Oh, winter, with your long nights and cold days. Dripping boots line my entryway, my budget is squeezed by Christmas, and the days where we could run out and play are a distant memory.

But we can defeat the winter blues. It’s possible to take the family out for some family fun, enjoy each other’s company, and (mostly) keep your wallet closed. Find out how to have winter fun in Calgary for $5 or less.

Inexpensive Winter Activities in Calgary

1. Skating is a classic winter sport, made even better with friends and the promise of hot chocolate after. There are many outdoor rinks around Calgary, either run by the City of Calgary or by local communities. The downtown Olympic Plaza rink is refrigerated, so has a longer season, as well.

2.  From one winter sport to another, sledding offers free chills and thrills for every age! There are a number of approved sledding hills in the city, so there’s sure to be one near you. (Did you ever go sliding on a garbage bag or cardboard box? It gives new meaning to budget-friendly.)

3. The Calgary Public Library usually has programs and events happening and hopefully, they will be back soon. Even so, check out one of the Early Learning Centres and cuddle up to read some good books.

4. Missing summer? The City of Calgary offers a Splash Swim on Sunday afternoons, for only $4 admission for adults and $2 for kids. If nothing else, you can warm up in the hot tub! There are sometimes free swims on some statutory holidays, too.

5. Okay, so there might not be much fresh, local produce, but pay a visit to a winter farmers market. There are a couple in Calgary and they often have extra activities going on. Pick up a treat while you’re there!

6. Some days, you just need to stay inside. What about taking the kids to do a craft at Michaels? Every Saturday, for $3, your child can do a craft that someone else will supervise, while you shop. Beat cabin fever and keep the mess somewhere else.

7. On the second Saturday of every month, take the kids to Home Depot for their free Kids’ Workshop! The kids will get to build an adorable woodworking project and hammer to their heart’s content. Be sure to register, to ensure your kids a spot. And bring earplugs.

8. If you’re looking for a warm place where you can get out of the house and just let your brain relax, see what’s playing for the Cineplex Family Favourites on Saturday morning. Most Saturdays you can see a family-friendly movie for only $2.99 a ticket.

9. The first Thursday night (from 5 – 9 pm) of every month offers free admission to the Glenbow Museum. The Glenbow boasts the largest art collection in Western Canada and tells the story of Southern Alberta.

10. Check out our urban oasis, Devonian Gardens. It’s a lovely place to spend some time and on Sunday afternoons, they have special activities for families.

Whatever works for your family, have fun and make some great memories this winter. Stay warm and stay healthy, Calgary!