20 Best Things to Do in Calgary This December

This month, welcome two new polar bears to Calgary, watch some holiday plays, go skating at Olympic Plaza and more.

Legacy Lights. Photo by WestCreek Developments.

Watch a play about an accountant and a drag queen

When: November 28 to December 17

A mild-mannered accountant and a drag queen get stuck in an elevator together — need we say more? Lunchbox Theatre’s holiday comedy With Bells On promises plenty of laughs and heart as it returns to the stage where it was originally developed. Catch one of the performances (you can go during your lunch break!) in Studio at Vertigo Theatre this month.

Studio at Vertigo Theatre, 161, 115 9 Ave. S.E., lunchboxtheatre.com


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

Looking for a cool stocking stuffer or a tasty food gift? We’ve got you covered. Avenue‘s holiday gift guide has 47 suggestions to help you find just the right presents for your friends and family this year.

Read more: Avenue‘s Holiday Gift Guide 2023


Go see Theatre Calgary’s production of A Christmas Carol

When: November 30 to December 31

Theatre Calgary’s iconic production of A Christmas Carol returns this month, and with a new face (actor Doug McKeag) taking on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge from actor Stephen Hair. From the three ghosts to Tiny Tim, this show is full of beloved characters exploring themes of family, love and redemption.

Max Bell Theatre in Arts Commons, 205 8 Ave. S.E., theatrecalgary.com


Welcome two new polar bears to Calgary


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A post shared by The Calgary Zoo (@thecalgaryzoo)

When: Wild Canada opens December 1

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo is getting some new residents this month. Starting December 1, the zoo will be the new home of Baffin and Siku, two polar bears from Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo. The pair will reside in the brand new polar bear habitat, which is part of the zoo’s redeveloped Canadian Wilds experience now known as Wild Canada. The redeveloped experience also features renovated habitats for several animals ranging from whooping cranes to bighorn sheep. And the timing of this relaunched experience couldn’t be better, as it coincides with ZooLights, the holiday light exhibition that brightens up the zoo after hours. If you want to time your visit to experience both, consider snagging a Sunlight to ZooLights combo pass (available from December 1 to January 7).

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, 210 St. George’s Dr. N.E., 403-232-9300, calgaryzoo.com


Do some gift shopping at a night market

When: U/D Night Market on November 30 and December 7; Inglewood Night Market on December 1 and 2

Night markets aren’t just for summer anymore. There are at least two holiday night markets taking place in December that offer great gift shopping opportunities. Peruse the works of more than 35 vendors at the U/D Night Market on November 30 or December 7, or head over to the Inglewood Night Market for a hot chocolate and some shopping on December 1 and 2.

Central Commons Park, myuniversitydistrict.ca; Crossroads Farmers’ Market Quonset, 1235 26 Ave. S.E., inglewoodnightmarket.ca


Pick up some cookies, cupcakes and doughnuts at a new bakery

When: Grand opening December 1

There’s a new spot to fill up on delicious sweet treats in Calgary. Hey Sugar is a new bakery in the Haysboro neighbourhood that promises to be a go-to spot for cupcakes, macarons, cookies, doughnuts and cakes. Whether you opt for a black forest doughnut or a Biscoff cookie butter cupcake, you can’t really go wrong.

297, 9737 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-930-0455, iloveheysugar.com


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.

228 8 Ave. S.E., calgary.ca


Eat popcorn and watch holiday movies at Fort Calgary

When: December 2, 3, 9, 10 and 16

Fort Calgary is keeping the festive spirit alive this month with its latest Film at the Fort series focused on holiday favourites. Catch flicks like Home Alone (December 2), It’s a Wonderful Life (December 3), Die Hard (December 9), White Christmas (December 10) and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (December 16) in Fort Calgary’s Burnswest Theatre during the first three weekends in December. Your $12 ticket comes with popcorn (other snacks can be purchased) and access to the interpretive centre.

Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave. S.E., 403-290-1875, fortcalgary.com


Dine at a new restaurant where the menu changes weekly

Salt & Brick. Photo by Chris Landry.

One of the latest additions to Calgary, Kelowna-based restaurant Salt & Brick brings a creative concept to the local dining scene with a weekly changing menu from acclaimed chef Dave Bohati. The restaurant also has a hidden speakeasy known as Charlie’s Watch Repair with a password that, you guessed it, changes weekly.

211 10 Ave. S.W., saltandbrick.ca


Go see some spectacular holiday light displays

When: Multiple dates

This month, get ready to be dazzled by holiday light displays all around the city. There are at least five 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


Toss a teddy bear on the ice at a Calgary Hitmen game

When: December 3

Imagine a hockey arena where the ice is covered in thousands and thousands of teddy bears. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll see during the Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss, an annual event where guests are encouraged to bring a teddy bear and throw it on the ice after the Hitmen’s first goal. In the end, the bears are collected and go to dozens of local organizations to give to children. This year’s Teddy Bear Toss game takes place on December 3 at 4 p.m. when the Hitmen take on the Prince Albert Raiders.

Scotiabank Saddledome, 555 Saddledome Rise S.E., chl.ca


Attend a cheeky holiday musical

When: December 6 to 23

Looking for a holiday show that’s geared toward a more mature audience? The holiday musical Naughty… but Nice: Xmas!, intended for viewers ages 15 and up, may be just the thing for you. Forte Musical Theatre’s self-proclaimed “sweet but risqué holiday celebration” returns with a new production that promises to be cheeky, fun and anything but boring.

cSpace Marda Loop, 1721 29 Ave. S.W., fortemusical.ca


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


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A post shared by Ricardos Hideaway (@ricardosyyc)

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


Buy local art that costs less than $100

When: December 7 to 10 and 14 to 17

Anyone who says great art is always expensive hasn’t been to this event. At the all-ages Under $100 Art Show, every piece of art is, you guessed it, less than $100, and there are plenty of gems to be found by more than 100 artists. Peruse their work over two weekends and you might just find the perfect piece for your home.

2360 Portland St. S.E., under100artshow.com


Sip on some Shipnog at the Ship & Anchor

When: Available now until January 1

Enjoying a glass of eggnog (aka Shipnog) at the Ship & Anchor is a classic holiday tradition for many Calgarians. This year, you can enjoy a glass in-person ($7.95) or pick up an off-sale bottle ($24) to sip on at home. It’s for some good causes too, with part of the proceeds from each glass and bottle sold supporting local charities.

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


Go tubing at WinSport

When: Opens mid-December

WinSport’s tube park officially opens for the season in mid-December 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


Have a great glass of wine at a local restaurant

Wine plays a starring role at these local restaurants that are home to knowledgeable pros highlighting some of the best bottles around. Here are a few spots to consider the next time you’re looking to share a bottle with a friend.

Read more: Calgary’s Best Restaurants for Wine


Watch a mystery about a famous novelist and his wife’s lover


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A post shared by Vertigo Theatre (@vertigotheatre)

When: On now until December 17

It’s not all Christmas lights and gingerbread cookies this month. Until December 17, Vertigo Theatre is bringing a bit of mystery to the season with its production of Sleuth, which follows a famous mystery novelist who ends up in “the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse” with his wife’s lover.

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


Check out a Christmas-inspired, Indigenous take on Grease

When: December 21 and 22

Making Treaty 7 and The Grand have teamed up to present a Christmas-inspired, Indigenous take on the Grease musical by Treaty 6 hip-hop duo LightningCloud. The Bear Grease Christmas Special will only be at the Flanagan Theatre for three performances from December 21 to 22, so don’t miss the chance to experience some festive ‘50s fun.

608 1 St. S.W., thegrandyyc.ca


Plan a cool party with low effort

Whether you want to celebrate the holiday season or just get together with friends, planning a party in your home is a great way to reconnect. Parties can also be a lot of work though, so we’ve come up with a guide so you can have as much fun hosting the party as possible while doing the least amount of work.

Read more: The Lazy Host’s Party Planner

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

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