20 Best Things to Do in Calgary This December

This month, check out an immersive Nutcracker experience, watch an outdoor movie in Tomkins Park and cheer on a speed skating competition.

Zoolights. Photograph by Sergei Belski, courtesy of Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo.

Go see some spectacular holiday light displays

When: Multiple dates

This month, get ready to be dazzled by Christmas light displays all around the city. There are at least six displays you can drive by or walk through in Calgary, including Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo, the Christmas Lights Drive-Through at Spruce Meadows and the community light display in Legacy.

Read more: Where to See Holiday Light Displays in Calgary

 

Buy local art that costs less than $100

When: December 8 to 11

Back for a 15th year, the Under $100 Art Show is a great opportunity to find beautiful art for your space without breaking the bank. Peruse the work of 100 artists during the market’s second weekend, where all the pieces will be less than $100.

8 Manning Close N.E., under100artshow.com

 

Go for afternoon tea at a local restaurant

Afternoon tea is a special dining experience complete with pastries, finger sandwiches and warm drinks. And luckily, there are at least five restaurants in the city where you can experience it.

Read more: Where to Go for Afternoon Tea in Calgary

 

Immerse yourself in the story of The Nutcracker

Inside The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle. Photograph by Chris Landry.

When: December 1 to 28

If you liked the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit that came to Calgary last year, then you’ll probably want to check out The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle, too. In this three-dimensional, digitally projected exhibition, the story of the famous ballet The Nutcracker comes alive through digital animation, footage of ballet dancers and the ballet’s beloved score.

Read more: Inside The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle in Calgary

20 Roundup Way S.E., immersive-nutcracker.com

 

Watch an outdoor movie in Tomkins Park

When: December 8 to 10

There are tons of holiday events happening on 17 Avenue S.W. this month, from pictures with the Grinch to fireside sing-a-longs. There will even be some outdoor winter movie screenings where you can watch classics like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Love Actually or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Tomkins Park.

Tomkins Park, 17 Avenue and 8 Street S.W., 17thave.ca

 

Go skating at Olympic Plaza

Olympic Plaza, a City-maintained outdoor skating rink, has officially opened for the season. So the next time you’re in need of some fresh air, head there for a skate. It’s free to skate at Olympic Plaza, and those who need to rent skates and helmets can do so for a fee at the Skate Hut from Wednesday to Sunday.

228 8 Ave. S.E., calgary.ca

 

Grab a drink at a holiday-themed pop-up bar

Calgary restaurants and breweries are getting in the holiday spirit with festive pop-up bars inside their spaces this month. Experience Miracle on First Street at Proof, a Home Alone-inspired activation at Eighty-Eight Brewing Co. and more.

Read more: Holiday Pop-Up Bars in Calgary

 

Order some pastries at Mari Bakeshop

 

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Mari Bakeshop is officially back (and now located in Bridgeland) after closing its East Village bakery back in the summer of 2021. The new location is a bright and spacious spot to enjoy treats like choux pastries, slices of roll cake and other baked goods ranging from monkey bread to croissants. Be sure to order a baguette or loaf of bread to enjoy at home later, too.

103 St. Matthew Square N.E., 403-214-0629, maribakeshop.ca

 

Cheer on skaters at the ISU World Cup Speed Skating competition

When: December 9 to 11 and 16 to 18

The ISU World Cup Speed Skating competitions will take place at Calgary’s Olympic Oval over two weekends this month. Cheer on athletes from around the world as they take on events like the women’s 300-metre or men’s team pursuit. Tickets are still available.

Olympic Oval, 288 Collegiate Blvd. N.W., speedskating.ca

 

Learn about the power of music at the National Music Centre

When: December 10

Led by music therapist Jennifer Buchanan, this event at the National Music Centre looks at the power of music and how it can help with your motivation and mental health. Sign up in advance to secure your spot.

850 4 St. S.E., 403-543-5155, studiobell.ca

 

Get your shopping done with the help of Avenue’s handy holiday gift guide

Looking for a cool stocking stuffer or gift for a family member? We’ve got you covered. Avenue‘s holiday gift guide has 60 suggestions to help you find just the right presents for your friends and family this year.

Read more: Avenue’s Holiday Gift Guide 2022

 

Check out the new Central Commons Park

 

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A new three-acre park has opened in the University District, complete with a temperature-controlled outdoor skating rink, fire features and more. If you want to check it out, make a day of it by bringing your skates, seeing a movie at the neighbourhood’s Cineplex VIP Cinemas and grabbing a bite at a nearby restaurant.

Central Commons Park, 4019 University Ave. N.W., myuniversitydistrict.ca

 

Practice your swing at a golf lounge

Golfing is not just an outdoor activity anymore. Thanks to indoor golf lounges (which also have eateries where you can grab a bite), you can practice your swing all year round in Calgary.

Read more: 5 New Indoor Golf Lounges in Calgary

 

Go tubing at WinSport

When: Opens December 17

WinSport’s tube park officially opens for the season on December 17 and promises plenty of excitement with its eight tubing lanes to slide down. Bring the whole family for a memorable weekend activity.

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

 

Refresh your home decor at a new shop in Inglewood

Located in Inglewood, The Curated Home has created an elevated and timeless space where shoppers can immerse themselves in interior design. Get inspired by the store’s vignettes while shopping for furniture, lighting, bedding, table settings, decor items and more.

1004 9 Ave. S.E., 403-620-9613, thecuratedhome.ca

 

Sip on some Shipnog at the Ship & Anchor

 

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When: Until December 31

Enjoying a glass of eggnog (aka Shipnog) at the Ship & Anchor is a classic holiday tradition for many. This year, you can enjoy a glass in-person ($7.50) or pick up an off-sale bottle ($24) to sip on at home. It’s for some good causes, too: $5 from each glass and $10 from each bottle will equally support The Alex, Skipping Stone, the Calgary Drop-In Centre and the Centre for Newcomers.

534 17 Ave. S.W., 403-245-3333, shipandanchor.com

 

Go see a production of The Jungle Book

When: On now until December 31

Alberta Theatre Projects’ next show takes audiences to India with the story of The Jungle Book. The production uses puppetry, masks and props to tell the coming-of-age story that follows Mowgli as he grows up in the jungle and tries to discover where he belongs.

Martha Cohen Theatre, 215 8 Ave. S.E., albertatheatreprojects.com

 

Grab a drink at a new underground cocktail bar

Head behind Comery Block to the steel door marked Prickett Bar and you’ll find Calgary’s new cocktail hot spot in the barbecue restaurant’s basement. The bar’s moody vibe creates an exciting atmosphere to enjoy oysters and shrimp cocktail over beverages like A Rainy Night in SOHO.

1, 638 17 Ave. S.W., prickettrichard.com

 

Watch a local holiday theatre or music production

When: Various dates

Each winter, Calgary’s arts scene is full of heartwarming Christmas stories, soaring holiday music and wintry settings. After two years of cancelled or virtual productions, several performing arts companies are back with in-person performances. From classics like The Nutcracker to holiday concerts, you won’t want to miss these shows.

Read more: 9 Holiday Productions to Check Out in Calgary

 

Go shopping at a holiday craft market

Get your holiday shopping done while supporting local by checking out a local market over the next few weeks. Several markets are still taking place in and around Calgary in December, leaving plenty of opportunities to pick some locally made art, ceramics, home decor and more.

Read more: Holiday Arts and Crafts Markets In and Around Calgary

Want more suggestions for the best things to do in Calgary? Sign up for our Weekender Newsletter.

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