December is nearly here and with gifts to be given, dinners to be made and flights to be caught, it could get pretty pricy. Luckily, having fun doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg! From markets and pop-ups to light displays and outdoor activities, here are 12 of the best free and cheap things to do in Calgary this December.

Banff Christmas Market

This December, take a little drive, then enjoy the fresh air under some lights. Held at the Warner stables the Banff Christmas Market is back with live music, fantastic food, charming gifts, pieces of artwork, and food. It’s going to be enchanting!

When: Friday, December 1st-3nd, 2023
Where: Warner Stables, 100 Sundance Rd
Cost: $15+

Inglewood Night Market

Don’t have the time to get to and from Banff? Shop Calgary – after dark! This December, those chasing that festive feeling are encouraged to hit the indoor edition of the Inglewood Night Market, a city-wide favourite.

When: Friday, December 1st and 2nd, 2023
Where:  Crossroads Farmers Market. 1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary
Time: 5 pm – 10 pm
Cost: $5

Bearspaw European Village Christmas Market

Fireworks, vendors and live music? This December, visit the Bearspaw Market, a magical experience with a little something for everyone and anyone! Do NOT miss this one, friends. You’ll regret it.

When: Friday, December 1st-3rd and 8th-10th, 2023
Where: 253220 Bearspaw Road, AB
Time: Various times
Cost: $5

Miracle on 1st Street

Dig to the back of the closet, Calgary. You’ve got an ugly sweater to rock! This month, enjoy festive cocktails served in a variety of Christmas mugs and glasses. Miracle of 1st Street has returned and Proof has been covered in over-the-top decorations from floor to ceiling.

When: Until December 24th,, 2023
Where: 1302 1 St SW, Calgary, AB
Cost: Prices vary

Banff Hot Chocolate Trail

Headed to the Rockies? This December, wet your whistle with several different hot chocolates from cafes, restaurants, bars, and convenience stores all over Banff and Lake Louise. Each drink is uniquely themed, holiday-centric, and only available for a limited time. Drink up!

When: Until December 31st, 2023
Where: Various locations
Cost: Prices vary

Zoolights

 

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It’s back and brighter than ever, Calgary! This December, see the millions of lights strung through trees at the Calgary Zoo. Grab a hot cocoa, a snack and take a seat by the fire – it is tradition after all!

When: Until January 7th, 2024
Where: Calgary Zoo, 210 St. George’s Drive NE
Cost: $21.95+

Sippin’ Santa

Need a vacation? This December, get tropical at Sippin’ Santa! With funky decorations and Christmas lights, guests can enjoy holly sips, music, ugly sweaters, and fun festive mugs.

When: Until December 31st, 2023
Where: 1530 5 St SW, Calgary, AB
Cost: Prices vary

Lions Festival of Lights

Prepare to be dazzled, Calgary! This December, grab a friend, a family member or a hot date, and take in the beautiful lights along 14th Street. Dress warm, grab a hot chocolate and enjoy Calgary’s incredible display – for free!

When: Until January 8th, 2024
Where: Confederation Golf Course – 14th Street NW, Calgary
Time:  6 pm – 12 am
Cost: Free

A Christmas to Remember

70 vendors?! Under vaulted ceilings among lights and garland, shop the annual Christmas to Remember Market held at Calgary’s Granary Road! Here guests can explore arts and crafts, take magical wagon rides, grab a hot chocolate or take pictures with their alpacas.

When: Until December, 17th 2023
Where: 226066 112 St W, Foothills County, AB
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Cost: FREE

Olympic Plaza

Feel the wind through your hair and enjoy a lap around an ice rink! The Olympic Plaza skating rink is finally open for the season and you’ll want to check it out sooner rather than later.

When: Now open
Where:
 228 8 Ave. SE, Calgary
Cost: FREE

Firepit Rentals

Love s’mores.? The FREE Calgary community fire pits are now available to the public. Check out the link above for where and how you can rent one for you and yours this season.

Cost: FREE

Home Alone at Eighty-Eight Brewing Company

The Wet Bandits are back, Calgary! This December, fans can check out the Home Alone pop-up at Eighty-Eight Brewing Co. Hurry though! You’ll only have until  December 31st to have a drink or take part in some of their fun activities.

When: Until December 31st, 2023
Where: 2600 Portland St SE #1070, Calgary
Cost: Prices vary

Well, there you have it, friends. 12 free and cheap things to do this December in Calgary! Enjoy yourselves out there!