Looking for some free Christmas things to do with kids in Calgary? Look no further! Some of the things on the list have a suggested donation but none require admission.
1. Take in a Christmas light display
Some light displays in Calgary require admission but not all of them do.
Lion’s Festival of Lights
The Lion’s Festival of Lights is located in Confederation Park (14th Street and 24th Avenue NW) and is free to drive by or walk through.
Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows
Set up to drive through, you can find the Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows at 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW. There are also places to park if you would like to walk around the centre area and you can enjoy a hot chocolate or coffee and a pastry in the warm comfort of the Founders Plaza.
Airdrie Festival of Lights
The Airdrie Festival of Lights is a fantastic light display and definitely worth the trip. It is free but there is a suggested donation of $10-20 per family.
2. Santa Claus Parades
Calgary hasn’t had a city wide Santa Claus Parade for years but there are some local Santa Claus parades that are close by and completely free to attend.
Find out more here: Santa Claus Parades Near Calgary
3. CP Holiday Train
Each year the CP Holiday Trains travels across Canada and part of the US. The holiday train collects donations and money for North American food banks and provides a live music experience in each city it stops in. This year (2019) the train will be in Calgary on December 8, but you can also find it in other Alberta towns.
The University District hosts an annual winter outdoor festival, this year it will be at a new location – NW Commons Park, December 8 from 1-6pm. Admission is an unopened jar of peanut butter or nut butter.
Live music, entertainment, roaming performers, winter workshops, axe throwing, toasty fire pits, hot drink station, holiday photobooth, food trucks and more!
5. Community Light Up Events
Several towns just a short drive from Calgary host town light up events each year that are free to attend including, Cochrane, Okotoks, Fort Macleod, Longview, Chestermere and Nanton.
See Lights Up Events Near Calgary. for more information
6. Visit with Santa at the Mall
Several of the Santa’s in Calgary are free to visit or by donation. Most of these require you to take your own photo but others like Bass Pro at CrossIron actually prints you a free photo. Some locations offer additional activities for the kids as well, making it more than just a photo op.
See Photos with Santa at the Mall in Calgary for more information
8. Christmas Events at the Mall
In addition to photos with Santa, some of Calgary’s malls offer other free Christmas entertainment or activities.
- The Core downtown hosts a tree decorating and light up event on Nov 28, 2019
- Sunridge is planning holiday events through December
- New Horizon Mall is hosting a Mall light up event, kids’ christmas party, Holiday skate pop-up roller rink, and dueling pianos sing-along this holiday season
- Cross Iron Mills has a Enchanted Winterland set up throughout the mall
- Chinook Cenre is hosting a holiday music series
9. Skate with Santa at Olympic Plaza
Skate with Santa for free at Olympic Plaza – usually held a few days before Christmas.
10. Chinook Honey Christmas at the Hive
Chinook Honey near Okotoks, is hosting a fun family Christmas fundraiser on December 7th and 14th this year. The event itself is free but there are some additional ticketed activities ($2-4) to raise funds for the Foothills Country Hospice.
Find indoor and outdoor activities including Making beeswax snow candles and honey taffy, visiting with the donkeys and enjoying honey hot chocolate by the fire while roasting marshmallows .
Do you know of another free Christmas event or activity that should be on this list?
We do our best to ensure the information on Calgary Playground Review is accurate, however information and events are subject to change. Please contact the organizations directly to avoid disappointment.
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