When the sun sets, the night lights begin. From bridges to buildings, some of these art displays light up the night year-round for Calgarians. Whether you’re attending the annual GLOW Festival, or checking out the new Telus Sky art display, you’ll be amazed at these hidden gems across the city.
Telus Sky Northern Lights
This must-see public art display, Northern Lights, maybe one of the most unique features of downtown Calgary. This 160 000 square foot display on the 60-storey tower at Centre Street and 7th Avenue SW is a mesmerizing piece of public art for all Calgarians to experience for free.
The lights change colour in patterns the artist Douglas Coupland designed to replicate the Northern Lights in a 12-minute sequence running five times an hour from sunset to sunrise.
It is Calgary’s largest public art piece, and makes a beautiful addition to Calgary’s skyline during the night. Details
Location: 619 Centre St S, Calgary
The Reconciliation Bridge is over 100 years old, and features thousands of lights year-round. The colours of the lights change with the seasons, holidays, and special events. Did you know you can submit a request to change the colours of the lights? If you’re part of a charity or organization and want to feature specific colours to mark an event, this is a unique opportunity to commemorate your cause. Details
Location: 4th St NE & 4th Ave SE
Every night, the Calgary Tower lights up its 132 lights. Did you know the Calgary Tower lights can create 16.5 million different colours and effects? The daily light show often features lighting colours bringing awareness to a variety of events and causes, like holidays, World AIDS Day, International Human Rights Day, and many more. If there’s an event or cause you’d like to highlight, members of the public can submit a lighting request. Details
Location: 101 9 Ave SW
Olympic Plaza & Old City Hall
Lace up your skates and head out underneath an array of festive lights at Olympic Plaza. Located in downtown Calgary, this is a favourite spot for many to go skating in the winter, all while enjoying the light displays around the plaza. If skating isn’t your thing, you can walk around Olympic Plaza and head out on foot exploring some of the other light displays around downtown.
When you are visiting Olympic Plaza, pop over to check out the Old City Hall to see the illuminated facade of this century-old building.
Location: 228 8 Ave SE, Calgary
4th St. SW Underpass
What used to be a dark underpass that connected Calgary’s beltline region to downtown has recently been transformed into a beautiful light display. This public art display won a National Urban Design Award. If you’re walking through downtown during the night, this underpass is worth checking out. Details
Location: 4th St. SW between 9th Ave and 10th Ave
The Peace Bridge is one of Calgary’s most iconic spots. While the bridge is bustling during the day as Calgarians enjoy walking along the bow river pathway, it’s also spectacular at night. The Peace Bridge features hundreds of bulbs that light up the bridge, so it’s just as instagrammable after dark. Details
Location: Peace Bridge, Calgary
The Chinook Arc is nestled in the Beltline neighborhood of Calgary. Located in the small Barb Scott Park, this public art display emits a soft glow as it lights up the park. Grab a hot chocolate and take a walk exploring the many public light displays in the beltline and downtown area. Details
Location: 12th Ave. & 9 St. SW
When riding the LRT through downtown, keep an eye out for the Luminous Crossings public art display. These towers shimmering with light greet you as you come into downtown. They’re hard to miss standing at 25 feet tall. Details
Location: City Hall LRT Station & Downtown West – Kerby LRT Station
Confluence Martingdale Public Art
This light display is a whopping 162 metres long in total, with lights that create the look of a river. While you’re waiting to catch the LRT at Martindale LRT on either platform, check out this huge mural on the walls across the train platform. LEDs, terra cotta, and metal are all used to create one of Calgary’s largest public art displays. Details
Location: Martindale LRT
If you’re out on an evening walk on St. Patrick’s Island, keep an eye out for Bloom. This public art display doubles as a street light, and illuminates the walking path. The street lights extend in all directions, making it one of the most unique in Calgary. Details
Location: St. Patrick’s Island
A Calgarian staple, this 12 metre head created by Jaume Plensa, a Spanish sculptor, is meant to embody the hopes and dreams of young Albertans. You can see this from your car, but it’s a great one to interact with as you can walk right into the mind of the sculpture!
Fort Calgary Sentinels
See these five red pillars in the iconic red of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) built on the edge of the East Village representing Fort Calgary and historical figures significant to the area.
The tallest pillar at 28 feet tall represents Fort Calgary and other 15 feet tall pillars represent decorated North-West Mounted Police Captain Deane, Chief Crowfoot, Calgary Alderman John Ayer, and Colonel Macleod. Details
View of Downtown Calgary Lights
If you want to take pictures of downtown Calgary all aglow in night lights, then visit Tom Campbell Hill, Crescent Heights Lookout Point, Scotsman’s Hill, Tyndale Park, or McHugh Bluff Park.
GLOW Winter Festival
GLOW is a family-friendly winter festival that you can enjoy for free. There are fire pits, ice sculptures, live music, and lights displays of course. This festival has only been around a few years, and it’s quickly becoming an annual tradition for many Calgarian families and couples. Usually held during Family day Weekend.
Location: Downtown Calgary
Bridge to Prince’s Island Park
The suspension bridge leading to Prince’s Island Park is adorned with lights during the winter, helping brighten your path to the island. Once you’re across, enjoy skating on the lagoon. If you’re going on a walking tour to see the downtown night lights, make sure to stop here.
Location: 4 St. and 1 Ave. SW
During December and early January, you can find Christmas light displays at various places in Calgary.