food Bank and encouraging everyone to write a holiday card to the homeless for Make it Merry. Santa will of course be making an appearance and will be taking photos with everyone and their dog – literally! #locallove
  • When: December 1-3, 8-10, 15-17
  • Where: The Yellow Warehouse – 1390 17 Avenue SE
  • Tickets: $5

Greater Goods Month Long Pop-Ups

  • What: Come sip on a Lavender Earl Grey Tea Latte while shopping some of the beautiful concrete gems created by the husband and wife duo behind Co|Create Co. – only during the month of December.
  • Where: 606 Meredith Road NE
  • When: December 2 & 3: Tribes + Society (11 am – 5 pm)
    ​December 9: Inspired Findings (11 am – 5 pm / 6 – 9 pm)
    ​December 16: Prairie Bazaar (11 am – 5 pm)
    ​December 23: Pretty Sweet (11 am – 5 pm)
  • Admission: Free

Calgary Christmas Market – One the Table, Under the Tree

  • What: Indulge in local treats, shop for unique holiday gems, and enjoy the seasonal ambiance of the Calgary Farmers Market as they continue their annual holiday tradition.
  • When: November 16 to December 23
  • Time: Thursday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm
  • Where: The Calgary Farmers Market – 510 77 Avenue SW
  • Admission: Free

Food and Drink Festivities

Canadian Maple Shack: Make your own Maple Taffy

  • What: Eating maple taffy on snow is a Canadian culinary tradition and you can pour your own tire sur la neige at the Calgary Christmas Market!
  • When: Thursday to Sunday from November 16 to December 23 with the exception of November 23 to 26.
  • Time: 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Calgary Farmers Market – 510 77 Avenue SE, Calgary
  • Admission: Free

Brunch harder at Buttermilk Fine Waffles 

  • What: Breakfast has just been taken to a whole other level! Enjoy a delicious waffle paired with Spiked Eggnog, a Mimosa (or two) and/or an Irish coffee.
  • When: Friday, December 1
  • Where: Buttermilk Fine Waffles – 330 17th Avenue SW

Greater Goods’ second Annual Sip and Shop

  • What: Enjoy a free hot chocolate and Christmas treats by Pretty Sweet as you peruse the shop for unique, local holiday gems for everyone on your list. Inspired Findings will also be doing an exciting pop up with her beautiful wooden signs that you won’t want to miss!
  • When: Saturday, December 9
  • Time: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Where: Greater Goods Boutique and Tea Bar – 606 Meredith Road NE
  • Admission: FREE

Happy Chicken Dinner at The Nash + Notable

  • What: Enjoy an impromptu Christmas Dinner, without having to go to the hassle of cooking it yourself. Both  The Nash and Notable Restaurant are offering a Happy Chicken Dinner to-go, which includes a wood roasted whole chicken, veggies, and all the fixings!
  • Where: The Nash – 925 11 Street SE

Festivals and Other Events

Mountain Top Christmas

  • What: Nothing is more magical than celebrating Christmas in a wonderland of snow on the top of a mountain. Help out at Santa’s workshop, experience the Elf Interactive Centre, write Santa a letter, participate in a Christmas Treasure Hunt, stargaze with astronomers, watch Disney’s ‘Prep and Landing’ Christmas short film, and so much more. It’s truly a magical wonderland that the whole family can enjoy.
  • When: November 18 to January 7 (Varies per event)
  • Time: Varies per event
  • Where: 100 Mountian Avenue, Banff
  • Tickets: Online, Adult – $62, Child – $31

Volunteer at a local Charity

What: 2017 has been a rough year for our city, and, for some, December will be even harder. Show Calgary some love by volunteering a few hours of your time at an organization that needs your help, so that everyone is able to have a wonderful holiday season and our city can look towards a brighter future in the New Year! Here are a few initiatives that are currently looking for volunteers this month:

*You can also call your local community association to help out with community dinners and other initiatives specific to your area!

CTV Toy Mountain Campaign 2017 

  • What: Drop off toys at in the toy box at one of the specified locations and help support families who have been affected by domestic abuse at the Women’s Emergency Shelter.
  • When: November 20 to December 22
  • Where: Various locations

The 31 Annual High River Santa Claus Parade

  • What: A town favourite, this annual event returns to celebrate 150 years of Canadian Christmas. Be sure to not miss George Lane Park light up, performances on the Calgary Stampede Stage, carolling, hot chocolate, and other family-friendly activities.
  • When: Friday, December 1
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Where: High River, Alberta
  • Admission: FREE

Christmas Cheer Carollers

  • What: Hear all your favourite Holiday tunes being sung by the Christmas Cheer carollers along Stephen Avenue every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the Christmas season.
  • When: Every Tuesday and Thursday, November 23 to December 21
  • Time: 4:15 to 5:15 pm
  • Where: Stephen Avenue

Visit with Santa


Mall Santa/Shutterstock


  • What:  The Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo never fail to amaze. Each year, this unforgettable winter tradition of fun activities and stunning lights warms the hearts of many. See the Calgary Zoo light up for seven weeks straight and help celebrate the 20th anniversary of everyone’s favourite holiday experience.
  • When: Friday, November 24 to January 6
  • Time: 6 to 9 pm
  • Where: The Calgary Zoo – 210 ST. Georges Drive NE, Calgary
  • Tickets: General (16+) $14.95, Child (3-15) – $11.95

Adults Online Night: The Greatest Hits 

  • What: Enjoy the best and most popular Adult’s Only Nights for a second time around!
  • When: Thursday, December 14
  • Time: 6 to 10 pm
  • Where: Telus Spark – 220 St. George’s Drive NE
  • Tickets: Online, $20

Northern Lights Window Exhibition


  • What: Downtown Calgary shop windows will be getting a makeover this December, and it’ll be more than just a bit of paint. Using an Augmented Reality enabled app on your phone, you’ll be able to interact and experience each painted window destination, that will reflect various Christmas stories and memories of local artists. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite window through the app!
  • When: Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 31
  • Where: In and around Calgary’s downtown core
  • Admission: Free!

Christmas in Kensington 

  • What: Every Saturday until Christmas, enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate, selfies with Santa, horse and wagon rides, a petting zoo, and four of your favourite Christmas classics up on the silver screen. The best part – it’s FREE!
  • Where: The Plaza Theatre – 1133 Kensington Road NW
  • When:
    • Saturday, December 2 – Love Actually
    • Saturday, December 9 – The Grinch
    • Saturday, December 16 – Bad Santa
    • Saturday, December 24 – Die Hard
  • Time: 3:30 pm
  • Admission: By donation

Dinner + A Movie at Heritage Park

  • What: Holiday date night just got turned up a notch!
  • Where: Gasoline Alley – 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
  • When:
    • Wednesday, December 6 – A Christmas Story
    • Wednesday, December 13 – A Christmas Carol (1951)
    • Wednesday, December 20 – White Christmas
  • Time: 7:45 pm
  • Tickets: Online, $44.95 + GST per person (includes dinner + film), $8 (Film only)

Skate the Lake Fundraiser 

  • What: Embrace winter wholeheartedly as you skate in front of the stunning Chateau Lake Louise while helping to raise money for a fantastic cause. Afterwards, you can warm up by a crackling fire as you roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate with your friends and family.
  • When: Saturday, December 9
  • Time: 11 am to 2 pm
  • Where: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
  • Admission: Free

The Brick Teddy Bear Toss 

  • What: See the Calgary Hitmen play the Moose Jaw Warriors and bring a teddy bear to participate in this world-famous toss. In recent years they have collected over 300,000 stuffed toys that have gone to local groups and community partners. Let’s make an effort to beat that this year!
  • When: Sunday, December 10
  • Time: 2 pm
  • Tickets: Online, $13 Kids and $20 Adults

CORE Shopping Centre Find Christmas Downtown 2017


Christmas trees (CORE Shopping Centre/Facebook)

  • What: Take a break from the Holiday shopping hustle and take a stroll through the 45-foot tree decorated in the midst of the CORE shopping centre, along with 150 other sparkling trees in the surrounding area. There is no better way to get in the mood for a little holiday romance!
  • When: Until December 20
  • Time: 6 pm
  • Where: CORE Shopping Centre – 324 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
  • Admission: FREE!

Experience Christmas from years gone by

  • What: Go back in time for a more traditional form of Christmas from years ago. Tap into your inner child and decorate gingerbread cookies, get vintage photos taken, visit the alpaca’s, paint snow, enjoy a wagon ride, and even sing along to some Christmas carols. You can also find some unique holiday treasures as you peruse The Corner Emporium, Plaza Mercantile, Antiques and Collectables, Switzer’s Grocery & Confectionery, and the Toy Shoppe.
  • When: November 25 to December 17, 22 and 23
  • Time: 9:30 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Heritage Park – 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
  • Admission:
    • General (16+) – $10.95
    • Senior (65+) – $8.75
    • Youth (7 – 15) – $6.95
    • Child (3 – 6) – $5.65
    • 2 & under – Free

Lion’s Festival of Lights

  • What: This festival of lights is the largest drive-by Christmas lights event in Calgary (and it’s free!). With over 300,000 lights and opening fireworks to start the celebration, this is a light show you won’t want to miss.
  • When: Saturday, December 2 to Monday, January 8
  • Time: Opening day 5 pm, then 6 pm to midnight daily
  • Where: Confederation Park – 14th Street NW, north of 24th Avenue, Calgary
  • Admission: Free!

Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows

  • What: This two-kilometer drive through in Spruce Meadows is lit up so festively that it’s undeniably special for anybody to see. Also free, this Christmas lights event will leave you feeling as though Christmas day is just one sleep away.
  • When: Saturday, December 9 to Sunday, January 7
  • Time: 5 to 10 pm
  • Where: Spruce Meadows – 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW
  • Admission: $10 per carload

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

  • What: The Canadian Holiday train will pass by looking like a scene straight out of any Christmas movie ever, and will be presenting a boxcar stage, musical performances, and an important contribution to the local food bank. This is a Calgary light event you surely won’t want to miss out on.
  • When: Saturday, December 9,  2017
  • Where: Anderson C-Train Station – South C-train parking lot
  • Time: 6:45 to 7:45 pm
  • Price: Free! Bring non-perishable donations to support your local food bank.

Concerts and Performances

Spreading a little holiday cheer for your week! Listen at the link in bio.

A post shared by Sarah McLachlan (@officialsarahmclachlan) on

An Intimate Evening with Sarah Mclachlan 

  • When: Friday, December 1
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14 Avenue NW
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster,  $135 – $137

So You Think You Can Dance – Season 14 Tour 

  • When: Saturday, December 2
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Where: Grey Eagle Event Centre – 3777 Grey Eagle Drive SW
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster, $59 – $89

Diana Krall

  • When: Tuesday, December 5
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Where: Jack Singer Concert Hall – 205 8th Avenue SE
  • Tickets: Online, $77.75 – $151.75

Dave Kelly Live Christmas Special 

  • When: Saturday, December 9
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14 Avenue NW
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster, $27 – $104

Above and Beyond 

  • When: Saturday, December 30
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Where: Big Four Building – 1801 Big Four Trail SE
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster, $79.- $100

Art and Culture

See the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol”

Image: Trudie Lee

  • What: Any excuse to dress up and hit the town during the holidays is always an exciting way to spend an evening. Plus, it’s just not the Christmas season without Scrooge and his spooky ghosts this heartfelt reproduction of Dickens’ classic tale.
  • When: Thursday, November 23 to December 24
  • Time: 7:30 pm or 2 pm
  • Where: Theatre Calgary – 220 9 Avenue SE
  • Tickets: Online, $71-$135

The Santaland Diaries 

  • What: Based on David Desaris’ book chronicling his hilarious experience working as an elf at Macy’s, this one-man show is a Christmas comedy that will speak to the humbug in all of us.
  • When: November 2 to December 23
  • Time:
    • Monday to Saturday, 12 pm
    • Thursday to Friday, 6 pm
  • Tickets: Online, $155

Music for a Winter Evening 

  • What: Come see the talented multi-award-winning singer/songwriter, Steve Bell, in concert and let him charm you away with his songs, sonnets and memorable charm. 100% of the proceeds will go towards Her Legacy Campaign, which provides support to two very deserving local charities: Oxford House and Next Step Ministries. Come celebrate the holidays, while helping those who need it most this Christmas season.
  • When: Wednesday, December 6
  • Time: 7:30
  • Where: Jack Singer Concert Hall – 205 8th Avenue SE
  • Tickets: Online, $27

Charlotte’s Web

  • What: Have your heart warmed by this beautiful story about a cherished friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a Spider named Charlotte. This classic story will bring back feelings of childhood nostalgia as you show your children and grandchildren this magical story.
  • When: November 21 to December 31
  • Time: Varies per day
  • Where: Martha Cohen Theatre – 220 9 Avenue SW
  • Tickets: Online, $26 – $75

The Nutcracker 

  • What: Add some glamour to the holiday season by getting all spiffed up and heading to this magical recreation of “The Nutcracker.” For many, Clara and her Nutcracker bring back a warm childhood nostalgia as they brave the evil army of mice and dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Set to the motion of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music in an authentic Russian setting, this classic will have the whole family following along in awe.
  • When: December 15 to 17 and 21 to 24
  • Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – 1415 14th Avenue NW
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster, $25-$125

Tom Jackson: Christmas 150

  • What: Join master storyteller and musician Tom Jackson for an evening of captivating stories and songs that represent his half-century journey throughout Canada, with some holiday magic weaved in.
  • When: Sunday, December 17
  • Where: Banff Centre, Eric Harvie Theatre – 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
  • Time: 2 pm
  • Tickets: Online 
    • Adult $30
    • Senior/Student $25
    • Child $15

Sporting Events

calgary flames

Image: Calgary Flames / Twitter

Cheer on the Calgary Flames

  • What: Cheer on the Flames in a sea of red!
  • Where: Scotiabank Saddledome – 555 Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary
  • When:
    • December 2 vs Edmonton at 8 pm
    • December 4 vs Philadelphia at 7 pm
    • December 9 vs Vancouver at 8 pm
    • December 14 vs San Jose at 7 pm
    • December 16 vs Nashville at 8 pm
    • December 20 vs St. Louis at 7:30 pm
    • December 22 vs Montreal at 7 pm
    • December 31 vs Chicago at 7 pm
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster

Cheer on the Calgary Hitmen

  • What: The Hitmen are officially in their regular season, come show them some love as they make their way to the Memorial Cup.
  • Where: Scotiabank Saddledome – 555 Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary
  • When:
    • December 1 vs Prince Albert at 7 pm
    • December 3 vs Regina at 4 pm
    • December 8 vs Swift Current at 7 pm
    • December 10 vs Moose Jaw at 3 pm
    • December 13 vs Edmonton at 7 pm
    • December 17 vs Kootenay Ice at 7 pm
    • December 28 vs Kootenay Ice at 7 pm
    • December 30 vs Lethbridge at 7 pm
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster

Cheer on the Calgary Roughnecks

  • What: Come see the Calgary roughnecks kill it on the field this year.
  • Where: Scotiabank Saddledome – 555 Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary
  • When:
    • December 15 vs Vancouver at 7 pm
    • December 29 vs Colorado at 7 pm
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster
Kristy ArchibaldKristy Archibald

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