The holidays can really put a dent into that savings account, and if it’s already starting to feel like there’s a few new holes in your pockets, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a list of all the free things to do around Calgary this weekend in the lead up to the most merry day of the year.
…Though we don’t blame you if you splurge on a hot chocolate or three, because it’s gonna be cold out there.
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- Calgary weather this weekend will be sunny, but VERY cold
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- 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
- Cost: Free
- 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!
- What: Western Canada’s biggest outdoor Christmas light walk, the Airdrie Festival of Lights, will run every day in December from 6 to 9 pm.
- When: December 1 to December 31
- Time: 6 to 9 pm
- Where: Nose Creek Park – 1701 Main Street S, Airdrie
- Admission: By cash donation; parking is free
- 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
- 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!
- 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 77th Avenue SW
- Admission: Free
- 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!
- When: Saturday, December 23 – Die Hard
- Time: 3:30 pm
- Where: The Plaza Theatre – 1133 Kensington Road NW
- Admission: By donation
- What: Take in the crisp outdoor air and the picturesque views as you march your way through the many trails in and around the Calgary area – plus, it’s a great workout! If your are of an inner city roamer check out Fish Creek Park Or Nose Hill for some fantastic trails close to home. If you’re interested in taking a drive out to the Rockies, Canmore, Bragg Creek and Banff all boast unreal trail paths that lead to some magical destinations. Be sure to check trail reports before heading out and dress for the weather!
- What: This fun outdoor winter activity is one that the whole family can enjoy – no one said it was reserved for children! Bundle up and grab your sled to head to one of the many city-maintained hills for a fun, snowy adrenaline filled afternoon. Don’t forget your helmet!
- See a list of city-maintained hills here.
- 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
Bake some Christmas cookies
- What: Create something delicious this weekend by firing up the oven and baking some Christmas cookies. Santa will be expecting them, after all!
- When: Anytime this weekend
- Where: Your kitchen (or your friend’s)
- Cost: Baking ingedients
- What: Get the gang together and celebrate the holidays dressed in tacky sweaters, while drinking cheap wine and eating delicious homemade Christmas goodies! To save you both time and money make it a potluck, so there will be lots of food to go around – and the leftovers are a bonus. After the food is consumed and your bellies are full, you can play board games, do a $5 gift exchange or just hang out and chat. The main thing is that you are spending quality time together making wonderful memories, rather than spending money on gifts that no one can really afford.