October is officially over, the snow has been building up for over a week now, and Christmas displays are popping up left, right, and centre. You know what that means; the holiday season has finally arrived. Here come the days of fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, and binge watching all your favourite Christmas films. Are you as excited as we are?

One thing I've noticed about the cold weather, especially as I get older, is that it seems to bring people together. Millennials often refer to this time of year as "cuffing season" because so many of us find ourselves in relationships as the seasons change and the days get shorter. Maybe it's because we need someone to cuddle with through the colder months, or maybe it's because we want a boo to show off on Instagram while going on all kinds of cute dates.

If you're not looking to get cuffed this season, have no fear; you can still do all your favourite winter activities solo, or with your best friends! Calgary has an abundance of magical places to explore that will help you set the perfect mood for the upcoming holiday season, and hopefully get you in the spirit of giving.

We know that this time of year can be a financial strain on a lot of people, so we've split our date ideas up by price point, so that you can enjoy this winter, and stay in budget. Which of Calgary's best holiday spots will you explore? But first...

What's your budget?

Free 

$5 - $15

$15 - $30

$30 - $50

$50 - $100

For Free date ideas, click "Next".


Lions Festival of Lights

Where: Lions Park // Briar Hill

When: December 2nd - January 8th, from 6 pm to midnight nightly.

Why you should go: This is Calgary's largest free Christmas light show, comprised of over 300,000 lights. If you can't afford Zoolights, or want to check out more lights, this is your best bet. 

Website


Outdoor Skating

Where: Olympic Plaza // Downtown

When: Open from mid-November to mid-March.

Why you should go: Skate dates are a popular tradition for a lot of Calgary couples, so it's time for you to hop on the bandwagon. If you don't know how to skate, there's no time like the present to learn! You don't need to limit yourself to Olympic Plaza, as YYC has a lot of great outdoor rinks.

Website


Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Where: Anderson C-Train Station // Southwood

When: December 9th from 6:45 p.m to 7:45 p.m.

Why you should go: The Holiday Train comes once a year, and is sure to brightly light up your holiday season. The cost is free, but you can bring a donation for the local food bank in the spirit of giving.

Website


Tobogganing

Where: Any of Calgary's city maintained snow hills

When: As long as enough snow is on the ground.

Why you should go: You're never too old for a sledding session. Pick up a sled, bundle up, and hit the hills with your significant other, or your best friends. Afterwards, be sure to treat yourself to some warm Christmas snacks and hot chocolate.


Christmas Movie Marathon

Where: From the comfort of your cozy bed

When: Whenever you're feeling stressed this holiday season.

Why you should do it: What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by having a holiday marathon of all your favourites, like Elf, or Home Alone. Grab some snacks and your favourite warm drink, throw on your fuzziest socks and comfiest clothes, and start watching!

For $5 - $15 date ideas, click "Next".


Spruce Meadows Christmas Market

Where: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way // Spruce Meadows

When: November 17th - 19th, November 24th - 26th, and December 1st - 3rd. From 10 a.m to 8 p.m on Fridays, 10 a.m to 7 p.m on Saturdays, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m on Sundays.

Why you should go: Admission at the gate is just $12 a person, or $10 a person if you pay in advance. This small fee gets you access to over 300 vendors, selling everything from world-imported items to hand-crafted gifts; you'll definitely find something for everyone on your Christmas list.

Website


Once Upon a Christmas

Where: Heritage Park // Eagle Ridge

When: Weekends from November 25th to December 22nd and 23rd.

Why you should go: This event is a tradition for a lot of Calgarian Christmas fans. Check out winter wagon rides, Christmas carollers, and a visit with Old Saint Nick himself. You can also add brunch to your visit, but tickets sell out quickly, so you'll want to purchase them quickly!

Website


Millarville Christmas Market

Where: Millarville Race Track // Millarville

When: November 9th - 12th, 10 a.m to 5 p.m daily.

Why you should go: If you don't mind driving a bit outside of Calgary to get there, you'll want to check out the Millarville Christmas Market. Not only will there be an incredible variety of seasonal vendors, there's also lights, hay rides, glass blowing demonstrations, and carollers.

Website


Market Collective Cheer

Where: 1390 17th Ave SE // Inglewood

When: December 1st - 3rd, 4 p.m to 9 p.m on Friday, 10 a.m to 6 p.m on Saturday and Sunday.

Why you should go: In terms of Calgary markets, the Market Collective is always a favourite. Hosted in one of the cities most quaint and artsy neighbourhoods, this market features food trucks, live music, and an abundance of incredible vendors.

Website


Ugly Sweater Decorating

Where: At home!

When: Whenever you'd like.

Why you should go: If you're looking to stay active this season, what better way than to sign up for a 5km run? Even if you don't want to run, it's always fun to go out and watch everyone in their Christmas attire, and cheer them on. Registration is only $30, and is open until November 30th.

For $15 - $30 date ideas, click "Next".


Zoolights

Where: 210 St. George's Drive NE // Bridgeland

When: November 24th - January 8th, from 6 p.m to 9 p.m nightly.

Why you should go: Zoolights is something that should be on every Calgarian's winter bucket list. This year is the 20th anniversary, and it's going to be bigger and brighter than ever. Tickets are just $15, but that gets you access to all the light displays, a multitude of activities, and more.

Website


Festival of Crafts

Where: BMO Centre // Stampede Grounds

When: December 7th - December 10th, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m to 9 p.m, Saturday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m, and Sunday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

Why you should go: With over 250 vendors to choose from, you'll have no problem crossing off everyone on your Christmas shopping list. Everything from gourmet treats to home decor can be found here, all at super great prices.

Website


Night Skiing

Where: Mount Norquay Ski Resort // Banff

When: Mid-November to early April.

Why you should go: If you're down to make a day trip and explore somewhere magical, Mount Norquay is the perfect distance from Calgary. A night skiing pass is just $30 for adults, but if you're looking to ski during the day, you'll be paying about $70.

Website


Snowshoeing in Fish Creek 

Where: Fish Creek Provincial Park // Mountain Park

When: Whenever there's enough snow on the ground.

Why you should go: Snowshoeing is a super fun winter activity that keeps you active and gets you outdoors. If you don't have the proper gear, you can rent from the University of Calgary (website linked below). You don't have to limit yourself to Fish Creek, as Calgary has a ton of beautiful parks that you can explore this winter.

Website


Tube Park

Where: Acura Tube Park // Canada Olympic Park

When: Throughout the Winter season.

Why you should go: Take your winter sledding experience to another level, and check out the brand new Acura Tube Park at Canada Olympic Park. For $22 you can enjoy two hours of endless fun, and if that's not enough, pay $32 for four hours in the park.

Website

For $30 - $50 date ideas, click "Next". 


A Traditional Christmas by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Where: Grace Presbyterian Church // Beltline

When: November 30th at 7 p.m, December 1st at 7 p.m, and December 2nd at 2 p.m and 7 p.m.

Why you should go: If you're someone who appreciates classical music and Christmas carols, you won't want to miss this one. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Calgary Girl's Choir come together to put on a beautiful show full of holiday traditions. Tickets sell out quickly, but you can purchase them at the link below!

Website


Destination Christmas

Where: 6711 Macleod Trail SW // Kingsland

When: Open from November 12th, all through the holidays.

Why you should go: Destination Christmas is your number one stop for all your Christmas decorating needs. It's located conveniently close to Chinook, for those of you who want to get all your holiday shopping done in one go.

Website


Public Luge

Where: Winsport // Canada Olympic Park

When: 9 a.m to 3 p.m, seven days a week throughout the winter season.

Why you should go: How many times in your life are you going to get the opportunity to try luge? Winsport offers one ride for $30, or two rides for $50. You can also try your hand at bob sleighing, which is substantially more pricey, but still super fun.

Website


Dinner with a view at Sky 360

Where: Calgary Tower // Downtown

When: Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m to 9 p.m, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m to 10 p.m.

Why you should go: The Tower is always a local YYC favourite because the view is incredible, but in the winter, it gets even better. Enjoy a romantic dinner as you overlook the city, and all the pretty lights and sights to be seen.

Website


Santa Shuffle

Where: 200 Barclay Parade SW // Eau Claire

When: Saturday, December 2nd

Why you should go: If you're looking to stay active this season, what better way than to sign up for a 5km run? Even if you don't want to run, it's always fun to go out and watch everyone in their Christmas attire, and cheer them on. Registration is only $30, and is open until November 30th.

Website

For $50 - $100 date ideas, click "Next".


The Nutcracker

Where: Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium // Hillhurst

When: December 15th - December 24th, showtimes vary by day

Why you should go: The Nutcracker is a holiday favourite for a lot of people, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to see this classic live? Over 70 dancers work to tell this magical story that will keep you enchanted all night long.

Website


Calgary Flames Game

Where: Scotiabank Saddledome // Stampede Grounds

When: Games are happening all winter long!

Why you should go: Every Calgarian needs to experience a Flames game at least once, and who better to go with than your significant other? Throw on your jerseys, grab a few drinks, and cheer for your favourite team.

Website


Ski Day

Where: Sunshine Village // Banff 

When: All holiday season long!

Why you should go: If you want a bit of luxury along with your skiing experience, take the trip to Sunshine Village. $109 gets you a day pass, which includes access to a full day on the slopes.

Website


A Christmas Carol

Where: Max Bell Theatre // Downtown

When: November 23rd - December 24th, showtimes vary by day.

Why you should go: Another Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol is always popular amongst Calgarians during the holiday season. The show is put on by Theatre Calgary, and is wonderfully done every year. Get in the holiday spirit, while supporting local artists.

Website


Winter Spa Date

Where: Any of Calgary's luxurious spas

When: Whenever you're feeling stressed this holiday season.

Why you should go: This time of year can get particularly stressful for a lot of people, what with family problems, financial stress, work, and finals. Why not take a day to relax with your loved one at a spa? Whether you simply go for facials, or go all out with a massage package, chances are you'll feel much better afterwards.

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