December has arrived and the holidays are officially upon us. Instead of talking about all the holiday activities we'd do this year but never following through, we came up with a to-do list to keep you on track. Even better, they're totally free. We've rounded up a bucket list of the most festive free things to do in Alberta in December and we hope you do every single one.
This list contains things like beautiful Christmas light displays, fun outdoor activities, markets, festivals, and a whole lot more.
Instead of being a Scrooge about the festive music and holiday hustle, you might as well lead into it with as much Christmas spirit as possible.
We've got more good news. Winter in Alberta is predicted to be milder than usual, with more snow than usual. That means bluebird skies, snow-topped mountains, and those glorious Albertan winter days we all live for.
This list includes things to do in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and more. No matter where you're located, these are definitely worth the road trip.
Grab your pals, your S/O, or your family and take them on a December adventure they will never forget. Christmas is coming, so let's do it right, Alberta!
Go See the Churchill Square Christmas Tree
When: Now until Wednesday, January 8
Address: Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, AB
Why You Need To Go: If you love Christmas, you'll adore this beauty. The giant white spruce Christmas tree stands 23 meters tall, weighs over 6,000 pounds, and twinkles with more than 8,000 LED lights.
Holidays on 17th
When: Saturday, December 7
Address: 17 Ave. & 8 St. SW, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: You can join in on some wholesome holiday fun right in the heart of downtown Calgary. There will be live music, games, giveaways, a petting zoo, free warm drinks, and so much more.
Explore the Chateau Lake Louise
When: Sunday, December 22 to Sunday, January 5
Address: 111 Lake Louise Dr., Lake Louise, AB
Why You Need To Go: People come from around the world to see Lake Louise in all its splendour. The magic only intensifies during the holidays. Take part in tons of free events and activities, take in the beautiful surroundings, and explore the iconic, castle-like hotel.
Drive Through the Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows
When: Sunday, December 8 to Sunday, January 5
Address: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way., SWCalgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: Each year, Spruce Meadows lights up with stunning holiday lights. You can drive through the grounds starting and the main entrance and weaving through the property, exiting on the west side.
Santa Shredz For Free
When: Wednesday, December 25
Address: Mt. Norquay, Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: No plans on Christmas? You're in luck. Norquay is offering free skiing in celebration of the holidays and you might as well shred the day away in the Rockies.
Head Out to K-Country for Merry Kananaskis
When: Friday, December 20 to Saturday, January 4
Address: 1 Centennial Dr. Kananaskis Village, AB
Why You Need To Go: The Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is will be holding a ton of free holiday events and activities out in beautiful Kananaskis Country. Hang out with reindeer, enjoy fireside moments, and so much more.
Catch the CP Holiday Train on its Way Through
When: Thursday, December 5 to Wednesday, December 11
Address: Multiple locations
Why You Need To Go: The CP Rail holiday train is making its way through Alberta this month and you do not want to miss it. There will be several stops throughout the province and it might just be rolling through your neighbourhood.
Visit the Iconic Fairmont Banff Springs
When: Now until Sunday, January 5
Address: 405 Spray Ave., Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: During the holidays, the Banff Springs blows up with Christmas cheer and it will make you feel like you've stepped into The Christmas Prince. With tons of free activities and beautiful sites every day, you'll want to move right in.
Miracle on First Street Christmas Bar
When: Now until Tuesday, December 24
Address: Proof Cocktail Bar, 1302 1 St. SW, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: Head over to Proof Cocktail Bar to enjoy an over-the-top Christmas display for merriment with a side of cocktails right up until Christmas Eve.
A Whyte Christmas Open House
When: Saturday, December 7
Address: 111 Bear St., Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is celebrating Christmas with a free open house for the community. You’ll find craft, carols, snacks, and of course, beautiful works of art and history.
Go Ice Skating at Olympic Plaza
When: All winter
Address: 228 8 Ave. SE, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: Olympic Plaza is nothing short of magic around the holidays. If you're a fan of ice skating, you might as well do it surrounded by Calgary's gorgeous skyline.
Bankers Hall Magical Curtain of Light
When: Now until the new year
Address: 315 8 Ave. SW, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: If you're in need of a Christmas spirit boost, this stunning light display will definitely do the trick. Go down to Bankers Hall to see it for yourself.
Calgary Holiday Night Market
When: Friday, December 6, 13, & 20
Address: Eau Claire Market, 200 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: There's nothing that screams Christmas quite like a holiday market. The Calgary Night Market hosts a series of wonderful holiday markets in December that you don't want to miss.
Christmas in Kensington
When: Now until Sunday, December 22
Address: Kensington, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: The enchanting neighbourhood of Kensington, Calgary will be celebrating the holidays with several free activities including horse and wagon rides, a petting zoo, and more.
Banff Carols in the Park
When: Saturday, December 14
Address: Banff Avenue Square, Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: There is nothing like strolling the streets of Banff around the holidays. Especially when you can listen to carolers singing right on Banff Ave. Pop by and check it out for yourself.
Skate on Abraham Lake
Address: Abraham Lake, Clearwater County, AB
Why You Need To Go: Just outside of Edmonton, Abraham Lake is known for its unique ice pattern and beautiful surroundings. There's something about ice skating that makes it truly feel like the holidays are here.