May is truly one of the best months in Calgary! Now that the snow is gone (for the most part) it’s time we head outdoors to play.
The first reason that makes this month so special is the opportunity that we get to celebrate the leading lady in our lives, our moms. Treat her to brunch, take her shopping and buy her all the things — you know she deserves it this Mother’s Day!
Secondly, this month kick off’s both festival season and the much-anticipated summertime long weekends. With foodie bonanzas, cultural festivals, and fashion exhibits, Calgary just got a whole lot more exciting.
Get outdoors, spend time with the family, eat all the yums, and get your summer bod ready for the best month yet of 2018. We have gathered 81 of the best things to do this May in Calgary, how many can you get through in the next 31 days?
What: If you’re looking for an experience of a lifetime then it’s time you see the Alberta landscape from a completely different view – the air! Grab a few friends and take a ride in a state-of-the-art helicopter for incredible views of the city and the surrounding Rocky Mountains.
Where: Takes off from the Springbank Airport or Drumheller Airport – 402 Otter Bay
Cost: Between $400 to $1,6000, rate for up to three passengers
Go on a spring hike!
What: Now that most of the snow has cleared away, grab your hiking shoes and head up to the Rockies for some fresh mountain air and stunning scenic views – just don’t forget your camera! Try Grassi Lakes, Johnston Canyon, or Grotto Canyon if you’re looking for an adventure a bit shorter in length, but doesn’t compromise the quality of the view. If you’re a thrill seeker and up for the challenge try out Ha Ling Peak, Crypt Lake, or Aylmer Lookout, because the end view will take your breath away – literally! Find more hikes to do around Alberta here!
What: Did someone say road trip? Grab some pals and your camera and go cruising on this stretch of highway between Jasper and Lake Louise. The views are tremendous, but just make sure you don’t limit you to one single destination. It’s all about the drive and what you’ll discover!
Where: Highway between Jasper and Lake Louise
Dust off your road bike
It looks like Calgary has seen the last of the snow, for the next five months at least – fingers crossed! So it’s the perfect time to get out your road bike and head down to the river for some beautiful views and a great afternoon of adventures, exploring Calgary’s bike paths.
What: Looking for a quick escape from the everyday grind? This brand new spa combines the tranquil rejuvenation of a traditional Nordic Spa and the Alpine stillness of the Canadian Rockies. This spa is meant to provide relaxation and the opportunity to discover clarity in the midst of the mountains.
What: Slush Cup is a tradition unique to Sunshine Village that goes back many years – 90, to be exact! Have fun splashing in the melted snow, all while watching live performances, participating in fun competitions, and enjoying a brew at the Molson Beer Gardens. Even if you aren’t participating in the competition, be sure to dress to impress by coming up with a creative costume that will make you stand out amongst the rest of the wet shenanigans.
Where: Sunshine Village – 1 Sunshine Access Road, Banff
What: Celebrate your neighbourhood in the 10th annual Jane’s Walk, a global festival that allows you to share ideas and better connect with the community. This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbours and create new friendships while learning funny, informative, and exploratory facts about your neighbourhood. Everyone should be an expert on where they live!
When: May 4 to 6
Time: See the various organized walks happening here!
What: We won’t be cheering all down the red mile to the playoff’s this year, so 17th Avenue has decided to create its own rules. Anyone is welcome to participate — no matter your age and experience level — in this 3-on-3 hockey tournament. Get your team together and come out, because there are some pretty amazing prizes to be won!
What: Come shop the all-natural, preservative-free skin care products from Essentials by Nature throughout the month of May at Greater Goods Boutique and Tea Bar, located in the heart of Bridgeland. You’ll be supporting a local —and extremely talented — small business while purchasing products that are good for you, your home, and the environment.
What: It’s the very first spring edition of this popular handmade market! Join the revolution and come shop all your favourite Calgary Etsy artists and makers, and find the perfect gift for your momma on her special day. 50% of all admission fees will go towards helping the Animal Rescue Foundation.
When: Sunday, May 6
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Ross Glen Hall, Mount Royal University – 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW
Admission: $3 at the door (cash only), children under 12 are FREE
What: Come shop for true antique gems at this brand-new vintage market. With over 25,000 sq ft of space, this market will feature a variety of vendors, such as true vintage, collectables, re-purposed, reclaimed, jewellery and more!
When: May 25 to 26
Friday: 5 to 9 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Acadia Recreation Centre – 240 90th Avenue SE
What: Grab your momma and head down to this pop-up market for a fun afternoon of shopping, while supporting your favourite local makers! This is also a great spot to pick up a Mother’s Day gift for all those last minute people out there — they have got you covered!
What: Ever wondered how to make a French macaron? Look no further. Everyone’s favourite macaron shop, Ollia, hosts Macaron Baking Classes, offering exclusive lessons on how to properly engage in some macaronage, get the perfect shell, and create a variety of flavours. Bon appetite!
When: May 8, 15, 22, 23, 29
Time: 6 pm
Where: Ollia Macaron and Tea – 810c 16th Avenue SW
What: Coming all the way from the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, this exciting exhibition has been travelling North America for the last 10 years and Calgary marks its final destination. Excite your senses with this unique cultural experience that will show you everything you need to know about the king of the ocean; the whale. The exhibit shows everything from life-size whale skeletons to the evolution of these creatures and understanding how they communicate. There is so much to know about these beautiful beings.
What: Board game cafes make a great first date, as there are lots of icebreaker opportunities to make it very obvious if there will be a second date in the cards. Alternatively, it’s a fun way to hang out with friends and spice up the usual catch-up coffee affair. Plus, there is nothing wrong with some healthy competition!
What: Get inspired as you stroll through beautiful photographs taken by the famous and fascinating Frida Kahlo. There are more than 240 pieces that were kept in her home, ‘The Blue House,” for over 50 years under her estate. Visitors will have the opportunity to better understand the woman behind the artist; her origins, her roots, her friendships and romantic relationships, her fragile health, her political tendencies, and her special relationship with photography. This is the first time this exhibition has ever been presented in Canada!
When: February 3 to May 21, 2018
Where: The Glenbow Museum – 130 9th Avenue SE, Calgary
What: Come bring your gently used books to donate and search for a few new gems at the 16th Annual Book Drive and Sale in support of RESET Society of Calgary (formerly known as Servants Anonymous). Who doesn’t love a new book to get lost in!
What: Both founders of the Calgary Bike Swap, Christ and Laura Grant, have a personal connection to biking and feel that biking is an extremely empowering activity for everyone. So whether you’re looking to make a few dollars on your bike, or to find yourself a new set of wheels to get around this summer, they’ll ensure that you leave happy and satisfied with your transaction. We suggest planning ahead and lining up early to ensure you get a good look at the selection — the bikes go fast!
What: Get all fancied up for the sixth annual Splash of Red gala to support the HIV Community Link. In the Crystal Ball Room of the Fairmont Palliser, you’ll experience an evening filled with masquerade magic including live music, drag shows, and exciting entertainment brought to you by Bass Buss. This event works to raise awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and raise money to provide critical funds for their prevention, education, and support programs across southeastern Alberta.
What: This exciting children’s event gives your kids the opportunity to take a ride on their favourite tank engine, meet the railway controller (Sir Topham Hall), enjoy the Imagination Station, and so much more! This will be a day your kids will never forget.
What: If you live and breathe fashion, then this event will be something you simply can’t miss! CANIFF is aimed at putting Canada on the fashion map while bringing fashion film to Calgary. The event will feature films from some of the most creative international talents while being judged by many notable, international fashion figures from around the world.
What: Enjoy a cocktail in a Mexican inspired room, along with delicious food, live entertainment, and a silent auction you won’t want to miss out on as you help to raise money for the Cerebral Palsy Association. We hear the margaritas are a must!
What: The long wait is finally over! The Calgary Zoo has officially welcomed four pandas, two adults and two cubs, in their newly built habitat, The Panda Passage. These furry black and white friends are charming and have a ton to teach us in the five years that they will be with us before returning to China.
What: Take on a new identity and experience a special suspended reality experience. In your new identity, you’ll put together a mystery storyline reflecting the story of the ocean, our connection to the sea, and sacrifices that can’t be undone.
What: We cheered them on in South Korea a few short months ago as they won their medals, and now you can cheer them on in person! Come see everyone’s favourite couple on ice, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, along with Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond, and so many more. There will be magic on the ice that night, we can guarantee it!
When: Saturday, May 12
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome – 555 Saddledome Rise SE
What: This family-owned-and-operated hotel knows the true meaning of family and wants to help celebrate our mommas in the best way possible. Escape the hustle and bustle and bring the whole family for a delicious buffet-style brunch, along with the opportunity to explore the stunning hotel grounds nestled in the midst of Lake Louise Village.
What: In only one year this colourful container lot has turned into a popular Calgary mainstay. Located behind the King Edward Hotel, this is a unique destination that features local retail shops, workshops, music, art, and, of course, YYC Food Trucks. You won’t want to miss out on the fun summer festivities that they have planned at this hip community gathering space.
What: Come celebrate the first long weekend of the summer at the opening of Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride, ride the antique midway, and feast on a freshly baked cheese bun.
What: One night. 60 bands. Eight venues. Six blocks. This brand new music festival is taking place on International Avenue and will be truly a night to remember! Get a wristband and hop between venues as you hear your favourite local bands and talent tearing up the stage. This festival is meant to shake up the festival landscape in Calgary and kick off the summer with an international flair!
When: Saturday, May 26
Time: 6 pm
Where: International Avenue – #250, 3515 17th Avenue SE
Tickets:Online, $25 (One wristband gets you into all 8 venues)
What: Get ready for the 23rd annual Festival of Quilts, Western Canada’s largest outdoor quilt show. Be sure to check out the Merchants Wall, Community Showcase, and the Iron Quilt Challenges. There will also be a Gala Dinner hosted at Gasoline Alley to celebrate this long lost craft while enjoying entertainment by Gloria Loughman.
When: May 26 to 27
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Heritage Park – 1900 Heritage Drive SW
Tickets: Regular admission to the park (Gala, $74.99 per person)
What: Calgary is full of some fiercely ambitious women who are absolutely killing it! It’s now their dream to inspire the next generation of women to do the same. Ladies 14 to 18 are encouraged to join the lady bosses who founded Crave Cupcakes and Dote Magazine for a visual writing workshop followed by a cupcake decorating class. We can assure you this event will be stunning, Instaworthy, and truly inspirational!
What: The 3rd annual Fleurs de Villes is coming to Calgary and we could not be more excited! This exhibition combines fresh flowers and fashion with bespoke floral-dressed mannequins with a pop-up flower market. This concept was inspired by traditional European flower markets and will give viewers the opportunity to pick up freshly-cup flowers as they admire the stunning floral clothing designs.
What: We all know that the struggle is truly real on Mondays! Luckily, National wants to make them a bit better with 25 cent Happy Hour offered all day long. Yes, you read that correctly! Grab a drink and make Mondays your new favourite day of the week.
What: Eating tacos for a good cause… now that’s a challenge we’re up for! Participating eateries (which are to be announced) will offer either individual tacos for $4 to $6, or a larger taco platter that will be anywhere from $12 to $18. 15% of every taco sold will be donated to the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Kids Up Front.
What: Come grab a fire-roasted pizza from you’re favourite neighbourhood pizza shop, Famoso’s on 4th, and check out their new renovations. A gorgeous centre bar, natural lighting, cosy booths, and more, they have really taken the concept of a local pizza eatery to the next level. Step into Italy and enjoy!
What: Head to one of Calgary’s favourite eateries for some after-work libation for only $8 a glass. This deal includes the Moscow Mule Grilled Grapefruit Swizzle, a pint of Village Brewery No Bull beer, or a glass of wine. They will also be offering a chicken dinner for two for only $30, which includes half a wood-fired rotisserie Happy Chicken, with NOtaBLE signature salad and bottomless fries on the side – sign us up!
What: If you love beer then you absolutely can’t miss out on this festival! You’ll have the opportunity to sample more than 500 different types of beers from all over the world, all while becoming more educated on the craft. You will also receive a sample festival mug to take home as a souvenir!
When: May 5 to 6
Friday: 2:30 to 10 pm
Saturday: 1:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: BMO Centre, Stampede Park – 20 Roundup Way SW
What: Enjoy a Jalapeño Popper Bacon Cheese taco and a Spicy Little Tart as you celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Gringo Street! They will have music, fancy cocktails and music to fit the occasion. Come prepared to party and dance till the wee hours of the morning!
What: If you missed the Spring Frenzy, then you definitely can’t miss YYC Food Trucks second event of the season. There will be 15+ food trucks, live music, and a ton of other mouth-watering activities for the whole family to enjoy. Cross your fingers for no rain!
What: Due to extreme hail and other contributing factors this festival had to be put on hold for a few years — but it’s back and larger than ever! Visit this real working asparagus farm, experience their story firsthand, enjoy a fully narrated wagon ride, watch the harvest in action, and even get the opportunity to pick some asparagus for yourselves. You’ll also have the opportunity to shop their Country Store and the artisan market village while saying hello to all the farm animals and joining in on the many festivities happening throughout the day!
What: If DJD is known for anything, it’s their ability to come up with the unthinkable! For this year’s spring performance they have collaborated with Peter Balkwill of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop to bring you a performance that features both dancers and puppets, two highly physical, wordless art forms, in all their glory. It’s cheeky, it’s carnal, and it’s nothing you have ever seen before. Come see what happens when dancers and puppets share the stage!
What: See this beloved classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett come to life on stage in this beautifully composed Broadway musical! See how a young girl used a magical key and a secret garden to warm the hearts of her uncle, family, and the audience during the show.
What: Created by Jean Grand-Maitre, this new rock ballet was inspired and plays tribute to The Tragically Hip’s most beloved songs. This ballet calls upon us all to come together in celebration as they tell the story of artists that have made such an impact on a generation of Canadians.
What: Come on down The Great White Way! The Youth Singers of Calgary presents all the Broadway hits you’ve ever wanted to do in one show, including music from over a 100 years. There will be 250 young singers and dancers in a clever storyline that will reveal how we process life through theatre!
What: When Annie Oakley’s brother goes missing there is only one pair of detectives right for the job. Follow along as Sherlock and Watson work to solve the mystery and end up in some unplanned situations involving inventions, robbery, and murder.
When: May 12 to June 10
Time: Varies per day
Where: Vertigo Theatre – 161, 115 9th Avenue SE
Tickets: Contact the ticket office at 403-221-3708
What: Calling all Harry Potter fans! You now have the opportunity to experience Harry Potter and his wizardly adventures as it’s projected in HD on the big screen, while a full symphony orchestra performs along with the picture.
What: It’s time to officially (unofficially) kick off football season! Begin with a stampede breakfast, interact with your favourite Stampeders, and participate in the exciting festivities… AKA tailgate. Have you heard? The Grey Cup is coming to Calgary in 2019, lets kill it!
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Kristy is a creative Communications and PR strategist, freelance writer, coffee enthusiast and wine connoisseur who has a strong passion for travelling, art, style and fashion. Check out her blog (FloralandBows.com) for a taste of YYC through the lens of a refined, sassy, PR girl working on being a successful #girlboss.