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100+ Things to Do in Calgary This Summer 2016

You won’t be bored for a second this summer with all the events and activities happening in Calgary in July and August — there’s practically something to fill your calendar with every day. The best part is that many events are free or affordable. Cheers to a fun summer!

An exhibit in the National Music Centre. Photo by Neil Zeller.

An exhibit in the National Music Centre. Photo by Neil Zeller.

ATTRACTIONS

  • Spend the day at Calaway Park amusement park with rides for all levels of thrill-seekers, stage entertainment for kids, midway games, and carnival food.
  • Stroll the gardens or take in an equestrian tournament at Spruce Meadows — most events are free, and rush seating for the North American tournament July 6 – 10 is only $5.
  • While at the Calgary Zoo, be sure to visit the new baby gorilla and mountain goats, and check out the Dinosaurs Alive! animatronic exhibits. Also, visit first thing in the morning for your best chance at seeing most of the animals out and about.
  • Bring your binoculars to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, where over 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, and 347 species of plants have been spotted.
  • During the first Thursday of every month (July 7 and August 4), Glenbow museum offers free admission from 5 – 9 pm so everyone can visit and enjoy the exhibits and galleries.
  • Get a panoramic view of the city and Rocky Mountains from the top of the Calgary Tower. In August, the complimentary guided audio tour will include a new augmented reality feature.
  • Visit the brand new Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, to take in the sights and sounds of the building and explore 22 exhibits related to the stories and histories of Canadian music.
  • Spend a day at Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s largest living history museum, to try hands-on activities and explore authentic buildings and exhibits that will have you travelling back in time to see what life was like in Canada from 1860 – 1959.
  • Pay a visit to Esker Foundation, which offers free admission, to view world-class exhibits of contemporary art in a cool, climate-controlled space.
  • Calgary Archery Centre has two indoor ranges with 3D targets and welcomes all skill levels so you can train like Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.
  • Get a group together and put your puzzle solving skills to the test at The Locked Room escape room attraction. They even have a mini mobile Wild West Jail version set up at the Calgary Stampede.
  • Lace up those skates and groove along to old school music (disco ball included!) at Lloyds Recreation’s indoor roller rink.
  • Bounce around at Extreme Air Calgary, Canada’s largest trampoline park with a variety of available activities such as dodge ball to choose from.
  • Shop for great bargains at CrossIron Mills which has over 100 outlet stores including Coach, Adidas, Aldo, Banana Republic, Gap, and Brooks Brothers. They have s shuttle service in the summer until September 5 with two departure locations in Calgary.
Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley. Photo by Jeff Bartlett, courtesy Travel Alberta

Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley. Photo by Jeff Bartlett, courtesy Travel Alberta

BEYOND CALGARY DAY TRIPS

  • Visit the town of Vulcan on July 9 & 10 for Vul-Con, a festival with celebrity guests that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.
  • Visit the town of Bragg Creek for quaint shopping and dining in a rustic town.
  • Pick all the Saskatoon berries you can eat in the fields of the Saskatoon Farm, or indulge in some homemade food and Saskatoon berry baked goods in the restaurant.
  • Sink your teeth into a juicy Alberta Beef burger at Chuckwagon Café and Cattle Co. in Turner Valley, a hidden gem that’s worth the leisurely one hour drive.
  • Visit the town of Okotoks, just 15 minutes from south Calgary, for community events, boutique shopping and dining, and the annual vintage car show on August 14.
  • Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley creates award-winning craft spirits which you can try on a tour and tasting.
  • Take a one-and-a-half hour drive to Banff National Park for outdoor adventures including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, golfing, paddle boarding, and more.
  • View one of the world’s largest display of dinosaur skeletons and fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.
  • Shop for some sweet treats at Nanton’s Candy Store where they stock hundreds of different kinds of candy including retro brands and memorabilia. Check out the antique room in the back for vintage wares.
  • Visit the nearby city of Chestermere for the Chestermere Water Festival with an artisan market, beer gardens, kids fun zone, boat rides, and a fireworks display on July 16.
  • Head to the Vintage Soda Company in the town of Airdrie where both classic and unusual sodas from all over the world can be found. Daredevils should try the candied bacon cream soda, or the buffalo wing soda.

    Jeff Dunham.

    Jeff Dunham.

COMEDY

  • Comedian Jeff Dunham, known for his controversial ventriloquist comedy which incorporates his own cast of recognizable (puppet) characters, performs on July 17.
  • David Cross, best known as playing the hilarious Tobias Fünke on the cult favourite TV show Arrested Development, performs on July 22.
  • Funnyman Brian Regan’s material stems from situations found in everyday life, guaranteed to make you laugh at his show on August 26.
  • Gerry Dee, the Canadian stand-up comedian known for his hit comedy show Mr. D., performs stand up comedy about his former job as a teacher on August 27.
Calgary Folk Music Festival. Photo courtesy Tourism Calgary.

Calgary Folk Music Festival. Photo courtesy Tourism Calgary.

FESTIVALS

  • Visit the neighbourhood of Kensington for some Harry Potter-themed fun when it transforms into Diagon Alley on July 31. Start at Pages Books, aka Flourish & Blotts, to pick up a Marauders’ Map guide to the event.
  • Have fun at a festive all-ages street party in the neighbourhood of Inglewood during Sun Fest on July 30.
  • Head to Prince’s Island Park August 5 – 7 for Expo Latino, an outdoor festival that celebrates Latin culture with food, music, performances, and retail vendors.
  • Take in the action of the Dragon Boat Race and Festival August 12 – 14 at North Glenmore Park.
  • Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Afrikadey August 10 – 13 with music, food, and live performances that celebrate African culture.
  • Celebrate Heritage Day on August 1 at the Heritage Day Festival downtown at Olympic Plaza with entertainment from numerous cultures.
  • Explore Turkish art, folk dance, music, and food while shopping for Turkish products and crafts at the Calgary Turkish Festival from July 29 – 31.
  • Groove at Terminus Festival, Western Canada’s only dark electronic festival, which features bands from all over the world July 29 – 31.
  • Watch a performance of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Hamlet set outside in Prince’s Island Park during Shakespeare by the Bow. Admission is by donation, and the 90 minute shows are appropriate for all ages. Shows through August 6.
  • Calgary’s most iconic festival, the Calgary Stampede, kicks off with the Stampede Parade on July 8 downtown, and continues until July 17 with pancake breakfasts and western themed activities galore throughout the city. The main site at Stampede Park is where you’ll find the electric midway for wild carnival rides and wacky food, the rodeo and chuck wagon races, shopping and western art, live music concerts, and the nighttime Grandstand show and fireworks.
  • Relax in Prince’s Island Park to the sounds of folk and indie music during the popular Calgary Folk Music Festival July 12 – 24. This year, notable artists performing at the fest include The Dudes, José González, The New Pornographers, Foy Vance, and the Lemon Bucket Orkestra.
  • Celebrate the best of the blues during Calgary International Blues Festival from July 25 – 31 with main stage performances at Shaw Millennium Park, followed by the nightly dance parties and daily workshops at downtown venues.
  • You never know what you may see at the Calgary Fringe Festival from July 29 – August 6. Over 160 performances by local, national, and international theatre troupes will take place, with a variety of shows to suit all ages and interests.
  • Western Canada’s largest outdoor electronic music festival returns July 30 – 31 with global superstars — including Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers, and Don Diablo — headlining Chasing Summer. Bring your glow sticks and get ready to party!
  • Calling all foodies! Dozens of eateries in Calgary come together for Taste of Calgary to serve up samples of mouthwatering food and drinks in a lively outdoor setting August 11 – 14. Sample tickets are $1 each.
  • Enjoy some accessible opera performances outdoors under the big top during Opera in the Village on August 13, 14, 20, and 21. Children will love the performance of the classic fairytale Hansel and Gretel, while adults will enjoy a cheeky and humorous take on the classic Archie comic series characters, a new opera called Archiebaldo.
  • All Rastagarians — Calgarians who share a love of reggae music — are invited to celebrate Caribbean culture at Calgary Reggae Fest. Reggae musicians from all over the world take the stage August 18 – 20 for high-energy performances, while food vendors will be offering authentic food.
  • Fireworks light up the night sky every night August 18 – 27 during the dazzling Globalfest. This year, firework displays from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, the USA, and Canada will be featured, with food vendors and cultural heritage pavilions accompanying the shows.
  • Country fans won’t want to miss out on Alberta’s inaugural Country Thunder Music Festival! 15 superstars including Luke Bryan, Autumn Hill, Jess Moskaluke, and Chris Young will be performing August 19 – 21. Yeehaw!
  • “Love is love is love is love…” at the city’s 26th annual Calgary Pride Festival August 26 – September 5. Canadian singer-songwriter Rae Spoon leads the parade on September 4 as Grand Marshal and feature performer. The weekly festivities include concerts, film screenings, theatre, parties, and more.
  • Celebrate Japanese culture with traditional dance, music, and song, martial art demonstrations, food, and more at the Calgary Japanese Festival on August 13.
  • Hop on a bike during Cyclepalooza July 1 – 10 and enjoy bike maintenance workshops, tours, meet-ups, and activities.
  • Tee up for the ATB Financial Classic August 8 – 14 which has lots of tournaments for golf fanatics to watch and family activities for all-ages.
  • Mambo your way over to the Fiestaval Latin Festival on July 22 – 24 for authentic food, an arts market, and entertainment.
  • The spotlight is on fashion film at the first-ever Canadian International Fashion Film Festival July 22 – 23 with films, panels, and guest speakers.
The famous mini doughnuts at the Calgary Stampede.

The famous mini doughnuts at the Calgary Stampede.

FUN SUMMER EATS

  • Devour all the meat and craft beer you can handle at Brewery and the Beast on August 21, where over 40 restaurants will be cooking up different meat dishes in the great outdoors.
  • Pancakes are the local diet during the Calgary Stampede, join in on the fun at one of hundreds of free pancake breakfasts served throughout the city July 8 – 17.
  • Go on a southern-style picnic with takeout from Cluck n’ Cleaver including southern fried chicken, fresh coleslaw, and some homemade buttermilk biscuits.
  • From August 25 – 28, head to Eau Claire Plaza for Calgary Ribfest, where guests can devour slow cooked ribs, BBQ chicken, pulled pork, and other grilled meats.
  • Grab some panini sandwiches and pastries to go from Alforno Bakery and take a short walk across the Peace Bridge Prince’s Island Park for a picnic. Bonus: They have an air pump outside for bike tires that’s free to use.
  • Enjoy a taste of the tropics at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse every Tuesday when they serve unlimited grilled, brown sugar-coated pineapple with their rodizio menu.
  • The gardens in the backyards of Rouge Restaurant and River Café are in full bloom in the summer months for the chefs to pick ingredients from.
  • When down on the Calgary Stampede grounds July 8 – 17, be sure to try the wacky midway foods including Oreo churros, a poutine corn dog, and classic mini doughnuts.
  • Visit the Fairmont Palliser hotel for some dainty snacks and afternoon tea in the beautiful Rimrock Dining Room, available by reservation every day between 1 – 3 pm. Or, visit one of 12 other spots that serve afternoon tea in and around Calgary — it’s the perfect idea for a bridal or baby shower.
Dessert milkshakes at Re:Grub Burger Bar. Photo by Janet Davie.

Dessert milkshakes at Re:Grub Burger Bar. Photo by Janet Davie.

ICE CREAM AND COLD TREATS

  • Visit Fiasco Gelato’s taste kitchen for homemade gelato and sorbetto in unique flavours.
  • Village Ice Cream serves homemade ice cream, sorbet, and ice cream sandwiches until 11 pm every day.
  • Watch as liquid cream and nitrogen are transformed into velvety smooth, creamy ice cream right before your eyes at Nice Cream.
  • Cool off with a dessert-topped milkshake from Re:Grub Burger Bar. Flavours include Krusty the Shake, topped with cotton candy; Caramel Style, topped with Chicago-style popcorn; Sugar Daddy, topped with a chocolate muffin and pretzel dust; Camp Ranger, topped with a s’more; and The Bomb, topped with a doughnut.
  • Mix and match any combination of 30 milkshake flavours at Peters’ Drive In — and get some fries and a burger, too. They’re open daily until 12 am to satisfy a late night fast food fix.
  • Made by Marcus serves homemade ice cream, soft serve, ice cream bars, and sodas in unique flavours.
  • Lics, Leavitt’s Ice Cream Shop, is the place to enjoy good ol’ fashioned hard ice cream in classic flavours (including bubble gum and Super Kid). If you’re craving ice cream order a double scoop — it’s massive.
Adults Only Nights at Telus Spark. Photo by Robin Fong, courtesy Telus Spark.

Adults Only Nights at Telus Spark. Photo by Robin Fong, courtesy Telus Spark.

LATE NIGHT EVENTS

  • Gaze at the stars through a telescope outdoors with an astronomer during Milky Way Nights nightly from 10 pm – 2 am on July 21 – 23 and August 25 – 27. ucalgary.ca/rao
  • Explore the science of Stampede food and games (July 14, 6 – 10 pm) and extreme capabilities (August 11, 6 – 10 pm) with fun hands-on activities during Adults Only Night at Telus Spark.
  • Enjoy an outdoor screening of an archival celluloid film with Secret Cinema on July 19 (10 pm) and August 16 (9 pm) — the movie is a secret until it starts!
  • Enjoy some laughs, theatre, and music at Late Night at the Plaza variety show every other Wednesday night at 9:30 pm.
  • From July 19 – 24, Theatre Calgary’s Shakespeare by the Bow moves temporarily to St. Patrick’s Island with a twist: a performance of  Hamlet, A Ghost Story will be performed in the dark starting at 9:30 pm.
  • On August 10 and 24 at 9:30 pm watch a free movie on the roof of the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel under the stars during the Rooftop Screening Series. Doors open at 7:30 pm if you want to enjoy drinks from the cash bar and some live music.
The Coca-Cola Stage at the Calgary Stampede.

The Coca-Cola Stage at the Calgary Stampede.

LIVE MUSIC

  • Enjoy the sounds of beautiful live jazz music as you sail on the Glenmore Reservoir on a paddlewheel boat as the sun sets during a Captain’s Cruise at Heritage Park on Wednesday nights.
  • Dance on over to the pop-up Wildhorse Saloon pop-up downtown concert venue for concerts by The Road Hammers (July 7), Milky Chance (July 11), Reuben and the Dark (July 12), BC/DC (July 13), and Blackjack Billy (July 14).
  • Catch musical performances by Blink-182 (July 10), Huey Lewis and the News (July 11), Blue Rodeo (July 11), Huey Lewis and the News (July 11), Thomas Rhett and Brett Kissel (July 12), The Strumbellas (July 13), Hunter Hayes (July 13), and Ice Cube and Flo Rida (July 17) in the Cowboys Stampede Tent.
  • Wander down Music Mile in the areas of Inglewood and East Village every night to find live music venues and concerts.
  • Admission to the Calgary Stampede includes pop concerts at the Coca-Cola Stage and country shows at Nashville North every night July 8 – 17.
  • Put out a blanket on the grass and enjoy a free concert by a local musician at Music in the Plaza at Heritage Park every Wednesday night from 6 – 8 pm, July 6 through August 31.
  • English punk rocker Billy Idol performs classic hits including the infamous “White Wedding” on July 13.
  • Lady Antebellum performs past hits and new songs from their album 747 on July 15 during the Calgary Stampede.
  • The exclusive Oxford Stomp concert is open to the public this year on July 15 and features Don Henley of The Eagles, Serena Ryder, Matthew Good, and Vertical Horizon.
  • The extravagant tribute show Brit Floyd re-creates the sounds and atmosphere of a Pink Floyd concert on July 19.
  • Chris Cornell, the former lead vocalist for Soundgarden and AudioSlave, performs hits from his solo career on July 24.
  • Join Zac Brown Band and sing along to hits from their latest album, including “Homegrown” on July 14.
    Two iconic rock stars are coming to Calgary on their Rock Paper Scissors tour! See Sting and Peter Gabriel on July 23.
  • YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling performs violin in a variety of styles — from dubstep to classical and everything in between — for an upbeat concert experience on August 4.
  • Throwback to 80s hits “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Save a Prayer” with Duran Duran on August 30 — their only tour stop in Alberta.
  • Sing and dance along with pop stars Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas on their joint tour on August 27.
  • Groove along to the neo-soul sounds of Fitz and the Tantrums on August 27.
  • Bring your lunch and enjoy live music at Downtown Calgary’s Pop-Up Picnics every Wednesday from 12 pm – 1 pm until August 24. The theme, and the location, change every week, but they’re always free.
  • Check out Happenings 5 at Arts Commons on August 11. This free art party aimed at adults features live music and art workshops.
Shopping at the Calgary Farmers' Market. Photo courtesy Tourism Calgary.

Shopping at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Photo courtesy Tourism Calgary.

MARKETS

  • Visit Calgary Farmers’ Market Thursday through Saturday year-round for fresh produce, gourmet food, handmade art and clothing, and unique beverages.
  • Market on Macleod indoor farmers’ market is open year-round with local vendors, and the selection of produce during the summer is excellent.
  • Every other Tuesday from 10 am – 3 pm through September 20, stroll down Stephen Avenue to check out vendors at the outdoor Calgary Downtown Farmers’ Market — and check out the night market on August 20 from 5 – 9 pm.
  • Stroll through Market Collective July 8 – 10, an indoor pop-up market, to find Pinterest-perfect art, clothing, accessories, gourmet food, and housewares made by local artisans.
  • Visit Last Best Brewery and Distillery on Sundays from 9 am – 1 pm through July 17 to browse their Urban Market with local vendors. Stay for brunch or a drink on their patio and extend the fun.
  • Enjoy live music and entertainment, art, shopping, and food vendors outdoors in the streets of Inglewood during Inglewood Night Markets on July 8 and August 12 from 5 pm – 11 pm.
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St. Patrick’s Island Park. Photo by Neil Zeller.

PARKS AND GARDENS

  • Take a stroll around St. Patrick’s Island Park and settle in for a picnic in the picnic grove — you can get sandwiches, baked goods, and cold non-alcoholic drinks across the bridge at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery in the Simmons Building.
  • Take in the sights and smells of flowers in Reader Rock Garden.
  • Walk along the Peace Bridge, one of Calgary’s most recognizable landmarks — and be sure to take some photos for Instagram! — before continuing into Prince’s Island Park.
  • Head to Fish Creek Provincial Park for walking, biking, and picnics, and check out Creekfest on July 17 for free family-friendly activities.

PETS

  • Bring your dog to Pet-a-Palooza on July 23 & 24 at Eau Claire Plaza to enjoy activities and browse a variety of vendors to pick out some new treats and toys for their owners to buy them.
  • Four legged friends are invited to Paws in the Park YYC on August 20 at River Park with fun activities for dogs and humans of all ages.
  • Enjoy a beer with Fido by your side on Ranchman’s pet-friendly patio — it’s the only patio in Canada that’s officially pet-friendly.
Rooftop patio at National on 8th.

Rooftop patio at National on 8th.

ROOFTOP PATIOS

  • Soak up some sun — and amazing views of the downtown skyline and Bow River — with a cocktail in hand at Rooftop Bar Simmons.
  • Enjoy craft beer on the rooftop patios at National on 8th Avenue or 10th Avenue. Head to the 8th Avenue location rain or shine — there’s a retractable roof for rainy days. Village Brewery’s Squeeze Lemon Berry Helles or Big Rocky Brewery’s Peach Cider are excellent local drink choices for hot summer days.
  • The second floor patio at Murrieta’s overlooks the bustling Stephen Avenue, making it the perfect spot for people watching with a glass of wine.
  • The rooftop patio at Broken City is an ideal spot to enjoy some craft beers and items from their mostly-vegetarian menu (definitely get the cauliflower wings).
Skyline Luge

Skyline Luge

SPORTS AND OUTDOOR RECREATION

  • Soar down North America’s fastest zipline — and down a vertical drop — at Winsport. Plus, check out their other summer activities including mountain biking, summer bobsleigh, and mini golf.
  • Give Nomad Mobile Gear Rentals a call and have a bike or paddleboard conveniently delivered right to you to rent for some outdoor fun.
  • Race down a paved hill with views of Calgary’s skyline on a go-kart-like contraption at Skyline Luge.
  • Grab your skateboard or roller skates and head to Shaw Millenium Park, North America’s largest outdoor skate park — plus, it’s free admission.
  • Pick up a copy of Calgary By Bike, a pocket-size guide to bike paths and the best routes to attractions.
  • Add some fresh air to your yoga practice with admission-by-donation Outdoor Yoga in Riley Park in Kensington every Saturday at 11 am and Wednesday at 6:30 pm.
  • Hit the links at one of over 50 public golf courses in Calgary and area.
  • Climb, crawl, slide, and run around The Brainasium outdoor playground at Telus Spark.
  • Cheer on Calgary’s famed football team the Calgary Stampeders during one of their home games at McMahon Stadium (July 1 & 29; Aug 4 & 28).
Calgary Food Tours' Inglewoods' Edible Enticements Tour at Rouge.

Calgary Food Tours’ Inglewoods’ Edible Enticements Tour at Rouge.

TOURS

  • Put on your walking shoes and go on a guided tour of downtown Calgary led by Calgary Walks.
  • Eat your way through Calgary’s top neighbourhoods and restaurants with Calgary Food Tours. Check out the new Deane House Restaurant on the Inglewood’s Edible Enticements Tour, or explore the secrets of the Simmons Building on the new Eating East Village Tour. Tours run Wednesday – Sunday.
  • Calgary Brewery Tours will be your chauffeur and guide to local breweries and distilleries so you can sample the city’s finest craft beers.
  • Take a small charter tour bus to the most photogenic sites in Calgary on an Xperience Calgary Tour with Round the Block Tours.
  • Explore the haunted side of Calgary with Calgary Ghost Tours on a guided walking tour that shares some of Calgary’s spookiest history.
  • Explore the scenic St. Patrick’s Island Park on a guided tour on a Segway with River Valley Adventure Co..
Rafting on the Bow River. Photo courtesy Tourism Calgary.

Rafting on the Bow River. Photo courtesy Tourism Calgary.

WATER ACTIVITIES

  • Soar down a 1,000 foot waterslide during Slide the City on July 30 (tickets required).
  • Splash around in the pool at Hotel Arts — it’s open to the public at 11 am every day — and order food and drinks from Yellow Door Bistro or Raw Bar to enjoy on the patio poolside.
  • Grab a tube — or rent one from Lazy Day Raft Rentals — and go for a leisurely float down the cool waters of the inner-city Bow River.
  • Try stand-up paddle boarding on the Bow River in Calgary or on bodies of water in nearby mountain towns. The staff at Undercurrents or Bow Valley SUP can get you geared and trained.
  • Take little ones to cool off in one of seven public outdoor spray parks and wading pools.
  • Dive into one of seven outdoor public pools and cool off on a hot day.
  • Soar down a giant water slide followed by a pride festival with DJs, dancing, live music, and a cocktail garden at Pride Slide on August 27.

 

 

 

 

 

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One response to “100+ Things to Do in Calgary This Summer 2016”

  1. Sandra says:

    what about the world cup of mens roller derby.?! that is also happening in town in july

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