Edmonton has a lot to offer in winter, from outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to indoor activities like ice skating, curling and ice fishing. But the big event is the Edmonton Christmas Market, which takes place from the end of November each year, now in its 4th year.
In this guide, I share the dates for 2023, opening times and details on what you can expect while you’re there.
Christmas in Edmonton is a magical time of year. The city is filled with festive cheer as families gather to light up the downtown area with spectacular holiday decorations.
There is plenty of holiday shopping to be done, from the bustling West Edmonton Mall to the quaint boutiques of Old Strathcona.
While the traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper of kutia and carp is a popular tradition for many Edmontonians.
Edmonton Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas Market in Edmonton is a festive winter wonderland that features a variety of holiday-themed events and activities for the entire family.
Highlights of the market include a Christmas carousel, an array of carnival rides and an artisan market showcasing local vendors and delicious food from traditional to modern street food.
Kids can enjoy a variety of activities such as cookie decorating, carousel rides, horse and wagon rides, Frosty Funhouse and events at the Capital Theatre.
For adults, there is also cookie decorating, wine and cheese pairing, holiday vegan tasting, ornament workshop, sourdough workshop and more.
With all the holiday cheer, the Edmonton Christmas Market, known locally as the Yeg Xmas Market, is the perfect place to start your Christmas celebrations.
The event takes place Wednesday to Sunday with a mix of more than 100 indoor and outdoor Christmas chalets.
Dates and Location
Edmonton Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 29th November to 17th December 2023.
Location: Fort Edmonton Park.
Opening times: Wednesday to Friday 3pm to 9pm. Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 9pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Adults $15, children $10, family pass $45, book online.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes. Many options.
Vegan: Yes. Vegetable chili, spiced nuts, fries, drinks.
Gluten free: Yes. Vegetable chili, spiced nuts, poutine, fries and more.
Parking: Limited free parking is available. Please take public transport if possible.
Public transport: ETS Bus Line 4 to Fort Edmonton Park and Fox Drive.
Reason to visit: Beautiful light displays, wagon rides and many activities for young and old.
Recommended tour: Take a private tour of the city with a local guide.
Specialties: Hot dogs, warm soft pretzels, chili, warm spiced nuts.
Where to stay: Metterra Hotel on Whyte in Strathcona, a 15-minute drive from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Edmonton Christmas Market
Fort Edmonton Park is a historic exhibition centre located 12 km from downtown Edmonton.
There are many hotels downtown, but there is a lot more going on for visitors in Strathcona. It’s a great area for eating out and entertainment, including theatre, pubs, the farmers’ market and independent stores.
I suggest staying at Metterra Hotel on Whyte, located in the heart of Strathcona.
Location of Edmonton Christmas Market
Find more festive destinations with my guide to the best Christmas markets in Canada.
Christmas in Edmonton
Christmas Specialties in Edmonton
When you visit Edmonton during winter, you’ll discover a variety of local and traditional Christmas food specialties. Edmonton’s culinary Christmas scene is full of surprises, from hearty dishes that combat the winter chill to sweet treats that tempt your taste buds.
- Pierogis: These Eastern European-inspired dumplings are deeply rooted in Edmonton’s culinary culture. Typically stuffed with potato, cheese, or sauerkraut, they are either boiled or fried and served with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of crisp onions. These comforting bites are an excellent choice for vegetarians.
- Butter tarts: These are a beloved Canadian dessert, especially during Christmas. The sweet, sticky filling is made with butter, sugar and eggs, nestled inside a flaky pastry shell. Some versions include raisins or pecans for added texture, creating a symphony of flavours in each bite.
- Wild game: Reflecting Edmonton’s proximity to the wilderness, wild game often features in Christmas meals. You might find dishes like bison stew or venison roast on festive menus, providing a hearty, warming meal that embraces the spirit of Alberta.
- Bannock: This traditional First Nations bread is a versatile component of many Edmonton meals. It’s often paired with local jams and preserves during Christmas or enjoyed alongside a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
- Tourtière: A quintessential Christmas dish, this French-Canadian meat pie is rich with tradition. The filling, usually a blend of finely diced pork, veal or beef, is encased in a buttery, flaky crust.
- Nanaimo bars: Named after a city in British Columbia, these no-bake bars are an Edmonton favourite at Christmas time. The triple-layer treat comprises a crumbly wafer base, custard-flavoured butter icing, and a topping of glossy melted chocolate.
- Split pea soup: A hearty and comforting dish often seen during the festive season is split pea soup. A dish with French and English Canadian roots is typically made with yellow split peas, vegetables, and ham or bacon. For a vegetarian version, simply skip the meat — the result is just as delicious.
Food at the Christmas Market
As you wander around the Yeg Xmas Market, you’re treated to an eclectic mix of enticing street food and festive treats.
- Poutine: A quintessential Canadian dish, poutine consists of crispy fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and smothered in a rich gravy. It’s a warming, hearty snack that embodies the comfort food ethos of a true Canadian winter.
- Smokies: These locally-made sausages are a staple at Edmonton’s outdoor events. Grilled to perfection and served in a bun with your choice of toppings, they are a hearty street food staple that’s hard to resist.
- Perogies on the go: At the Edmonton Christmas Market, vendors sell these beloved Ukrainian-style dumplings as a handy street food snack. Stuffed with a variety of fillings and served with sour cream, they’re a delicious nod to Edmonton’s Eastern European heritage.
- Mini doughnuts: Nothing says festival food quite like mini doughnuts. Freshly fried and dusted with powdered sugar, these sweet, fluffy treats are a staple at Edmonton’s market stalls.
- Mulled cider: To keep the chill at bay, pick up a cup of locally-produced mulled cider. This warming beverage, infused with traditional spices, is the perfect hand warmer as you browse the market stalls.
Beyond local treats, the market also features a selection of international specialties that are synonymous with Christmas markets worldwide:
- Bratwurst: An ever-popular German import, Bratwurst sausages are a common sight. Served in a bun with a generous helping of mustard, they’re a deliciously savoury snack to enjoy as you wander through the market.
- Roasted chestnuts: Look out for stalls selling roasted chestnuts for a classic Christmas treat. The warming, nutty aroma is a sure sign of the festive season and provides a nutritious snack.
- Stollen: This German Christmas bread from Dresden is a delicious sweet treat. Loaded with dried fruit, nuts, and a marzipan centre, a slice of Stollen perfectly accompanies a hot beverage.
- Churros: These Spanish sweet treats are a favourite at many Christmas markets. Deep-fried and dusted with sugar, they can be dipped in chocolate sauce for an extra indulgent snack.
What to Buy
At the Christmas market in Edmonton, you’re treated to an eclectic selection of gift options that reflect the diverse cultural tapestry of the region. Here are some of the unique Yeg items you can pick up to remember your visit:
- Local artisan crafts: You’ll encounter a wealth of handcrafted items from local artisans. From beautiful pottery and unique jewellery to hand-knit scarves and hats, these stalls offer a wide variety of unique, one-of-a-kind gifts.
- Alberta honey products: Produced by Alberta’s industrious bees, these products range from pure honey to beeswax candles and skincare items. They serve as a sweet reminder of the province’s vibrant agricultural industry.
- Locally roasted coffee: A bag of locally roasted coffee makes a delightful gift for the caffeine lovers in your life. Numerous Edmonton-based roasters source high-quality beans from around the world, ensuring a delicious cup of coffee every time.
- First Nations art: The artwork local First Nations artists create is a meaningful and unique gift. Whether it’s a piece of traditional beadwork or a contemporary painting, these works are a tribute to the area’s rich Indigenous heritage.
- Handmade soaps and beauty products: Crafted with natural ingredients, these products make perfect stocking fillers. From scented soaps to bath bombs and lotions, there’s a wide variety to choose from.
- Albertan craft beer and spirits: If you’re over the legal drinking age, you might consider picking up a bottle from one of Alberta’s many local breweries or distilleries. Whether it’s a seasonal brew or a classic spirit, it’s a great way to sample the region’s vibrant craft alcohol scene.
In addition to these local specialities, traditional Christmas market staples can also be found:
- Christmas decorations: You’ll find a range of festive decorations, from delicate glass baubles to handmade wooden ornaments, to bring a touch of Edmonton’s Christmas cheer into your own home.
- Gourmet food hampers: These hampers are brimming with tasty treats, including chocolates, biscuits, cheeses, and more. They make the perfect gift for food lovers or a treat for yourself.
- Toys and games: Classic wooden toys, puzzles, and board games are always a hit at Christmas markets. They offer a fun and often educational gift option for children.
- Candles and home fragrances: In the spirit of the season, scented candles and home fragrances are popular purchases.
Explore Edmonton is the local tourist office. This is a useful resource if you’re planning a trip to the city, especially if this is your first time visiting. It’s also the best place to find out about events taking place around the city. Here are a few examples during the Christmas holidays:
- Glow – A family event that takes you through an enchanted light trail and gardens with fairytale characters along the way. 1st December to 1st January 2024.
- Nutcracker – A Burlesque version of the Nutcracker. 8th December 2023.
- Luminaria – Candles light the pathways of the Kurimoto Japanese Garden in Alberta Botanic Gardens. 22nd November to 31st December 2023.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. I’ve listed some small actions we can take to help lower our impact at this event.
- Shop mindfully. Only purchase what you really need.
- Walk, cycle and use public transport to get around.
- Stay in a sustainable hotel powered by renewable energy.
- Avoid using plastic or buying items made or packaged with plastic.
- Try to eat locally sourced organic food where possible.
- Limit your consumption of meat and dairy.
- Explore more than just the main tourist areas.
- Support the arts and attend local events.
- If possible, avoid flying to your destination.
Edmonton Christmas Market starts on 29th November and ends on 17th December, from Wednesdays to Sundays.
The Christmas markets in Edmonton are held at Fort Edmonton Park.
Opening times are from Wednesday to Friday, 3pm to 9pm. Saturday and Sunday, 12pm to 9pm
If you want to leave a review of Edmonton Xmas Market, please comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Edmonton, Canada. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.
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