Here's what you need to know about Calgary's malls this holiday season

Dec 12 2019, 1:45 pm

The holidays have hit Calgary once again!

The weather is officially frightful, Santa and his merry helpers seem to be making more and more merry appearances, and the forecast is on track for a very white Christmas. But you know what this means…

It’s time to begin making a list, checking it twice, and braving the malls to get your Christmas shopping completed.

‘Tis the season for long line-ups, parking lot wars, overcrowded stores, and a general sense of mayhem everywhere you go in the vicinity of the city’s malls.

If this scenario is something that gives you panic chills and a deep feeling of anxiety, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Our mall survival guide will help you be strategic, miss the crowds, and finish your holiday shopping unscathed.

General Tips and Tricks

  • Shop in the “off hours” — first thing in the morning and the last two hours at night (preferably on weekdays).
  • Go online, search the directories, and scope out your purchases ahead of time.
  • Make a detailed list and budget and stick to it.
  • Don’t leave your shopping until the last minute; the earlier you start the less impromptu purchases will be made.
  •  Carpool to lessen the car count in the parking lot (and be kinder to the environment).
  • Try valet parking to avoid making those dreadful circles around the parking lot.
  • Whatever you do, don’t try to park at the main entrance.
  • Bring your own shopping bags and do your best to not overfill them.
  • Check every store’s return and exchange policies
  • Keep all your receipts to track your spending to make sure you don’t go over your budget!
  • Save yourself time (and money) by getting your gifts professionally wrapped at a marked station at any mall in the city. The proceeds generally go to help a charity in need, so really it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

General Mall Info

CF Market Mall

 

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Where: 3625 Shagganappi Trail

Holiday Hours:

  • Monday – Saturday: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Sunday: 10 am to 6 pm
  • Christmas Eve: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • Boxing Day: 8 am to 7 pm
  • New Year’s Eve: 9:30 am to 5 pm

Parking: 4,000 free spots outdoor and underground

Special Events:

Story-time with Santa

 

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What: The Santa experience is a classic tradition that has been a favourite for generations, but you can expect a little extra magic this holiday season at Market Mall. Kids will have the opportunity to join Santa for a 20-minute storytime experience, as he reads A Magical Canadian Christmas — a debut book written by Jackie Burns. Parents can purchase the book to take home this cherished holiday story and a part of the proceeds will go towards WE Charity. This immersive, limited-edition experience is only available at select CF locations across Canada. Book your spot with Santa here!

When: Now until December 24

  • Monday to Friday: 9:45 am to 8 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am to 5:15 pm
  • Sunday: 9:45 am to 5:15 pm

Price: $17 plus GST per ticket

CF Chinook Centre

 

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Where: 6455 Macleod Trail SW

Holiday Hours: 

  • Monday – Saturday: 9:30 am to 9:30 pm
  • Sunday: 10 am to 7 pm
  • Christmas Eve: 9:30 am to 5 pm
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • Boxing Day: 8 am to 9 pm
  • New Year’s Eve: 9:30 am to 5 pm

Parking:

  • Choose between eight parkades with thousands of spots to choose from. Check what the capacity of each parkade is here so you can easily plan your route into the mall.
  • Valet Parking: There are three valet parking services available at Chinook Centre. North between Nordstrom and Boston Pizza, South by Chapters, and in front of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Special Events:

Holiday Music Series

What: Spice up your annual holiday shopping trip with live festive music every week in the centre court by the holiday tree.

When: Now until December 19, every Thursday from 4 to 7 pm

Visit With Santa

What: Join Santa in his workshop, let him know what you’re wishing for this Christmas, make sure you’re on the nice list, and grab a jolly photo with the whole family by the tree. This is a holiday tradition that has lived on through generations and this year it will be more magical than ever. Avoid the line-ups and reserve your spot here.

When: Now until December 24

Where: On the main level, Bay Court

The CORE

 

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Where: Dome Tower 333 – 7th Avenue SW

Holiday Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday: 10 am to 8 pm
  • Sunday: 11 am to 6 pm
  • Christmas Eve: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • Boxing Day: 8 am to 6 pm
  • New Year’s Eve: 10 am to 5 pm

Parking: 

  • There are two onsite parking lots:
    • Holt Renfrew Parkade: Located under Hold Renfrew on 8 Avenue between 4 Street and 5 Street.
    • The CORE Parkade: Located on 4 Street between 8 Avenue and 7 Avenue.
    • Additional street parking is available in Downtown Calgary.
  • Parking is FREE on weekdays after 3 pm.
  • On weekends parking is FREE for the first three hours and then a $2 flat rate applies.

Special Events: 

Daily Holiday Performances

What: Enjoy festive live entertainment in the heart of the CORE as you get your holiday shopping completed once and for all. From dance acts to choirs to roaming performers, you can expect magical performances from groups of all ages from around the city. See the full list of performance schedule here.

When: Now until December 23

  • Everyday from 12 to 1 pm

Get your Photo Taken with Santa

What: Gather around for storytime with Santa amidst a forest of Christmas Trees in the center of the mall. Then grab a photo with the jolly man of the hour, share them on your smartphone using the hashtag #FindChristmasDowntown, and you’ll get a free printed copy of your picture. Photos with Santa are complimentary to your shopping experience and all donations will go toward helping The Magic of Christmas.

When: Now until December 22

Southcentre Mall

 

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Where: 100 Anderson Road SE

Extended Holiday Hours: 

  • December 14: 9 am to 9 pm
  • December 15: 10 am to 6 pm
  • December 20: 9 am to 9 pm
  • December 21: 9 am to 8 pm
  • December 22: 10 am to 8 pm

Parking: Ample parking available around the entire mall.

Special Events: 

Paws with Claus

What: Bring your pet (paws only) for a visit with the one-and-only Kris Kringle in support of AARCS. From every photo pack, $5 will go towards AARCS this holiday season. Reserve a spot for you and your furry friend here.

When: December 8

Women’s Centre Donation

What: The best part of the holidays is giving! Help make Christmas for a Calgarian family in need by dropping off a new or gently used toy for the Women’s Centre. Get inspired by the various gift ideas for women and children here.

Where: The donation bin is on the lower level by guest services.

Holiday Gift Guide

What: Need help finding the perfect gift for every type of person on your list? Whether they’re a foodie, a sports lover, a trendsetter, or an all-around wildcard — Southcentre has got you covered. Check out this beautiful holiday gift guide and scout out your purchases BEFORE you hit the mall.

CrossIron Mills

 

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Where: 261055 Crossiron Blvd, Rocky View

Holiday Hours: 

  • December 14 – 23: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Christmas Eve: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Christmas Day: Closed
  • Boxing Day: 8 am to 8 pm
  • New Year’s Eve: 10 am to 6 pm

Getting There: 

  • CrossIron Mills sits on the outskirts of the city in Balzac, by Airdrie. As a result, it can be a bit of a trek depending on what area of the city you live in.
  • Holiday Shopping Shuttle: Hop on the shuttle from various locations throughout the city and arrive at the mall safe and hassle-free. There’s no need to worry about traffic or parking so it will get your shopping trip started off on the right foot.
  • Transit: Airdrie Transit I.C.E Bus provides daily transportation between Airdrie, Calgary, and the mall.
  • Route 900: This route runs from two stops in South Airdrie to CrossIron Mills to Peter Lougheed Centre and Rundle Station LRT in Calgary and back. The Airdrie stops are South bound Main Street at Sierra Springs Dr. (WalMart) and North bound Sierra Springs Dr. near the Co-Op Gas Bar.
  • Parking: There is ample parking around the outskirts of the mall. Find your car using this app.

Special Events: 

Enchanted Winterland

What: Explore a glistening light-filled forest as you look to the stars and dream big this holiday season. Download the Enchanted Wonderland App and head out on a hunt to unlock a collection of sparkling animal constellations scattered throughout the mall by simply scanning the QR code at each location. After collecting 10 constellations you will receive a $10 CrossIron Mills gift card and an Enchanted Wonderland advent calendar. If you’re lucky you’ll be one of the recipients of 20 calendars that will land you a mini Google Home courtesy of Telus.

When: Now until December 31
Where: In the hallways leading to the food hall.