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Our favourite things to do in Calgary during the holiday season and all winter long

Winter is great in Calgary - photo credit - Karen Anderson

When the temperatures plummet in Calgary that means one thing and one things only – it’s time to embrace the season. Winter is loaded with fun things to do in Calgary and here are few of our favourites.

Skating – Every community in Calgary has a volunteer committee to create and maintain an outdoor skating rink. Mainly they are used for pick up games of shinny (casual hockey games) but they are also where most of us learned to skate by pushing a chair or sled around. If you live on the outskirts of town you may be lucky enough to have a pond to skate on. There’s nothing quite like it if you are into peace and quiet. If you want to skate where the action is there are three great venues in town. Check out The Olympic Oval (you’ll never skate on ice this perfect anywhere else), take a break from whatever you are doing downtown and skate a few laps at The Olympic Plaza or huddle around the open bonfires at Bowness Lagoon and join hundreds of Calgarians who dearly adore skating in this sheltered park in the city’s North West.

Zoo Lights – From late November until early January, for a nominal fee you can visit The Calgary Zoo’s Zoo Lights and light up your life with 1.5 million twinklers in 200 displays at the longest, darkest time of the year.

Choirs and Concerts – From kid’s school winter concerts to all out productions by the Calgary Philharmonic and the Calgary Youth Orchestra (CYO) there’s much joy to be had by attending. Sometimes they even let you sing along.  Our pick is: Sounds of the Season, usually held at Mount Royal University’s Bella Concert Hall when the CYO and Mount Royal Conservatory hold their annual celebration of the season, featuring holiday favourites performed with MRU choirs and special guests.

Winter things to do in Calgary - savour it all blgo


Walking around our favourite neighbourhoods – (Inglewood, Kensington, 17 Avenue SW, 4 Street SW or The Designer District) – bundle up and explore some of these fun districts on foot. Whether you are doing a bit of shopping or just window-shopping it’s all a good excuse to stop for a drink and a bite. This is much more relaxing than trying to find parking at “the mall” and chances are you’ll be supporting more of our small locally-owned food businesses too. Tip: if you check out our food tours partner listings, you’ll find some of the best places to eat in each of these neighbourhoods.

Going to a Flames game – they’re pretty good this year and games are fun even from the nose bleed seats.

Cross-country or downhill skiing – Whether you strap on your cross-country skis at a local park or you head to Winsport for a day or evening on the slopes, there’s lots of options right within our city limits. We are blessed to have these facilities. Tip: if you are really adventurous check out the luge and bob-sledding at Winsport too.