Whether you’re dreading the idea of Christmas or you’ve already started your countdown, the holidays are just around the corner! There’s plenty of ways to celebrate the season right here in Southern Alberta. Check all the amazing things you can do in southern Alberta this holiday season!

Located in Mossleigh, Alberta

1. Aspen Crossing’s Polar Express™ Train Ride

Just forty-five minutes southeast of Calgary, Aspen Crossing is Southern Alberta’s premier destination for entertainment, complete with a railway, campground, escape rooms, restaurants, and more! Every year, people from all over the province and even beyond gather for one very special event: a magical train ride that takes passengers into the wintery world of the hit Warner Brothers movie, The Polar Express™. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests will delight in this journey to the North Pole, complete with hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies served by dancing chefs. Aspen Crossing’s Polar Express™ Train Ride guarantees Christmas cheer from beginning to end – all you need is to believe. 

Head over to the bookings page to reserve your tickets and for more information. Book quickly, as this family favorite sells out every year! 

Photo Credit: Wapiti Travel

2. Banff Gondola

Banff National Park is consistently rated as one of the most beautiful places on Earth and is visited by millions of eager tourists each year. Albertans are so lucky to have the Rocky Mountains nearby, so don’t take them for granted! Winter is one of the best times to explore Banff and its surroundings, but if you’re not the hiking-on-ice type, don’t worry, the Banff Gondola allows you to take in all the mountain majesty without breaking a sweat. The gondola brings passengers over the Rockies and to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, delivering breathtaking views the entire time. 

Book your ride up the Rockies at www.banfflakelouise.com 

Photo Credit: curiocity.com

3. Skating

If you’re looking to spend little-to-no money on your seasonal fun, there is always the classic Canadian pastime of gliding across our icy land. What’s better than the crisp sounds of blades carving up the ice? From frozen ponds and rivers to outdoor rinks, there’s a high chance you won’t have to go far for a good skate. Whether you’re playing shinny, landing axels, or just learning how to stand on skates, there’s fun to be had for everyone at your local lake or arena. 

Here’s the list of Calgary’s outdoor skating rinks: https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/locations/outdoor-skating-rinks.html 

Photo Credit: highriver.com

4. Light Up High River

The Southern Albertan town of High River takes Christmas so seriously, it should be considered an extension of the North Pole. 2021 will see the town’s 35th consecutive Christmas Parade, a three-day event consisting of Porch Parades, a friendly competition where people decorate their homes and businesses along the parade route. On top of the Porch Parades, an entire municipal park will be lit up with a magical light display, there’s a pop-up skating rink, multiple Christmas markets, visits from Santa at his special workshop, and more! Don’t miss out on the abundance of holiday spirit that High River has to offer. 

Check out the town’s official schedule at www.highriverchristmas.ca 

Local Christmas Markets

5. Christmas Markets

Christmas is the perfect time to go shopping in your own community – supporting local vendors is a gift in itself! Luckily, Southern Alberta is home to many amazing Christmas markets. With natural bath products, handmade jewelry, homemade goods, bespoke services, and more, there’s something for everyone on your list. There are upcoming Christmas markets in Millarville, Okotoks, High River, Cardston, Lethbridge, several in Calgary, and even one at Aspen Crossing in Mossleigh. Find the one closest to you and shop ‘til you drop!

Here’s a list of Christmas markets in Calgary: Calgary Christmas Markets, and a list of markets in the surrounding areas: Surrounding Markets.