25 Things to Do in Calgary This November

This month, choose from four film festivals, play more than 100 arcade games at the newly opened Rec Room and check out light displays made with more than a million lights at the Calgary Zoo.

Zoolights returns to the Calgary Zoo on November 24.

Photograph courtesy of the Calgary Zoo


November offers a nice break between the excitement (and craziness) of Halloween and Christmas. So this month, stay warm while enjoying multiple film festivals, the return of popular holiday theatre productions and foodie events that will leave you feeling satisfied.

Here are our 25 suggestions for a great November.


Head to Banff for a mountain film and book festival

Learn about mountain culture, film and literature at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which runs from October 28 to November 5 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and various venues in Banff. This is the biggest mountain festival in North America, and includes mountain top yoga, free art and photography shows, film screenings from this year's Banff Mountain Film Competition and talks.

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, 107 Tunnel Mountain Dr., 403-762-6100, Banff​, banffcentre.ca


Commemorate Remembrance Day at a field filled with thousands of white crosses

As you travel along Memorial Drive this month, take a minute to honour the memory of thousands of Southern Alberta soliders who sacrificed their lives during wars and missions. More than 3,400 white crosses will be set up across five acres from November 1 to 11 as part of the Field of Crosses Memorial Project. The site will host a Remembrance Day service at 10:45 a.m. on November 11, as well as a daily flag raising ceremony at sunrise and a flag lowering ceremony at sunset between November 1 and 11.

Memorial Dr. between 3 St. N.W. and Centre St., fieldofcrosses.com


Buy a box of Village Brewery's new Village Square Winter Variety Pack

Enjoy some local art with your beer when you purchase Village Brewery's new Village Square Winter Variety Pack. The local brewery recently teamed up with Market Collective to showcase the artwork of 24 local artists on the label of each bottle in its winter variety pack. Participating artists include Katie GreenMandy Stobo and Curtis Van Charles. The winter variety packs launch on November 1.



Get a head start on your holiday shopping 

People love receiving handmade gifts for Christmas — even if it wasn't your hands that made them. From November 2 to 5, the Make It! Holiday Market has more than 175 vendors selling a huge selection of handmade items ranging from edible treats to baby items to home decor. Shop for artwork from Akamina Studio, fudge from Auntie Jean's Fudge, jewellery from Béton Brut and candles from the Coal and Canary Candle Company. There will also be food trucks and a beer garden. Admission is $8 for adults.

Big Four at Stampede Park, 1410 Olympic Way S.E., makeitshow.ca


Sing along to a musical about an iconic pop band

You may know the music of pop quartet The Four Seasons, but now, you can learn the story behind the iconic band at this production of the musical Jersey Boys. Don't be surprised if you find yourself singing along to some of their most popular hits like "Sherry" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Brought to Calgary by Broadway Across Canada, this show runs from November 3 to 5.

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


Eat lunch at SAIT's new culinary campus and public eatery in downtown Calgary

The downtown crowd has a new spot to grab a bite. In October, SAIT opened The Tastemarket, a new 9,000-square-foot culinary campus. It's both a student learning facility for the one-year Culinary Entrepreneurship post-diploma program and a public eatery selling noodle bowls, salads, pastry and flatbread. There's also charcuterie and a wine bar. The students make and serve the food and drink offerings, which include mango shrimp rice bowls and margarita flatbreads at lunch, prosciutto, asiago and fig chutney sandwiches to go and chocolate and raspberry tarts from the patisserie. Click here to read more about The Tastemarket.

444 7 Ave. S.W., 403-284-8220, tastemarket.ca


Buy a holiday advent calendar featuring 25 days of craft beer, whisky or chocolate

When December hits, it's always exciting to start counting down the days until Christmas. But it's even more exciting when you can do that countdown with an advent calendar full of daily craft beers, whiskys or chocolates. Make sure you're prepared for December 1 by purchasing your advent calendar this month. There are several local options to choose from. 5 Vines Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits is offering a craft beer advent calendar for $152, The Chocolate Lab has chocolate advent calendars and Kensington Wine Market has once again created its own single malt whisky advent calendar for $375 (click here to read more about KWM's calendar).



Watch European films from 18 countries around the world

Expand your cinematic horizons at the Calgary European Film Festival. Running from November 5 to 12, the festival is screening award-winning international films from 18 countries including Germany, Italy, Serbia, Austria, the Czech Republic and more. All the films will have English subtitles. Catch flicks like the comedy-drama My Life as a Zucchini, romantic comedy Fairy Tales for Emma or military drama The Stopover.

Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinemas, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., calgaryeuropeanfilmfestival.ca 


Play arcade games, eat poutine and try a virtual reality room at The Rec Room

photograph by alana willerton

Cineplex has opened its latest location of The Rec Room, a 50,000-square-foot entertainment centre, at Deerfoot City. The two-storey space offers a little something for everyone with its large arcade, an augmented climbing wall, a racing simulator, a virtual reality room, a restaurant, bars, a poutinerie and custom doughnut bar and a stage. Click here to read more about The Rec Room.

The Rec Room, 1180, 901 64 Ave. N.E., 587-535-6077, therecroom.com


Sign up for a six-week ceramics class in Inglewood

The only thing better than finding a beautiful ceramic piece for your home is making that beautiful ceramic piece yourself. You can learn to do just that at Workshop Studios in Inglewood, which is offering two six-week ceramic classes that start in November. There's an Intro to Wheel Throwing class on Mondays starting on November 6 and an Intro to Hand-Building class on Tuesdays starting on November 7. In addition to materials like a bag clay, glazing and firing, the classes also include free practice hours.

2501 Alyth Rd. S.E., workshopstudios.ca


Tap your feet to jazz music at the Canadian Jazz Festival

JazzYYC's Canadian Jazz Festival is your chance to hear some of the best jazz performers around. While the performance venues vary throughout the weekend, you can catch artists such as pianist Steve Amirault and guitarist Trevor Giancola during the nightly Canadian Mainstage Series at the Ironwood Stage & Grill. The festival also has guitar and piano workshops, a jazz jam session at Kawa Espresso Bar, a special Remembrance Day performance featuring 1940s music and a free guided JazzWalk tour to various music venues and local businesses around the Inglewood area.

Locations vary, jazzyyc.com


Witness four actors take on the roles of more than 150 characters in a play

Vertigo Theatre does the seemingly impossible with its latest production of Tony Award-wining The 39 Steps — it features more than 150 characters, but there are only four actors playing them all. Once you get over that impressive feat, settle in for an exciting show about a man named Richard Hannay who must deal with the aftermath of a murder. The play runs from November 11 to December 16.

The Playhouse, 115 9 Ave. S.E.​, vertigotheatre.com


Fill up on beer and chowder at the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown

​Spend the night trying different chowders and craft beers for a good cause? You don't have to ask us twice. At the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown on November 15, 11 local chefs prepare their best chowders to raise money for the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program. The chowders sound amazing. There will be a clam and merguez chowder by chef Jamie Harling of Deane House, a creamy dungeness crab and shrimp chowder by chef Youri Park of the Hyatt Regency Calgary, a saffron lobster chowder by chef Carson Killham of Rodney's Oyster House and more.​ And at the end, you get to vote for your favourite.

​Hotel Arts, 119 12 Ave. S.W., vanaqua.org


Learn how to pair macarons with tea or wine

Ollia Macarons & Tea is offering a special macaron pairing event this month where you can learn how pair its delicious macarons with French wine or tea. You'll get to try four of Ollia's macaron flavours while learning about where the paired drinks come from. The event will take place at Truvé Wines on November 16 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are required.

Truvé Wines, 104, 422 11 Ave. S.E., byollia.com


Watch documentary films at CUFF.Docs

Get your fill of non-fiction films at CUFF.Docs. The local documentary film festival, which returns for its fifth year form November 16 to 19, is screening more than a dozen full-length documentary film features and some shorts over the four-day event. The films come from around the world and will cover a wide range of subjects and genres. Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker is the only film that's been revealed so far, but the full festival line-up will be available on October 31.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., calgaryundergroundfilm.org


Use snow to create maple taffy at the farmers' market

Snow isn't just pretty to look at — it can also be a key ingredient when making maple taffy. This winter, head to the Calgary Farmers' Market to create some maple taffy (made by pouring maple syrup on fresh snow) or pick up some maple cotton candy at the Canadian Maple Shack. The market will offer this event regularly starting in December, but you try it out before then on November 17 to 19 from 10 am. to 3 p.m.

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


Watch a more than 200-year-old comedic opera about a count, a doctor and a barber

It's not surprising that the Calgary Opera chose to launch its 2017-18 season with The Barber of Seville — the more than 200-year-old comedic opera is extremely popular. But you'll have to act fast to see it — the Calgary production is only running for three performances on November 18, 22 and 24. The opera tells the story of Count Almaviva's attempts to woo and marry a young woman named Rosina, despite her guardian's attempts to stop it.

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


Try the house made pasta at a new Roman trattoria on 17 Ave. S.W.

photograph by DESERAE EVENSON

Take your taste buds on a trip to Rome at Bread & Circus, a new Roman trattoria opened by BMeX Restaurant Group (the local restaurant group behind other local eateries such as Una Pizza + WineUna TakeawayFrenchie Wine Bar and Ox Bar de Tapas). The 38-seat Roman trattoria is located next door to Una Pizza + Wine, in a space between the Una Takeaway counter up front and Frenchie Wine Bar in the back. The small menu features a few antipasti dishes and salads, but the main focus here is the restaurant's made-in-house pasta. Try the spaghetti alla bottarga, oxtail rigatoni and the cacio e pepe, which features pasta swirled in a wheel of cheese and topped with pepper.

616 17 Ave. S.W., 403-476-3615, breadandcircusyyc.com


Take your family to a play about a lovable farm pig and a spider that can spell

Charlotte's Web may be one of the most beloved children's books around, and from November 21 to December 31, you can see the story play out on stage during Alberta Theatre Project's eponymous play adaptation. The two-hour show tells the story of a farm pig named Wilbur, whose life is saved first by a little girl and later by a spider named Charlotte.

Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons, 215 8 Ave. S.E., atplive.com


Watch independent animated films at a local animation festival

Quickdraw Animation Society has been fostering Calgary's animation scene for more than three decades. One of the ways it does this is through GIRAF, which stands for Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival. The annual festival, which returns for its 13th year from November 23 to 26, showcases independent animated films from both Calgary and around the world. This year, catch short and feature-length film screenings at Globe Cinema, attend a workshop on augmented reality animation and more.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., giraffest.ca


Attend a classic Christmas play about a grumpy old man and the three spirits of Christmas

For many people, attending a production of A Christmas Carol is a holiday tradition. This year, Theatre Calgary will once again stage the classic Christmas story from November 23 to December 24 in the Max Bell Theatre at Arts Commons. For those who aren't familiar with the tale by Charles Dickens, the story focuses on a grumpy old man named Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come on Christmas Eve. And even if the play isn't a holiday tradition for your family, it's worth checking out just to see local actor Stephen Hair's take on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, which he's been playing for 24 years. 

205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-7447, theatrecalgary.com


Explore the Calgary Zoo at night when it's lit up by more than a million lights

The Calgary Zoo's annual Zoolights event will literally make you see this local attraction in a whole new light. During Zoolights, which runs during the evenings from November 24 to January 6 (except on Christmas Day), the zoo is lit up in dozens of light displays comprised of 1.5 million lights. In addition to the light displays, there are more than 15 activities including giant puzzles about animal adaptation, weekend storytimes, a strawbale maze, a giant Lite-Brite and a skating rink.

210 St. George's Dr. N.E., , calgaryzoo.com


Don your favourite ugly Christmas sweater for a winter run

This year, don't wear your favourite ugly Christmas sweater to the office holiday party — instead, wear it to Calgary's Great Sweater Run. The annual winter run features runners wearing the colourful (and deliciously tacky) sweaters as they run either 10, five or two kilometre courses. Now in its third year, the Calgary run is taking place on November 25 at South Glenmore Park. Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations for the Calgary Food Bank.

South Glenmore Park, thegreatsweaterrun.ca


Eat dinner in complete darkness at a new downtown restaurant

Dark Table restaurant, which already has a location in Vancouver, has brought an entirely new sensory dining experience to Calgary. At the newly opened eatery, diners eat in complete darkness (which heightens your sense of taste, hearing and smell) while being served by visually impaired servers. The multi-course menu, which you'll decide on before heading into the dark, includes a surprise starter and dessert, plus a main course of either AAA Canadian steak, chicken kafta, the fish of the day, mushroom and herb risotto, braised lamb ragu rigatoni, ratatouille provencal or a daily surprise.

731 6 Ave. S.W., 403-287-1427, darktable.ca


Take a young bookworm to a life-size little free library in Inglewood

Young readers will feel right at home at The Children's Reading Place, a new reading space for children and families in Inglewood that's run by Calgary Reads. Located in a three-level heritage house that's been redecorated with literature-inspired decor, the house is filled with reading nooks and comfortable seating areas where families can read together. There are also two readers in residence. To visit the Children's Reading Place, simply book an appointment in advance for Thursday, Friday or Saturday visits. Click here to read more about The Children's Reading Place.


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