23 FREE things to do in Calgary in January

Dec 28 2018, 1:24 am

Blow your budget over the holidays? We’re here to help with our list of 23 FREE events happening in Calgary this January. Check out Ice Magic Festival, Olympic Plaza ice skating, and more.

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

See also

Explore the city

Roasterie Tour – Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

coffee

Coffee/Shutterstock

What: This 20-minute tour gives attendees a look at Phil & Sebastian’s vintage retro-fitted roaster and operations, plus learn about their green coffee sourcing strategies.

When: Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Time: 12:15 to 12:35 pm
Where: Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters – 618 Confluence Way Southeast, Calgary
Tickets: Online, Free

Race Issues: A Comic Series Art Exhibit

What: Over the past year, artist Eman Elkadri has been working on a comic series about the experiences of racialized youth living in Canada. See 40 unique comics about microaggressions, hear from Eman about her inspiration, as well as hear from some of the youth she worked with, plus learn more about what attendees can do. Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation will also be launching the Race Issues publication (thanks to a partnership with ActionDignity Youth PLACE Program).

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: The New Gallery – 208 Centre St. SE, Calgary
Tickets: Online, Free

Beers & Cameras

What: Join The Camera Store for the first Beers and Cameras meet-up of 2019. The event starts at Merchants at 6 pm, followed by a short photo walk to Marda Loop Brewing at 8 pm. Everyone is welcome.

When: Thursday, January 3, 2019
Time: 6 to 9 pm
Where: Merchant’s Restaurant – 2118 33 Avenue Southwest, Calgary; Marda Loop Brewing – 3523 18 St SW, Calgary
Tickets: Online, Free

Visual Arts Open Lecture: Fatimah Tuggar

What: The Visual Arts Lecture Series presents talks by leading Canadian and international artists, curators and academics. Fatimah Tuggar, guest faculty for the Digital Promises program, is the featured speaker.

When: Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Time: 4 pm
Where: Banff Centre – Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Bldg, 204 – 107 Tunnel Mountain Dr, Banff
Register: Online, Free

Drawn to Nature at the Banff Public Library

What: Participants of all ages and levels of experience are invited to sketch and draw at Banff Centre’s free ongoing beginner-level drawing workshops. Join esteemed Teaching Artist in Residence Janice Tanton to explore different materials and techniques for mark making in this facilitated class. All classes encourage artistic exploration and conversation about the ways in which we interact with the cultural and geological landscapes of Banff National Park. The drawings and sketches produced from these sessions are invited to display in a Community Exhibition at the end of the year.

When: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Time: 5:30 pm
Where: Banff Public Library – 101 Bear St, Banff
Register: Online, Free

The Hangover – HUMPDay HOUSE Party

What: A night of House music at Habitat Living Sound with OH FUNK and featuring Prairie Chola Ayatollah and Dj Dramatik. Hosted by J9Productions.

When: Every Wednesday night
Time: 9 pm to 2:15 am
Where: Habitat Living Sound – 1217 1st Street SW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Deep Freeze: a Byzantine Winter Festival

What: The 12th annual Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival features artistic panache and authentic cultural and heritage winter games and fun. This year, Saturday will be Ukrainian Cultural Day and Sunday will be Francophone Cultural Day, with Indigenous performances all weekend long. After the fireworks on Saturday evening, several Festival Stages will feature special world music performances until 10 pm.

When: Saturday, January 12 to Sunday, January 13, 2019
Time: 12 to 10 pm (Saturday), 12 to 6 pm (Sunday)
Where: Alberta Avenue – 118 Avenue NW & 91 Street, Edmonton, Alberta
Admission: Free, donations accepted

Library Screening Series – Destiny at New Central Library

What: Calgary Cinematheque presents Library Screening Series, a screening of the film along with a short lecture and guided discussion of its cultural and artistic significance. Destiny by Egyptian director Youssef Chahine tells a story of political intrigue and sectarian tensions revolving around 12th century Arab Andalusian philosopher Averröes.

When: Sunday, January 13, 2019
Time: 2 to 5 pm
Where: New Central Library — 800 3rd Street SE, Calgary
Tickets: Online, Free

Free First Thursday

january 3

Glenbow Museum / Facebook

What: Explore the Glenbow Museum at your leisure for FREE on the first Thursday of every month.

When: The first Thursday of every month
Time: 5 pm to close
Where: Glenbow Museum – 130 9th Avenue SE
Admission: Free

Healthy Entertaining Series – Mexican Theme

What: Community Natural Foods’ Healthy Entertaining Series begins with a Mexican theme. Join Chef Shane Rutledge as he demonstrates how to cook a fabulously healthy Mexican themed dinner complete with samples and recipes including both vegan and gluten-free options.

When: Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Time: 7 to 8:30 pm
Where: Community Natural Foods – 1304 10 Avenue Southwest, Calgary
Tickets: Online, Free

Banff Musicians in Residence Open Concert Featuring Brendan Canning

What: Join Brendan Canning and participants from theBanff Musicians In Residence program for an evening of musical exploration.

When: Friday, January 25, 2019
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: The Club at The Banff Centre – St Julien Way, Banff
TicketsOnline, free

Esker Foundation

What: Esker Foundation connects the public to contemporary art through relevant, accessible, and educational exhibitions, programs, and publications. The gallery reflects on current developments in local, regional, and international culture; creates opportunities for public dialogue; and supports the production of groundbreaking new work, ideas, and research. Admission is free. The gallery is barrier-free.

When: Open Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed Mondays
Time: Various times
Where: Esker Foundation – 4th Floor – 1011 9th Ave SE, Calgary
Admission: Free

Silver Springs 13th Annual LEGO Competition

What: View LEGO at its best made from people in the Silver Springs community ages two to 102. For those who love LEGO, why not join in the LEGO Completion. Space is limited so get your entry in early.

When: Saturday, January 26, 2019
Time: Public viewing from 12 to 2 pm
Where: 5720 Silver Ridge Drive NW
Price: $5 entry fee to build (register online), free entry for public viewing

Holiday Lights

Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows

December 24

Spruce Meadows / Facebook

What: This two-kilometre 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: Now to Sunday, January 6, 2018
Time: 5 to 10 pm
Where: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, Calgary
Admission: Free

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: Now to Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Time: 6 pm to midnight daily
Where: Confederation Park – 14th Street NW, north of 24th Avenue, Calgary
Admission: Free

Get Outside

2nd Annual Outdoor Skating Party

What: Brentwood Community Association’s 2nd annual outdoor skating party features free hot chocolate and treats.
Plus the KidSport Mobile Shake Shack will be there to supply skates and helmet in various sizes.

When: Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Time: 1 to 3 pm
Where: Brentwood Community Association Outdoor Rink – 5107 33 Street NW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Ice Magic Festival Banff 2019

What: The Ice Magic Festival in Banff is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Running 12 days long from January 16 to 27, the Ice Magic Festival hosts 10 teams of two in a competition to create the most stunningly shiny work of frozen art. The artwork will then be on display until the end of the festival on January 27, accompanied by live DJs and nighttime lighting displays. Snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, and sleigh riding could also fill your days – while you aren’t sitting cozily by the fire, that is – as Banff is home to many great wintertime activities.

When: Wednesday, January 16 to Sunday, January 27, 2019
Time: Times vary, check schedule for details
Where: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – 111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise
Tickets: Weekdays are free, tickets for weekend can be found online for $9.99

Winter ice skating at Olympic Plaza

november 24

Skating at Olympic Plaza (danielaislas/Instagram)

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: Now to mid-March
Time: 10 am to 9 pm, Weather dependent
Where: Olympic Plaza – 228 8th Avenue SE
Admission: Free. Skates are also available for rent – $12 for adults

Eat fresh at Farmers’ Markets

Calgary Farmers’ Market

What: Explore over 80 vendors supplying customers with fresh local produce, meat, poultry, international food, organic goods, jewelry, art and more. Whether it’s the arrival of fresh produce or fun events, there’s always something happening at the Market.

When: Reopening January 3, 2019. Open year round from Thursday to Sunday
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Address: 510 77 Avenue SE
Admission: Free

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

Sunalta Community Mobile Food Market

What: The Community Mobile Food Market is bringing budget-friendly fruits, vegetables, and other produce to Sunalta on a weekly basis. Come hang out, pick up some groceries, and talk with their team. Everyone welcome, and please bring your own reusable bags.

When: Every Wednesday
Time: 4 to 6 pm
Where: Sunalta Community Association – 1627 10 Ave SW, Calgary
Admission: Free

Crossroads Market

What: Enjoy farm-fresh produce and tasty treats plus lost of unique finds from the large variety of vendors.

When: Fridays to Sundays
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Crossroads Market – 1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary
Admission: Free

The Mercantile at Symons Valley Ranch

What: The Mercantile at Symons Valley Ranch features over 35 vendors under one roof over one counter. Crafts, food vendors, and more.

When: Fridays to Sundays
Time: 10 am to 6 pm (Fridays), 10 am to 5 pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Where: Symons Valley Ranch – 14555 Symons Valley Road
Admission: Free

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