Is it me, or is it already beginning to look a lot like Christmas? There’s so many great places to view Christmas lights in Calgary it’s a guaranteed way to get into the holiday spirit – pronto!
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Christmas Lights in Calgary
If you’re looking for the best Christmas lights in Calgary, you’ve got plenty of choice. No matter how you want to enjoy them, whether it’s inside, from the warmth of your car, or by foot, you’ll be able to get your dose of dazzling displays. Here’s our favourite, not-to-miss displays around the city.
The Lions Festival of Lights society has over 3 decades of experience showcasing Christmas lights at Confederation Park. Starting November 26 at 6 pm, these lights can be seen by walking through the park or from your car along 14th street NW.
You can visit these lights for free from 5:30pm to midnight every night until January 7.
Legacy Christmas Light Parade
The Legacy Christmas Light Parade is one of Calgary’s largest free Christmas light displays. Located in the deep south of Calgary, the community is lit up with more than one million Christmas lights. Walk or drive through the community to see the parks, homes and streets all lit up.
There’s also two skating rinks at 412 Legacy View SE. For real estate voyeurs (guilty!) there’s also show homes to walk through that are decorated to the hilt. Legacy’s Christmas lights are turned on November 15 and run until January 10. You can view them anytime after dark.
Looking for a science twist on the traditional Christmas light displays? Check out Sparkle Sparkle at TELUS Spark. The space morphs into a magical, sparkling wonderland, complete with a LED fire to warm up in front of.
You can take photos with Santa in his robot palace, try a glowing drink and experience a glowing universe. Sparkle Sparkle runs December 1 through January 2. Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for youth.
Downtown Calgary Christmas Lights
Get into the holiday spirit with this downtown walking tour to check out the lights. Start at Olympic Plaza and stroll down Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue SW) to see the lights and window displays.
Stop off at The Core shopping mall to warm up and see the large Christmas tree (more on that later), before you head to the historic McDougall Centre building (455 6 St SW), which is all decked out in holiday lights.
Finish up the walk through Prince’s Island Park, where the trees shine brightly with glittering icicles. You can even take a skate on the frozen lagoon. It might be chilly though, so dress for the weather!
If you’re hoping to enjoy some lights from the comfort of your car, you can do a self-guided driving tour of the most beautifully decorated houses in Calgary. The exact details for this year aren’t up yet, but the team usually provides a map and a list of houses by quadrant so that you can tailor your own trip and go on your own time. Check out Lighten Up Calgary for more details.
Would it really be a Christmas lights post if we didn’t mention ZOOLIGHTS? This is probably the best-known Christmas light festival in Calgary, and for good reason. Located at the Calgary Zoo, ZOOLIGHTS has over 200 displays and 2 million Christmas lights.
But it’s not just about the lights, there are also fire pits and activity zones. This year, the Zoo is featuring a new light story in Prehistoric Park, a Polar Wonderland, a multi-sensory show at the gorilla amphitheatre and snow globes for rent!
Zoolights starts on November 18 and runs until January 8. Tickets start at $14.95.
Each year, Spruce Meadows creates a tranquil, drive-thru light display that you can enjoy from the comfort of your warm car. The two-km pathway runs through the sparkling grounds. The light show runs Friday through Sunday starting December 9. All of the details aren’t available yet, so stay tuned to the Spruce Meadows website.
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is back this year, with stops all over Alberta. The train will be lit up like a Christmas tree as if makes its journey across Canada.
There will also be a boxcar stage and musical talent at each stop. Donations to the food back are encouraged and admission is free.
- Airdrie on Dec 10 (Nose Creek)
- Calgary on Dec 11 (Anderson C-Train Station)
- Cochrane on Tuesday Dec 13 (Provincial Building)
- Stoney Nakoda- Dec 13 (Morley Gas Station)
- Canmore Dec 13 (Save on Foods)
- Banff Dec 13 (Banff Train Station)
Christmas Tree Lighting
A couple of Calgary’s malls will be having Christmas tree lighting ceremonies for the public to enjoy. Here’s where to go.
CF Market Mall will be having its tree lighting ceremony on November 18 from 6-8 pm. Fuzzy, the host of Virgin Morning will be leading the event that also features local entertainment, music performances and a visit by the jolly old elf himself.
Head to the Safeway Court, near Zara and Peoples Jewellers to catch the actions.
Downtown’s CORE Shopping Centre has yet to set a date for their tree lighting ceremony, but you won’t want to miss the lighting of this 45-foot tree. Stay tuned to their social media for more information. You can also visit the tree after it’s been lit for the duration of the Christmas season. It’s a great place for photos.
When that winter chill truly hits and you can’t bear to stand outside, check out Glow Calgary at the Nutrien Western Event Centre on the Stampede Grounds. The indoor space is filled with lights that showcase Christmas across the world. There is also a kids scavenger hunt, food trucks, pictures with Santa and a Princess meet and greet.
The site will also have Christmas market with local vendors. Ticket prices start at $16 (it’s cheaper to attend on the weekdays). Note: the usual $15 parking fee applies to this event.
Take a journey back to the past with the Lougheed House this Christmas. Inside, you’ll find historic rooms tastefully decorated as they would have been when the Lougheed family first moved in in 1891. Visit 20 rooms and take in 11 fireplaces, 30 stained glass windows, wreaths, nutcrackers, trees and other decorations.
You can also have brunch, lunch or dinner in these beautifully decorated spaces. Regular admission fees apply. Santa breakfasts and holiday afternoon teas are also on tap during December.
Holiday lights near Calgary
If you’re looking for a winter road trip, check out these cheerful light displays and shows, a short drive from the city.
Light Up Okotoks
Light Up Okotoks is a free event that begins with a community tree lighting on November 18. There’ll be live entertainment, wagon rides, ice sculptures, cookie decorating, and of course, a sugar shack for treats.
If you can’t make it to the lighting, you can still see the lights throughout downtown Okotoks from November 25 through December 30.
Airdrie Festival of Lights
The Airdrie Festival of Lights is the largest outdoor walk-through Christmas lights display in Western Canada, and it’s right in our own backyard!
From December 1, Nose Creek Park will be lit up with $1 million worth of displays and special features. There are miniature trains that can take you around and will fit the whole family. Even your dog!
You can also shop in Santa’s Gift shop for local gifts for the holidays. Of note is a special kid’s shopping section. In the kid’s section, all products are under $10, so if they have their own spending money, it’s an easy way for them to select gifts.
Admission is by donation.
Nightrise at Banff Gondola
Nightrise is back for another year on Sulphur Mountain. This multi-sensory winter experience merges multimedia, storytelling and nature to tell the story of the Stoney Nakoda people and their impact on the town of Banff. The displays start on November 17 and stay until December 31 (excluding November 21 and 22).
The event itself doesn’t cost money, but you do need to buy gondola tickets to reach the summit. The journey fuses together vibrant lights, music and soundscapes – all from the moment you step into your gondola.
In Search of Christmas Spirit
Another Banff light experience is In Search of Christmas Spirit. Walk through the Cascade of Time Garden and take in a story told by the illuminated animals of Banff National Park. Featuring the art of local Indigenous sculptor/painter, Jason Carter, it’s one of those experiences that works for all age-groups.
The event is free but is ticketed to reduce crowds. Buy your tickets here.
Light Up George Lane Park
The High River Santa Claus Parade is back on and you can enjoy it on December 2! Beginning at 5 pm, The town of High River will be lit up and there’ll be light displays, hot chocolate, skating, hot dogs and entertainment throughout the town’s downtown core.
Missed the parade? The lights in George Land Park will stay on until mid-January. The event is free for everyone to attend.
Rotary Festival of Lights
Visit the Malcom Hotel in Canmore to see the Rotary Festival of Lights. The lobby of the hotel will be lit up with trees and wreaths. This complimentary experience starts on December 2 and runs until December 31.
Christmas Light Installation Calgary
Not keen to fall off your roof while trying to get those holiday lights installed? Don’t worry. These businesses handle Christmas light installation in Calgary. Be sure to reach out to them quickly as everyone seems to want their lights up at the same time.
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