Whether we like it or not, winter is just around the corner. In fact, if you live in Alberta, it’s basically already here because we don't ever get the fabled season called "fall." But, just because the weather outside is cold, that doesn’t mean the fun adventures have to stop. And what’s better, the fun doesn’t have to come with a steep price tag either. There is so much free winter fun in Alberta that will totally make winter the hottest season yet.
Alberta is blessed with some truly breathtaking natural wonders that you’re free to explore in any season, but they take on a whole new life when they're covered in snow. From lakes with beautiful frozen bubbles to the vibrant Northern Lights, winter is the season to take advantage of all Alberta has to offer. Plus, there are so many free festivals with enchanting lights and mesmerizing sculptures that it’ll be tough to decide what to do first.
There’s no denying how awesome winter can be, but there’s also a few well-heated indoor escapes on this list as well if you seriously hate the cold. Give your bank account some rest and start planning that free winter bucket list ASAP.
Silver Skate Festival
When: February 7 to February 17, 2020
Address: Hawrelak Park, 9330 Groat Rd. NW, Edmonton, AB
Why You Need To Go: You can tour truly breathtaking ice castles, watch as fire sculptures light up the night, take in beautiful snow sculptures, cheer the speed-skaters along, and so much more.
Visit Abraham Lake
Address: Clearwater County, AB
Why You Need To Go: Abraham Lake is always a beautiful sight to take in, but when the lake freezes over, it transforms into a true work of art. Incredible bubbles caused by methane gas form underwater and it's simply breathtaking.
Watch The Northern Lights
When: Typically from October to March
Address: Fort McMurray, AB
Why You Need To Go: The Aurora Borealis is one of the most beautiful naturally occurring spectacles in the world. You can witness the Northern Lights for yourself on clear, cold nights in Fort McMurray and dozens of other places in Alberta.
Price: Free on select days
When: January 15 to January 26, 2020
Address: Lake Louise, AB
Why You Need To Go: You can wander through a garden of frozen ice sculptures and castles at Ice Magic this winter and it really is magical.
Skating at Prince's Island Park
Address: 698 Eau Claire Ave. SW, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: You can enjoy free skating and beautiful Christmas light displays in downtown Calgary. The park is also a great spot for cross country skiing as well.
The Flying Canoë Volant
When: January 30 to February 1
Address: 8627 91 St., Edmonton, AB
Why You Need To Go: This event is designed to celebrate a long winter night and is as historic as it is beautiful. You can enjoy lights, music, canoe races through the snow, and more.
Escape to Devonian Gardens
Address: 333 7 Ave. SW, 4th floor, Calgary, AB
Why You Need To Go: If harsh winter temperatures have you feeling like the Grinch, don't worry. You can escape the cold in Alberta's lush indoor garden. You'll forget all about the snow outside when you wander Devonian Gardens. You'll see hundreds of trees, a living wall, and as many plants as your heart can handle.
Tour The West Edmonton Mall
Price: Free entry
When: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Address: 8882 170 St. NW, Edmonton, AB
Why You Need To Go: Another perfect escape from the cold is the iconic West Edmonton Mall. While there is plenty of paid fun to be had, simply getting in from the cold and looking at all the incredible attractions can be just as much fun, and it's free to boot. Plus, you never know what kind of free events might be going on.