The best of Calgary this December

By Joel Dryden

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not only is it the Christmas season, but December is chock-full of great concerts, festive markets and delicious seasonal food. Calgary is the place to be this holiday season – here are just a few suggestions to keep your December merry and bright. [Photo credit: Alberta Ballet]

The best of Calgary this December

Favourite new spots to eat and drink

Put that diet on hold, at least for one month – Calgary’s food scene continues to expand, bringing with it some tasty new spots you’ll want to bring the whole family to this holiday season.

From the culinary minds behind Calcutta Cricket Club and Native Tongues Taqueria comes Calgary’s latest Chinese food destination, Two Penny Chinese. Located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Victoria Park, Two Penny pairs traditional Chinese dishes like dumplings and fried rice with a full cocktail menu and selections of various roast meats. The restaurant also boasts a charming look courtesy of Sarah Ward Interiors, much like how Calcutta Cricket Club owes its unique Wes Anderson-like interior to designer Maya Gohill.

The historic Calgary Legion No. 1 branch has long been a fixture in Calgary’s downtown and has recently found new life serving as a unique venue for various concerts and licensed events. Add Kensington’s Legion location to halls adding alternative draws to its space, as Branch No. 264 recently opened the upscale pub 1918 Tap and Table as a spot for Legion members and their families to grab a bite to eat. Best of all, anyone can join the Legion as a member, which will get you some awesome deals at the new restaurant.

Dates to mark on the calendar

Obviously, the date circled on every kid’s calendar this month is the big one, Dec. 25, but one of the best things about the Christmas season is all the fun that’s packed into December before Santa Claus comes to town.

One of the major highlights of the Christmas season for families, Zoolights returns for its 20th year at the Calgary Zoo, running until Jan. 6. Approximately 1.5 million lights will light up the space and families can enjoy a variety of activities while exploring the area.

It’s a holiday must to take the whole family to certain seasonal theatre productions in the city, especially The Nutcracker (running Dec. 19 to 24) and A Christmas Carol (running until Dec. 24). You can also take the whole family on a more interactive experience at Heritage Park, which is lit up like a winter wonderland this time of year.

Christmas in Calgary is a magical time of the year, and you won’t want to miss any of the family-friendly events lined up – so let Jonathan Lawrence be your guide to the holiday calendar in this Smart Tip.

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More fun things to do this Christmas in Calgary:

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The best of the rest

Don’t panic! If you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet this year, there are plenty of spots where you can find that perfect gift with time to spare. From artisanal housewares to one-of-a-kind market finds, Giselle Wedemire is here to walk you through a Smart Tip of Calgary shops with unique gifts.

Calgary itself has no shortage of holiday events on the itinerary, but what if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the season for something more peaceful? Banff and Canmore are your ticket – the nearby mountain parks are beautiful this time of year, and have a number of festive events lined up to boot. Sarah Sussman has your roundup of activities on the calendar just a short drive away.

Even though December is defined largely by the Big Guy’s impending arrival on Dec. 25, there are plenty of non-festive events for all those of you out there feeling holiday overload. Shane Flug’s is back with his monthly roundup of all the festivals lined up this month, both holiday-related and not.

That’s just touching on a few events you won’t want to miss this December in Calgary. Whatever it is that you do and however you celebrate, we wish you great and memorable times with family and friends this holiday season!

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