Winter in Calgary can be cold, but there are fabulous ways to both escape and embrace it! We’ve got some great offers running this winter if you want to hunker down and stay in – but if you’re feeling adventurous, we’ve put together a list of 5 of our favourite Winter activities for you to enjoy during your stay in Calgary.
1. Zoolights at the Wilder Institute/Calgary zoo
This is a true Calgary tradition. Every year, the Wilder Institute / Calgary Zoo puts on an incredible display of lights and interactive outdoor exhibits. ZOOLIGHTS usually runs from mid-November to mid-January, from 5-9 PM, and is a perfect event for the whole family. Enjoy hot chocolate along the way, or stop to cozy up next to a blazing firepit. The exhibits and lights change every year, so you’ll never see the same thing twice. We can’t wait to see what the 2023-2024 season holds!
2. Check Out a Craft Brewery
Calgary is home to some of the best craft breweries in Canada! We’ve made a list below of some of our favourites, but don’t skip Cabin Brewing‘s fabulous retro-themed taproom, or the Revival BrewCade’s too-fun arcade/brewhouse combo.
Tip: Plan a holiday pub crawl and take advantage of our great weekend rates with our Fiesta Then Siesta offer!
Citizen Brewing – Cold Garden – Ol’ Beautiful – Village Brewery – Tool Shed Brewing Company – The Dandy Brewing Company – Prairie Dog Brewing – Eighty-Eight Brewing Co. – Evil Corporation Brewing – Two House Brewing – Bow River Brewing – Good Mood Brewery – Railyard Brewing – Uncommon Cider Company – Zero Issue Brewing – Banded Peak Brewing
3. Skiing, sledding & SnowboardinG
If you’re craving an outdoor adventure, Calgary has tonnes of options either in town or out in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. WinSport, located on the city’s West edge, is a world-class winter sports training facility and was originally built for the ’88 Winter Olympics. You can ski, snowboard, or rent inflatable tubes to ride down their specially-made park.
If you’re fancying a trip to the mountains, you’re less than two hours away from some of the best skiing in the world. Banff National Park is home to Sunshine Village Ski Resort. It genuinely has some of the best snow in the Rockies (as well as some jaw-dropping views), and historically was a well-used summer camp, beginning in the early 20th century. Ride the 4.3km gondola up, up, and away to enjoy two ski-able mountains and all of the good food and drink the resort has to offer.
Tip: Make Calgary your home base when you’re exploring the mountains during ski season and take advantage of our On The Road Again offer for discounts on our best available rate and gas cards!
Lake Louise Ski Resort is another great spot in the Rockies, and it’s certainly the most popular! It’s the third-largest ski resort in Canada and the largest in Alberta, and there’s no shortage of explorable terrain for all skill levels. When you’re done for the day, head back home through Banff and enjoy a well-deserved soak in the natural hot springs.
After a scenic drive through Kananaskis country, you’ll arrive at Nakiska Ski Resort. It was one of the event spaces for the ’88 Winter Olympics and has a rustic charm that you won’t find at more modernized hills. It’s also the closest ski hill to Calgary, which makes it a favourite for the locals.
4. Go to a Christmas Market
Looking for that perfect gift for a loved one? You’re in luck – Calgary hosts a lot of Christmas and Winter-themed markets during the season! We highly recommend visiting Granary Road, which boasts an active learning park and farmers’ market. The Inglewood Night Market is also a popular attraction, with vendors selling handmade, one-of-a-kind, and vintage items, along with delicious food and drink. Lastly, the prestigious Spruce Meadows hosts their luxurious International Christmas Market, which is a beautifully decorated and well-curated event that draws crowds from all over the world.
5. Visit a Museum
There are many museums in town to pique every interest! Telus Spark is a STEM playground – literally! Explore different scientific principles and effects through their interactive exhibits, which offer entertainment and learning opportunities for the whole family. For a super fun date, be sure to get tickets for one of their Spark After Dark adult-only nights, where you’ll be amazed by scientific experiments, dazzling demonstrations, and unforgettable cocktails. Be sure to follow Spark on Instagram @telus_spark for events and announcements.
For lovers of history, Heritage Park is Canada’s largest living history museum! Browse through unique treasures, relics, and events that helped shape Alberta from 1860-1950. Gasoline Alley, contained within the park, holds a priceless collection of vintage vehicles and farming equipment. Don’t forget to visit the old-time candy shop!
The Glenbow Museum is currently undergoing major renovations and won’t re-open its main building until 2026, but you can see select exhibits and pieces just a few blocks away via Glenbow at The Edison.
The Tsuut’Ina Cultural Museum is in the Tsuut’Ina territory directly adjacent to Calgary, on the Southwest side of town. They have fabulous exhibits detailing the history of the land and its people, which simultaneously promote and preserve Tsuut’Ina culture. They also have an awesome gift shop on-site where you can purchase authentic Indigenous art, jewelry and crafts.
Whether you’re looking to get out, or stay in, Calgary has everything you want to do this Winter 2023!