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Best Winter Festivals in Calgary, Alberta

  • December 6, 2023
  • By Cody Battershill

Best Calgary winter festivals

Calgary Winter Festivals

What are the absolute best winter festivals in the Calgary area? With a rapidly growing cultural scene over the past decade, our city has a lot of fun activities and events which are great for the whole family to enjoy.

From the art displays of the High Performance Rodeo to the skijoring exhibition along Banff Avenue to the ice sculptures of Lake Louise, Calgary and its surrounding area in southern Alberta host exceptionally fun winter activities and events that are not to miss!

Check out our list of the best Calgary winter festivals below -- we hope you have a blast!

Banff & Lake Louise SnowDays Festival

The Snowdays Festival is an exciting winter activity for families looking to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Ice and snow sculptures are the focus of the event, with the Ice Magic carving competition held at Lake Louise and snow sculptures adorning the streets of Banff.

SnowDays features a Play Zone for children of all ages and sled skiing along Banff’s main avenue, making this winter festival particularly fun for youth who love the magic of animals during the Christmas and holidays.

Live bands, snowshoeing hikes, dog sledding, ice skating and sleigh riding are all a part of the SnowDays Festival as well, so make sure to pack and dress accordingly for the activity you’re looking to enjoy!

High Performance Rodeo


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The High Performance Rodeo is a long-time winter festival in Calgary featuring epic displays of all things art: music, theatre, dance, comedy, and galleries at venues in the downtown area.

The sheer number of indoor events you’ll find on the HPR’s website is incredible, offering a little something for people from all walks of life to enjoy during the coldest season of the year.

HPR 2024 will mark the 38th annual edition of the Winter Festival, a true testament to its popularity with locals over the past several years.

Big Winter Classic

Enjoy comedy at its best at the Big Winter Classic comedy festival at various venues throughout the City Centre. Featuring dozens of comedians, musicians, and other artists, taking part in any one of dozens of events during this best winter festival is a great way to laugh the cold away.

Sit back and enjoy alcoholic beverages of your choice. Show tickets range from $27 to $96 for artists including, but not limited to the following list:

Vundabar / Geese / Battles / Debby Friday / Sunny War / Meule / DJ Nu Mark / Waahli / Napoleon Skywalker / Bry Webb / Hot Garbage / Dave Hill (Comedy) / Alex Nicol / The Jins / Barry Paquin Roberge / Making Movies / B.A Johnston / Vox Rea / Sunglaciers / The Hi-Tops / Nyssa... and more!

Chinook Blast


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  • When: February 2nd – February 19th, 2024
  • Website: Chinook Blast

Chinook Blast returns to downtown Calgary for its fourth annual edition. One of the city’s more prominent winter festivals, it celebrates through live music, art presentations, sporting events, light installations, cultural performances and various other fun and engaging activities.

Located along Stephen Avenue (a.k.a. 8th Avenue SW), pop in and out from some of Calgary’s best downtown food and drink venues in between to make for a whole night out during its two-week duration.

The Festival starts with a blast at Olympic Plaza on February 2nd from 6 pm to 10 pm. Enjoy live performances by Kris Demeanor, Ginger Beef, and Ruby Singh.

Sylvan Lake Winterfest


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Sylvan Lake is home to a growing community of Albertans who love a small community feel with the big city amenities and events, like the Winterfest held during family day long weekend every year. Activities and events include outdoor ice skating, an ice slide, storytelling, free sleigh rides, winter lights, a fire-on-ice- show and fireworks in the evening.

There will also be a polar bear dip challenge for thrillseekers to test your resolve! Meanwhile, fishing enthusiasts will get to partake in the ice fishing derby with a $3,000 grand prize for the winner and over $7,500 in total prizes for all participants. Amazing!

Hit up any one of Sylvan Lake’s participating restaurants, including 2nd Wind Brewery & Eatery, Main Street Eatery, The Driftwood, Lodge 43, Carlitos, Bukz and many more, to engage in the pass-the-poutine contest with the opportunity to vote for your favourite online!

Enjoy Your Winter!

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Wishing you all the best this winter with your family and friends. Just a friendly reminder to prepare with appropriate clothing, extra blankets, food and water, and emergency car kits just in case you do decide to venture out and enjoy the best winter festivals in Calgary.

Stay warm, and have a great time!