Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As recommended by health officials, if you choose to participate in events outside of your home, please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent handwashing. Additionally, be aware that many businesses and events may be participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program and will require proof of vaccine or a negative, privately paid COVID-19 test. If you are sick, please stay home.
It’s the final weekend of November, and there are lots of things to do in Calgary before we head into December and the holiday season.
The forecast is looking unseasonably nice, with a high of 14ºC expected on Sunday. Whether you want to get outside or opt to stay cozy indoors, there are plenty of activities to take part in.
Enjoy some dinner theatre, shop local at a holiday market, check out a frosty new festival, eat an incredible meal or two during the last weekend of Banff’s food festival, and much, much more.
Here are 20 of the best things to do in and around Calgary this weekend.
What: Find the perfect handmade gift at the virtual Show + Sale Holiday Art Market presented by Alberta University of the Arts Students’ Association (AUArts SA). Explore art as unique as you are at this online local holiday market showcasing @AlbertaUArts artists, designers, and craftspeople. Discover Calgary’s best-emerging artists, with all proceeds directly supporting local students.
When: Open for the holidays from November 27 through December 3, 2021.
Time: One week only online
Where: Online at www.showandsale.ca
What: Get taken back to the Summer of ’69 in this show inspired by the popular Bryan Adams song. Watch and listen to the story of peace, love, long hair, and music that would change the world, and enjoy a delicious meal alongside your entertainment at Jubilations Dinner Theatre.
When: October 23, 2021, to January 8, 2022
Time: Varies by date
Where: Jubilations Dinner Theatre (1002 37th Street SW, Calgary)
Cost: Starting at $69.95 for adults
What: Beyond Van Gogh has reopened its immersive exhibit in Calgary after a brief hiatus. Get up close and personal this month with Van Gogh’s work through larger-than-life projections of his paintings. To round out this experience of the senses, the exhibit is accompanied by the artist’s own words, set to a symphonic score.
When: October 23 to December 31
Time: Varies by day; timed reservations available online
Where: The BMO Centre on Stampede Park (20 Roundup Way SE)
Tickets: Starting at $33.99 for adults, available now
What: We’re not usually in a hurry for winter to start, but a new event in Calgary this month to celebrate the snowy season is making the transition a little easier. Although winter doesn’t officially kick off until December 21, the City of Calgary is holding FrostFest over in November to bring some excitement to our chilly evenings. The free event boasts carnival games, ice sculpture carving, dazzling light art displays, a DJ spinning tunes, a licensed warming cafe to enjoy a boozy beverage, and more.
When: November 26 to 28
Time: 4 to 9 pm
Where: Valleyview Park (3224 26th Street SE, Calgary) from November 19 to 21 and Sacramento Park (10404 Sacramento Drive SW) from November 26 to 28
Cost: FrostFest is a FREE event with no tickets or registration required
What: The National Music Centre’s Bell Live series features alt-pop artist Lucette performing this Saturday. Edmonton-bred Lucette’s self-described “country infused dream-pop” sound avoids the rootsy clichés of Americana music, and she will be joined by opener Kate Stevens, a dynamic R&B singer/songwriter.
When: November 27
Time: 8:30 pm
Where: King Eddy (438 9th Avenue SE, Calgary)
Cost: No cover
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What: This holiday season, Alberta Theatre Projects invites families back to their playhouse with the reimagining of a nostalgic classic. In Wonderland is based on Lewis Carroll’s beloved novels and features three artists portraying all the familiar characters. The play follows a young girl navigating the topsy-turvy world of social interactions and skirting the edges of adulthood.
When: November 23 to December 26
Time: Varies by performance; find available dates and times here
Where: Proscenium Stage, Martha Cohen Theatre (215 8th Avenue SE, Calgary)
Cost: Tickets available from $25
The International Christmas Market is back at Spruce Meadows, popping up over two weekends this holiday season. It will feature over 190 booths in Spruce Meadow’s Equi-Plex, Gallery on the Green Congress Hall, Horizons Pavilion, Twin Peaks Pavilion, and Courtyard. Shop tons of vendors, snack on some holiday goodies, take part in many, many photo ops, and enjoy limited, curated entertainment at the iconic Spruce Meadows event.
When: November 26 to 28, December 3 to 5
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Spruce Meadows
Admission: $12 for adults, $6 for children and seniors
What: A Calgary favourite, ZOOLIGHTS kicks off this month, transforming the zoo into a magical winter wonderland. Check out this event for all the family-friendly fun from November 19 to January, or get a sneak preview during an adults-only night on November 16.
When: November 19, 2021, to January 2, 2022
Time: 5 to 9 pm
Where: Calgary Zoo (210 St. George’s Drive NW, Calgary)
Cost: $21.95 for general admission, $14.95 for children
What: Want to get cultured from the comfort of your own couch? Incredible works from the winners of this year’s BMO 1st Art! competition are available to view virtually from anywhere through the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. See national winner Anna Kuelken’s Father Like Son piece, along with works 12 regional winners from across Canada.
When: November 16 to December 8
Where: View online virtually through the Art Museum at the University of Toronto
What: East Village is bringing snuggly vibes to Calgary with the return of its popular Hygge Hut this winter. The Scandinavian-style seasonal pop-up opened this past weekend in a new location, and it’s bigger and better than ever this year. Visitors will find the Hygge Hut in C-Square, at 4th Street and 7th Avenue SE with fire pits to warm up by, food trucks, live music, ice sculptures, and games, along with a jam-packed schedule of other community programming.
When: November 12, 2021, to March 2022
Time: Fires lit on Fridays from 2 to 7 pm and Saturdays, Sundays, and stat holidays from noon to 6 pm (weather permitting)
Where: C-Square (4th Street and 7th Avenue SE, Calgary)
Cost: FREE community programming
What: Fort Calgary has launched Otipemisiwak, an exhibition of contemporary visual art, to celebrate Métis Week (November 14 to 20) and remaining on display until June 2022. The exhibit showcases recent works by , a visual artist and plant scientist, using a photo-based technique that mirrors spectacular traditional Métis beading.
When: November 19, 2021, to June 26, 2022
Time: Fort Calgary hours (currently 11 am to 6 pm Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays)
Where: Fort Calgary (750 9th Avenue SE, Calgary)
Cost: $10 for general admission to Fort Calgary, or free for youth age 17 and under and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit community members
What: Join filmmaker Vicki Van Chau for the world premiere of Hearth of the Lion, and experience the Chinese lion dance and food that inspired the short film. The film will be preceded by Steps of the Lion, a short documentary directed by recent SAIT film graduate Suzy Chim. A lion dance performance and demonstration will accompany the film screenings, followed by a Q&A and a food tasting of the delicious Spicy Crab Pot featured in the short film.
When: November 27 and 28
Time: 7 to 9 pm on November 27 (doors at 6:15 pm) and 2:30 to 4:30 pm on November 28 (doors at 1:45 pm)
Where: Festival Hall (1215 10th Avenue SE, Calgary)
Cost: $13 general admission, $7 for children age 12 and under
Find Christmas Downtown celebrations at the CORE Shopping Centre
What: Downtown Calgary’s CORE Shopping Centre will feature a variety of festive events and activations this season. Highlights include live musical performances, a 45-foot Christmas tree, photo ops with Santa, and a 24-day countdown calendar of giveaways on Instagram. The CORE will also bring back its stunning 1959 GMC vintage truck, creating a sought-after Instagrammable backdrop for Calgary shoppers.
When: November 26 to December 31
Time: The shopping centre is open 11 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 pm on Sundays
Where: The CORE Shopping Centre – second level glass bridge (324 8th Avenue SW, Calgary)
Cost: The CORE’s holiday celebrations are free to partake in; however, the shopping centre is collecting monetary donations and items on behalf of The Mustard Seed
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What: One of Calgary’s favourite night markets is back with several holiday shopping events and live music through November and December. Inglewood Night Market’s holiday edition kicks off this weekend, hosting all of the locally sourced and handmade vendors you know and love, selling a wide variety of goods, from one-of-a-kind crafts to vintage clothing, antiques and collectibles, artisan eats, and much more.
When: November 26 and December 3
Time: 4 to 11 pm
Where: South Bank Building (880 9th Street SE, Calgary)
Visit Santa at Southcentre’s Enchanted Forest
What: Book a visit with Santa for a physically distanced photo at Southcentre Mall’s Enchanted Forest from November 13 to December 24. A special North Pole mailbox will also be available for children to send their holiday wish lists and letters to Mr. Claus. It’s important to note that to ensure physical distancing all visits with Santa must be booked in advance.
Additionally, from Monday to Saturday between November 13 and December 24, children with sensory sensitivities and mobility issues can experience the magic of visiting Santa from 9:30 to 10 am in a sensory-friendly environment. These visits must also be booked in advance.
Want your furry friend to get in on the festive fun too? From Monday to Saturday between November 13 and December 24, owners are invited to bring their pets to experience a “Paws with Claus” for a pre-booked photo opportunity with Santa from 8 to 9 pm.
When: November 13 to December 24
Time: 10 am to 8 pm
Where: Southcentre Mall (100 Anderson Road SE, Calgary)
Cost: Photo prices starting at $7
Taste for Adventure food festival in Banff
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What: As if irresistible specials and drool-worthy menus created by award-winning chefs weren’t enough, a month-long festival is pairing these foodie experiences with a stunning mountain backdrop. Taste for Adventure is back in Banff and Lake Louise this fall, with 19 participating restaurants offering unique fixed-price menus or value-added offers in the iconic Rockies.
When: November 1 to 28
Where: Multiple venues in Banff and Lake Louise; complete list here
Cost: Prices vary by restaurant/special
What: Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, celebrates its five-year anniversary with free admission every weekend through the rest of the year. Check out new and updated exhibits, catch instrument show-and-tells, and delve into the history of iconic Canadian musicians. Reserve your tickets online now.
When: Weekends until the end of 2021
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Studio Bell (850 4th Street SE, Calgary)
What: Want to do some shopping from the comfort of your own home while still supporting local? Etsy Calgary’s got you covered. Shop a broad selection of Etsy’s makers online from November 19 and 22, and then pick up your purchases in person the following weekend! The Click & Collect market makes holiday shopping super convenient, safe, and easy.
When: Shop online from November 19 to 22; pick up your purchase in person on November 27
Time: Pick up 11 am to 4 pm
Where: Order online; pick up at Golden Acre Home & Garden (620 Goddard Avenue NE, Calgary)
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What: Want to enjoy delicious baked goods while supporting a good cause? The Southcentre Mall Cookie Kitchen returns this year in support of Meals on Wheels, with treats made by the local bakery, Bakeri by Jess. Stop by the Cookie Kitchen to decorate a cookie in exchange for a donation to Meals on Wheels, and help the organization reach its $16,000 fundraising goal. Decorate your cookie onsite or take a decorating kit home.
When: November 12 to December 24
Time: Monday to Saturday from 9:45 am to 8 pm, Sundays from 10:45 am to 6 pm
Where: Located on the mall’s main level across from RW&Co, Southcentre Mall (100 Anderson Road SE, Calgary)
Cost: Cookie kits are purchased with a suggested donation of $2 each
What: Shop fine crafts and artwork by over 100 talented vendors and pick up holiday gifts for your loved ones (or yourself) at the Leighton Art Centre’s Christmas in the Country event. Beautiful decorations, gorgeous art, and the home’s historic ambiance combine to make visiting the centre a perfectly festive activity.
Prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home? Starting November 6, you can shop vendors online 24/7 at shop.leightoncentre.org.
When: Tuesday through Sunday from November 6 to December 22
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Leighton Art Centre (282027 144th Street West, Millarville)
Cost: Free parking and admission by donation; varies by purchase