Our days of social distancing and cancelled events are over and as the sun shines overhead this summer the city has come alive!
With festivals, farms, mazes, markets, performances, family activities and much more, there is no shortage of ways to have fun in the sun. Check out our top 50 things to do in and around Calgary this season.
Bow Habitat Kids Can Catch Trout Pond
The Bow Habitat Station’s Kids Can Catch Trout Pond opens in mid-May and runs until October 1 and is stocked with rainbow trout in the fish hatchery for you to catch and release. Learn more at bowhabitat.alberta.ca.
Spend the Night at the Midway at Heritage Park
Relive childhood joy at Night at the Midway on June 16, July 28 and August 11. Visit The Fairgrounds for gourmet concessions, drinks, turn-of-the-century rides like the Big Eli Ferris Wheel and Bowness Carousel and classic games like Clown Pitch. Bring your loved ones and don’t miss out on one of Calgary’s most unique events. Learn more at heritagepark.ca.
The tournaments at Spruce Meadows make great family days out and include things like shopping and live entertainment. The events also have pony rides, dog shows, and face painting for the kids and more. Learn more at sprucemeadows.com.
Get Wild at the Calgary Zoo
This summer, the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo has been taken over by larger-than-life animal topiaries until mid-September. This one-of-a-kind summer garden experience can’t be found anywhere else in Western Canada, and will only be available for three short months. Learn more at calgaryzoo.com.
When you think of Calgary, paddling may not be the first activity that comes to mind but we have some great places to flatboard paddle in and around the city. Bowness Park, Carburn Park, Glenmore Reservoir, Barrier Lake and Upper Kananaskis Lake are some of our favorites.
Cool down with spray parks and wading pools
Eagle Creek Farms
Visit Eagle Creek and pick some fresh fruit, vegetable and flowers with your own two hands. You will find a collection of traditional grain crops alongside vegetables, fruit, flowers, animals and activities for families who want to get out of the city and re-connect with where food comes from. Learn more at eaglecreekfarms.ca.
Bowden Sun Maze
Located on the same land as Eagle Creek Farms, over one million sunflowers are planted here every year and you can walk the paths through the Sunflower fields. Take your family photos or return home with a fresh u-picked bouquet. U-pick flowers and vegetables are available starting in mid-July. All mazes are certified organic. Learn more at sunmaze.ca.
Explore history at Fort Calgary. Join the ranks of the RCMP when you visit the Fort built in 1875. Take a tour, sign up for a class or program, or attend a special event. Learn more at fortcalgary.com.
Kirk’s Alpaca Farm
Take in the breathtaking views and enjoy the peace and quiet away from the city while you visit, pet and feed 90 alpacas. The farm also includes a playground area, basketball court, plasma cars, swings, slides, a store and more. Learn more at kirksalpacafarm.ca.
Find a new playground
With the return of warm weather and green grass comes the return of playground season! Tired of playgrounds with the same boring equipment? Check out these unique playgrounds for some fun adventures - South Glenmore Park Playground, Ramsay Inclusive Playground, Alpine Park Natural Playground and Northwest Commons Park Playground.
Farmers’ and Makers Markets in Beltline and Marda Loop
Organizers are bringing their signature Farmers and Makers Market and festival atmosphere to the Beltline and Marda Loop, with more than 100 local farm, food and artisan vendors, wonderful live music and free Kids Arts and Culture Programs. Learn more at farmersmakersmarket.ca.
Three kilometres of winding trails connect 36 acres of active learning fun and 11 exhibits that teach kids about animals, insects and agriculture. The park features a giant spider web climber, in-ground lily pad trampolines, a four-storey ant farm, a gigantic fruit tree with the world’s largest corkscrew apple slide, a blind-as-a-bat maze, zip-lines and a working farm/petting zoo, the new Golden Goat Bridge and an adorable alpaca. Learn more at granaryroad.com.
Discover why these natural spaces are important and get an up-close view of the amazing critters that live below the surface. These free City of Calgary drop-in programs are offered twice on Wednesdays at Ralph Klein Park from 10:30am to 12pm and 1pm to 2:30pm starting July 5 until August 23. Learn more at calgary.ca.
Souto Farms Local Market
This market is currently supporting over 40 local businesses. Offerings include fresh BC produce, Alberta vegetables, bread, milk, cheese, ice cream, chocolates, candy, meat, frozen meals, baked goods, popcorn, juice, pop, and so much more. The market also has ponies and goats and a toddler playground. Learn more at soutofarms.com.
Thirty-two family-friendly rides! High-energy entertainment! Tempting treats! Calaway Park has something for everyone. As Western Canada’s Largest Outdoor Family Amusement Park, Calaway Park has been offering affordable, family- friendly fun and entertainment for over three decades. Learn more at calawaypark.com.
Winsport is your destination for summer family fun! Hit the links at the outdoor mini golf course, go downhill karting, spend the day mountain biking, face your fears on the Monster Zipline and more. Learn more at winsport.ca.
Visit the Farm
Mix and mingle with the many animals at Butterfield Acres. Pony rides for little ones, tractor rides, petting zoo and much more farm fun. Learn more at butterfieldacres.com.
Make a mocktail
Summertime is the perfect season to enjoy a fancy cocktail on the patio, but don’t forget the kids! Whether you’re cutting back on alcohol yourself or want to give your little ones a special summer treat at your next barbecue, mocktails are a great way to cool down.
Here’s one of our favorites:
“Fruit Punch (Without the Punch)”
Whether you like to rough it with nothing but a tent and a bucket or glamp in the fanciest cabins in the Kananaskis, there is nothing like driving to your site and setting up camp. Get out to one of the hundreds of campgrounds in Alberta. Learn how to get started at albertaparks.ca.
Yahoo! Don’t miss bringing your family to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth from July 7 to 16. Visit calgarystampede.com to find out what exciting family-friendly events are going on and when. Don’t forget about all of the amazing (and free) Stampede breakfasts out there! Click here for a list of dates, times and locations.
Learn about trains
Visit the Military Museums to follow Alberta’s military history from 1885 to present day. The Military Museums is home to eight separate museums including the Naval, Army and Air Force Museums of Alberta, the Air Force Cold War Museum, the four museums of the founding regiments, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), The King's Own Calgary Regiment and The Calgary Highlanders. It also includes the UCalgary Founders' gallery, library and archives. Learn more at themilitarymuseums.ca.
Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo Gorilla Breakfasts
Bring your family and friends down to the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo for a fun and educational morning at the zoo on July 8, 15 and 29 and August 5, 12 and 19. Enjoy a scrumptious pancake breakfast with a side of gorilla facts from the zoo’s Animal Care, Health and Welfare technicians, followed by an exclusive visit to see the troop. Learn more at calgaryzoo.com.
Milky Way Nights 2023 Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is taking place from July 13 to 15. Milky Way Nights is an observing event and features access to an array of telescopes operated by University of Calgary astronomers and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Calgary Centre. You will have the opportunity to look through the telescopes and astronomers will be on hand to answer questions. Learn more at science.ucalgary.ca/rothney-observatory.
Shakespeare by the Bow
It’s back! This summer, the traditional Shakespeare by the Bow program will once again be going on the road… as Shakespeare on the Go! From July 14 to August 6, a cast of seven emerging artists will go to a variety of Calgary locations to present a 75-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Join for a madcap comedy of vaudevillian proportions as seven actors perform one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. Learn more at theatrecalgary.com.
Bask on a beach
You don’t have to go to our neighboring province to the west to enjoy a day at the beach. BC beaches are beautiful but there are several places to park your towel and take in a day at the lake right here in Alberta. Some of our picks include Ebeling Beach on Gull Lake, Rochon Sands Provincial Park Beach on Buffalo Lake and Pyramid Lake.
Central Commons Park
Central Commons Park is a stunning destination where families can play, rest and enjoy the great outdoors all year round. This three-acre space is described as a “seasonless signature destination” made for social, cultural and recreational events. Learn more at loc8nearme.com.
2023 Pawz in the Park
The event will take place at Nose Creek Park in Airdrie on July 22 from 10am to 5pm and include more than 60 vendors, K9 agility demos, food trucks, wiener dog races and local animal rescues. Learn more at pawzinthepark.ca.
Explore street art
Walk, bike or scooter your way around Calgary to explore some of our iconic street art. One of the most popular (and most Instagram-worthy) stops is the Wonderland Sculpture at the foot of the Bow Building but you can find many other sculptures and art pieces downtown at Olympic Plaza, the Municipal Building, Stampede Park and Central Library. There are also dozens of murals in and around The Core.
Calgary Folk Music Festival
An unforgettable weekend of ground-breaking icons, upstart songwriters, and instrumentalists – that Folk Fest feeling is like none other at Prince’s Island Park from July 27 to 30. Learn more at calgaryfolkfest.com.
Sylvan Lake Aqua Splash
Have you visited Alberta’s first open-water park? This park includes a 15-foot slide, oversized trampoline, climbing tower, wiggle bridge and much more. The evolution of waterplay is open mid-June to September. Learn more at sylvanlakeaquasplash.ca.
At Sunfest, there is an activity made for all ages. This could mean a jump in the bouncer, discovering a great new band, being wowed and amazed by world-class circus and comedy street shows, choosing a perfect summer patio or searching for a trendy fashion; there is no shortage of things happening in Inglewood on July 29 from 11am to 7pm. Learn more at inglewoodsunfest.ca.
Taste of Calgary
The city's most appetizing festival, giving visitors the chance to sample the city's food, beverages, music and other cool things from August 3 to 7. Discover Calgary's global cuisines from a mix of unique restaurants and beverage companies. Plus get a taste of Calgary's great musicians at 311 8 Street SW. Learn more at tasteofcalgary.com.
Go for a trail ride
What better way to enjoy the summer than from the back of a horse? Take your family on a trail ride near the city to get out of your comfort zone and connect with nature. There are many ranches that offer trail rides and one of our favorites is Moose Mountain Horseback Adventures in Kananaskis.
A city-wide, community-led, artist-focused street art festival from August 5 to 26. The 2022 festival resulted in the world’s tallest painted mural and the largest mural in Alberta. Learn more at yycbump.ca.
Canmore Folk Music Festival
The longest running folk music festival in Alberta and one of its finest takes place from August 5 to 7. The festival features 30 individual acts or performers, family-friendly site, a free downtown concert on festival Friday evening, a kids’ area jammed with crafts, puppets, music, storytelling and a climbing wall. Learn more at canmorefolkfestival.com.
Calgary Dragon Boat Festival
The Calgary Dragon Boat Race and Festival from August 11 to 13 draws hundreds of competitors in an annual showcase of culture and sport to North Glenmore Park. Thrilling for both spectators and participants, the dragon boat races illustrate camaraderie and inspiration as teams put their strength, endurance, and teamwork to the test. Learn more at calgarydragonboatsociety.com.
Alberta on the Plate
Alberta on the Plate showcases the incredible bounty that is grown and produced across our beautiful province from August 11 to 20. Celebrate and share the Alberta food story by meeting the people and businesses that grow, raise, create, and support the agri-food industry in Alberta. Learn more at albertaontheplate.com.
Calgary’s extensive pathway and cycle track network makes navigating the city a breeze and a pleasure no matter your comfort level. Some of our favorite places to ride on two wheels include Bowness, Silver Springs, Nose Hill, Elbow River Pathway, Scotman’s Hill and Sandy Beach RiverWalk.
Climb a mountain
There is no doubt that Alberta has its fair share of scenic summits. Day trips to hike up a mountain are always a fun and rewarding way to spend a summer day with the family. Here are five of our favorite mountains to scale: Jumping Pound Mountain, Yates Mountain, White Buddha, Hailstone Butte Lookout and Sulfur Mountain.
Alberta Open Farm Days
More than 100 farms, ranches, and ag-tourism operators open their gates and invite visitors to share in local stories, see on-farm demonstrations and purchase locally grown and produced products from August 19 to 20. Learn more at albertaopenfarmdays.ca.
Visit the Badlands
Check out this extraordinary and unexpected landscape you will never forget. From the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and the World’s Largest Dinosaur to hikes in the Drumheller Valley and history of the Atlas Coal Mine, it’s easy to include these incredible Canadian Badlands experiences on your Alberta Badlands road trip.
WILD Outside is a program developed by the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada Service Corps. WILD Outside inspires youth to develop their passion for nature through conservation activities and outdoor adventure, building an awareness of their natural environment and a deeper appreciation for wildlife. Learn more at WILDOutside.ca.
Watch the sunset
Calgary has many scenic places to watch the sun go down. If you want to take some golden hour family photos, these are some of the best places to do it - Scotman’s Hill, McHugh Bluff Park, Bellevue Avenue and North Glenmore Park.
Plant a Seed
Members of the Calgary Seed Library can “lend” seeds from the organization, taking what they’d like from the collection, growing the plants, harvesting their seeds, and returning the seeds back to the library in the fall. Membership is free and lending seeds is easy, just visit the Calgary Seed Library in the basement of The Next Page bookstore during business hours (Monday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm or Sunday 12 to 5pm). Learn more at calgaryseedlibrary.ca.
Bow Habitat Station
Encounter the flora, fauna and fishes that make their home in every corner of Alberta. Uncover your connection with nature through aquariums, hands-on exhibits and much more. Learn more at bowhabitat.alberta.ca.
Summer Skirmish at The Military Museums
Viking raids, medieval duels, gladiatorial combat, musketry skills and cannonades are some of the demonstrations and exhibitions that will be available on August 26 and 27. You will be able to interact with all the participants, who will be dressed in period costumes and uniforms that will transport you back in time. Learn more at themilitarymuseums.ca.
Calgary is home to a huge variety of resident and migratory birds – how many do you recognize? There are plenty of great apps and websites that will help you learn a few calls and name the birds at your feeder this year.
Sacred Defenders of the Universe at TELUS Spark Science Centre.
A vibrant floor-to-ceiling journey inside a graphic novel that follows four Indigenous superheroes as they seek to bring back the balance of earth between humility and respect for the land, and the excessive destruction of human ego. Learn more at sparkscience.ca.
Summer is the perfect time to visit the Calgary Farmyard. The crowds are smaller and the days are just as much fun. Capture the perfect photo in around the farm and take a spin in the 11-acre Corn Maze Adventure. Other activities include a petting corral, low ropes course, farmyard games, a tube slide and more. Learn more at calgaryfarmyard.com.
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