Christmas is just around the corner! If you're wondering where to spend Christmas in Canada this year, we've rounded up the best spots in the country for a magical holiday.
Whether you want a classic white Christmas or a snow-free December 25, these spots are filled with festive fun like Christmas markets, twinkling light displays and winter activities.
From picturesque small towns to quaint ski villages and bustling cities, here are the best places to spend Christmas in Canada, according to Narcity's travel team.
Why You Need To Go: Senior Creator Lisa Belmonte recommends the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake as a holiday destination.
Nestled in the Niagara Region just minutes away from Niagara Falls, the picturesque spot is known for its old-town charm.
"It’s like being in a small town from a Christmas movie," she says. "[It's] even more magical at night with the Christmas lights (especially when there’s snow)."
Here, you can wander through the historic Heritage District and peruse quaint boutiques and antique shops as well as charming bistros and restaurants.
The Victorian-era Prince of Wales Hotel is a beautiful place to stay, and has even created its own winter wonderland complete with sparkling lights, holiday music, festive snacks, an ice rink, warming fire pits and holiday movies under the stars.
In town, you can admire the dreamy Christmas decor and even go on a horse-drawn carriage ride.
Location: British Columbia
Why You Need To Go: Senior Travel Writer Morgan Leet recommends Victoria, B.C., as the perfect holiday destination for those who want to "escape the snow."
"It’s the no-snow city of Canada so you don't have to worry about bad weather," she says. In fact, the city has mild weather (some of the mildest in the country) year-round, with temperatures of five to eight degrees, on average, in January.
But the lack of snow definitely doesn't make for a lack of festivity.
"The government building there is all lit up and the waterfront is decorated," notes Leet.
For more holiday activities, you can check out the stunning Butchart Gardens, which are lit up for the season starting in December, shop for gifts along the city's cobblestone streets, and enjoy Christmas cocktails at a cozy pub or lounge.
Why You Need To Go: Leet also loves St. John's, Newfoundland, as a holiday destination.
"I’ve gone for Christmas a few times because my dad lives there and it’s so beautiful, even in the winter," she says.
"The weather can be rough but it’s a very East Coast vibe that comes alive at Christmas. The colourful houses, like on Jellybean Row, add to the festive vibe [and] you can go to all the pubs there and hear live music."
For more festive vibes in the city, you can check out the many holiday light displays around town, sip hot chocolate and listen to choirs sing at the Merry & Bright Light Festival, and take in a festival of music and lights.
"There’s also great food. Plus the people are so kind and welcoming — it’s just a great holiday atmosphere," says Leet.
Why You Need To Go: Associate Travel Editor Madeline Forsyth says that visiting Blue Mountain Village in Ontario makes her feel like she's "wandering through a European Christmas town."
Blue Mountain Village is a classic holiday destination in the province, framed by turn-of-the-century architecture with cobblestoned streets decked out in twinkling lights.
"There are so many cozy shops and restaurants to visit," says Forsyth. "I love the illuminated trail that wraps around the pond and features tons of festive photo ops. Plus, the hot chocolate from Royal Majesty Espresso is must try."
Part of the Blue Mountain ski resort, you'll also find incredible skiing and snowboarding here, as well as a Nordic spa perfect for aprés ski relaxation.
Why You Need To Go: Forsyth also recommends Bayfield, Ontario, as a Christmas destination.
"Bayfield is like a mini Hallmark town and it’s so magical during the Christmas season," she says.
"The little shops have so many unique gifts and the historic buildings add to the holiday atmosphere. There are lots of decorations scattered throughout the area as well as a Christmas event complete with cozy fire pits and more."
The charming village is about 2 hours and 40 minutes from Toronto, making it easy for a road trip.
If you've ever wanted to step right into a Hallmark movie, the cute town should definitely be on your list.
You'll find one-of-a-kind boutique shopping, unique restaurants, and twinkling lights in the town around Christmas time.
Why You Need To Go: Narcity's Senior Travel Editor Helena Hanson describes Montebello, Quebec as "just so magical and sparkly!"
The town located 1 hour from Ottawa is a charming spot to enjoy outdoor activities and quaint local shopping.
"It snows often and there are so many sweet, cozy things to do there when it's snowy and festive," she says.
"You can visit Omega Park and see all the animals enjoying the cold weather and playing in the snow, then warm up beside the giant central roaring fire at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello and admire all of the sparkling Christmas decor and tasty festive snacks."
Montebello is also home to the Marché de noël de Montebello, or Montebello Christmas Market, where you can shop from a variety of local products, both gourmet and artisanal, and enjoy magical European-inspired Christmas decor.
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for a place to visit in Canada that screams Christmas, look no further than Quebec City.
The city is known as the top Christmas destination in the country, with tons of festive things to do and see.
One iconic spot in the city around the holidays is rue du Petit Champlain, a street adorned with Christmas decor and twinkling lights that looks like something out of a Hallmark movie.
The street is one of the oldest commercial streets in North America, and is lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques and cute restaurants, and makes you feel like you're strolling the streets of a European town.
Quebec City is also known for its classic German Christmas market that runs throughout December in Old Quebec.
The traditional European Christmas market has colourful lights and wooden kiosks where you can purchase gifts, holiday decor and German treats like pretzels and mulled wine.
Other festive spots to check out in the city include the Place D'youville, where you can enjoy outdoor skating surrounded by lights, and the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, which is decked out in Christmas decor for the holiday season and makes for a great place to base your trip.
Why You Need To Go: My other pick isn't a cute small town or charming European city. It's good old Toronto.
Toronto is frequently cited as one of the best places in Canada for a festive Christmas, and there's a good reason why.
The city comes alive around the holidays, with tons of festive events and wintery things to do. Here, you'll find one of the world's best Christmas markets, the Distillery Winter Village, which features tons of twinkling lights, holiday shopping and treats.
You can also visit an outdoor winter wonderland at Winterfest at Canada's Wonderland, which is located nearby.
The city hosts tons of other Christmassy experiences like holiday markets, an art-crawl Christmas market and entertainment like holiday musicals and the Nutcracker ballet.
You can also enjoy ice skating at one of the many rinks in the city, including the iconic Nathan Philips Square, which is beautifully lit during the season.
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.