I’m trying to ignore the fact that winter is *cough* here. The sun sets at seven and there’s that chill in the air. Calgary is known for our long winters, but I am adamant that there are plenty of ways to have fun with your special someone, no matter the weather. As such, I’ve pulled together some fun, occasionally sexy winter date ideas to keep you warm. While many are specific to Calgary, Alberta, there are plenty more that transfer to cities around the world.
Whether you’re going on a date with a friend, your lover or another couple, there are plenty of great options here.
DIY Photo Shoot. Grab a camera and hone some new skills together. You can trade off being photographer and model, or shoot nature shots around the city. You won’t lack inspiration. Warm up with a coffee at the end of it.
Volunteer Together. Calgary is nothing if not a giving community, and volunteerism can be an incredible shared experience. Find a cause you both care about and check out that organization’s “get involved” page on their website for opportunities. Or you can find a broad list of volunteer opportunities across Calgary at Propellus’ Volunteer Connector.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman? There’s nothing cuter than building and accessorizing your very own snowman. Throw in a sexy snowball fight for good measure.
Discover a Neighbourhood. Calgary has so many cool neighbourhoods to explore, so make a date of it. Neighbourhoods like Inglewood, Bridgeland, Mission and Kensington will keep you entertained with shopping, eateries and local art. You can make this as cost-effective or as pricey as your budget allows.
Cuddle Up For a Movie Marathon. Popcorn, a couch and a stack of DVDs? Bliss. Roaring fire? Perfection! The more movies you watch, the closer you snuggle.
Take a Stroll. Calgary’s river pathways are the perfect place for a winter walk, given how well they are cleared of snow and ice. They also connect some of the trendiest neighbourhoods, so start with a coffee in Kensington and end with a cocktail in Inglewood – you’ll deserve it after that walk!
Read More: My Love Letter to Calgary
Zoolights! This has to be a favourite for many Calgarians and while it can be stroller-central, it’s an adorable place for a date. Grab a hot chocolate, snag a spot at a fire pit, or take a walk down Candy Cane Lane.
Spruce Meadows Christmas Market. The only downfall of the Spruce Meadows Christmas Market is that it’s only open three weekends of the year! Check out the reindeer, stock up on some Christmas crafts, art and goodies, and enjoy the lights.
Once Upon a Christmas. Heritage Park is at its best draped in snow with old-time carollers strolling up and down the historic streets. Hitch a ride on a horse-drawn wagon, decorate some gingerbread or take a picture to remember in the vintage photo parlour.
A Christmas Carol. This traditional holiday play is a seasonal favourite at Theatre Calgary, with some Calgarians making it part of their annual holiday ritual.
Lions Festival of Lights. This free event allows you to drive past Lions Park and enjoy over 100,000 twinkling holiday lights from the warmth of your vehicle. Just make sure to watch the road as well!
The Nutcracker Ballet. Alberta Ballet put on quite the show with sugar plum fairies dancing in front of your eyes. Act quick! It’s only on from
Millarville Christmas Market. Perhaps a little more low key than Spruce Meadows, but not lacking in charm and quality. The Millarville Christmas Market highlights some of the province’s premier artisans and their crafts, and the food fulfills your need for homemade comfort delights!
Ugly Sweater, Party For Two! Ugly sweater parties have been all the rage for years now, but why not make it a little more intimate with a party just for two. Crank up the holiday music, dress in your ugliest and bring on the holiday baking.
Music for Every Taste. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra pull out all the musical stops for the holidays with both the Traditional Christmas event or Handles Messiah. If that’s not your bag, hold out past the holidays for Blockbuster Broadway!
Make Your Own Mulled Wine. The only problem with making slow cooker mulled wine is the waiting, though thankfully it only takes 30 minutes! Your next problem is trying not to drink the whole thing. Wait… why wouldn’t you drink the whole thing? Taxi!
Build a Gingerbread House. Nothing tests a relationship like building a house with cookie walls and icing to hold it all together. If you survive that, the next battle is in whose taste is better at gum-drop decor.
New Year’s Eve Extravaganza. Whether you’re planning to attend a house party or one of Calgary’s many extravagant events, it’s a great date for those wanting a memorable midnight kiss. Check out local events in Calgary.
Take a Hot Chocolate Tour. Is there a better kind of festival than one that celebrates milky, hot chocolate? I think not. YYC Hot Chocolate Fest takes place each February and funds from each hot chocolate supports Calgary Meals on Wheels.
Cook Up a Storm! Food is the way to your partner’s heart, right? Why not sign up for one of SAIT’s cooking classes to learn a new skill together and maybe cook up a little love, too.
Badass Brunch. Calgarians like to brunch and sometimes it’s nice to take a date into daylight – heaven knows we don’t get much of it in winter. Thankfully Avenue Magazine created a list of the best brunch venues to give you some fresh ideas for your breakfast eggs.
Tour the World – Foodie Style. So maybe you can’t afford to take your date to exotic locales, but you can certainly eat as though you are. Calgary is full of great Cultural Associations that each bring with them their love of good food.
Spice It Up! Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your taste buds have to suffer. Why not set about making a batch of spicy chilli together at one of your homes? Plenty of time to talk, flirt and taste test for perfection.
Create Your Own Food Crawl. This year my hubby and I chose to do a three-course food crawl at some snazzy Calgary restaurants we’d always wanted to try. You can make this as expensive or as cheap as you like… depending on where you choose to go (and how much you choose to drink!) of course.
Read More: My 9 Favourite Speciality Foods in Calgary
Throw on Some Skates. Gliding along side by side, or holding on for dear life as the case may be, can be an incredible date whether you’re new in a relationship or old-timers. Check out Calgary’s great outdoor skating rinks.
Inner City Snowshoeing. Get more use out of your snowshoes (or rent some at the U of C outdoor centre) and consider using them within city limits. No need to drive far when there are public parks and golf courses encouraging you to snowshoe.
Jamaica We Have a Bobsled Team. You, too, can race down the bobsleigh track at Canada Olympic Park at break neck speed, for a price!
Get Your Pool Shark On. With many pool halls around the city, there are plenty of options to let your competitive streak out. Or… if you’ve never played before, it’s a great way to cozy up to your hunny.
Bowling and Beer. If you’re planning to rent a bowling lane at National, make sure you reserve your spot! Enjoy a cold beer, some competition and a great atmosphere.
Mush! Mush! Dog sledding isn’t just for tourists. Let the adrenaline course through your body as your team of dogs races through fresh powder.
Fly Through the Air at Extreme Air Park! You know you’ve always envied kids jumping around on trampolines in their backyard. Now you can do the same, indoors, regardless of the weather.
Skiing or Snowboarding for Beginners. Believe it or not, there are Calgarians that don’t know how to ski or snowboard. I would include myself in that category, so play it safe with a lesson or two, share your new skills and finish the date with hot chocolate.
Coordination Required with Cross Country Skiing. You don’t need to head out of town to cross-country ski, unless you want to, of course. Many of the City of Calgary’s parks and golf courses adapt for the sport in winter time.
Learn to Rock Climb. Again, coordination required! face your fear of heights, and support one another through this blood rushing experience.
Dust off that Sled. Dress up warm (and waterproofed!) and get out tobogganing. Check out the City of Calgary’s list for safe, fun areas to sled.
Bike Path Heaven. Fun fact, the City keep the bike paths pretty clear all year long. Just because the temperature has dipped, doesn’t mean you need to miss out on pedal power and a ride along the river.
Read More: Calgary’s Best Walks
Marvel at Illuminasia. This one won’t last for much longer, so get to the Calgary Zoo before you miss out on their spectacular lantern display.
Be a Big Kid at TELUS Spark. Better yet, enjoy Adult Only Night with a glass of something special, a DJ and free reign of the indoor playground. Get your inner geek on and experiment.
Oh the Good ‘Ol Hockey Game. Whether you support the Flames through and through, or you’re rooting for the opposing team (boo to you), you can often find some reasonable tickets online. It’s a whole different thing to see a live game.
Read More: A Lifetime of Memories at Heritage Park
Movie Festivals! Calgarians love their movies and we like to bring the oldies back to the big screen. Coming soon is Back to the Future in select theatres. Check out the list of other cool movies returning to cinemas this winter.
Food, Song and Dance. If you’re up for a little dinner theatre at Jubilations, they’re sure to keep you entertained with their various upcoming shows.
Soothe Those Tensions. A couples massage might be just the way to unwind, followed by a glass of bubbles.
Play Tourist at Home. How many of us miss out on the museums, attractions and great restaurants in our own cities because “we could go anytime”? Make this date that time. Have dinner at the top of the Calgary Tower, enjoy art at the Glenbow or take cheesy pictures at the Wonderland statue.
Embrace your Book Nerd. Calgary has some great indie book shops like the Owl’s Nest and Shelf Life. Check out their event listings to find a new author to spark your reading list.
Be Shopping Buddies. Sometimes you really need that second opinion, and where better to enjoy the shops then on Stephen Avenue, 17th Ave or in Inglewood? Add a coffee and it’s a date!
Ooey, Gooey Smores. Grab an outdoor fire pit and make your favourite camping treats. If it’s snowing, even better.
One for the Family. Family Day in Calgary is always an exciting day. The City goes crazy with every community site offering special deals, activities and entertainment. Check out local papers close to the time.
Buy Lotto Tickets. Sure, you’re probably not going to win, but spend the night sipping cocktails instead, imagining all the cool ways you’d spend your winnings.
Drive. Anywhere. Calgary is a city waiting to be explored. Get in your car, or on the C-Train or on a random bus and explore it! Find a new restaurant, a park, a store. Joint discovery is a great way to fuel a relationship.
Phew! I made it to fifty. I seriously questioned whether it was going to happen for a second, there. As you’ll see, whether you live in Calgary or somewhere else, many of these ideas are transferrable to your own hometown. There are plenty of ways to entertain yourself this winter season. No excuses. Make memories.
Any great winter date ideas you would add?