I'm Obsessed With Christmas & These Are My 7 Favourite Spots In Ontario For Holiday Magic
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Christmas is hands-down my favourite time of year, and I'm so obsessed with this holiday that it's earned me the nickname "Christmas queen." But how can you not love twinkling lights, decked-out streets, and all those holiday treats?
There are so many magical places to go around Ontario during the Christmas season, but these are some of my very favourite spots. From small towns to giant festivals, these places give me all the holiday cheer, no matter how many times I've been.
Add these spots to your Christmas bucket list if you're looking for some festive magic this year.
Address: Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: The Christmas season in downtown Kingston is nothing short of magical, and I was lucky enough to experience four Christmases there while studying at university. The old-world streets and historic neighbourhoods shimmer with lights and snowflakes, and horse-drawn carriages trot through the streets.
One of my favourite things to do is skate at Springer Market Square and grab a hot chocolate afterwards at one of the many cafes.
There's also the massive Santa Claus Parade which rolls down Main Street and fills the city with a heart-warming energy.
Fairmont Royal York
Price: Prices vary.
Address: 100 Front St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: This luxurious hotel is even more grand during the holidays, and I always feel like a Christmas queen when visiting. I love watching the giant tree light up at the beginning of each Christmas season, as well as wandering through the life-sized gingerbread lane that smells like the holidays. Plus, the Thirsty Elf Bar is a must-visit for festive drinks.
Opening November 22 this year, the over-the-top holiday bar is a tiny but magical spot to celebrate Christmas. Everything from the decor to the glasses is festive, and you can sip everything from boozy gingerbread drinks to candy cane-flavoured beverages.
My personal favourite was the cocktail served in the moose glass from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
Holiday Magic at Blue Mountain Village
When: November 18, 2023 to January 8, 2024
Address: 156 Jozo Weider Blvd., The Blue Mountains, ON
Why You Need To Go: It doesn't get much prettier than a winter day spent at Blue Mountain Village. I always feel like I'm in Europe as I explore the twinkly streets, which are all decked out for the season. From the glittering light trail to the next-level hot chocolate from Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery, this spot is always on my holiday bucket list.
The one-kilometre illuminated stroll is worth braving the cold for. There are so many glowing displays, some of which are interactive. The scenery looks especially beautiful with a fresh layer of sparkling snow.
The Distillery Winter Village
Price: Free to $15+ per adult
When: Opening November 16, 2023
Address: 55 Mill St., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: It just doesn't feel like Christmas without a trip to the Distillery Winter Village, formerly the Toronto Christmas Market. While it can get a little too crowded for my liking during the evenings, the mornings or early afternoons are much more enjoyable. The little vendor cabins and dazzling decor always give me those warm and cozy holiday feels.
There's nothing more delightful than sipping a steaming cup of mulled wine and wandering through the historic village while carollers sing holiday classics.
This year, the village will have its biggest tree yet as well as a new ticketing system that allows you to skip the lines.
Address: Bayfield, ON
Why You Need To Go: What's more magical than a small-town Christmas?
This tiny Ontario town has major Hallmark vibes and I love strolling down the snowy streets and shopping for unique gifts at the local stores. It always makes for a beautiful winter day trip, and I feel like I'm a real-life Rory Gilmore every time I visit.
From November 17 to 19, you can enjoy the Christmas in Bayfield event. The celebration features a tree lighting ceremony, horse and carriage rides, outdoor fire pits, skating and more.
Price: To be announced
When: Select dates from December 2023 to January 2024
Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: Christmas at Casa Loma is honestly so enchanting, and how can it not be when it takes place at a castle? It's easy to forget that I'm in Toronto as I explore the festive hallways and twinkling garden trail. This event goes above and beyond every year, and there's so much to see I always feel like I need to go back for a second time.
Last year I loved the themed rooms, from the colourful candy-themed area to the aisle lined with massive nutcrackers. I also enjoy the little Christmas market in the courtyard with cute vendor cabins and a glistening light display.
Madeline at WinterFest.
Price: $29.99 + per adult
When: November 17, 2023 to January 6, 2024
Address: 1 Canada's Wonderland Dr., Vaughan, ON
Why You Need To Go: I always look forward to this holiday extravaganza. Canada's Wonderland looks completely different, with millions of lights, installations and festive scenes. Skating on Snow Flake Lake is a huge highlight, as well as all the holiday-themed food and drinks.
I mean, does it get much better than festive funnel cake?
The tree lighting ceremony puts me right in the Christmas spirit and it fills me with nostalgia to hear the live performers singing beloved holiday tunes.
Whether you're going with friends or a loved one, this spot is a super enchanting holiday destination.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
This article has been updated since it was originally published on November 26, 2022.