Compiled by the Road Trip Alberta team
Last updated on November 19, 2022
Christmas in Edmonton can be incredibly magical. Colourful holiday lights twinkle at the Legislature, craft markets are out in full force, skaters are bundled up and gliding along the new outdoor ice rink in the ICE District Plaza, plus much more. There are so many fun things to do and ways to enjoy the Christmas season in Alberta’s capital city.
Celebrating Christmas in Edmonton
From November until January, be on the lookout for all kinds of events to entertain you and the whole family. We’ve got lots of ideas for you below.
Finding the Best Christmas Lights in Edmonton, Alberta
There are plenty of places in and around Edmonton to see beautiful Christmas lights in November and December.
GLOW Edmonton, one of Edmonton’s most anticipated holiday events, presents A Fairytale Christmas for the 2022 Christmas season. The Edmonton Expo is decorated with over a million twinkly lights and fairytale favourites will lead guests through a 100,000 square foot labyrinth of lights as you help Santa find his lost presents.
Enjoy special entertainment, Christmas snacks, a marketplace and plenty of family-friendly activities that will keep you wanting more. Tickets can be purchased online, and you’ll need to check out the website for opening dates as they change closer to Christmas, but the event will be open from 12 – 7 pm on Christmas Eve.
Light up the Legislature
A holiday tradition for many years, starting in late November the Legislature buildings get decked out in thousands of lights. It is not a sight to be missed!
Edmonton Holiday Light up
Edmonton Holiday Light Up is moving from the Churchill Square to Rice Howard Way in 2022. On December 3, there will be live music music, free hot beverages, Instagrammable displays for that perfect holiday selfie, light installations and lots of lights! There will be a huge wooly mammoth named Bryson and a 30 foot humpback whale that will be decorated in LED’s. The party starts at 3pm, runs until 8pm and there will be free parking.
Winter Whyte Light Up
The Winter Whyte Light Up happens at McIntyre Park on November 26 from 4-7 PM. In addition to this year’s light show, there will be a mini-market full of tasty treats and hot drinks to enjoy. There will also be lots of free family-friendly outdoor activities, including firepits on 83rd Ave, exciting live entertainment, ice carvings and a gorgeous Instagram-able light display.
Candy Cane Lane
The community of Crestwood in Edmonton’s north-west lights up their houses, garages, and canopied trees to bring you ‘Candy Cane Lane’. Christmas spirit is abundant each night from 6-10 pm for everyone to enjoy. Enjoy sleigh rides and a night dedicated to walking traffic only.
Edmonton Valley Zoo
One of Edmonton’s favourite holiday traditions is Zoominescence – where the Edmonton Valley Zoo is aglow with light displays, local artist performances, and other entertainment. From December to January 1, guests will enjoy a whole new perspective of the Zoo with their exhibition of artistic light installations. It will be an evening of magical light, drinking hot chocolate, and fun for the whole family!
Finding the Best Christmas Lights Near Edmonton
Northeast of Edmonton in the town of Fort Saskatchewan, you can find beautiful and unique Enchanted Forest with Christmas trees put together by locals at City Hall, Dow Centennial, Shell Theatre and the public library. It is one of the most celebrated holiday activities taking place from November 25 – January 7.
Leduc Country Lights
The Leduc Country Lights display will be lit up for the entire month of December, including Christmas Eve. It began as a humble light display 15 years ago and has since transformed into one of Leduc’s most anticipated holiday activities. This event is 100% volunteer operated and takes a small $2.00 entrance fee to pay for the cost of electricity.
Brighten up Beaumont
Beaumont’s annual Christmas event, Brighten up Beaumont, takes place on December 9th from 4 – 9 pm at Four Seasons Park. Take in the holiday lights down the Corridor of Trees, then climb aboard a sleigh ride and check out ice sculptures that are hand-crafted by Alberta’s finest. The event is free of charge.
Borealis Lights (St. Albert)
Marvel at thousands of twinkling lights all in the comfort of your own car at Borealis Lights. Located in the Kinsmen RV Park in St. Albert, visitors will be dazzled by a number of traditional, contemporary, and whimsical lights displays. The main feature includes a 100 ft tunnel with 26,000 flashing animated lights. Santa will be making an appearance and waving to vehicles from November 18 to December 4.
Light up (Spruce Grove)
Spruce Grove’s ‘Light Up‘ in Central Park lights up on November 26. There are heaps of fun family Christmas activities that children and adults can enjoy, including delicious Christmas treats, crafts, free hot chocolate, cookie decorating, and more. After the tree is lit, turn your eyes to the sky for a spectacular fireworks show followed by a disco party and ice skating.
Other popular light displays near Edmonton are:
- Canadian Tire’s Magic of Lights (Leduc Castrol Raceway)
- Luminaria (University of Alberta Botanic Garden)
- Celebration of Lights (Sherwood Park)
Visiting the Edmonton Christmas Markets
You can check out any of Edmonton’s Christmas markets for all your shopping needs to find unique items made and sold by local artisans and small businesses.
Edmonton Christmas market
The Edmonton Christmas Market is an annual festive event that takes place at Fort Edmonton Park from November 30 – December 18. Tickets cannot be purchased in person as they are arranged through time-slot bookings. In addition to the many booths run by local vendors, there will be plenty of Christmas events like carol singing, delicious food and drinks and, of course, beautiful Christmas decorations. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for kids aged 10-17, and children under 5 are free. Families can buy a family pass for $45.
Alt After dark: The Night Market Before Christmas
Alt After Dark – The Night Market Before Christmas is a free event that takes place on November 25th at the Bonnie Doon Hall in NW Edmonton from 7 pm – 11 pm. Your free pass can be obtained in person at the door. With over 35 local artists and vendors, you can be sure to complete your holiday shopping with a quirky and alternative gift to put under the tree.
Edmonton Old Strathcona Farmers Market
Christmas spirit is abundant and finding the perfect holiday gift is easy at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market. The market is open from 8am – 3pm during the holiday season. You may even catch Santa and Mrs. Claus making an appearance, plus you can catch live entertainment from 11am – 2pm. This market is a local favourite that shouldn’t be missed over the holiday season.
Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair
Art lovers will fully enjoy the Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair, taking place on November 25th – 27th and again on December 2nd – 4th near the Strathcona Farmer’s Market in Edmonton. Local literature, hand-made toys, woodworking and music are just a few things you can look forward to. Come and get your craft on between the hours of 5 pm – 9 pm on Friday, 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday and 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday. Admission is $4 and children get in free.
Other popular markets in Edmonton include:
- Merry Maker’s Market (Edmonton Expo)
- St. Albert Indoor Christmas Market (Nov 26 – Dec 17)
- River Cree Holiday Market (River Cree Casino Nov 25-27)
Carols, Plays, and Christmas Concerts in Edmonton
Almost a Full Moon (Citadel Theatre)
Head down to the Citadel Theatre for one of the most unique Christmas events in Edmonton: Almost a Full Moon. Inspired by the beloved Christmas album of one of the most recognized artists in Canada, Hawksley Workman, Almost a Full Moon tells three stories of love and family during the holidays. This special show runs from Saturday, November 5th until Sunday, November 27th and is something you won’t want to miss. You can get your ticket directly from the Citadel Theatre’s website.
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and The Richard Eaton Singers will put on a spectacular show of Handel’s Messiah this Christmas season at the Winspear Centre at the heart of the city on Friday, December 3rd and Saturday, December 4th at 7:30 pm. Hear the joyful sounds of Handel’s classic arias to get in the Christmas spirit. You can get your ticket online by visiting the Winspear Centre’s website.
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’s traditional Christmas favourite, A Christmas Carol, comes to life on stage at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. Opening night is Saturday, November 26th and the show runs until Friday, December 23rd. Tickets can be purchased on the Citadel Theatre’s website.
Some say that Edmonton is Alberta’s cultural capital, and no one visiting Edmonton during the holidays should miss The Alberta Ballet’s annual presentation of that classic Christmas tale, The Nutcracker. Running from December 7 – December 11th, The Nutcracker tells the tale of Klara as she goes on a fun and magical adventure at Christmas.
With performances in Edmonton and Calgary, this is a show that everyone in Alberta looks forward to every year and tickets sell out fast, so don’t forget to get yours. They can be purchased directly from the Alberta Ballet’s website.
Where to Find Santa in Edmonton
What better way to get in the spirit of holidays than a visit with the man in the big red suit! Big Santa secret: he loves to spend time in Alberta, especially at most malls throughout the city. If you can’t find him at the mall, you may find him at any of these locations throughout the city to capture those festive Santa photos.
The Kingsway Holiday Parade
The Kingsway Holiday Parade takes place on November 26 starting at 5pm and is a fun and free way to catch a glimpse of Santa as he makes his way from the east Airport Road entrance to the Kingsway Mall in the Northwest part of Edmonton. Set up a chair and don’t forget to dress warmly!
Christmas in the Park
Hosted by the small town of Devon, about a 40-minute drive southwest of Edmonton, Christmas in the Park is your chance to meet Santa and tell him everything on your Christmas list. Additionally, there will be delicious food, including maple syrup taffy and hot chocolate, an ice slide, and a warming bonfire. Come on down to this special small town. Cost is $8 a head.
St. Albert Centre
Kids (and adults) can visit Santa at the St. Albert Centre from November 17th right up until Christmas Eve. Take a photo with him after finishing up your Christmas shopping, plus you’ll even get a special phone call from the man himself.
Other Christmas Events and Activities in Edmonton
There are enough Christmas events taking place throughout Edmonton and the smaller surrounding towns to fill any day of the week with Christmas cheer. Here are just a few more:
The Muttart Conservatory
During the holidays at the Muttart Conservatory you can attend one (or both) of the special holiday events taking place right inside. Their 20th annual Candelight Christmas features musical performances by the McDades. Tickets cost $42 and must be purchased in advance. You can catch this special performance on the 9th, 11th and 12th of December, Saturday the 19th or Sunday the 20th.
Also, on Friday, November 18th, the conservatory opens its doors to the public for the annual poinsettia sale. Find your favourite white or red Christmas flower while supplies last.
Take part in a special Nutcracker Afternoon Christmas Tea at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald every Saturday and Sunday from November 10th until December 31st. Tea takes place in the Harvest Room of the Hotel MacDonald and includes traditional finger sandwiches, scones, a wide variety of loose-leaf tea, sweets, champagne and sparkling cocktails. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost $79 per guest.
There are a number of spots throughout the city for ice skating, both outdoor and indoor. Head on down to Edmonton’s city hall or over to the new outdoor ice rink in the ICE District Plaza. It is open to the public from 10 am – 10 pm, during which time skating is completely free.
For those freezing cold days head to West Edmonton Mall Ice Palace, where you can spend a snowy Saturday or Sunday skating in the warmth of the mall. $16 gets you a general ticket.
Edmonton certainly has no shortage of snow, and sledding is a fun and free family event that you can do any day of the week, all winter long. While some argue that parks are more enjoyable in the summer, the hilly terrain of NW Edmonton makes for some spectacular sledding. Notable locations include Emily Murphy Park, William Hawrelak Park, Gallagher Park, Government House Park, and Whitemud Park North.
Looking for more holiday cheer?
- The Best Christmas Lights in Alberta
- 25+ Festive Ways to Enjoy Christmas in Calgary
- 20+ Festive Ways to Enjoy Christmas in Banff