Things to do in YYC. So very many things…

A second post already?!
Yes. This post was the main impetus for finally starting the blog. I needed somewhere to put my giant list. Hopefully it inspires you to go & explore. And please, please add your suggestions.

I often hear a lot of people talk about how there’s nothing to do in Calgary, the downtown core is dead, and how they just want to make their oil money and get out. Even native Calgarians will say there’s nothing to do or see. No, Calgary is not New York; it’s not as obvious about what there is to do like in other large cities. But I like to say that Calgary has some pretty good and booming ‘underground’ scenes, whether that’s art and culture, heritage, music, festivals… and by underground, I mean if you did a quick google, you would find out that there are tons of things to do in Calgary! Calgary is a big place, and it has something for everyone. It’s also safe, clean, and full of parks. I think Calgary will also just continue to get awesome in the next few years as the East Village is under development and exciting projects are underway- new Central Library (not just about books!), redevelopment of Fort Calgary, the new National Music Centre (which will incorporate the King Eddy), the redevelopment of the Simmons building with awesome new, local restaurants, the likely merging of a few of Calgary’s top art galleries into Contemporary Calgary (which, I’ve heard will be taking over the space of the old science centre). Calgary’s core will pick up- it will be a corridor of things to do from the skate park/old science centre, down Stephen Ave, through the East Village, and even into Inglewood, stay tuned. And there’s already tons of amazing restaurants on Stephen Ave.

So, in an effort to combat the perception that there’s absolutely nothing to do in Calgary, here’s a pretty good start at a list. Feel free to add! I’m sure I’ve missed a few things… (or quite a lot of thing!)


Constantly take a look at Swerve, Fast Forward, Calgary’s Child Magazine.. they are constantly being updated with what’s happening in the city- music, live gigs, theatre, new restaurants, exhibit openings, special events, lectures…

Looking for a new hobby/ new friends/ meeting people:

Look for a group you like the sounds of on MeetUp. Board games? Video games? Cats? There’s  probably a group for whatever you can think of

Take a class at one of the universities, whether it’s something academic, or something a bit more bizarre, there is a huge range on offer. Art, interior decorating, computer skills, wine tasting, massage, literature, bartending…

Speaking of universities, many of them also offer free lectures, and have various societies. Check out the various departments and faculties to see if there is anything that might interest you. Universities and colleges also have good theatre and music departments- meaning inexpensive concerts and other performances.

Check out the library for other course ideas. Almost all of the library courses are free and cover anything from reading with your baby, to basic law, to computers, to yoga, and everything in between:

Speaking of the library. Libraries aren’t just about books anymore (although I still use them for that). In addition to books and a wide range of courses, there are all other types of media, computers for public use, and the new central library will likely become a community hub with a variety of public spaces and theatres. Membership is now also free, so there’s no excuse not to join. There’s something for everyone.

The city of Calgary also offers a bunch of courses:,2&L=263,264&A=13,17,14,15,16,18&Q=&name=Arts%20Centres–

Arts & Culture

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra: Not just classical music, also pop, rock, and video games live

Broadway across Canada:

Alberta ballet:

Jubilee auditorium:

Calgary Opera:


  • one yellow rabbit
  • theatre Calgary
  • vertigo
  • y stage
  • high performance rodeo
  • Pumphouse theatre

Calgary also has a burgeoning public art scene. No, not very many people like the blue ring. But there are lots of other awesome pieces, and I would argue public art helps make a city great. Like when you’re planning a trip somewhere, people usually pick cities with landmakrs, events, and public art. Let’s keep making Calgary one of those places. Still not convinced?  Ever posed with some of the statues downtown? Gone and seen the lights change at the chinook arch? Posed with the statue of the chess player? Loved one of the murals in Kensington? Maybe you do like public art. You’re just used to the chess player and the two guys near the bay downtown. But there are other cool pieces too.

Museums, Historic Sites, Art Galleries, Landmarks- even if you don’t think you’re a ‘museum person’ check their event listings. Many museums and galleries are trying to expand programming to include young adults, couples, families, etc You might be surprised

  • Heritage Park (Museum, Historic Sites, venue rentals, restaurants, courses like home brewing, family activities, weekend brunches, antique shops…)
  • Fort Calgary
  • Lougheed House (Museum, Historic Site, Gallery, Gardens, Restaurant, Shop)
  • Glenbow Museum
  • Telus Spark (not just for kids and families, check out Adults Only Night)
  • Calgary Zoo
  • Calgary Tower
  • Aerospace museum
  • Canada sports hall of fame
  • National music centre
  • Firefighter’s museum
  • Calgary police interpretive centre
  • Esker foundation
  • Grain academy museum
  • Loch gallery
  • Military Museums
  • Nickle Galleries
  • Commercial galleries: lots of them, often have great art, and some do shows that aren’t for sale and more akin to a traditional gallery restrospective

Food, Restaurants, Pubs, Coffee Shops, tea shops, bars, clubs

  • Farmer’s Markets: Crossroads, kingsland, Calgary farmer’s market, local community markets
  • Lots of great pubs and microbreweries: Craft, Marquee, Wild Rose, National, all the pubs on 17th ave sw and Stephen Ave. Many of these also have dance floors, and National on 10th has ping pong tables and a bowling alley.
  • Market, Boxwood, Rouge, Charcut, sky 360- we have so many great restaurants right now, many local and organic.
  • Pop ups/ interesting locations: e.g. container bar, charpop
  • Foodtrucks
  • Chinatown
  • Urbanspoon
  • Tubby dog, poutinerie
  • Frozen yogurt: menchies, tutti frutti, frogurt
  • Best milkshake: boogies burgers? Peter’s? somewhere else? The debate goes on. Find yours.
  • Calgary is the place of invention for Caesars and Ginger beef. Both the places that are credited for invention still exist.
  • Bakeries: Yann haute patisserie, edelweiss,
  • Places for cocktails: Model Milk, oak room, milk tiger, raw bar, bar c
  • Cowboys, Roadhouse, Ranchman’s
  • Bustloose: club crawls, party buses, trips
  • This list is by no means exhaustive; there are so many great options in calgary, I could not possibly even begin to name them

Sports and Activities

COP: Skiing, snowboarding, bob sleigh, luge, zip line, mini golf, skyline luge


Walks and bike rides: huge pathway system, numerous parks

Ice skating: Olympic oval, Olympic plaza, community rinks

Hockey: play it, watch it live, watch it in a pub. Hitmen and Flames




Play on a rec league- choose your sport


Leisure Centres (wave pools are always exciting)

Climbing centres: crux, Calgary climbing centre

Pathway system: Did you know? Calgary has the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America.

parks and nature: nose hill, prince’s island, glenbow ranch,  ann and sandy cross conservation society, Inglewood bird sanctuary, fish creek, weaselhead

caneoing, sailing

horse back riding

snow shoeing




  • Shakers family fun centre
  • Kart world
  • Movies. Don’t forget the little theatres.
  • Live music: check ticketmaster,  the saddledome, swerve and ffwd listings
  • Calaway park (mostly for younger children)
  • Lloyds roller rink
  • Laser tag
  • Paintball

Festivals, events, shows, expos, etc

So many: carifest, globalfest, exposure photography fest, Beakerhead, Alberta Arts Days, Doors OpenYYC, wordfest, Shakespeare in the park, taste of calgary, folkfest, lilac festival, marda gras… in the summer there is at least one every week, and there are tons outside of summer too

Stampede- Rodeo, Midway, Agriculture, food, free music, shopping, games, drinking, free pancakes everywhere

Annual events: Nuit Blanche, Diner en Blanc, Beakerhead, Doors Open YYC, Alberta Arts Days

Flea Markets and antiques markets

Neighbourhoods: Kensington, Inglewood, Beltline, Stephen Ave. All are unique, and have things to do, and lots of great restaurants

Check your local community centre listings for local markets, family fun days, and other events

Shows and expos: outdoor living, home and garden, cars, fishing, health and wellness, bridal, travel, etc. .. there’s something for everyone




Spruce Meadows

Comedy clubs


Sikome lake

Jubilations dinner theatre

Stage West

Aussie Rules

Devonian Gardens

Nearby- Calgary is the gateway to a bunch of other cool places too:

The mountains (Banff, Canmore, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, skating snowshoeing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, Jasper, glaciers, burgess shale..)

Edmonton- west ed waterpark; galaxy land; have been some interesting exhibits at the science centre recently- harry potter, star wars, indiana jones, renaissance art, body worlds…

sylvan lake, ghost lake


Blackfoot crossing,

Headsmashed in

Frank Slide

Dinosaur Provincial Park

marv’s diner


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