44 things to do in Calgary this December

Nov 25 2018, 4:11 pm

Time flies when you’re having fun! Fill your December with our rundown of 45 things to do this month around the Calgary. Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss, New Year’s Eve, and more.

For more things happening around town check out our events section.

See also

Get Outside

Winter ice skating at Olympic Plaza

What: Built in 1988 for the Olympic Winter Games, Olympic Plaza has the only refrigerated outdoor ice surface in the city. You can rent skates down at the plaza if you don’t have a pair of your own. Helmets are strongly encouraged.

When: Open daily to mid-March
Time: 10 am to 9 pm
Where: Olympic Plaza – 228 8th Avenue SE
Admission: Free. Skates are also available for rent

Brewster Banff Gondola

What: Head to the summit for an unreal view above the treetops and a birds-eye view of six different mountain ranges, while sipping on coffee or a refreshing glass of wine. Start with a walk along the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk to learn more about Canada’s first national park, or go indoors to sample from three restaurant menus. Then get hands-on in the world-class interpretive centre and theatre.

When: Daily until April 18, 2019. Closed for maintenance January 7 to January 18, 2019
Time: Various
Where: 100 Mountian Avenue, Banff
TicketsOnline, various prices

Explore the city

Pre-Christmas lulupalooza 2018

What: Put on by local consigner Jeans Addition, the lululemon consignment event will be held on December 1, giving Calgarians the chance to pick up a few gently-used bargains and to potentially made a few dollars from their own lululemon outfits. According to the event’s Facebook page, thousands of items will be up for grabs, from jackets to bras and everything in between. It is noted, however, that there will be only two change rooms at the event, so if you’re not a fan of lines, “wear[ing] something that will make it easy to try on items on the floor,” is probably your best bet.

When: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Lake Bonavista Promenade mall — 755 Lake Bonavista Drive SE. Inside the mall, top level, opposite end from Safeway
Admission: Entrance is free, and most items will be valued at less than half their retail price. Cash only

Free First Thursday

What: Explore the Glenbow at your leisure for FREE on the first Thursday of every month. Check out current exhibitions including The Arctic: Real and Imagined Views from the Nineteenth Century, Cosmos: Gathie Falk, Margaret Nazon and Erik Olson, and more.

When: Thursday, December 6, 2018
Time: 5 pm to close
Where: Glenbow Museum – 130 9th Avenue SE
Admission: Free

University of Calgary Students’ Union StressLess Week 2018

What: The University of Calgary Students’ Union has put together a whole host of events to help students reduce stress. Pet Therapy, yoga, cookie decorating and more.

When: Monday, December 3 to Friday, December 7, 2018
Events: 

  • SU Spa Day: Monday, 11 am to 1 pm — MacHall Courtyard
  • Pet Therapy: Monday 1:30 to 3 pm, Tuesday 2:30 to 4 pm, and Friday noon to 1:30 pm — That Empty Space
  • Yoga: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 am to 2 pm — That Empty Space
  • Terrarium Workshop: Wednesday, 11 am to 1 pm — MacHall Courtyard
  • Workshop with Lucy Dunne: Wednesday, 1:30 to 3:30 pm — That Empty Space
  • Cookie Decorating and Card Making: Thursday, 11 am to 1 pm — MacHall Courtyard
  • “Are You Game?” Carnival: Friday, 11:30 am to 2 pm — MacHall North Courtyard

Where: University of Calgary – 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss 2018

teddy bear toss

Calgary Hitmen teddy bear toss (tlem8/Instagram)

What: The Calgary Hitmen’s annual Teddy Bear Toss is coming up on December 9. Last year, 18,035 fans brought 24,605 bears to the 2017 Teddy Bear Toss game, though this year’s organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout, as 25,000 bears are needed to be shared with children by more than 65 local agencies. Attendees of the December 9 game are encouraged to bring a new small to medium sized stuffed animal or toy to the game to throw onto the ice the first time the Calgary Hitmen goal horn sounds.

When: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Time: 2 pm
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome — 555 Saddledome Rise SE, Calgary
Tickets: Online, starting at $15 for adults and $10 for students and children

Aspen Crossing Polar Express 2018

What: All aboard the Polar Express! The magical train from the book and movie will be rolling into town this holiday season. Hop on the train and journey to the North Pole, complete with hot cocoa, cookies, and dancing waiters. As the journey begins, passengers will be entertained by a reading of the Polar Express.

When: Now to Thursday, December 20, 2018. Select dates and times, check website for details.
Where: Box 30, Mossleigh (1 km west of Mossleigh, AB on Highway #24)
Tickets: Available online, $72 per guest (sold in sets of two or four)

Once Upon a Christmas

What: Experience the magic of Christmas past at Heritage Park. Enjoy a festive wagon ride, sing carols or visit with jolly old Saint Nick himself. Immerse yourself in an old-fashioned Christmas as some of the historical family homes and buildings open their doors to share their Yuletide traditions.

When: Weekends from now to Sunday, December 23, 2018
Time: 9:30 am to 4 pm
Where: Heritage Park – 1900 Heritage Drive S.W., Calgary
Tickets: Online

Cowboy’s Yule Ball 2018

What: Inspired by the gigantic holiday party featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Cowboys is planning on hosting a Yule Ball of its own this December. For the third year in a row, Cowboys will deck out their dancehall in HP-themed decorations, music, and costumes, and all attendees are encouraged to dress as their favourite Harry Potter characters.

When: Friday, December 28, 2018
Time: 8 pm to 2 am
Where: Cowboys Dancehall — 421 12th Avenue SE
Tickets: Available online, $10 to $15

City of Calgary and new Central Library’s 2019 New Year’s Eve Celebration

What: The City of Calgary and the new Central Library are hosting a free New Year’s Eve celebration for the whole family. This year’s events will be at the Central Library, Olympic Plaza, and the Municipal Atrium at City Hall. We have something planned for everyone. There will be a variety of activities like skating, story time, a children’s dance party, and much more. New this year, the ‘Rec Room’ will be hosting fun games and activities that the whole family can enjoy. The Tim Horton’s Truck will be giving away free hot beverages at the Olympic Plaza skating party. There will also be an early indoor countdown for kids that will begin at 9 p.m. in the Central Library.

When: Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: To Be Announced
Where: Central Library, Olympic Plaza, and the Municipal Atrium at City Hall
Admission: Free

Christmas Events and Holiday Lights

Zoolights

week

ZooLights/Calgary Zoo

What: Experience how 2+ million lights, 200 displays, crackling fire pits, and fun-filled activity zones (with many new additions), transform the Calgary Zoo into a magical winter wonderland.

When: Now to Saturday, January 5, 2019
Time: 6 to 9 pm
Where: The Calgary Zoo – 210 ST. Georges Drive NE, Calgary
Tickets: Online, General (16+) $19.95, Child (3-15) – $14.95

Lion’s Festival of Lights 2018

What: The Lions Festival of Lights is back for their 32nd year to brighten up Calgary’s 14th Street NW with over 450,000 shining lights. The display is put together by volunteers who spend thousands of hours creating the shining assortment of Christmas figures and decked-out trees. This year’s festival is now 99% green as it is created using LED bulbs connected by nearly three kilometres of power cords.

When: Saturday, December 1, 2018, to Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Time: Opening day 5 pm, then 6 pm to midnight daily
Where: Confederation Park – 14th Street NW, north of 24th Avenue, Calgary
Admission: Free

Auburn Bay Parade of Lights 2018

What: Coming back for the fifth consecutive year, the dazzling parade will feature 20 floats, a 5 km loop, complimentary hot chocolate, and a visit by jolly Saint Nick himself. LED necklaces and wands will be on sale from the Foothills Soccer Community Association for $2 and $5 respectively, and a Fan Favourite vote will be held on parade night to determine the best float of the night. A clothing drive will also be held in support of the Children’s Cottage Society’s Crisis Nursery during Parade Night

When: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Time: Starts at 5 pm from Auburn House (the S on the map)
Where: Auburn Bay Boulevard SE, Calgary
Admission: Free

Airdrie Festival of Lights

What: The annual Airdrie Festival of Lights is set to illuminate more than a million Christmas lights in Nose Creek Park again, starting December 1.  There will be miniature train rides available for $2 and two handcrafted fire pits to gather around.  Much needed cups of hot chocolate will also be $2. Santa will also pay a few visits to the park during the festival. The festival is run by volunteers, with entry by donation. All proceeds go to the Airdrie and District Hospice Society and their Tree Of Hope Campaign. At the festival, the Tree of Hope will be illuminated every night in memory of loved ones who have passed and greetings of hope will be left for those suffering.

When: Saturday, December 1 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: 6 to 9 pm
Where: Nose Creek Park – 1701 Main Street S, Airdrie
Admission: By cash donation; parking is free

Christmas in Kensington

What: Christmas in Kensington invites Calgarians to spread Christmas joy throughout the neighbourhood. Keep an eye out for Santa Claus and explore the community on The Annex Kensington sleigh ride while sipping on warm hot chocolate or coffee generously provided by Starbucks and Adam Helps Finish off the afternoon with a Christmas movie by donation at 3:30 p.m. at The Plaza Theatre.

When: Every Saturday from December 1 to December 22, 2018
Time: Doors open at 3 pm and movie starts at 3:30 pm
Where: Plaza Theatre – 1133 Kensington Road NW
Admission: Free. Film by donation

CP Holiday Train Calgary 2018

What: The 20th edition of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train brings holiday cheer to 164 communities and collect donations for local food banks. Each stop features live entertainment, music, and festive activities.

When: Saturday, December 8, 2018
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.

Find Christmas Downtown 2018

What: The third-annual Find Christmas Downtown at the CORE Shopping Centre decorates and provides Christmas trees to local families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. Corporations, non-profit organizations, and media partners will come together to decorate 150 trees throughout the space, and the trees will remain at the mall for the holiday season until December 19. After that, they will be delivered to local families in need across the city. The CORE is also hosting a free Santa photo session from now until Christmas. Monetary donations, toys, and gifts are appreciated and will go towards The Magic of Christmas charity.

When: Now to Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Time: 4 pm to 7 pm
Where: 324 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Miracle on First Street YYC

What: Inspired by quirky office Christmas parties, the halls are decked with kitschy Christmas decor. Guests are encouraged to dress in their most festive gear as they sip on seasonal cocktails, so take this opportunity to dig out your most cringe-worthy Christmas sweater and reindeer head-gear. The over-the-top atmosphere, which will be hosted at Proof Cocktail Bar, will have even the biggest Grinch feeling goofy. Whether you choose the classy Christmaspolitan or the decadent Run Run Rudolf as your drink of choice, this bar is sure to bring the holliest and jolliest of times.

When: Now to Sunday, December 23, 2018
Time: 4 pm to 1 am daily
Where:Proof Cocktail Bar – 1302 1st Street SW
Admission: Free

Get Together Holiday Massive 2018

get together

Get Together/Facebook

What: Headlining the festival will be Diplo and Illenium, while other performers set to take the stage on either December 27 or 28 include Alison Wonderland, Troyboi, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Loud Luxury, Ghastly, Crankdt, Svdden Death, and Phantoms. The festival will be held at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre, a 23,000-sq-ft space with a capacity for 5,000 guests.

When: Thursday, December 27 to Friday, December 28, 2018
Time: Doors open at 8 pm
Where: Shaw Conference Centre — 9797 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton
Tickets: 18+ event. Tickets available online. $119.50+

Holiday Shopping

Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market – Friday, November 30 to Sunday, December 2, 2018
Marda Loop Christmas Market – Saturday, December 1, Saturday, December 15, 2018

Calgary Expo Holiday Market

What: This market might be just perfect for you if you’re dreaming of a nerdy Christmas. Join the Expo Holiday Market and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in true geek-style, with comic books, artisan crafters, collectables, statues, and more. Costumes are definitely encouraged.

When: Saturday, December 1 and December 2, 2018
Time: 10 am to 6 pm(Saturday) and 10 am to 5 pm (Sunday)
Where: BMO Centre — 20 Roundup Way SW
Admission: $10 per day or $ 40-weekend bundle (includes a sweater, holiday ornaments and admissions for both days). Tickets are available online and children under 12 years get in for free

Century Downs Christmas Market

What: Make your way to the new tent barns at Century Downs for a traditional Weihnachtsmarkt, some mulled wine, and traditional German street food! You can also shop a variety of local artisan products and fun craft vendors.

When: Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, 2018
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Century Downs Racetrack and Casino – 260 Century Downs Drive, Rocky View Country
Tickets: Online, Free

Make It! Calgary 2018

makeitshow/Instagram

What: Calgary’s biggest handmade market, the Make It! Show is coming back to Calgary just in time for the holidays. The event is taking place from Thursday, December 6 to Sunday, December 9 and it’s set to feature more than 130 of Canada’s top artists, makers, and crafters. The fun, upbeat shopping experience is the perfect place to find gifts for everyone on your holiday list this season, as you’ll be able to shop everything from clothing and accessories, to art, home decor, gourmet goodies, baby and kid items, among other handmade treasures.

When: Thursday, December 6 to Sunday, December 9

  • Thursday, December 6: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Friday, December 7: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Saturday, December 8 10 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday, December 9 11 am to 5 pm

Where: Deerfoot City — 901 64th Avenue NE
Price: $3 early bird online | $5 at the door | Kids under 12 are free – Tickets available via EventBrite

Calgary Night Market: Holiday Market 2018

What: Search for the perfect gift at this Holiday Night Market. Shop at over 40 local vendors with amazing handmade products, plus enjoy live entertainment and a DJ.

When: Friday, December 7 and Friday, December 14, 2018
Time: 5 to 11 pm
Where: Eau Claire Market – 200 Barclay Parade SW
Admission: Free

Calgary Christmas Market

What: Dine with friends as live holiday entertainment fills the market and indulge in treats while you find the perfect gift. Featuring favourite market and seasonal vendors, Yuletide gifts, food, jewelry, décor and more. There will also be visits with Santa, cookie decorating, roaming Grinch, live ice carving, viewing Santa’s Reindeer, and more.

When: Now to Sunday, December 23, 2018
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Calgary Farmers’ Market – 510 77 Ave SE, Calgary
Admission: Free

Eat fresh at Farmers’ Markets

Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market

What: Grab your weekly haul of delicious produce, eggs, baked goods, meats, preserves, florals, and more, all grown and produced on farms right here in Alberta. You can enjoy live entertainment and other fun activities happening at this quaint community farmers’ market. The market will go on rain or shine, so come prepared.

When: Every Wednesday
Time: 3 to 7 pm
Where: 1320 5th Avenue NW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Downtown Christmas Market

What: Shop for the ripest and most delicious produce from local growers, along with art, fashion and other unique gems and gifts made right here in Alberta.

When: Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Gulf Canada Square – 401 9th Avenue SW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Explore Art and Culture

A Nat King Cole Christmas 2018

Nat King Cole (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra)

What: The music of the legendary Nat King Cole will be brought to life by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, with Canadian crooner Denzal Sinclaire taking on Cole’s unforgettable songs. Being a National Jazz Award recipient and a nominee for multiple JUNO awards, Sinclaire is more than up to the task of reviving Cole’s Christmas classics at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

When: Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, 2018
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Jack Singer Concert Hall — 225 8th Avenue SE, Calgary
Tickets: Available online, $30 to $90

Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

What: A father tells his young daughter a story of Ebenezer Scrooge on his terrifying and exhilarating journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. A unique adaptation by Matthew Thompson of the beloved Christmas classic, infused with popular Christmas carols.

When: Now to Saturday, December 1, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: The Pumphouse Theatre – 2140 Pumphouse Avenue Southwest, Calgary
Tickets: Online, $22.50-$25

Happy Death Day

What: Confederation Theatre presents a thrilling murder mystery written by Calgary author Louis B. Hobson. Get ready for chills to run up your spine with Happy Death Day.

When: Now to Saturday, December 1, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: The Pumphouse Theatre – 2140 Pumphouse Avenue Southwest, Calgary
Tickets: Online, $20-$25

CUFF.Docs

What: The sixth annual CUFF.Docs showcases the best in non-fiction films during the Calgary Underground Film Festival’s five-day documentary festival. The festival screens 12 full-length features, as well as shorts, varying in subject, style and genres within the art form.

When: Now to Sunday, December 2, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations
TicketsOnline

Cannes Lions Screening 2018

What: The National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) West, in partnership with The Globe and Mail, is hosting a screening of the Cannes Lions 2018 award winners at Calgary’s cSpace King Edward on December 6. Viewers will have the chance to take in the short — though no less sweet — works of the advertising industry from the comfort of movie theatre seats, with the 126 minutes of award-winning advertisements play on the big screen. Some of these commercials include the famous “It’s a Tide Ad” from Tide, “Unlock” from Apple, and Taco Bell’s “Web of Fries.”

When: Thursday, December 6, 2018
Time: 5:30 to 9 pm
Where: cSPACE King Edward — 1721 29th Avenue SW
Tickets: $20 to $40, available online

Tenacious D

Tenacious D

Tenacious D (Tenacious D / Facebook)

What: The musical comedy duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass had a variety series on HBO that aired in 1999. Their self-titled album was released in the fall of 2001 with Epic Records and was quickly certified at gold-selling status, and has since been certified platinum. In 2014, Tenacious D won a Grammy in the category of Best Metal Performance for their cover of Ronnie James Dio’s “The Last In Line.”

When: Sunday, December 9 and Monday, December 10, 2018
Time: 8 pm (doors open at 7 pm)
Where: Grey Eagle Event Centre — 3777 Grey Eagle Drive, Calgary
Tickets: $69.50, $85.00 and $99.50, available online

Art Acoustic Sunday Series

What: Hang out with a few of Art on 9th’s favourite art instructors for an informal discussion and hands-on activity that explores the basic elements of art and design.

When: Every Sunday to December 23, 2018
Time: 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Art On 9th – 1211 9 Ave SE, Calgary
Admission: Free

Bon Appetit

Cocktail Classes

What: Interested in upping your cocktail game? Learn the ropes from the experts at Shelter. You’ll learn everything from the comprehensive history of cocktail culture, mixology origins dating back in the 1800s and the resurgence of a craft beverage in the early 2000s. The class includes three cocktails, complimentary bar snacks, muddling, stirring, shaking, and smoking techniques. You’ll also receive your very own cocktail survival guide. Attendees must be 18+.

When: The first Tuesday of each month
Time: 5:30 and 8:30 pm
Where: Shelter – 1210 1st Street SE
Tickets: Online, $65 per person

Sunday Brunch and Market Tour

What: Join the Calgary Farmers’ Market and Calgary Food Tours as they bring to you a very special Sunday brunch. Enjoy 16 bites and treats as various Alberta ranchers explain what it takes to bring their products to the market. Sample their produce and leave feeling inspired to fill your shopping bag with fresh goodies.

When: Every Sunday
Time: 10:30 am
Where: 510, 77 Street SE – off Blackfoot Trail and close to Heritage Drive SE
TicketsOnline, $55

Pub Trivia

Disney Trivia

What: 50 questions spanning the classics to the modern movies that have made Disney the powerhouse that it is today. This is what we’ve been training for since we were kids, people — we just didn’t know it at the time!

When: Monday, December 3, 2018
Time: 7:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: Hudsons Canadas Pub Shawnessey — 16061 MacLeod Trail SE
Cost: $11

The Office Christmas Trivia

What: The Office is famous (or should we say, infamous) for its Christmas hijinks whenever the holidays come around, and now you can prove just how dedicated of a fan you are at the Hudsons Office Christmas trivia night.

When: Monday, December 10, 2018
Time: 7:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: Hudsons Canadas Pub Shawnessey — 16061 MacLeod Trail SE
Cost: $11

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Christmas Edition

trivia

Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Facebook

What: NINE NINE! Anyone who has been bingeing this show lately has a chance at taking home the grand prize — so long as they were paying attention during the squads December episodes!

When: Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Time: 7:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: Hudsons Canadas Pub Crowfoot — 838 Crowfoot Crescent
Cost: $11

Elf Trivia

What: This one is a little easier to study for, as the 1 hour, 37-minute movie is a must-watch around this time of year anyway!

When: Monday, December 17, 2018
Time: 7:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: Hudsons Canadas Pub Shawnessey — 16061 MacLeod Trail SE
Cost: $11

The Office Trivia Night

What: Yet another chance to prove your mettle when it comes to the happenings at Dunder Mifflin, though this time it will encompass everything The Office — not just the Christmas episodes!

When: Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Where: Wurst — 2437 4th Street SW
Cost: $15

Cheer on the home teams

Calgary Flames

David-Rittich-1

Image: Calgary Flames / Twitter

What: The Flames continue their NHL season with December home games versus the Minnesota Wild (November 6), Vancouver Canucks (December 29), San Jose Sharks (December 31), and more

When: December 6, 8 12, 20, 22, 29 and 31, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome – 555 Saddledome Rise SE
Tickets: Online

Calgary Hitmen

What: The Hitmen bring WHL action to the Saddledome throughout December, with home games against Edmonton Oil Kings (December 1), Kelowna Rockets (December 14), Vancouver Giants (December 31), and more.

When: December 1, 2, 7, 9, 14, 16 and 30, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome – 555 Saddledome Rise SE
Tickets: Online

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