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Budget friendly winter activities in Alberta

Beat the winter blues and enjoy all that winter has to offer while staying on budget.

By ATB Financial 24 January 2024 2 min read

It’s possible to enjoy your community, meet your financial goals and still have fun. Budgets can be tight after the holiday season, so we’re sharing activities that won’t break the bank to help you weather our province’s winter season. 


Free and budget friendly winter activities in Alberta



  • Enjoy free skating across the province: Olympic Plaza in Calgary until the end of February 2024, various indoor rec centers and City Hall in Edmonton. Many cities have outdoor skating risks that are free to use.
  • Check out the free Silver Skate festival in Edmonton from February 9-19, 2024.
  • Try skating or sliding in Grand Prairie’s Muskoseepi Park. 


Get outside

  • Explore the snowshoe and cross country ski trails in YYC and YEG.
  • Sledding in your neighbourhood is always free of cost—have you ever been to the popular Sugar Bowl in Lethbridge or Gallagher Park in Edmonton?
  • If you’re prepared to brave the cold, give winter camping a try. Many sites are free and available first-come, first-serve. You’ll likely have less competition for a spot in the winter months.


Winter festivals

  • Enjoy free outdoor winter activities at Banff and Lake Louise’ SnowDays Festival January 1- February 4, 2024.
  • Taste (and vote for) hot chocolate from local shops at YYC hot chocolate fest and $1–$3 of each cup will be donated to Meals on Wheels.
  • Check out the ice carving competition at the free Ice on Whyte in YEG.
  • Wander through thousands of light displays at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden's Winter Light Festival in Lethbridge.
  • Immerse yourself in the Métis, First Nations and French Canadian cultures for free during Edmonton’s Flying Canoë Volant Festival from January 31 - February 3, 2024.
  • Bust the winter blues on a budget with live music from local and international artists at YYC’s Block Heater Festival from February 15-17, 2024.


Get creative in the community

  • Wander indoor farmers markets, like Crossroads Market in YYC.
  • Explore your local library. Admission is free and they often run free programs and activities.
  • Pack the car and go on a mini road trip. Alberta offers so many beautiful locations, like Banff, Canmore, Drumheller, Lake Louise and many more spots to discover. 
  • Browse local art galleries and museums. They’ll often offer discount days or family admission discounts.


Try snowsports for less

  • Lift tickets for downhill skiing and snowboarding can be pricey, but if you’re looking to try the sport out at a lower cost try Winsport Olympic Park in Calgary or Red Deer’s Canyon Ski Resort.


For the latest events and activities, check out Travel Alberta


How can budgeting help me achieve my financial goals and have fun?

Budgeting for activities you enjoy—whether that’s a weekend trip or a winter festival—gives you clarity on how much you can spend and allows you to plan ahead to maximize your savings (like getting discounts for weekday admission or packing lunch so you can splurge on a nice dinner). Simplify your budgeting and stay on top of your spending by giving an automated budgeting app a try.

Ultimately, it’s all about balance—not regularly spending more than you’re bringing in, addressing your needs (and enjoying) today and saving for what you want for your tomorrows.

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