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Summer, Great Outdoors, Calgarians, Life

9 awesome things you can do by yourself in Calgary

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Lucas Taylor Jun 22, 2018 10:00 am 1,514

Calgary is a great place to visit and explore with other people, but if find yourself going it solo there’s still plenty of things to get up to.

Below is a list of places of visit and things to do that are very enjoyable while you’re on your own.

Go take some street photography

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Street photography is a really cool hobby that entails exactly what it sounds like. Grab your camera (or, you know, you’re phone) and take a walk. While you’re out and about, take some photos of the streets, the skyline, businesses, and the people going about their everyday lives. It’s a great way to get to know the city all while capturing its spirit.

Visit some Calgary Public Art

There’s lots of public art in Calgary, and if you’re from here you know some of it is great, some of it is… not. If you’ve got a day to yourself, make a point of visiting some and making up your own mind about it.

Head to the Calgary Zoo

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Giant pandas and their cubs/The Calgary Zoo

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you should know that the Calgary Zoo is now home to four giant pandas. While the zoo is a great place to visit with friends, it’s no less enjoyable to visit on your own. Take the train, have a day at the zoo, and support wildlife conservation while you’re at it.

Meet a Cat at the Regal Cat Cafe

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Shutterstock

The Regal Cat Cafe is a must-visit for any Calgary cat person. Whether you just want to enjoy a coffee in the company of a furry feline friend, or if you’re actually thinking about adding a cat to the family, this spot is great. Partnered with the MEOW foundation, all of the cats at the Regal Cat Cafe are available for adoption.

Where: 303 10th Street NW

Visit a bookstore

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Shutterstock

There are tons of bookstores here in Calgary that are lovely to visit, and if you go solo nobody will judge you about how many books you buy… even if you have a stack at home you haven’t read yet.

Some of the coolest ones are listed below:

Shelf Life Books

This bookstore is a funky little spot that’s put together almost like a yard sale. It’s great for browsing the shelves and aimlessly looking for a new read.

Hours: 

  • Monday: 10 am to 6 pm
  • Tuesday: 10 am to 8 pm
  • Saturday: 11 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 pm

Where: 1302 – 4th Street SW

Pages Books On Kensington

An independent bookstore in Kensington, Pages Books On Kensington is a cozy shop filled to the brim with a wide selection of books that is sure to hold something special. The main floor and upstairs levels are beautifully and neatly organized, while the basement is put together much more loosely; meaning that it’s a lot of fun to explore.

Hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday: 11 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday: Noon to 5 pm

Where: 1135 Kensington Road NW

Owl’s Nest Bookstore

Calgary’s oldest indie bookstore, Owl’s Nest Bookstore has been open for 40 years. Not only do they offer a wide variety of books, but they also host lots of different literary events and they offer a 10% discount on books if you tell them your purchase is for a book club.

Hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday: 10 am to 6 pm
  • Friday: 10 am to 8 pm
  • Saturday: 9:30 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday: Noon to 4 pm

Where:  815a 49th Avenue SW

Explore the C-Train Lines

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Image: C Train / Shutterstock

If you find yourself on your own for a day, why not get to know the city better? Take a trip to Westbrook Station. There’s no time like the present to see it. There’s no better way to get to know the city than to ride the train all over the place and look out the window.

Visit a Calgary park solo

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Image: Calgary / Shutterstock

A city park is a great place to explore solo, whether you just want to go for a walk, a bike ride, or if you want to bring a camera and snap some photos.

There are over 70 city parks in Calgary, enough to fill several articles. Rather than list all of them off, here are some of our favourites:

Eau Claire Plaza

Along the Bow River and easily reached from downtown, Eau Claire Plaza hosts lots of different events through the year and is home to great features that make this park a pleasure to visit.

Water fountains, a wading pool and spray park, amphitheatre, and playground are all available at the park, as well as washrooms and parking space.

Hours: 5 am to 11 pm

Where:  3rd Street & Riverfront Avenue SW

Bowness Park

Another park along the beautiful Bow River, Bowness Park is absolutely gorgeous. A favourite place for picnics, paddle boating, and winter ice skating, this place is home to a shallow lagoon, picnic areas, fire pits and barbecue stands, walking and bike paths, and a tea house that would be great to visit solo.

Hours:  5 am to 11 pm

Where:  8900 48th Avenue NW

Bottomlands Park

Just north of the Telus Spark science centre in the Nose Creek Valley, Bottomlands Park is home to picnic areas, walking and bike trails, and lots of natural areas that look straight out of untouched history.

Hours: Open sunrise to sunset

Where: 220 St. Georges Drive NE

Douglas-fir Trail

This place is awesome. A lot of Calgarians go all the way to Canmore or Banff to go hiking, but Douglas-fir Trail is a beautiful place to hike right within the city limits. The only trails are gravel and dirt, and the park is full of beautiful Douglas-fir trees. The trail leads to some gorgeous views of the Bow River Valley, and it’s a hotspot for bird activity.

Hours: 5 am to 11 pm

Where: Part of Edworthy Park From Edworthy Park to Cedar Crescent SW

Pearce Estate Park

A 15-hectare reconstructed wetland and the Sam Livingstone Fish Hatchery and Bow Habitat Visitor Centre await you in Pearce Estate Park. Featuring lovely ponds and streams, walking and biking paths and trails, this is a great place to spend the day solo.

Hours: 5 am to 11 pm

Where: 1440 17A Street SE

Achieve a high score

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The Rec Room/Facebook

Sure, having some fun at Calgary’s Rec Room is fun to do with a friend, but if you’re looking to grind out multiple tries on one game to get that high score, you don’t want the distraction of a friend dragging you over to Dance-Dance and ruining your concentration.

When: Every day

Time: Open at 11 am, closed at midnight on Sunday through Thursday, 1 am on Friday and Saturday. Adults only after 10 pm.

Where: Deerfoot City – 1108, 901 64th Avenue NE

Grab a coffee and get some work done

There are plenty of amazing coffee spots around Calgary, and we’ve even put together a list of the best spots for going it solo. Sit back, grab a cuppa joe, and get started on that project you’ve had banging around in your head for the past who knows how long.

Or simply close your eyes, enjoy the taste of the coffee, and have yourself a nice relaxing meditation session — entirely up to you!


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Lucas Taylor
Lucas Taylor is a Calgarian writer for the Daily Hive. He loves writing about the cultural goings-on in the city and proving that Calgary isn't just oil and cowboy hats... but there is a lot of that.

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