Remember waking up on Christmas morning and rushing to the living room to open presents? Maybe you even spent the entire month of December counting down the days until Christmas with an advent calendar or some homemade crafts. No matter what your Christmas traditions are, it's hard not to enjoy this wonderful holiday.
Seeing Christmas lights in your city is a great way to get yourself in the Christmas spirit, plus it's a great way to get the whole family together. To help you get the most out of Christmas this year, we've compiled a list of the best Christmas lights in Calgary.
Calgary Zoo ZOOLIGHTS
Each winter, the Calgary Zoo puts on a stunning display of Christmas lights to dazzle its visitors. In fact, the Calgary Zoo does such a great job with its Christmas lights that it's become a sort of Christmas tradition for Calgarians. Gorgeous white, red and pink tunnels lead you through the zoo to see stunning animal-themed Christmas lights. There are also activities, including games about migration, adaptation, and hibernation. Tickets are $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children, and proceeds go toward animal conservation.
Light Up Okotoks
If you prefer your Christmas lights in the city streets like many people do, check out Light Up Okotoks. Every November, Elizabeth Street, McRae Street, and North Railway Street to Lineham Avenue are closed for this festival. Perhaps the best part about Light Up Okotoks, though, is the range of great vendors and activities available at the festival. You can ride miniature ponies, hear a choir, get a photo with Santa, see the Christmas tree light up, and buy tons of delicious sweet treats. from fudge to kettle corn.
CORE Christmas Tree Lighting
The lights around people's homes are beautiful, but for some it's the neon tree that really brings out the Christmas spirit. Don't worry—Calgary has the tree-lovers covered, too. Head on down to the CORE Shopping Centre in Downtown Calgary for an absolutely stunning display of Christmas trees. 150 trees are decorated by some of Calgary's local business and not-for-profit groups. These 150 trees are lit and placed around one large, 45-foot tree that serves as the centerpiece for the whole thing. On December 21, the trees are delivered to homes throughout Calgary for the holidays. The best part is, admission is free!
Airdrie Festival of Lights
There are plenty of places to see Christmas lights in Calgary, each offering their own Canadian flavor of Christmas. The Airdrie Festival of Lights is more than just lights—it's the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit as the holidays approach. There are lights, hot chocolate, and even miniature trains to make you feel like you're at the North Pole. The festival is located at Nose Creek Park and lasts for the duration of December.
Legacy Christmas Light Parade
Although it's only the event's third annual year, the Legacy Christmas Light Parade looks like it's here to stay. The Legacy Christmas Lights Parade includes beautifully decorated parks, a skating rink, and 28 stunning show homes. It's free to take a walk or drive through the beautiful mess of lights, and you can even stop at any of the show homes along the way for a free hot drink. If you're feeling generous, be sure to bring a few toys to make a donation to Toy Mountain.
Lions Festival of Lights
For the largest free display of Christmas lights in Calgary, nobody's competing with Lions Festival of Lights. There are more than 105,000 lights in this amazing display on 14th St NW, and you have a bit longer than a month to make the trip to see them. The lights open on December 2 and close on January 8, with light displays each night from 6:00pm to midnight.
Light Up George Lane Park
Every year, volunteers help to turn the plain, green landscape of George Lane Park into a stunning display of Christmas lights. With each year's new display, things look a little bit better, so there's always a good reason to make it back annually. In addition to the lights, the whole family can meet Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from the hit Disney movie Frozen, the kids get light up wands, and the Lions Club of High River hands out plenty of hot dogs and hot chocolate. If you're only going to see the lights one day, be sure to make it to the opening on December 1st.
Christmas at Spruce Meadows
There are more than 250,000 lights in the display at Spruce Meadows, and it won't cost much at all for the whole family to enjoy them. In fact, an entire carload of people is just $10. The drive is only two kilometers long, but there are more about 50 kilometers of lights surrounding the pond alone. If you love over-the-top Christmas lights, you have to check out Spruce Meadows.
Tuscany Candy Cane Lane
Tuscany Candy Cane Lane is a great drive to take during the holidays. There are 56 candy canes lining the road, creating a beautiful path whether you're walking or driving. The Tuscany Candy Cane Lane opens on November 19th and runs until Christmas, and they take food bank donations starting December 1st.
Rotary Festival of Trees
The numbers at Rotary Festival of Trees may not be quite as impressive as the CORE Christmas Tree Lighting, but it's still a hot spot for Christmas tree lovers. There are more than 50 trees decorated by local businesses, and you get to vote for your favorite. You can also enter raffles and enjoy crafts with the kids.
Light Up the Square
Do you like your Christmas with a little touch of the olden days? If so, check out Light Up the Square. You can take a horse-drawn wagon through East Village, where you and your friends can enjoy carolers, cookies, and a visit from Santa. This is a great way to enjoy the Christmas lights if you want to keep it simple this holiday season.