11 Best Places to Spend Christmas in Canada

Best Christmas Destinations Canada
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It's that time of the year again - when the air is chilly, hearts are warm, and Canada transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Christmas in Canada is more than just snow-covered landscapes; it's a celebration that illuminates the nation with twinkling lights, festive events, and an enchanting holiday spirit.

But where are the best spots to immerse yourself in this wintertime charm? Ask Genie has compiled a list of Canada's most sought-after locations and unmissable itinerary activities for an unforgettable Christmas holiday.

Is Canada a Good Place to Spend Christmas?

Christmas in Canada is like stepping into a festive postcard during the festive season, making it a perfect location to spend the holidays!

Each region offers unique celebrations, embracing this joyous occasion's traditional and modern aspects. Canada has something for everyone seeking that quintessential holiday experience, from vibrant cityscapes to serene snowy landscapes.

What is the Best Place to Spend Christmas in Canada?

From the twinkling lights of Quebec City to the majestic beauty of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, here are the top 11 places in Canada to immerse yourself in festivities and holiday charm this Christmas.

1. Québec City, Québec

View of Frontenac Castle with sunrise in the background

Québec City, with its old-world charm, is a Christmas enthusiast's dream come true. The cobblestone streets of Old Québec turn into a magical Winter Wonderland adorned with glistening lights and festive decorations. The German Christmas Market adds a touch of European flair, offering traditional crafts, seasonal treats, and unforgettable bratwurst.

Highlights:

  • Christmas parade: Experience the joy of the season with the infamous Christmas parade through the heart of the city.
  • Outdoor ice rink: Glide across the ice in the shadow of historic architecture for a truly Canadian holiday experience.
  • Exploring ice caves: Venture into the nearby ice caves for a unique and adventurous Christmas activity.

Where to stay: For an authentic experience, consider staying in Old Québec. Château Frontenac, a Fairmont property, offers luxurious accommodations with a front-row seat to the city's holiday charm.

2. Montreal, Québec

City buildings with red and orange autumn trees in front

Explore the winter wonderlands of Old Montreal, meandering along its cobbled streets lined with historic architecture and aglow with festive lights. Guests can immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit as they discover some of the finest restaurants in Montreal, charming Christmas markets brimming with one-of-a-kind gifts and delightful seasonal treats.

Highlights:

  • Montreal Christmas Market: Explore the magical market at Place des Arts, where local artisans showcase crafts, culinary delights, and live entertainment, absorbing visitors in the holiday spirit.
  • Enchanting light displays: Experience the Montreal Light Festival at the Botanical Garden, featuring dazzling light installations and immersive experiences in a winter wonderland setting.

Where to stay: The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, located in the center of downtown Montreal, is an iconic hotel that offers elegance and comfort with convenient access to the city's holiday attractions and fine dining. Guests can enjoy grand amenities and spectacular city views while soaking up Montreal's festive atmosphere.

3. Vancouver, British Columbia

City skyline with river, parks and autumn trees in front

Experience a coastal Christmas in the vibrant city of Vancouver, where holiday celebrations blend with the stunning natural beauty of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. The Vancouver Christmas Market and the Rogers Santa Claus Parade add a festive touch to this bustling city.

Highlights:

  • Vancouver Christmas Market: Explore the festive atmosphere with traditional German crafts, delicious treats, and lively entertainment.
  • Horse-drawn sleigh rides: Traverse the snowy landscapes of Grouse Mountain on a horse-drawn sleigh for a magical winter experience.
  • Intelligent light park: Enjoy a mesmerizing light display at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park; it’s fun for all the family!

Where to stay: It’s wise to stay in the heart of the city for easy access to the festivities and to experience the delights Vancity has to offer! The Loden Hotel, known for its boutique luxury and proximity to holiday attractions, or the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, exudes elegance in the heart of downtown Vancity, close by to some of the best restaurants in Vancouver.

We’ve created a list of all the best things to do in Vancouver, ready for you to take a look at ahead of your trip. 

4. Whistler, British Columbia

People paddleboarding on Alta Lake with trees and snowy mountains in the background

Whistler, British Columbia, proudly shines as just one of the top Christmas gems of Canada. Its captivating blend of natural beauty and festive charm sets it apart. The town's snow-covered streets, adorned with Christmas lights and festive decorations, create an idyllic setting for the holiday season.

Highlights:

  • Winter Wonderland adventures: Explore the snowy landscapes with activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing across Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
  • Enchanting village strolls: Take leisurely walks through the Whistler Village, adorned with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and a bustling atmosphere during the holiday season.
  • Festive events: Enjoy special holiday events and celebrations, including the Whistler Holiday Experience and the Family Après series, featuring live music, games, and more.

Where to stay: Nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers luxurious accommodations with ski-in/ski-out access. Guests can indulge in spa treatments, gourmet dining, and captivating views of the surrounding winter wonderland.

Whether enjoying the snowy wonders or participating in festive events, resorts in British Columbia embody the true essence of Christmas magic.

5. Calgary, Alberta

Grass and flowers in front of downtown city buildings in the evening

Calgary transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas, offering a delightful mix of festive events, outdoor activities and celebrated Calgary restaurants. From the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra to the Once Upon a Christmas in Heritage Park, the city comes alive with holiday spirit. Plus, the breathtakingly beautiful Banff National Park is just 1.5 hours away.

Highlights:

  • Candy Cane Lane: Take a stroll through this charming neighbourhood adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations.
  • The ZOOLIGHTS of Calgary Zoo: Experience the magic of the zoo illuminated by millions of lights, creating a magical atmosphere.
  • Winter activities: Embrace the winter chill with outdoor ice skating and cross-country skiing in the city's parks. Heritage Park is truly captivating at this time of year, hosting Once Upon a Christmas with horse-drawn sleigh rides and a Santa meet and greet.

Where to stay: The Fairmont Palliser, with its historic Christmas charm, provides a cozy retreat in the heart of Calgary. Guests are adorned with Christmas decorations in this refined hotel. Dating from 1914, it is a minute's walk from the Calgary Tower and 1 km from Fort Calgary, making it the perfect spot for visitors to the city. 

For more ideas of where to stay, take a look at some of the best hotels in Calgary to find the perfect retreat.

6. Banff National Park, Alberta

Sunrise over Moraine Lake with trees on the right and rocky mountains in the background

For a white Christmas surrounded by the stunning Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is a top choice. The snow-covered pine trees and mountains, frozen lakes, and festive events make it a magical destination for the holiday season; cameras fully loaded with film are recommended!

Highlights:

  • Lake Louise Christmas market: Explore the charming Christmas market with local artisans, festive treats, and unique holiday gifts.
  • Outdoor ice rink: Skate beneath the towering peaks of the Rockies for an unforgettable Christmas experience.
  • Grouse Mountain: Enjoy various winter activities, including skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.

Where to stay: Fairmont Banff Springs, known as the "Castle in the Rockies," offers luxurious accommodations amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Banff National Park. Located 1.8 km from Bow Falls and the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, this castle-esque accommodation is perfect for those who want to see all the sights.

7. Lake Louise, Alberta

View of Lake Louise with rocks in front with mountains and trees in the background

Get a load of the action and stay in the center of Lake Louise. The holiday spirit knows no bounds in this charming lake city, so get ready for a truly captivating white Christmas.

Highlights:

  • Enchanted forest light show: Take a stroll through the illuminated forest, where twinkling lights create a magical ambience.
  • Winter hiking: Explore the snow-covered trails around Lake Louise and experience the serene beauty of winter in the Rockies. In winter, Lake Louise is completely frozen, meaning you can explore simply by walking over the lake.

Where to stay: The stunning Post Hotel and Spa, offers luxurious accommodation with rustic charm amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the lake. Another excellent choice is the Deer Lodge, a historic mountain lodge nestled in the heart of nature, providing a cozy retreat with incredible views of the surrounding Canadian Rockies.

8. Edmonton, Alberta

Sunset skyline view with suspension bridge and trees in front

Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, embraces the holiday season with various festive events and activities. From the Luminaria festival in the Devonian Botanic Garden to the Ice Castles, the city offers a magical experience for Christmas enthusiasts.

Additionally, Edmonton boasts some of the finest restaurants in Alberta, so when visiting, be sure to check out the unmissable Canadian culinary delights.

Highlights:

  • Luminaria Festival: Wander through the illuminated paths of the Devonian Botanic Garden, adorned with thousands of candles and lights.
  • Ice Castles: Step into a magical world of ice and light at the Ice Castles, offering a unique winter experience for the whole family.

Where to stay: It is advised to stay near the city center to access the various Christmas events and attractions easily. Metterra Hotel on Whyte provides a boutique experience in the vibrant Old Strathcona district, known for its artsy charm and lively atmosphere. 

If you’re heading to Edmonton, we’ve got you covered with some handy guides:

9. Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival, Yukon

Northern lights with water and snowy terrain

Head to the Yukon for the Sourdough Rendezvous Festival for a unique and adventurous Christmas celebration. This iconic event includes so much winter fun, such as dog sled races, snow carving competitions, and colourful entertainment, embracing the true spirit of the North.

Highlights:

  • Dog Sled Races: Witness the excitement of dog sled racing, a quintessential Yukon winter activity.
  • Snow Carving Competitions: Marvel at the intricate snow sculptures created by talented artists during the festival.

Where to stay: Explore cozy cabins or lodges in and around the Whitehorse area to experience the rustic charm of the Yukon while enjoying the festival activities. If there’s time, head East to the Northwest Territories and check out the infamous Snow King Festival in Yellowknife, where visitors can experience the Northern Lights!

10. Niagara Falls, Ontario

Waterfalls surrounded by greenery

Nestled on Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls is famous all year round for its natural wonders, however, it also offers a magical Christmas experience, too. The Winter Festival of Lights transforms the falls into a dazzling display, and the Niagara Falls Christmas Market adds a festive touch to this iconic Canadian destination.

Highlights:

  • Winter Festival of Lights: Witness the falls illuminated by millions of colourful lights, creating a mesmerizing winter spectacle.
  • Niagara Falls Christmas Market: Explore the market for unique gifts, festive treats, and holiday entertainment.
  • Rideau Canal: Ontario's only UNESCO World Heritage Site and the naturally frozen skating rink in the world.

Where to stay: For the best in class, you'll want to stay somewhere near Fallsview for a front-row seat to the Winter Festival of Lights. The Marriott on the Falls provides a luxurious stay with breathtaking views of the falls. Do not delay your trip to the falls anymore!

If you’re planning a trip to Ontario, we’ve got a great selection of guides ready to help plan your trip:

11. Toronto, Ontario

Downtown Toronto city skyline at sunset with water in front

Toronto, during Christmas, is a treasure trove of festive delights. The cityscape transforms into a mesmerizing wonderland, beckoning visitors to revel in the holiday spirit amidst its bustling streets, vibrant atmosphere and some of the best Christmas markets. And, if it's Christmas trees you're after, The Eaton Centre has proudly housed Canada's largest Christmas tree for many years.

Highlights:

  • Toronto Christmas lights: There is no better way to experience Toronto's holiday magic than by exploring all of the city's twinkly Christmas lights.
  • Epic Christmas trees: Standing over 108 feet tall and covering three levels of Toronto's downtown mall, Canada's largest Christmas tree is so big that you can see its lights twinkle from the other side of the mall.
  • Santa Claus parades: Join the iconic Santa Claus parades, a beloved tradition in Toronto that ushers in the Christmas season with floats, music, and Santa himself.
  • Nathan Phillips Square: Admire the dazzling Christmas tree and enchanting decorations during the Cavalcade of Lights festival, adding a magical touch to the city's heart.

Where to stay: Nestled in the city center, the Fairmont Royal York offers luxurious accommodations with easy access to Toronto's festive attractions and the most luxurious Toronto restaurants. Guests can enjoy comfort while exploring the holiday wonders of the city. We’ve created a great list of the most expensive hotels in Toronto if you’re planning a luxurious vacation!

Plan your Canadian Winter Wonderland with Spin Genie

With its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities, Canada offers enchanting destinations to celebrate Christmas. From the snowy peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the charming streets of Quebec City, each location has its unique blend of winter magic, festive events, and holiday charm.

Whether you're seeking a traditional Christmas experience or an adventurous holiday getaway, spending Christmas in Canada promises a magical and unforgettable journey into the heart of winter wonderland. Why not take a spin on the best online slots in Ontario to win some extra cash? 

Try your luck at Ontario's best online casino today, and you might just hit the jackpot! Grab your coat, sip on some delicious hot chocolate, and immerse yourself in the festive spirit of the Great White North!

Looking for more? Check out our blog, The Best Christmas Markets in Canada, for a truly snowy excursion. 

For more inspiration, check out our other lifestyle blogs:

FAQs

What is the Most Magical Christmas Town in Canada?

Quebec City stands out as the most magical Christmas town in Canada. Its cobblestone streets, old-world charm, and enchanting decorations create a winter wonderland straight out of a storybook. The city transforms into a festive paradise with its Christmas parade, outdoor ice rink, and traditional German Christmas Market.

Is Canada a Good Place to Spend Christmas?

Absolutely! Canada embodies the essence of a white Christmas. Its snowy landscapes, vibrant cities, and festive events make it an exceptional place to celebrate. From the stunning Canadian Rockies to the coastal beauty of Vancouver, Canada offers diverse experiences and a true winter wonderland atmosphere during the holiday season.

Where is the Best Place to Have a White Christmas in Canada?

There's no shortage of the best places to spend Christmas in Canada; however, Lake Louise in Alberta is the epitome of a white Christmas in Canada.

Surrounded by the majestic Canadian Rockies, the frozen lake and snow-covered landscapes create an enchanting winter wonderland. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hosts an enchanted forest light show, offering a perfect backdrop for a magical holiday experience amidst picturesque mountain scenery.


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