All the best Calgary Christmas Light Displays
One of the best parts of Christmastime is seeing all the beautiful lights. Check out our picks for the best Calgary Christmas light displays.
2020 note: The Lions Festival of Lights has been cut back quite a lot this year and is set up as drive by only. Photos are from previous years.
Location: Confederation Park: 14th Street and 24th Avenue NW
Parking: Drive by only
Start Time: 6pm-midnight
2020 date: begins November 26, 2020
There was concern in 2019 that the Lion’s Festival of Lights wouldn’t be happening any more but thankfully it is going ahead after all.
The Lions Festival of Lights display, not just drive by display – you can also walk through it too [not available for 2020]. It’s perfect for taking the kids in a sled and many people toboggan down the hill on the west side. You can cross a bridge (behind the shed), and see some more of the lights closer to 14th St.
The lights are lovely, it’s free, and it doesn’t take up a lot of time. The one downside is that there is nothing in the way of amenities and the parking is really just neighborhood street parking.
This is the area right by the entrance. It is a good spot to meet up with people.
If you go under this sign you’ll find yourself walking past the toboggan hill. If you look to the east (right) you’ll see a shallower slope.
Just down the hill on the South East corner you can find some ice sculptures.
View of the toboggan hill.
The lights to our right are the ones you can see from 14th St. The toboggan hill is to our left.
You can keep walking for a fair bit and across a bridge.
2020 Note: Visitors to Spruce Meadows must remain in their vehicles at all times. No buildings are open and no walking around is permitted.
Location: Spruce Meadows – 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, West Entrance
Parking: visitors must stay in their vehicles for the 2020 season
2020/2021 dates: Nov 27, 2020-Jan 3, 2021
Spruce Meadows is primarily set up as a driving tour but there are places to park if you would like to walk around the centre area. [not available for 2020 season]
You can enjoy a hot chocolate or coffee and a pastry in the warm comfort of the Founders Plaza from 5-8pm. [not available for 2020 season]The lights here are less varied, than some of the other spots on this list, but they are plentiful and you can drive right though.
If you live in the area I would put it on your must do Christmas list.
2020 note: Lights only for the 2020 season
Location: Airdrie – Nose Creek Park
Cost: Free – donations are accepted ($10-20 per family suggested), train rides are $2 (cash only) [not available for 2020 season]
Parking: Free Parking lot
2020 dates: Dec 1-31
The Airdrie Festival of Lights is a real community event. The walk through light festival features two bonfires, a miniature train the whole family can ride ($2 per person) and a concession serving hot chocolate. They also have special nights including things like crafts, visits with Santa and free hot chocolate. Check out their events calendar for specifics. [lights only for 2020 season]
The pond is also used for skating. The lights are plentiful and in lots of different shapes. There are lots of pathways to walk around and strollers or sleds will probably work most days.
Skating rink in the middle
One of the two trains running while we were there. [lights only for 2020 season]
Bonfire. [lights only for 2020 season]
They also have some photo-ops set up like this sleigh and a number of those cut-outs where you stick your head through. [lights only for 2020 season]. I would absolutely recommend making the trip up. It has become my favorite of the ones on this list.
2020 note: Zoolights is a strictly outdoor experience for 2020. There will also be staggered entry times.
Location: Calgary Zoo – North gate entrance only
Cost: Adults(16+) – $19.95 +gst, kids(3-15) – $14.95+gst Must be purchased in advance.
Parking: Parking $12 (Inspire and Engage memberships park for free)
Time: 5pm-9pm (gates close at 8:30)
2020/2021 dates: Nov 20-January 3. (excluding Christmas Day). Sensory Sundays are also available this year.
Zoolights is back again this year and if you like Christmas lights, zoolights really is something to see. Not only does it have a lot of lights, they are shaped into amazing (often animal themed) decorations.
In addition, they have fun activities, a skating rink, fire pit, visits with Santa and more. New activities this year include Wizarding Wednesdays, Potions Class, Axe-Throwing and the Sugar Shack. [outdoor activities only for 2020]
Here’s some pictures I took a few years ago. This is only a small portion of what you’d see there.
Note: the animals are not on display during zoolights and their buildings are closed.
5. NOËL CHRISTMAS – Indoor Light Park & Christmas Market
Location: BMO Centre, 20 Roundup Way,
Cost: $20 Adults, $15 kids (6-15 years), Family $60 (weekends have slightly higher rates)
Parking: $15 at Stampede parking lots
Time: Timed tickets are required
2020/2021 dates: November 20, 2020 – January 3, 2021
New for 2019 – Interactive Light Park and Christmas Kid’s Adventure, photos with Santa, artisan gifts, craft beer and Christmas spirits in the Noël Christmas Market
6. Do a residential house tour
Many people put a lot of work and effort into making amazing Christmas displays at their own homes. Check out http://lightenupcalgary.ca/ to help you find some great picks
7. Go Downtown
I’ve seen downtown suggested a lot as a place to see Christmas lights. There are usually some really beautiful displays to check out, especially if you are already in the area. Here are some suggestions for spots that usually have some nice displays [photos are from 2016]
Inside The Core shopping centre you can find 150 lit Christmas trees. They will be on display from the tree lighting on Nov 28 (4-8pm) until Dec 18 2019.
East Village – 7th Ave and 5th St. SE
If you are near the East Village, they have a really cute display with trees and presents. You can also see the skyline with the Calgary tower as well as the decorations on the Telus building from here.
The Calgary Tower
While you are downtown, be sure to take a look at the Calgary Tower. You can get a great view from all kinds of places – it’s not necessary to go right to the tower.
Eau Claire Bridge
The bridge from Eau Claire to Prince’s Island is beautifully lit. There’s also some nice lights on Prince’s Island too.
McDougall Centre – 4th Ave and 6th St.
Both sides of the McDougall Centre look beautiful.
City Hall – 800 Mcleod Trail
City Hall is my favorite spot downtown, it’s right by Olympic Plaza so if you are over there skating make sure to walk over.
Olympic Plaza – 228 8 Ave SE
Olympic Plaza has some beautiful wreaths, a lit tree and free public skating too.
Driving or walking West along 8th avenue from Olympic Plaza is lovely with light strung across the street.
From Crescent Road you can get a pretty view of downtown and a great view of the Telus building decorations.
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