by Alex Kinsella | November 2023
There might be snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean events are cooling off in Waterloo Region. December is one of our favourite months to explore and discover fun things to do – from traditional favourites like Canada’s original Christkindl Market to incredible live music from bands including Blue Rodeo and The Glorious Sons. There’s a reason they call this the most Wonderful time of the year!
Here’s our list of great events to check out this December in Waterloo Region!
Cambridge Winterfest | December 1 – December 31
Cambridge Winterfest continues through December 31 with music, skating, and more. On December 9 and 10, shop local at the annual Cambridge Christmas Market in front of Cambridge City Hall. Santa, Mrs. Claus and Willy Melt will be wandering the market on Saturday and Sunday, too!
Gaslight Christmas Market | December 1 – 3, 8 – 10, and 15 – 17
Explore the new Gaslight District during its Gaslight Christmas Markets every weekend in December. The District Square comes alive with the spirit of the season, with vendors and makers who have something for everyone on your list. Plus—Santa will be at there every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
Snyder’s Farm Winter Campfires | December 2 – 17
Warm up with your friends and family at one of the campfires at Synder’s Farm. Each campfire is a private winter oasis, packed with s’mores kits, tables, and chairs—all you need to do is bring great conversation!
The Gaslight District Gingerbread Exhibition | December 3
Local gingerbread house artists will be showing off their decorating skills at the first official Gaslight District Gingerbread House Exhibition. Explore—but don’t eat—and vote for your favoruites!
28th Annual Kitchener Rangers Teddy Bear Toss | December 5
Experience a night at The Aud like no other! Fans are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear to the game (featuring Highway 7 rivals the Guelph Storm) that will be thrown onto the ice immediately following the Rangers’ first goal! All the bears will be collected and turned over to local charitable organizations just in time for the holidays.
Waterloo Central Railway Christmas Train Ride Experiences | Multiple dates
The Waterloo Central Railway and Santa have teamed up to offer two amazing Christmas train ride experiences in December. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, take your little ones on a magical daytime train ride with Santa. You’ll travel from St. Jacobs to Elmira, enjoying festive carols, Christmas crafts, a holiday dance party, and a visit from Santa! On Thursday through Sunday evenings, get your tickets to Santa’s Christmas Caboose. It’s an interactive live experience with a special treat from Mrs. Claus and an appearance by Santa.
Christkindl Market | December 7 – 10
Downtown Kitchener’s annual holiday market returns from December 7 to 10 at Kitchener City Hall and along King St.
The Christkindl Market has over 80 vendors selling traditional handcrafted items, Christmas décor, handmade gifts, baked goods, sweets and more. This event recreates the sights, sounds, smells and spirit of the traditional Christmas festivals found across Germany, and is sure to become a holiday tradition for your family!
Sounds of the Seasons | December 8
CBC Kitchener-Waterloo’s annual Sounds of the Season campaign in support of the FoodBank of Waterloo Region kicks off with a live radio special broadcast event from THEMUSEUM. The broadcast features live music from Kitchener’s own JP Sunga, the accordion stylings of Rick Guzik, and performances by the students of Eastwood Collegiate.
Christkinderfest | December 9
Join KW Oktoberfest at THEMUSEUM in Downtown Kitchener for the 1st ever Christkindfest! Inspired by Christkindl Market, Christkinderfest allows children and families to experience the joys of a German inspired Christmas, featuring Bavarian themed activities, music and the spirit of Christmas festivals found across Germany. Admission is free, registration is recommended.
KW Punk Rock Slobberknocker Vol. II | December 9
If you love punk rock and wrestling, then do we have an event for you. The KW Punk Rock Flea Market and Slobberknocker Vol. II is taking over Elements Night Club in Downtown Kitchener. The event includes a mix of up-and-coming punk bands like Bad Egg and Wedge with intermissions featuring live wrestling.
Brunch with Santa at Langdon Hall | December 10
Before he takes flight on Christmas Eve, Santa likes to relax and be pampered at Langdon Hall. Enjoy delicious food and get your photo taken with Santa while enjoying a Langdon Hall buffet of your brunch favourites.
St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway | Saturdays and Sundays in December
December 11 is your last chance to explore the St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway at its current location. The historic model railway is an O scale (¼”= 12″) hand-built model railway depicting Southern Ontario in the late 1950s.
Hockey Canada Rivalry Series | December 14
Feel the heat of one of North America’s biggest hockey rivalries as Team Canada takes on Team USA at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The teams are playing each other in seven cities across Canada and the U.S.—don’t miss out!
Making Spirits Bright | December 14
Create a new holiday tradition at Making Spirits Bright in the Gaslight District. The 1920s-themed event features live music from The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, tenors Romulo Delgado and Salvatore Gambino, and the Pattie Payne Trio. 1920s costumes and attitudes welcome!
The Longest Night: A Solstice Play | December 15
Join the villagers of Cherry Park for this family-friendly, laugh-out-loud adventure that will warm your heart on even the longest night of the year! In this original local production, the village of Cherry Park is excited to welcome the return of the sun at the winter solstice after the long cold winter months. But disaster strikes when the sun doesn’t arrive as expected. What happens next? You’ll have to come to the show to find out!
The Glorious Sons – Glory Tour | December 16
Kingston rockers The Glorious Sons return to Kitchener, this time taking their show to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The tour is in support of their new album Glory, described as “a compelling collection that showcases their musical versatility and ability to infuse reality into their songs” by Andy Thorley for Maximum Volume Music.
Airborne Trampoline KW Winter Break Camp | December 27 – 29
Get airborne this holiday break at the Airborne Trampoline KW Winter Break Camp. Each day includes four hours of trampoline time led by their certified coaches. Plus, your kids will get a chance to try their bungee!
Blue Rodeo | December 29 and 30
Canadian alt-country rockers Blue Rodeo are also making a return to Kitchener’s Centre in the Square for two nights of classic hits. The band is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their successful fifth studio album, Five Days in July.
Kitchener-Waterloo Titans Home Opener | December 30
Titans basketball returns to town as the KW Titans welcome the Sudbury Five to The Aud. It’s a whole new game this year as the Titans join the inaugural season of the new Basketball Super League. The new league means more games and expanded competition from teams across Canada and the U.S.
Cambridge New Year’s Eve Party | December 31
Ring in 2024 with your friends in Cambridge. The city’s New Year’s Eve Party is packed with free activities for all ages. The party includes ice skating, a Turbo Max inflatable obstacle course, live entertainment, a LEGO Fun Zone, games, and more.
Take a holiday road trip to Waterloo Region
Make winter merry and bright this year with a road trip to Waterloo Region. We’ve got outdoor activities that’ll take your breath away and indoor events to keep you warm and toasty.
Book a weekend stay at the Delta Hotel in Uptown Waterloo. You’ll be close to restaurants, bars, nightlife and skating in Waterloo Town Square. Don’t worry if you forget to bring your skates—McPhail’s Cycle & Sports Ltd (98 King St N) has you covered with hourly skate rentals.
Before dinner, grab a warm-up cocktail from Loloan Lobby Bar. We recommend the Pho Thoi Trang, a unique mix of bourbon, pho spices, and lime. When you’re ready for dinner, get a square-side seat at Beertown that overlooks the ice rink in Uptown Waterloo.
Nothing else warms up an evening like amazing live jazz. The Jazz Room has shows on most Friday and Saturday evenings. On Friday, December 8, you can see Dave Thompson Quintet + “Limina” live on stage starting at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, enjoy a beautiful scenic wagon ride through Waterloo Region’s countryside with Conestoga River Horseback Adventures. Their wagon rides seat up to 15 adults, and the horse-drawn winter sleigh ride can seat six. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, and bring your own blankets to snuggle up in!
If you prefer a warmer adventure, Ctrl-V VR arcade can take you virtually anywhere you want to go! Ctrl-V is Canada’s first VR arcade, created by 3 Wilfrid Laurier alumnus in Waterloo. The arcade features interactive VR experiences, and you can even try your hands at a virtual escape room experience.
On Sunday, test your aim at Waterloo Region’s newest axe-throwing course at Bingemans. The course features four lanes that accommodate up to six players each. Staff will give you tips and have you throwing like a pro in no time! While you’re at Bingemans make sure to take in the Region’s most spectacular and dazzling light displays – Gift of Lights and Jingle Bell Rock!
Your road trip to Waterloo Region isn’t complete without a hike along one of our trails – which are even more dazzling when there’s a fresh layer of snow. This winter, check out the 18 km long Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail. The trail follows the old rail roadbed of the Lake Erie and Northern Railway and is perfect for winter hikes, winter cycling or even bird watching along the Grand River.
You can find more beautiful trails to explore in Waterloo Region here.