It’s happening! The holiday season is upon us, Alberta. There are way too many amazing events and activities unfolding around the province this month for anyone to keep track of on their own. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up a list of incredible, holiday-themed happenings so you can do it all. Mark your calendars and get ready for an unforgettable December!
Granary Road Christmas Market
Located in Foothill County, Granary Road knows how to do Christmas right. With over 70 local artisan vendors and makers, you can’t get more festive than this. Enjoy Christmas carols and beautifully decorated trees as you shop the wide variety of booths.
There are endless things to do, eat, and buy. From breakfast with Santa to cozy wagon rides, alpaca photos to s’more making, and so much more. You and your family will adore this magical experience.
Rotary Club of Canmore Festival of Trees
From December 2nd to 31st, The Malcolm Hotel will transform into a holiday dreamscape. The community-based holiday celebration includes tons of uniquely-decorated Christmas trees, special events, and activities for the entire family. It’s free to view and walk through the enchanting forest of trees.
Torque Raceway: Magic of Lights
The RAD Torque Raceway at Edmonton International Airport is transforming into a 2.5 km festive light display. The “drive-through” experience lets you take in the magic of the twinkling lights from the comfort of your car.
Over 1 million lights are dancing just for you. Taking place until January 1st, you do not want to miss out on this illuminated masterpiece.
Luminaria: A Winter Garden Story
Alberta’s largest botanic garden brings all of the winter magic for you to enjoy. The University of Alberta Botanic Garden will feature festive lights, food and drink, firepits, candle-lined pathways, and more. Open until the end of December. You need to experience this for yourself.
Leduc Country Lights
This beautiful light display will be opening in the evenings until December 31st. Leduc’s favourite Christmas tradition, this awe-inspiring attraction has been taking place for over 15 years. At just 2$ per person, you get the pleasure of immersing yourself in an eight-acre light show. Run by volunteers and perfect for folks of all ages, you’re going to love this.
Another impressive drive-thru light display, Borealis Lights takes place in St. Albert. Running every night until January 8th, you get to marvel at over 800,000 twinkling lights. You and your family or friends can drive slowly through this lovely attraction, stopping to take in the bright and beautiful displays and take photos, so you never forget just how beautiful it was.
In Search of Christmas Spirit
Banff’s Cascade of Time Garden becomes an enchanted trail filled with illuminated sculptures, captivating sound effects, and an engaging story. This playful and uplifting story of Banff National Park’s wildlife is perfectly paired with artfully curated sounds and visuals. This experience is truly like nothing else.
Celebrate the Season at Alberta Legislature
From December 2nd to 17th, everyone is invited to Alberta Legislature on Fridays at noon and 6:30 pm and Saturdays at 6:30 pm to enjoy free musical performances and tons of beautiful holiday lights and decorations.
This is a great place to start if you’re looking to get in the holiday spirit. The lights alone are worth seeing, even if you can’t make it to the performances.
Christmas at the Castle
If you’re familiar with the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, you can only imagine how breathtaking it is around the holidays. The historic castle comes alive with the spirit of Christmas.
You can experience photos with Santa, gingerbread house decorating, campfires, and more. There are many daily activities to participate in, and the decor alone will have your jaw on the floor. This place is a true winter wonderland, and you won’t regret visiting around the holidays.
The Nutcracker by the Alberta Ballet
Nothing says “Christmas” quite like the Nutcracker. The Alberta Ballet will be performing The Nutcracker at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary on several dates throughout December. This is the perfect show for you if you love the arts and the holidays. A great date idea or opportunity to spend time with a loved one, get your tickets now.
Sulpher Mountain has transformed into the North Pole, and you need to see it yourself. The Banff Gondola will take you to the summit where you’ll find Santa, crafts, movie screenings, and many other festive surprises. This place is stunning year-round, so you can only imagine how spectacular it is around the holidays. Looking down over the town of Banff covered in snow and holiday lights, you get a birds-eye view of the holiday cheer.
A Stoney Christmas
Join the Smalleyes family at artsPlace Canmore on December 17th and 18th to watch an incredible Christmas tale unfold featuring traditional Indigenous dance, song and storytelling. This special event is a Bow Valley holiday tradition, and we know you will love it.
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Winter Light Festival
This Winter Light Festival in Lethbridge might just take your breath away. Walk through the Japanese garden and see thousands of lights and a collection of incredible ice sculpture displays. Warm up with a hot beverage and bask in the beauty of the gardens and the holiday sparkle.
Winter Light the Night Innisfail
Innisfail’s Discovery Wildlife Park is doing Christmas in a big way. You can drive through a beautiful winter light display and stick around after to enjoy even more festivities. Once you’ve completed the magical drive-thru, you can shop and enjoy a nice warm beverage. There are tons of other things going on around Innisfail for the holidays, so be sure to keep that schedule open.
The Calgary Zoo is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit. With over 200 light figurines, interactive light displays, and so much more, the whole place is exploding with light and cheer. Take an uplifting walk around the grounds and experience the Calgary Zoo in a whole new way.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2022/23 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.