quebec city church and tree

Holiday magic is on display in Quebec City. (Photo: Getty Images)


Find Sleigh Rides, Markets and More on Canada’s Cheeriest Holiday Getaways

One of the best ways to make the hectic holiday season a little less harried is to take a deep breath and plan an escape from your to-do lists. With this in mind, we’ve put together a roundup of some of Canada’s top spots for holiday getaways.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning any trips.

Quebec City, Quebec


Atmospheric Old Quebec’s 17th-century homes and storefronts are transformed into a mesmerizing winter wonderland every year with the city’s famous German Christmas market, Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec. It is among the biggest outdoor markets in Canada and features free indoor and outdoor shows, musicians and a seemingly endless array of shops selling food (roasted chestnuts, anyone?) and handcrafted gifts.

If you’re looking to party on New Year’s Eve, head to Quebec City’s legendary Grande Allée. The massive boulevard is pretty much the place to be at any time of year but goes all out on New Year’s with cafés equipped with welcoming heated patios, ice bars, live music and spontaneous street dancing.

Outdoorsy, adventure-seeking holidaygoers won’t want to miss the chance to do a day (or unique nighttime) tour of Quebec City’s surrounding snow-peaked mountains via snowmobile with Nord Expe.

Winnipeg, Manitoba


In the mood for a mini road trip, some figure skating and dazzling lights? You can combine all three at Canad Inns Winter Wonderland. Feast your eyes on more than one million lights spread across 26 holiday-themed displays from the cozy warmth of your car. Along the way, you can pop by the outdoor skating rink to enjoy a leisurely spin on the ice.

If puzzles are your thing, check out Winnipeg’s Snow Maze. Officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the planet’s largest snow maze, it also has plenty of bonfires, sleigh rides and tobogganing.

Head to FortWhyte Alive for “Santa in the Forest” photo ops, snow-filled scavenger hunts and holiday storytelling by an outdoor fire. Check the calendar to read more about when specific events are offered.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

If you’re longing for a snow-covered, storybook setting, head to Charlottetown’s beloved Christmas Festival. The largest open-air Christmas market in Atlantic Canada is jam-packed with local artisans and food vendors, as well as holiday movies, horse and wagon rides, petting zoos, Christmas singalongs and more.

Don’t let a little snow scare you — go trekking through the snow old-school style with a snowshoeing adventure. Take advantage of a unique Charlottetown winter experience with Snowshoes in the City. There’s nothing like gliding through picturesque Charlottetown (or the nearby countryside) after a fresh, fluffy snowfall on a pair of snowshoes.

Some Charlottetown hotels or inns (including Delta Hotels by Marriott Prince Edward) offer guests complimentary loaner snowshoes, and curated snowshoeing trail guides are also available.

Edmonton, Alberta


How could anyone resist a visit to Candy Cane Lane? A residential neighborhood in Edmonton pulls out all the stops to celebrate the season with every house decked out in festive flare. As Edmonton’s iconic holiday event, Candy Cane Lane has been held annually for over 50 years. If you don’t have a car, fear not; you can walk the route or see the homes via horse-pulled sleigh.

The holidays can be hectic, so if you’re yearning for an oasis of calm amid the chaos, step into the world of Luminaria, where candles line the snow-dusted Kurimoto Japanese Garden’s pathways. A visit to these enchanted gardens comes complete with warming apple cider, carolers, ice sculptures and more.

Those on the hunt for quirky, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts should check out Edmonton’s extraordinary Royal Bison Craft Fair. You’ll find an incredible selection of gift ideas from the city’s most creative and sought-after artists.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Saskatoon lays claim to one of the longest-running and most popular holiday light shows in Canada. The BHP Enchanted Forest is a drive-through extravaganza (though some specific dates are set aside for those who prefer to walk through the 1.5-mile display) of custom-designed light shows in an enchanted forest setting.

Meewasin Skating Rink is a favorite family-friendly activity where skaters hit the ice under the glow of Christmas lights accompanied by holiday songs. Don’t worry if you haven’t packed skates; they are available to rent for free or with a donation.