The soft glitter of snow, hot chocolate brewing, and a sense of embedded excitement in the air — Planning Christmas getaways in Ontario is a magical time. Peppered with candy canes and winter activities, holiday destinations in this Canadian province are a tough act to beat.
Are you looking to amp up your annual Christmas traditions? Whether you’re planning to spend the holidays with family and friends or in isolation, nothing beats the gift of new experiences and adventures.
Unsure which Ontario Christmas getaways made the naughty or nice list regarding encapsulating the festive spirit? Get your cookies and milk ready as we guide you through the top destinations to spend the holidays this year and how to make it the best snow-filled Christmas yet.
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Christmas in Ontario – What to Expect
Are you dreaming of having a picture-perfect white Christmas? December weather in Ontario provides frigid temperatures and freezing conditions with bundles of snow to dive into (snow boots first, we hope).
While it might be daunting to brave the cold, you’ll embrace the chilly air soon enough by engaging in various activities to stoke the fires of excitement. Varying from the gliding glory of ice rinks to the toasty glow of a Christmas market, the ultimate December getaways will never have a dull moment.
Places to Spend Christmas in Ontario
Wondering where these joyful Yuletide treasure troves reside? Whether you’re looking for a sleepy town or a lively city, this province provides a vast tapestry of places for every kind of holiday. We’re taking you on a sleigh ride through the various Christmas getaways in Ontario to make your Christmas a winter to remember.
Situated on the Avon River, this small city is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to spreading Christmas cheer. Stratford has divine Victorian buildings with an artsy atmosphere. This winter getaway might be your perfect pick if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
With December jam-packed with family visits and vacation itineraries, one thing always sneaks up on us way too soon — buying Christmas gifts. The Christmas Trail, running from November 1 to December 20, takes holiday shopping to the next level in Stratford. It provides all you’ll ever need in one location and supports local businesses along the way.
The Stratford Christmas Market is also a great location to do your holiday shopping with an added family-fun flair. From the enchanting children’s ride to the merry spirits, you’ll feel like you’ve teleported to Santa’s workshop.
Equipped with a Lights on Stratford festival that offers a kaleidoscope of colourful projections on its buildings, Stratford is a Christmas miracle come to life.
Known as the “Limestone City,” this delightful university city puts the “rock” in rocking the holidays. During December, its picturesque streets lined with 19th-century buildings have a fairytale charm and become seemingly sugar-dusted vistas. The result is a magical option for everyone seeking Christmas vacations in Ontario.
Situated near the immense Lake Ontario, you’ll see an abundance of natural scenery encapsulated by the icy embrace of winter. Kicking things off on November 20, this city hosts a vast array of Christmas-infused activities to experience.
Kingston has it all, from the seasonal spectacle of the Nighttime Santa Parade to tasting your way through yummy baked goods at the Crossroads Christmas Bazaar. By spending your winter holiday in Kingston, you’ll have an ample supply of backdrops to capture the perfect pictures for your family Christmas card.
Blue Mountain Village
Travel to the icy depths of Blue Mountain Village to experience the frosty splendours of Ontario’s winter in all its cold-cladded glory. Known for its pristine powder-covered mountains, this Christmas town in Ontario is a sensational getaway.
While staying indoors snuggled near the fire is always a fine choice, Blue Mountain Village embraces the frigid weather and gives it an adrenaline-fuelled twist. From fat biking to shredding the slopes, your festive season will have heart-pumping activities that will burn off those extra Christmas cookies.
Blue Mountain Village becomes a tinsel-tinted work of Christmas art in December. Its buildings and Christmas cottages are decorated with garlands and wreaths, and the soft hum of cheerful carols echoes within its plains. Equipped with a 1 km Light Trail that offers a dazzling dance of twinkling lights, you’ll have a mesmerizing Christmas at this hidden snowy den.
It’s easily one of the best Christmas getaways Ontario has to offer!
This town is a lovely Christmas getaway if you’re looking to spend your vacation in a space that fully embodies the spirit of this momentous holiday. Almonte is the whimsical location of various Christmas Hallmark movies, such as Maps and Mistletoe and Unlocking Christmas.
Whether you’re planning to go for your entire December vacation or looking for a fun Christmas weekend getaway in Almonte, this town will not disappoint.
Filled with red-bricked facade storefronts and quaint local businesses, you’ll be able to sip and taste your way through a variety of holiday-themed treats. Be sure to sample the candy cane bark at Humming Bird Chocolate for the best seasonal sugar rush.
Almonte has various historic homey inns and Christmas cabin rentals to spend your holiday and create an unforgettable romantic holiday with your partner-in-crime.
No list of Christmas getaways in Ontario would be complete without including the capital city of Canada, Ottawa. They pull out all the stops when it comes to dipping the city in an effervescent atmosphere of Christmas scenery. From the twinkle light embellished parliament buildings to the holiday markets, Ottawa will provide a mirthful Christmas with all the seasonal trimmings.
This city also provides various winter activities to enrich the countdown to December 25 with jolly excursions. Make your way to the Rideau Canal Skateway to skate on the world’s biggest natural skating rink, which is around 7.8 km in size. You’ll find the holiday favourite BeaverTrails stalls along its ridges to warm yourself up on tasty treats.
Ottawa also has an annual Christmas market at Lansdowne Park, with plenty of live performances and local stalls to experience and explore. Ranging from authentic German dishes to pints at the Blitzen Bar, this market will create a Christmas belly sure to have Santa blush with envy.
A festive sanctuary with character, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the perfect place to spend the most beautiful time of the year with your family. With an abundance of wineries, eateries, and theatre productions — there is never a dull moment at this pleasant place near Niagara River.
This sleepy town transforms into a Christmas wonderland come December. It provides such an authentic feel you’ll be wondering if you’ve found yourself in a holiday movie set. Niagara-on-the-Lake provides a feel-good yet classy touch to this festive season, from the Santa Claus Parade to the Icewine Festival.
The Shaw Festival makes its way to this town to offer various theatrical productions from June to December. This includes show-stoppers such as the classic A Christmas Carol and Holiday Inn that provides a heart-warming reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
Niagara-on-the-Lake also offers indoor activities such as a holiday centrepiece workshop and a holiday trivia night. These lively events are for individuals craving a little warmth in winter (through fireplaces and delicious themed alcoholic beverages).
Don’t forget to include a trip to enjoy the iconic Christmas lights in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in your plans. Known as the Winter Festival of Lights, it is the province’s largest free outdoor light display.
Ontario Place Christmas
When considering locations for a beautiful Christmas getaway, Ontario Place is likely not the first destination that comes to mind. This waterfront location is well known for its many concerts and festivals, but they uniquely turn on the holiday spirit following the holiday season with a stunning display at the Lumière: The Art of Light (previously known as the Winter Light Exhibition).
While this doesn’t fall during December, it’s a great way to extend that holiday feeling. After all, who says you can only celebrate the magic of Christmas only one month out of the year?
The Ontario Place Christmas lights display includes traditional lighting, outdoor décor, and illuminated art created by local artists. The result is a beautiful display that will leave you feeling like a young child on Christmas morning, enamoured by the colourful, twinkling lights.
The festival runs between March and May, making it the perfect way to say goodbye to the winter season. If you’re looking to plan a budget-friendly Ontario holiday vacation, you’re in luck – Lumière: The Art of Light is free.
Bright Lights Windsor
You may be surprised to learn one of the best Christmas towns in Ontario is hiding down in the province’s southernmost city, Windsor. Bright Lights Windsor is a free Christmas light display with thousands of lights and holiday displays.
This beautiful display features over 50 unique displays lining 2 km of pathways. At the center of it all, you will find a 64-foot Christmas tree that showcases 1.5 million lights choreographed to music. The music can be heard throughout the park as you view all the displays, but it is truly magical watching the synchronized lights of the tree, adding a visual element to the festive tunes. It certainly puts this display of Christmas lights Windsor offers on the map!
One aspect of the festival that sets it apart from most holiday light shows is the food and artisan vendors that are part of the event. Small businesses and food trucks are welcome to be part of the festival, setting up on-site with delicious treats and holiday gift ideas (even if the recipient you are shopping for is yourself). They also welcome local community organizations and charities each year, adding a heartfelt element where visitors and residents can support those in need at a time when that need is often at its greatest.
The festival is located right in the city’s core, turning Windsor into a winter wonderland. That means there are many nearby hotels and accommodations for those planning a weekend getaway.
If you are searching for one of the more festive Christmas village Ontario locations to explore during your holiday adventures, this is it!
Top Tips for a Successful Winter Holiday Ontario Getaway
While nothing brings more pleasure than the first sprinkle of snowflakes of the season, winter has a way of sneaking up on us. Various unpleasant occurrences can ruin your Christmas plans, from freezing hands to snowed-in roads. Take a look below to ensure you are prepared for the chilly conditions ahead:
- Always check the weather conditions when travelling by car – Canada has notoriously cold temperatures which can mean some road closures are implemented during winter.
- Make sure your vehicle is winter-ready – This includes an ice scraper for your windows and a tire traction mat if you find yourself stuck in the snow.
- Layering is essential – While jumping right into the thick of it might be tempting, you’ll often be left cold and miserable if you don’t dress accordingly. Take an ample supply of vests, winter socks, gloves, and jackets to brave the cold in style.
If you plan on visiting Christmas tree farms in Ontario to add a bedazzled shrub to your accommodation, you’ll need to bring an axe. Many farms only have a limited supply for visitors to use.
Final Thoughts on Christmas Getaways, Ontario
Spending public holidays away from home is a great way to jazz up your momentous annual events. While it provides firework sensations, nothing quite lights the spark of good tidings like Christmas.
Filled with feel-good vibes fit for a Christmas storybook, Ontario offers a wide array of winter dreamscape destinations. From the emerald-green sea of forests topped with dusted snow to iced-over lakes that sparkle in the sunlight, you’ll have a tough time prying yourself away from these places after the holidays.
While it’s easy to wallow in the winter blues, these Christmas will ensure a holiday filled with jingle bells and spells of endless laughter. So, be sure to book your Christmas packages, Ontario has a spell-binding chilly getaway in store.