We all know that around November and December the weather starts to get colder, especially here in Edmonton where winter lasts roughly seven months of the year. And during those dreaded winter months, it can be difficult to find dates to do with your significant other, friends, and even family. Edmonton, however, always comes alive with warm festive lights and joyful sounds — perfect to get you in the holiday spirit. So, whether you are an indoor or outdoor person, there are activities for everyone to enjoy across the city! Here is a list of five different activities that aren’t so pricey but still enjoyable.
1. Shaw Festival of Trees
For years, the Festival of Trees has been getting Edmontonians geared up for the holidays for a great cause. Wander down Children’s Christmas Lane, where meeting Santa, visiting the North Pole post office — which has instant delivery! — storytelling, and getting crafty are just a few of the many activities to do. With hundreds of trees, lights, live music, and shopping, it’s like stepping into your own personal snow globe. Located at the Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Ave NW, general admission tickets for adults are $10 and are available at the door or on the Festival Mobile App only. Advance purchase on the app is highly recommended, as the wait times at the door can be long. All tickets and passes purchased must be redeemed at the same time on the purchaser’s phone. The festival kicks off Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
2. Butterdome Craft Sale
This craft sale is a four-day long event at the University of Alberta’s Butterdome building, featuring over 275 of Canada’s most talented artists, artisans, and designers. These talented people showcase their works to shoppers and interact with them face-to-face, making this a can’t-miss experience. Some of the wares include handmade goods from fashion, jewellery, home décor, sculptures, glassware, natural body care, delicious treats, and more. Admission for adults is $7, and it’s free for those 17 and under! This event also starts Thursday Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
and runs until Dec. 2.
3. Edmonton Twitch Holiday Party, in support of Edmonton ExtraLife!
On Saturday Dec. 1, come dressed in your ugliest holiday sweater for this annual charity holiday party — winner gets a prize for best sweater! The event is 18+ only and free to attend, although you do have the option to purchase a VIP or Ultra VIP ticket that grants early access to the venue and a goody bag on arrival (all proceeds go to Stollery Children’s Hospital). However, these VIP package purchases are non-refundable. So if you are unable to attend the event, reach out to the Edmonton Community Meetup team to arrange pickup of your goodies. Events run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and are being hosted by Beercade, which is located on Whyte Ave at 10544 82 Ave. NW.
4. Celebrate the Season Light Up
Dec. 5 from 4 p.m to 5:30 p.m. at the Legislative Assembly, located on 10800 97 Ave. NW, is when the Legislature Light-Up takes place and thousands of bright lights — providing the perfect setting to a winter stroll on the grounds — are officially lit. The evening will follow nearly 70 musical ensembles from all around the province at the rotunda’s grand staircase, including daily performances all throughout Celebrate the Season. All the festivities during Celebrate the Season run until Dec. 23 with free building tours every hour: weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5 p.m. The Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre will be offering the Agora Interpretive Centre which is a great place to review Alberta’s democratic history. It will also be paired with a 4D theatre experience in the Pehonan Theatre. Unique art and fine craft items made by Alberta artisans will be for sale as well. Finally, during the winter season, skating on the south grounds is open to the public, weather permitting. And good news, this event is free and open to all ages! Free parking, street parking, and paid parking will be made available, as well as public transportation.
Cover photo via Festival of Trees.