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30+ Fun Things to do in Calgary in Winter

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As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it can be easy to fall into a winter funk. But there’s no need to worry—Calgary has plenty of winter festivals and activities to help lift your spirits! From Christmas markets to New Year’s Eve parties, there’s something for everyone. So bundle up and enjoy these fun things to do in Calgary in winter!

Fun Things to Do in Calgary in Winter

Calgary In Winter

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Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and is located in the southern part of the province. It is a young city, with a population of just over 1.3 million people, and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada. 

Beautiful Calgary downtown
Calgary from above

While it may not be as well-known as some other Canadian cities, Calgary has a lot to offer visitors. 

Read: One day in Calgary itinerary | Day trips from Calgary

Calgary in winter: Calgary in November

Here are some fun things to do in Calgary during the winter season. We have an events calendar added to the post as well, 

1. Go ice Skating at Calgary Olympic Plaza

For a truly unique ice skating experience, head to Olympic Plaza in Calgary. 

Olympic plaza
Olympic plaza

Nestled in the heart of downtown, the Olympic Plaza is surrounded by high-rise buildings and features a stunning view of Calgary’s cityscape. 

The rink is open to the public from early November to late February, and skate rentals are available on-site. 

Olympic Plaza from above
Olympic Plaza from above (Calgary in December)

It is open to skaters of all ages and abilities. 

After a few laps around the rink, you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and sweet treats from one of the nearby cafes such as Chocoland.

Crepes, served at Chocoland Cafe
Crepes served at Chocoland Cafe

2. Visit Santa Claus at the Calgary Heritage Park Historical Village

It’s that time of year again! 

Get into the holiday spirit by taking photos with Santa Claus at Heritage Park in Calgary, Canada. 

This festive event takes place every year from late November to mid-December, and it’s a great opportunity to take some holiday-themed family photos. 

Santa will be available for photos at various times throughout the day, so be sure to check the schedule in advance. 

And don’t forget to bring your own camera or smartphone to capture other festive decorations.

Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park is the official festive event. The dates for 2023 are from November 25 to December 17, 2023 (Saturdays and Sundays). The time is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The Heritage Park is a living heritage museum where you can ride a train, visit museums, hang out with friends, eat, and soak in the (sun) or festive cheer. 

Historic Heritage Park Calgary
Historic Heritage Park

You can also enjoy the Christmas Buffet, meet furry animals, and visit the popular Gasoline Alley Museum ($14.95)! There are both indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family to enjoy. 

Note: Entry tickets for the Historical Village where Christmas events take place are $19.95 CAD per person. The Heritage Town Square is located before the Heritage Park’s actual entry gate and it is free to visit.

Photos with Santa in Calgary

  • Millarville Christmas Market – November 2-5, 9-12, 2023
  • Shriners Santa Photos at Santa Village – 2023 TBD
  • Granary Road’s Christmas Market – November 25 – December 17, 2023 (Saturdays and Sundays)

Note: Don’t forget to check local shopping malls for Santa Photoshoots.

3. Climb up to the Calgary Tower for views (and dine)

One of the most iconic landmarks in Calgary is the Calgary Tower. The tower was built in 1967 and stands 626 feet (191 meters) tall. 

View from Calgary Tower

You can take an elevator to the top of the tower for stunning 360-degree views of the city. Grab your tickets here

From up there, you can soak in the views of the snow-dusted cityscape while keeping it warm. 

Calgary Tower: Sky 360 Restaurant

Sky 360 is located inside Calgary Tower. Reserve a table here for a date night, or brunch. Perfect when you are in Calgary in winter! 

4. Soak in the ambiance at various winter lights festivals + events

As the winter season approaches, all Canadian cities begin to plan their annual festivals. Here are the popular winter festivals happening worth checking out in Calgary this year,

Olympic Plaza Christmas Light (Downtown)


Dates: Nov 17, 2023 to Jan 7, 2024 (evenings to midnight)

The premier Calgary Zoo lights up for seven weeks in the winter. Zoolights kicks off around mid-November and lasts until the first week of the New Year.

During this time you can enjoy winter-themed areas, rent snow globes, watch the Nutcracker in the ENMAX Conservatory, and more. 

This experience brightens up with the illuminating lights at night with the “Tunnel of Light”, and over 200 light figurines welcoming the festive season in a great symphony. 

Note that this is a ticketed event, and tickets can be brought separately (not the day pass). Tickets are $21.95 CAD for adults. 

GLOW Winter Light Festival Calgary

Dates: Dec 7 to 31, 2023

Enjoy over 70,000 square feet of indoor winter magic at the Glow Calgary. Tickets are required for entry. 

Lions Festival of Lights

Dates: Nov 25, 2023, to Jan 8, 2024 (evenings to midnight)

One of Calgary’s most popular winter festivals is the Festival of Lights. This event features lights and illuminated displays at the Confederation Park Golf Course. 

The festival has a variety of family-friendly activities, such as ice skating and wagon rides. You can also take a self-guided tour to see all the different light displays, along 14 St NW, North of 24 Avenue. 

Winter Walk Day 

Dates: Feb 1, 2024

Winter Walk Day is more of a community spirit-building exercise where everyone is encouraged to stay active in the winter – go on walks and embrace the season!

Calgary Skyline in winter under a beautiful evening light

Chinook BlastCalgary’s winter festival

Date: February 2024

ChinookBlast is a winter festival in Calgary, which is filled with free festivities for all. There are art installations and pop-up performances from talented locals! 

This much-awaited winter event lasts four weeks and the festival truly brings people together – enjoying some great food, and swaying to live music! 

Local artists will illuminate winter nights from winter festivals, including GLOW, Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Block Heater, and Ethnik Festival. 

5. Enjoy skiing and snow related activities at WinsSport Canada Olympic Park

Winter is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the snow, and there’s no better place to do it than at the Winsport – Calgary Olympics Stadium. 

Located just a short drive from downtown, the stadium offers a wide range of winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding to ice skating. 

WinSport Canada Olympics Stadium
WinSport Canada Olympics Stadium

With its world-class facilities and breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, the stadium is the perfect place to enjoy all that winter has to offer. 

Now, the Calgary Olympic Park was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics and still stands today as a popular tourist destination. In the summer, visitors can enjoy biking, basketball and hockey camps, and hiking. 

Winsport Calgary view
Winsport Calgary

The park also has a myriad of amenities, such as a restaurant, and gift shop. 

Calgary Olympic Park is a perfect example of how hosting the Olympics can leave a lasting legacy long after the Games are over. 

Thanks to the park, locals and visitors alike can enjoy a wide range of activities year-round. 

WinSport Canada Olympics Stadium
WinSport Canada Olympics Stadium: Things to do in Calgary in winter

And, as the park continues to evolve, it is clear that the legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics will continue to live on in Calgary for many years to come. 

(We have visited the complex where the 1984 Winter Olympics were held – in Sarajevo, and that place is completely abandoned. The impact of the Bosnian wars and the dissolution of the USSR are clearly seen. We feel the pain of the locals there who were so nice to us. We appreciate everything that Canada stands for and more – grateful for our forever home). 

6. Check out a local museum – Glenbow Museum 

Calgary is home to several excellent museums, including the Glenbow Museum, which houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts from all over the world. 

The museum is conveniently located in downtown Calgary, and you can surely spend a few hours here to beat the winter blues! 

7. Visit Calgary Fort

Calgary Fort is a great place to visit when you are in the city. The fort was built in 1875 by/for NW Mounted Police. 

Inside Fort Calgary
Inside Fort Calgary

The fort is now a National Historic Site and is open to the public year-round.

You can visit the Calgary Fort – they have both indoor and outdoor exhibits for you to check out and learn about the history of the city. 

8. Hang out at Prince’s Island Park

In the heart of downtown Calgary, Prince’s Island Park is a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Prince Island Calgary in winter
Prince Island Calgary in winter

The park is situated on an island in the Bow River, and it is a popular spot for walking, picnicking, and enjoying the outdoors. 

In the winter, the park is transformed into a wonderland of snow and ice, with the pathways winding their way dusted with frost. The air is crisp and fresh, and the stillness of the park is broken only by the sound of skates sliding across the ice. 

You will find an outdoor skating rink here (no rentals on-site – rink conditions are weather dependent). 

Prince’s Island Park is the perfect place to enjoy a winter’s day out, whether you’re skating around the pond or enjoying a hot chocolate.

9. Enjoy a stroll in Downtown Calgary (when the weather is warm)

Wintertime in Calgary is truly a magical sight. The snow-dusted buildings and sparkling lights make it feel like you’re walking through a scene from a movie. 

Peace Bridge in Calgary in winter
Peace Bridge in Calgary in winter

And there’s no better way to take in the sights than by strolling through downtown Calgary. 

The streets are lined with trees adorned in twinkling lights, and the downtown core comes alive with festive activities. 

You can go on a self-guided tour starting at the Olympic Plaza, where you can skate around the outdoor rink or enjoy a cup of hot chocolate from one of the nearby cafes. 

Then make your way down Stephen Avenue, stopping to admire the holiday window displays at the chic boutiques. 

Devonian Gardens
Devonian Gardens CORE Shopping Mall

And finally, finish up your walk at Core Shopping Centre. 

There are museums and cool indoor places such as Studio Bell (home of the National Music Centre), Central Library, and Glenbow Museum to add to your Calgary itinerary.

10. Catch a Calgary Flames game at the Saddledome

The Scotiabank Saddledome is the home of the Calgary Flames and has been since its construction in 1983. 

The arena is located in downtown Calgary and is easily accessible by public transit. 

View of Calgary Saddledome in winter (from Calgary Tower)

If you’re looking for a fun night out, catching a game at the Saddledome is a great option. 

You’ll definitely want to arrive early to get your hands on some souvenirs and explore all that the arena has to offer. 

11. Take a break at the Calgary Central Library

Calgary’s new Central Library is an incredible feat of architecture and engineering. 

The building was designed by world-renowned architect Snøhetta, and it features a striking combination of wood, glass, and steel. 

There are four floors of public space, which include a children’s library, a lounge, an Indigenous learning centre, and much more. 

Head there when you are in downtown Calgary and wish to warm up with a nice book inside! 

12. Or at the National Music Centre

Here you can attend a concert or just check out the displays at the Bell Studio – National Music Centre.

13. Eat, and chill out in Kensington Street

If you’re looking for a dining experience that’s truly unique, you’ll want to check out Kensington Street in Calgary. 

This vibrant street is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and more, all of which offer something different. 

14. Shop in one of the Calgary malls

Calgary is a great city for shopping, with plenty of malls to choose from. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or for something more unique, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in one of Calgary’s malls. 

CrossIron Mill Festive decoration
CrossIron Mill Festive decoration

The CORE Shopping Centre is an easy visit when you are exploring downtown Calgary. There is an indoor garden and play area as well. 

For a more upscale shopping experience, check out Chinook Centre, which features high-end retailers such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry. 

And if you’re looking for something different, be sure to visit pop-up markets in Kensington, where you’ll find a variety of independent shops selling everything from clothes to books to vintage items. 

A little outside of Calgary is the premium outlet mall – CrossIron Mills – where you can shop for discounted clothing, bags, and more! 

15. Soak in the starry skies at the Telus Spark

The Telus Spark is a must-visit for people of all ages. The centre features a state-of-the-art planetarium with a reclining theatre. 

Telus SPARK in Calgary: Photo credit – jewhyte

Visitors can also view the night sky through high-powered telescopes, or take part in educational workshops and programs. 

The centre is open late on Friday and Saturday nights (Spark After Dark evenings), making it the perfect place to stargaze. 

With its world-class facilities and knowledgeable staff, the Telus Spark is an ideal place to learn about the night sky.

16. Go tubing at the Winsport Tube Park

This seasonal event is set up at the Canada Olympic Park. 

Winsport Tube Park
Winsport Tube Park

The Tube Park kicks off in mid-December and continues until March. With an entry fee of $21-25 CAD, you can enjoy tubing on 8+ lanes with your friends and family!

17. Enjoy skiing at South Glenmore Park 

South Glenmore Park is a great place to enjoy skiing in Calgary. The park offers a variety of different trails to suit all skill levels, and the scenic views are sure to take your breath away. 

It is completely free to use the trails, and they are managed and maintained by the City staff. 

And best of all, the park is open for skiing from late November to late March, so you can enjoy the slopes all winter long. 

Other skiing trails in Calgary include –

  • Bowness Park (more on that below)
  • North Glenmore Park
  • Lakeview Golf Course

Not all areas have washrooms on-site. You can access trail information here

On all trails, ensure you follow all signs, and stay within the designated areas, and do not remove or cross barricaded areas. 

18. Go ice skating, ice biking, and more at the Bowness Park

Bowness Park is a beautiful place to visit in Calgary. Located on the banks of the Bow River, the park is home to a variety of ice-based activities, including skating, ice biking, and hockey. 

The outdoor skating on the lagoon is free to use, and it is open from mid-November to mid-March (weather dependent). Visitors can rent skates, making it easy to enjoy the park’s winter amenities. 

The park also has a picturesque lagoon that is surrounded by walking trails. In addition, there are several heated shelters where you can warm up and take a break from the cold. 

Whether you’re looking for a fun family activity or a romantic outing, Bowness Park is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

19.  Tobogganing in Calgary

There’s something special about tobogganing in Calgary in winter. Maybe it’s the way the cold air nips at your cheeks or the way the snow crunches under your boots. Whatever the reason, tobogganing is a great way to enjoy the winter months. 

And with so many great hills to choose from, there’s sure to be a perfect spot for everyone. 

The City maintains a few hills where you can go tobogganing and sledding. They are

  • Deerfoot Athletic Park
  • Rundle – dry pond
  • Monterey Park
  • Thorncliffe/Greenview
  • Royal Oak
  • McKenzie Towne​
  • Hidden Valley
  • Glendale Park
  • Richmond Green
  • More information here

From nose dives to upside-down spins, tobogganing is a great way to get your adrenaline pumping. 

20. Celebrating Christmas in Calgary

Every year on December 25th, the city of Calgary comes alive with the spirit of Christmas. 

Families and friends gather to celebrate the holiday, exchange gifts, and enjoy a festive meal. This is truly a time to soak in the winter bliss and enjoy it with near and dear ones. 

On Christmas Day, stores, restaurants, and lights events are closed. 

But downtown streets are lined with twinkling lights, and outdoor rinks and trails are still open for use. 

The very next day, shoppers can find great deals at the many sales and pop-up markets. 

21. Celebrating New Year in Calgary

Celebrate the New Year in Calgary. See the sights and sounds of the city while enjoying a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants. 

Unlike Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day you will find a lot of places to eat and malls will be open as well (limited hours). 

  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks: Enjoy the City of Calgary’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks at midnight 
  • TELUS Spark Science Centre: Visit the TELUS Spark Science Centre for family-friendly events and activities
  • Zoo Years Eve
  • New Year’s Eve Dinners: Enjoy New Year with special dinner menus and champagne toasts at the Selkirk at Heritage Park
  • The Fairmont Palliser: For festive music and events
  • New Year’s Eve Events at the Wild Horse Pub at Deerfoot Inn & Casino
  • Mystique NYE: Culinary Experience at the Carriage Inn

A lot of restaurants will have seasonal menus and live music/DJ performing!

Outdoor Winter Activities Beyond Calgary

22. Hang out in Canmore in winter

Canmore in winter is a truly magical place. The snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes are picturesque, and there are plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained. And it is only an hour’s drive away (and no park fees). 

Girl in Canmore Engine Bridge - Things to do in Canmore in winter

One of the best ways to experience Canmore in winter is to go snowshoeing and skiing (at the nearby Canmore Nordic Centre). 

The temperate climate and dry snow make for perfect conditions, and there are plenty of trails to explore. 

Canmore is also home to many cozy cafes and restaurants where you can warm up after a day in the snow. 

So if you’re looking for a winter wonderland to explore, be sure to add Canmore to your list.

23. Go on a day trip to Banff and Lake Louise

Calgary is the closest airport to Banff National Park, and you will love visiting the Canadian Rockies in the winter. 

Banff Christmas Getaway on mountaintop
Banff Christmas Getaway on a mountaintop

The crisp air and snow-capped mountains make for a truly magical experience. There are plenty of winter activities to enjoy, from snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails to ice skating and sleigh rides. 

And of course, no visit would be complete without taking a dip in the Banff hot springs. 

Frozen lake louise winter
Frozen Lake Louise winter

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Banff and Lake Louise are sure to create lasting memories. Here is our guide to Lake Louise in winter and celebrating Christmas in Banff!

Sculptures in Lake Louise
Ice Sculptures in Lake Louise

For festive events, visit Banff & Lake Louise from November 19 to January 1, 2024. The popular ice sculpture festival takes place in late January or February. 

24. Check out wolves at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary in Cochrane 

The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is a unique place where humans and wolves live in harmony. It is located near Calgary (in Cochrane).

The sanctuary is home to over 40 wolves, bear hybrids, and several other animals. Visitors can observe the animals up close, and even take part in hands-on activities such as feeding the wolves or going for a walk with them. 

Wolfdogs at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is open all year round, but winter is an especially magical time to visit. 

The snow-covered landscape provides a stunning backdrop for wolf-watching, and the invigorating cold air is sure to leave you feeling refreshed. 

So why not add a visit to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary to your winter bucket list? 

25. More winter activities beyond Calgary

Other than the popular day trips from Calgary (as listed above), you can also check off the following when in the city, 

  • The Polar Express at Alberta Prairie Railway (2.50 hours from Calgary) – November 19 – December 22
  • Mossleigh – Aspen Crossing Polar train rides (December) 
  • Sylvan Lake in the winter (festivals and more from December to February)

26. Ski resorts near Calgary

Just a short drive from Calgary, you’ll find some of the best ski resorts in the country. With towering mountains and pristine forests, Banff National Park is a winter wonderland waiting to be explored. 

And with world-class ski resorts located within its boundaries, it’s no wonder that Banff is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. 

Sunshine Village is one of Banff’s most popular ski resorts, and for good reason. With an average of 30 feet of snow each year, it’s no wonder that Sunshine Village is a mecca for powder hounds. 

In addition to its stellar skiing and snowboarding, Sunshine Village also offers a variety of other winter activities, including cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing.

Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise Ski Resort

Just down the road from Sunshine Village is Lake Louise Ski Resort. Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise Ski Resort boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies. With 4,200 acres of skiable terrain, it’s one of the largest resorts in Alberta. 

If you’re looking for a smaller ski resort with a more intimate atmosphere, Nakiska Ski Area is the perfect spot. Located just an hour’s drive from Calgary, Nakiska Ski Area offers 1000+ acres of skiable terrain. 

When you travel to Canmore, you can surely stop by the Nordic Centre Provincial Park. 

Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park offers over 72+ kilometres of groomed trails for cross-country skiing, including night skiing. The park is located just minutes from the town of Canmore and provides a stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

Canmore Nordic Centre

In addition to the trails, the park also offers a biathlon range, skate ski loop, and a newly built amenities building. You can also rent equipment on-site. 

The park is open year-round and provides a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. 

With so many great ski resorts located near Calgary, it’s no wonder that this city is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. 

So whether you’re looking for big mountain thrills or small-town charm, you’ll find it all just a short drive from Calgary.

27. Hot springs and spas near Calgary

One of the best things about living in Calgary is that there are plenty of hot springs and spas to choose from and all within an hour’s drive. 

One of the most popular hot springs near Calgary is Banff Upper Hot Springs. This facility is situated in a stunning setting overlooking the Rocky Mountains, and the natural hot water is perfect for easing sore muscles. 

For those looking for a more luxurious experience, Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers a variety of treatments and services, as well as access to a mineral pool and an outdoor hot tub.

Next is the gorgeous Kananaskis Nordic Spa, with its alpine ambiance and hydrotherapy packages that you can access at your fingertips. 

No matter what your preference is, you’re sure to find a hot spring or spa near Calgary that’s perfect for you. 

28. Afternoon tea experiences near Calgary

If you love afternoon tea like us, know that there are plenty of great options in Calgary. 

Afternoon options in Calgary Calgary winter guide

One popular spot is the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, which offers a traditional afternoon tea service in its stunning lobby. 

Another option is Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, which offers a variety of teas as well as a light menu of sandwiches and pastries. 

Or for something truly unique, check out Heritage Inn for the Holiday Tea available on December 28, 29, and 30, 2022. Whichever spot you choose, you’re sure to enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea experience.

29. Northern lights near Calgary 

Winter makes it the perfect time to chase the northern lights. These elusive lights are best seen in open areas away from city lights, and Calgary has no shortage of these. 

A magical view of the green Northern Lights and the stars in Alberta, Canada

Some of the spots include Nose Hill Park, or on your way to Canmore at night, where you can get a front-row seat to nature’s light show. 

We recommend checking the Aurora forecast website to stay up-to-date on when these lights show up! 

30. Road trips from Calgary to nearby areas in the winter

There’s something special about winter road trips. Part of it is the excitement of the unknown; you never quite know what weather conditions you’ll encounter, or what kinds of adventures await you around every bend. 

Winter Lights Sylvan Lake: Winter Calgary Guide

But there’s also something to be said for the rugged beauty of a winter landscape. 

If you’re planning to hit the road this winter, Calgary is the perfect place to start your journey. Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find yourself in the heart of some of Canada‘s most stunning scenery. 

Here are a few road trip ideas to get you started.

  • Banff and Lake Louise as mentioned above
  • Yoho National Park: The snow-capped mountains and frozen Emerald Lake are an unforgettable sight, and there’s no shortage of things to do, from snowshoeing to skating here 
  • Waterton Lakes National Park: You could easily spend a week here and never get bored – make it a nice road trip with stops at Pincher Creek, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site, and Red Rock Canyon. You can also book a day tour to Waterton here
  • Short trips to Drumheller, Sylvan Lake, or a weekend in Edmonton are still possible from Calgary. You can visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, or enjoy Family Day celebrations in Sylvan Lake in winter

Be sure to have winter tires on when you embark on a road trip! 

Calgary Winter Events Calendar: The Complete Guide

Nov 18, 2022, to Jan 8, 2023
(evenings to midnight)
Nov 25 to Dec 30, 2022GLOW Calgary
Nov 26, 2022 to Jan 8, 2023
(evenings to midnight)
Lions Festival of Lights
Nov 26 – 27
Dec 3 – 4, 10 -11, 17-18
Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park
Feb 1, 2023Winter Walk Day 
February 2023Chinook Blast

Why visit Calgary in winter? Reasons to visit Calgary in winter

Here are just a few reasons why Calgary should be on your list of places to visit:

The Rocky Mountains are just on your doorstep

Calgary is situated just an hour away from Banff National Park, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities all year round. 

Banff Downtown
Banff Downtown in winter

In the winter, you can hit the slopes at any of the nearby ski resorts, or go for a hike in one of the many Provincial Parks. 

The Food Scene

Calgary’s food scene is incredible and we just LOVE it. There are fine dining options, international cuisine (Thai, Indian, Mexican, and more), plus many cool roasters and cafes to choose from!

Mexcal in Calgary
Mexcal in Calgary

There are also many farmers’ markets where you can get fresh local produce. And let’s not forget about all of the unique Alberta beef that you can find here! 

The nightlife of Calgary

Calgary has a lively nightlife scene with something for everyone. There are plenty of bars and clubs if you’re looking to dance the night away and keep warm. 

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, there are lots of pubs and lounges where you can relax with a drink and some good company. 

No matter what your preferred method of nighttime entertainment is, Calgary has got you covered.

Experience a Canadian city covered in snow + winter festivities

As the winter season approaches, many Canadian cities begin to plan their annual festivals and Calgary is no different. 

From light shows to tree lighting ceremonies and outdoor skating rinks, there is lots to do and see in Calgary in winter. 

Calgary winter temperatures

The winter months in Calgary are from December to February. However, it is possible to see the first signs of snow in early November and snow/ice can be on the ground until the end of March. 

Calgary in the winter

Winter temperatures in Calgary range from -1 degrees C (31 F) to a low of – 14 degrees C (7 F). With the wind chill, the temperatures can drop to below – 20 degrees C.

December– 2° C (29° F)– 12° C (10° F)
January– 3° C (27° F)– 14° C (7° F)
February– 1° C (31° F)– 11° C (12° F)

The air in Calgary is very dry, and even people with normal skin and with moisturizers can feel the struggle! 

So remember to doll up with a thick moisturizing cream, and wear a hood. Plus layer on! 

Although it is cold, there is hardly any rain (2-4 days) in the winter in Calgary. 

We have listed the temperatures (highs and lows) for the primary winter months above. Note that January is the coldest month of the year in Calgary.  

Calgary winter temperature

Calgary In Winter Temperatures

Getting to Calgary Canada

Calgary is accessible by plane, bus, and car. If you’re flying, you will arrive at the Calgary International Airport (YYC). 

Once you arrive in Calgary, getting around is easy thanks to the city’s extensive public transportation system. The Calgary Transit operates buses, and Light Rail Trains throughout the city. 

If you are staying downtown you can use the LRT, or walk to nearby areas. If you are planning to explore the Canadian Rockies from Calgary renting a car is a good idea. 

Without a car, you can either book specific tours to Lake Louise and Banff/Johnston Canyon or take a transfer by bus to your hotel.

Where to stay in Calgary Canada?

Two of the popular areas to stay in Calgary include the downtown core and the airport. 

Both are excellent choices for sightseeing. Remember that in the winter walking downtown is quite difficult and you have to layer on well and wear warm boots to enjoy long walks. 

Calgary downtown in winter

We usually stay in the downtown area near the Calgary tower, or Eau Claire, so that our walks are shorter. Keep in mind that many properties charge for valet parking but trust us, it is worth it!

The airport is perfect for those who wish to head to the Winsport complex or drive to Banff National Park. Pros of staying here are that parking is mostly free (but uncovered), and breakfast is also included in most properties. 

You will need a vehicle 1000% if you are staying in the Calgary airport area. 

The Beltline is another neighborhood that you can consider for accommodation. There are hotels and airbnbs in the mid-budget range, plus you are still close to bars, and restaurants. 

Here are our top picks for Calgary hotels for your trip,

Palliser Fairmont (luxury): 

Fairmont is one of the premier hotels in Calgary (this is also where we got engaged). Perfect for a staycation in Calgary in winter, in the heart of everything, and experience luxury dining and spa packages. 

Calgary Tower and Fairmont hotel in one day in Calgary itinerary
Calgary Fairmont Palliser in downtown

In December, they set the lobby in festive colors! Highly recommend it. Book your stay here

Alt Hotel Calgary East Village (3 star): 

This cute and colorful Calgary downtown hotel is amazing and it offers modest but vibrant suites. Check out pictures and availability here

Residence Inn Calgary Airport (3 stars):

Perfect for long-term stays with spacious suites, and a kitchenette, the Residence Inn is a delight.

Parking and breakfast are free. Many suites have views, and the hotel has a lobby with a restaurant and bar on-site. Book your stay here

Hampton Inn Airport (3 stars): 

Another Calgary favorite, the Hampton Inn is a mid-budget and modest accommodation that offers free parking and breakfast. They have a pool on-site.

Hampton Inn Calgary Airport
Hampton Inn Calgary Airport

When we book here, we always try to opt for a room with airport views – just love love it! Check availability and current prices here

What to pack for Calgary in winter?

Calgary is a beautiful city, it is one of our favorites. But if you’re not from around here, the thought of braving the winter might be a little daunting. 

Have no fear! 

What to pack for Calgary in winter

With the right preparation, you can have a great time in Calgary during the winter months. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your stay.

1. A warm coat: This one should go without saying, but make sure you have a coat that will keep you warm in Canada’s frigid temperatures. 

Look for a coat or a parka up to knee length. Ensure it has a hood with a fur lining. You can also check the parka’s temperature threshold. Choose something that can be warm up to -25 to – 30 degrees Celcius. 

2. Snow pants: Again, temperatures in Calgary can dip well below freezing, so you’ll want snow pants that will keep you warm and dry. 

Waterproof snow pants are ideal, as they’ll protect you from both the cold and any wet snow you may encounter.

3. Winter boots: A good pair of winter boots is essential for any winter trip. Make sure your boots are insulated and waterproof to keep your feet warm and dry all day long.

4. Gloves or mittens: You’ll definitely want to pack gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm while you’re in Canada. 

If you tend to get cold easily, opt for mittens over gloves; they’ll provide more warmth since they allow your fingers to share body heat.

5. Accessories like hat, and scarf: To complete your winter weather wardrobe, pack a hat or scarf (or both!) to keep your head and neck warm. 

A wool or cashmere hat or scarf will be the most effective at trapping heat, but any hat or scarf will do in a pinch.

Winter in Calgary is a great time to get outside and enjoy all the city has to offer! With so many things to do, you’ll never be bored. 

What are your favorite winter activities in Calgary? Let us know in the comments below!

Other Canada Winter Guides:

Pin: Calgary Winter Guide | Visiting Calgary in Winter

Things to do in Calgary In Winter

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