25 Best Things to Do in Calgary This January

This month, sample the first Alberta-made single malt whisky, experience a High Performance Rodeo show in a hospital bed and go curling on St. Patrick's Island.

Shaping Sound's After the Curtain runs from January 19 to 20 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

Photograph supplied by Alberta Ballet

The holidays may be behind us, but that doesn't mean January has to be boring. This month, one of Calgary's most notable arts festivals returns, winter sporting activities abound and more.

Here are our 25 suggestions for an activity-filled January.


Lay in a hospital bed while listening to an audio performance at High Performance Rodeo

Playwright and producer Shannon Sickels forgoes the usual theatre venues to create a powerful, true and immersive theatre experience with Reassembled, Slightly Askew. Part of this year's High Performance Rodeo festival, the show has guests lay in a hospital bed instead of sitting in theatre seats. They also listen to the performance through headphones. From there, Sickels takes the audience through the story of when she suffered from a brain infection. Reassembled, Slightly Askew takes place from January 5 to 7 and 9 to 13 at the St. Louis Hotel.

St. Louis Hotel, hprodeo.ca


Eat cheeseburger tacos and cocktails at a new Latin street food restaurant

The team behind Cleaver on 17 Ave. S.W. are opening a new Latin street food restaurant on January 5. Gringo Street's menu features dishes like jalapeno cheeseburgers, sweet 'n' sour fried shrimp tacos, shrimp queso fundido, peruvian pachamanca ribs and cheeseburger tacos. Plus, it has a great happy hour: from Sunday to Thursday, you can get $3.50 tacos and $6 cocktails between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and from 9 p.m. until late.

102, 524 17 Ave. S.W., 403-452-1211, gringost.com


Go to Turner Valley to taste single malt whiskey that was aged for three years

Some things, like Eau Claire Distillery's single malt whisky, are worth the wait. The Turner Valley distillery has released other spirits like gin and vodka since opening in 2014. But last month, it finally released its first single malt whisky after three years of aging. Unsurprisingly, the first batch sold out quickly, so you'll have to head to the distillery's tasting room to sample this liquid gold. Tastings are available in one and two ounce drams.

Eau Claire Distillery, 113 Sunset Blvd. N.W., Turner Valley, 403-933-5408, eauclairedistillery.ca


Go curling on St. Patricks Island

Nearly 30 rounds of curling competitions will take place during the 2018 Winter Olympics next month. Familiarize yourself with the winter sport in advance by trying it for yourself in St. Patrick's Island's Confluence Plaza. Every day until March 31, you can send curling stones gliding down a curling sheet between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Confluence Plaza, St. Patrick's Island, 1300 Zoo Rd. N.E., evexperience.com


Watch six 10-minute plays that were created in only 24 hours

One sentence and one prop. That's all six Calgary theatre companies will get before heading off to create a 10-minute play for High Performance Rodeo's 10-Minute Play Festival. As if that weren't hard enough, they only have 24 hours to create that play. Audience members can watch the resulting plays at the Martha Cohen Theatre on January 6 at 7:30 p.m. HPR as a whole runs until January 28.

Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons, 205 8 Ave. S.E., hprodeo.ca


Grab a cup of coffee at a brand new yoga studio

Yoga Nova is a new yoga studio that opened its doors this past December. The studio offers eight different kinds of yoga classes that use varying levels of heat ranging from low to hot. If you work up a thirst while doing yoga, you can always visit Yoga Nova's full-service coffee house afterwards for a smoothie, avocado toast, organic snacks from The Gut Lab, Fratello coffee and more.

3519 14 St. S.W., yoganovastudios.com


Play games at Heritage Park's winter carnival

Take a trip around the world — or at least, pretend you are — at Heritage Park's Winter Carnival. The annual event, which runs until January 7 in the Gasoline Alley Museum, showcases different winter games and activities from other cultures and countries. Try your hand at a Peruvian coin toss game, do some curling, play a traditional African game with a hoop and more.

1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., 403-268-8500, heritagepark.ca


Spend the weekend learning how to renovate your home

If you're planning to tackle a home renovation soon, the experts and exhibitors at the Calgary Renovation Show can help. Draw on the experience and services of around 200 exhibitors that specialize in lighting, plumbing, construction, flooring and more. Plus, don't miss main stage presentations by Sarah Richardson, who hosts Sarah Off the Grid on HGTV Canada, and Sabrina Smelko, who hosts Save My Reno on HGTV Canada. The Calgary Renovation Show runs from January 12 to 14.

BMO Centre, Stampede Park, 20 Roundup Way S.E., 403-261-0583, calgaryrenovationshow.com


Stock up on treats at a local pop-up shop at Southcentre Mall

Local Flavour is a new pop-up shop in Southcentre Mall that brings in a different batch of local companies and makers every few months. There are currently three Calgary companies featured in the shop. If you're looking for a snack to munch on while you shop, you can grab some edible, unbaked cookie dough from Family Dough or a cherry pie milkshake from Milk Milk Lemonade. Calgary candy company The Sugar Cube has a selection of candies and containers of cotton candy that would make a great snack to enjoy at home later. Click here to read more about Local Flavour.

Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Rd. S.E., 403-271-7670, southcentremall.com


Catch a performance by The Tenors

If you love The Tenors' music, you'll be happy to hear that they're performing in Calgary on January 13. The vocal group is known for its distinctive operatic pop style, and released its latest album, Christmas Together, last year. Don't miss the chance to catch this Juno-award winning trio.

Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., calgaryphil.com


Watch an improvised musical or Shakespearean play

Local improv theatre troupe The Kinkonauts perform multiple times every month, but there are a few performances in particular that you should try to catch in January. On January 13, they'll be creating an improvised musical. The following week on January 20, the troupe will use audience suggestions to produce their own Shakespearean play. Both shows start at 8 p.m. and are followed by late show performances.

The Rose Room, The Alexandra Centre, 922 9 Ave. S.E., kinkonauts.com


Get some help with planning your wedding

Need help planning your wedding? There are several wedding shows taking place this month that can help, such as The Wedding Fair on January 14, The Bash from January 20 to 21 and Bridal Fantasy's Boutique Bridal Show on January 28. All of these events will feature vendors and services to help you decide on details like bridal fashions, floral bouquets, invitations, the wedding cake and more.

The Wedding Fair, BMO Centre, Stampede Park, 20 Roundup Way S.W., theweddingfair.ca; The Bash, The Hudson, 6th Floor, 200 8 Ave. S.W., thebash.ca; Bridal Fantasy: The Boutique Bridal Show, Calgary Telus Convention Centre, bridalfantasy.com


Dance the weekend away at the Big Winter Classic

photograph by michael grondin

The annual Big Winter Classic music festival will light up Calgary's music scene for four days this month. This year's festival runs from January 18 to 21, and will feature more than 70 bands and musical artists such as Duchess Says, Daniel Romano, Red Fang and more. The performances will take place at Last Best Brewing and Distilling, Dickens Pub, Gerry Thomas Art Gallery and Broken City.

Locations vary, bigwinterclassic.com


Shop for pencils and pens at a new stationery store in Inglewood

Kyle Chow, the owner of Plant, has opened a gorgeous new store dedicated to stationery, writing utensils and office supplies from Japan, Europe and North America. At Recess Shop, shoppers will find products like Palomino Blackwing pencils, Caran d'Ache pens, Moglea notebooks, desk organizers, letterboards and more. And you don't have to travel far from Plant to find the new store — Recess Shop is located just down the street in the former Sprouse Fire & Safety space. Click here to read more about Recess Shop.

1323 9 Ave. S.E., 403-462-6230, recessshop.ca


Check out a dance performance featuring choreography by a So You Think You Can Dance choreographer

This month, don't miss one of the three performances of After the Curtain by Shaping Sound, a dance company that features choreographer Travis Wall as the artistic director. If Wall's name sounds familiar, it's probably because of his time on the popular FOX dancing show So You Think You Can Dance. This show about a man who loses his loved one runs from January 19 to 20. 

Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., 403-297-8000, albertaballet.com


Celebrate the birthday of a snowman at the farmers' market

On January 20, take the whole family to the Calgary Farmers' Market to celebrate the birthday of a very special winter figure: Frosty the Snowman. The occasion will be marked with ice sculptures and a magic show at 11 a.m. Plus, you can decorate three-bite doughnuts from Jelly Modern Doughnuts at select times when you donate some used winter clothing to the Calgary charity Project Warmth. 

510 77 Ave. S.E., 403-240-9113, calgaryfarmersmarket.ca


Learn about acro yoga, parkour and ninja warrior obstacle courses at a huge interactive fitness event

Parkour, ninja warrior obstacle courses, boxing, acro yoga, basketball — you can experience it all at the Calgary edition of The Great Canadian FitFest from January 20 to 21. For two days, anyone over the age of 12 can check out different fitness activities and sports, take a class, watch a calisthenics competition, browse a bike show and more during this interactive fitness event. All fitness levels are welcome. 

Telus Convention Centre, 120 9 Ave. S.E., gcfitfest.ca


Go tubing at Canada Olympic Park

There are few better ways to spend a snow day than at Western Canada's biggest tube park. The Acura Tube Park at Winsport's Canada Olympic Park is open from Thursday to Sunday. Grab some friends or family and prepare to swish down one of the park's 10 lanes on a black tube. Read more about the experience here.

Winsport, 88 Canada Olympic Rd. S.W., 403-247-5452, winsport.ca


Listen to The Beatles' Abbey Road album being performed live

The iconic English band may not be together anymore, but you can still enjoy one of The Beatles' most popular albums live. Classic Albums Live recreates the music from beloved albums with live concerts, and on January 24, they'll be performing the music from The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. Expect to hear songs ranging from "Come Together" to "Here Comes the Sun." This is the first Calgary performance for Classic Albums Live.

Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons, 205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-9494, artscommons.ca


Try green matcha or pink beet root chocolate fondue at Monki Bistro

Take your brunch game to the next level with the fondue at Monki Bistro. At brunch, waffle crisps, fresh fruit and brioche bites are served with your choice of dark chocolate, green matcha chocolate yellow turmeric chocolate or organic Earl grey leaf chocolate for dipping. These four flavours are available in the evening as well, along with pink beet root chocolate, charcoal chocolate and white chocolate.

1301 10 Ave. S.W., 587-352-7131, monkibistro.ca


Listen to music by Alberta artists every month

Support a local musical artist or band by checking out one of the concerts in the National Music Centre's new Alberta Spotlight series. A different Alberta performer will be featured each month, starting with Raleigh and Crystal Eyes on January 18 at the King Eddy. Future performances in the series include Northern Cree on February 15 and Rae Spoon with F&M on March 15, both at Studio Bell.

King Eddy, 438 9 Ave. S.E., studiobell.ca


Eat a beautiful gourmet eclair from a Beltline patisserie

In December, Sucre launched a new treat that's almost too pretty to eat — almost. The Beltline eatery now offers gourmet eclairs, and you can snag some in-store or by pre-ordering. Flavours include raspberry passionfruit, strawberry Champagne, hazelnut, lime and more.

1007 8 St. S.W., 587-352-5505, sucrecafe.com


Create something at the newest (and biggest) makerspace in the city

Itching to make something with your hands? Try 3D printing or make some furniture at the new Fuse33 MakerSpace, which opened on January 2. The two-floor, 9,000-square-foot building houses tons of equipment that Calgarians can use to make just about anything they'd like by signing up for monthly memberships or paying a drop-in rate. The makerspace has work tables, hand and power tools, a wood shop, an enclosed welding space, a large laser cutter and a sewing and electronics lab filled with sergers, embroidery machines and 3D printers. In addition to regular certification classes to teach you how to use the various kinds of equipment, Fuse33 will eventually offer workshops and private sessions with professional carpenters, welders, machinists and more.

1720 Radisson Dr. S.E., fuse33.com


Follow through on your New Year's resolution to get fit

If getting back in shape is one of your big goals this year, there are plenty of ways to do it in Calgary. One of those is by checking out one of the at least 43 Calgary gyms and studios that offer discounted or free intro offers. Whether you're interested in trying boxing, barre, yoga or spin, chances are good there's an offer for you. Click here for a list of fitness spots across the city with intro offers.


Glide on the ice at Olympic Plaza

Olympic Plaza is one of the city's best spots to go ice skating. Bring your own skates if you want to skate for free, or plan to purchase skate and helmet rentals at the Skate Hut at select times. If it's not too cold, consider going skating in the evening before 9 p.m.; the rink's downtown location means there will be plenty of lights and you'll be able to see the Calgary Tower glowing in the distance.

228 8 Ave. S.E., calgary.ca

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