What To Do In Calgary This Summer

Recently ranked in the top three of the most livable cities in the world, Calgary, Alberta is the place to be this summer. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is teeming with options for the active minded visitor. Here are some suggestions for what you can do in Calgary this summer.

Run, Walk Or Bike – Bow and Elbow Pathways

Over 1,000 kilometres of paved pathways help Calgarians stay active. In the summer months the trails are often filled with runners, walkers and cyclists. The pathways that follow the Bow and Elbow Rivers offer lovely views of downtown.

Connecting these pathways are over 200 pedestrian bridges. One of the newest and most recognizable is the red Peace Bridge. Built in 2012, its design was initially quite controversial but has since become a source of pride for the city.

Float Down a Lazy River

River rafting is a local summertime favourite activity in Calgary. Imagine floating down the beautiful Bow River on a hot summer day with epic views of the downtown skyline. You can easily rent your own raft at one of the several local retailers who rent equipment.

Explore Glenmore Reservoir

In the city’s southwest, a prominent feature is Glenmore Reservoir. There are a lot of ways to enjoy the reservoir. Try sailing, kayaking, rowing and dragon boating on the water’s surface or biking, running or walking on the 16 km trail encircling it. Along the reservoir’s edge are many benches and picnic tables for a slower way to enjoy the scenery. There is no swimming in the reservoir though because it is the source of Calgary’s drinking water.

At the eastern end of the reservoir is an area popular with birders. Weaselhead Flats is a delta of the Elbow River offering habitat to over 200 species of migratory and resident birds such as cliff swallows, goldfinch, catbirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers and peregrine falcons. We didn’t see any weasels, but did see beaver dams. The delta’s name actually came from Indigenous leader Chief Weaselhead from Tsuu T’ina Nation.

Visit Heritage Park

More than just a museum, Heritage Park Historical Village is a re-creation of a Canadian Prairie town from the 1800s. Located on the shore of Glenmore Reservoir, Heritage Park offers a bit of history with some fun. Staff at the park enjoy entertaining visitors as they act out their roles in history. You can find them in one of the homes, restaurants or shops on site. Once you’re done exploring the historical village take a ride on the steam train or or hop on the paddlewheel boat for a cruise on the reservoir.

Mountain Bike Or Hike On Nose Hill Park

Mountain biking on Nose Hill Park is a great way to spend a summer evening. Located north of downtown this free park covers 11 square km. It is a natural grassland and has many hills and coulees making the mountain biking and walking trails a lot of fun. Being on one of the highest points in the city has benefits with great views of downtown and the Rocky Mountains. Large mammals such as deer and coyotes can be seen roaming the grasslands and coulees.

In addition to Nose Hill there are 100 kilometres of single track bike trails throughout other parks in the city.

Get Active at WinSport

With a lot of activities to chose from, WinSport in the city’s west end is a busy place in the summer. Formerly called Canada Olympic Park, WinSport was the site for sliding sports and ski jumping at the 1988 Winter Olympics. After the Olympics, the sliding facilities were used for World Cup races and athlete training for many years. After 31 years however, the sliding centre was closed as a training centre.

That doesn’t mean that the entire track was closed though. In fact one of the most popular activities here is the summer bobsleigh. Gaining speeds of up to 80 km/hr (50 mph) you can imagine the feeling of an Olympian as you navigate the twists and turns of the track in a bobsled.

If that’s not enough excitement for you take the chair lift to the top and pedal your way down on the downhill mountain bike trails.

The Olympic ski jump towers were not used much after the Olympics, but they’ve been put to good use now. They host a Monster Zipline with a 100 m (328 ft) vertical drop over only 500 m (1,640 ft) it is touted as being the fastest zipline in North America.

Mountain Bike On Paskapoo Slopes

On the ridge next to WinSport are Paskapoo Slopes. Single track mountain biking trails climb up and down the steep ridge crossing rugged ravines, shallow streams and gullies. There are also wider and less steep trails that are popular with dog walkers. Near the top of the slope is a large Buddhist Chorten built when Dalai Lama visited Calgary a few years ago. Best of all, use of Paskapoo Slopes is free. 

Visit Downtown

Calgary’s downtown is a condensed area with modern buildings seemingly trying to outdo each other in height and design. In the centre of it, Stephen Avenue is a vibrant part of the city’s downtown. Artistic decorations embellish this pedestrian mall which is bordered by a mix of 19th century heritage buildings and modern architecture. Busy at lunch with downtown office workers, it’s also a popular place to shop or go for a walk in the weekends and evenings

Hike in a Mountain Park

Within an hour’s drive it’s easy to reach the Canadian Rockies. Spend a day hiking in Kananaskis Country or Banff National Parks. Read our hiking suggestions here for Kananaskis and Banff.

Dining and Drinking

In addition to Stephen Avenue there are a few more spots in Calgary that are popular for stopping for drinks or dinner. One is 17th Avenue SW, sometimes called ‘The Red Mile’. The avenue leads to Scotia Bank Saddledome, home ice for the Calgary Flames. During NHL playoffs this area is very busy and the Red Mile is the place to be. On the other side of the river you can find funky pubs and restaurants in heritage buildings in Kensington.

Calgary is a very ethnically diverse city. One of the results is a wide array of restaurants offering a multitude of ethnic cuisines. Our favourites are Himalayan – Nepali Cuisine and Juree’s Thai Place. No matter which your preference, foodies will be happy they explored Calgary’s many options.

Weather In Calgary

Situated at an elevation of 1,045 m (3,428 ft) Calgary has milder weather than other parts of the Prairies. Summer temperatures can reach the mid 30s °C during the day, but it usually cools off in the evenings. At the end of summer and especially in the winter you may see a characteristic Chinook Arch in the sky. This ominous looking cloud indicates warm temperatures and higher winds.

Coming Next – Trekking the Huayhuash in Peru

For pictures from other blogs go to Gallery at monkeystale.ca

To read about more of our adventures go to Destinations.

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