10 of the most unique summer experiences to check out in Calgary

Jul 11 2022, 8:53 pm

It’s officially summer, Calgary! Welcome to the long-awaited warmth, sun-kissed skin, Vitamin D, and overall general happiness.

There is so much to do around our vibrant city and we’ve curated a list of things to add to this summer. Honestly, we could have gone on and on about how fabulous Cowtown is and made a list of 100 experiences.

However, for the first year being back to *normal* after a dreary couple of years, these are our top 10 summer experiences.

The Calgary Stampede

We know this is being circulated everywhere right now, but seriously… how could you not go to Stampede after the last few years we’ve had? 2020 saw the first cancellation of the event in its 108-year history. 2021 was a reduced version of it and even though it was fun, it still wasn’t quite the same. So, we can only assume that this year is sure to be EPIC.

There are so many different events to choose from. The parade, the rodeo, the evening show, the Bell Grandstand Show, and the Powwow. Special guests like Kevin Costner, who is heading up the parade, and country singers Blake Shelton, Meghan Patrick, Dean Brody, Tenille Townes, The Reklaws, and Jade Eagleson, plus plenty more, will also be performing.

This city is about to get WILD. For your own good, please add “Go to the Calgary Stampede” to your summer 2022 bucket list.


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Go Floating Down the River

*Please note that this is only recommended when conditions are considered normal. Do not attempt to float down any river if the conditions are dangerous.*

Floating down the Bow River or Elbow River are great ways to spend those lovely summer days. Pack some snacks, drinks, and a life vest, grab your buddies and you’re good to go!

For the Elbow River, a great spot to get started is Sandy Beach located between Altadore and Britannia. Parking is available on both sides of the river, and the water is shallow enough to safely launch. In regular conditions, an inflatable raft, boat, lounge chair, etc., will suffice as the river moves slowly. After a couple of hours, jump out at Rocky Beach in Mission. Don’t forget to leave a car at the endpoint, or you’ll have to Uber back to where you parked!

For the Bow River, if you don’t have your own raft, head on over to our friends at Lazy Day Raft Rentals! They’re our go-to guys for renting equipment for the river. You can choose your vessel online and figure out whether or not you need to utilize their shuttle service. This float is super fun and starts at the West Baker Park Boat Ramp. The current will then take you through the city, before ending just past Prince’s Island Park.

You’ll need a lifejacket – and it will need to be done up at all times–Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Fire Department patrol the waters, and you could get a fine if you’re not following safety protocols. This trip will take you approximately three hours, depending on river conditions. Please be vigilant when rafting on the Bow. If you’re not a strong swimmer, do not go in the water. The current can move quite fast and we don’t want to have to be rescued by Calgary’s emergency services.

Other than that, have fun!

Kayak on Glenmore Reservoir

Do you want to get wet n’ wild? Then head out to Glenmore Reservoir where you can rent kayaks and canoes, and have a paddle! This is a great day activity and can also be turned into a fun night with friends, or a funky date night, with 2022’s newest and coolest, Illuminated Escapes.

Calgary Kayaks has launched a fun twist on playing in the water, by adding glowing kayaks to their list of rental options. You’ll be able to board one of their colourful, vibrant kayak-canoe hybrids and spend your evening absolutely illuminated by the stars, the vibes, and your boat.

There are various colours to choose from, as well the boats are fully fitted with Bluetooth, so you can sail into the sunset playing your favourite tunes. Rentals will set you back about $35.00 for one hour on a single kayak, or $60.00 for a double-seat kayak.


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Go on a Pub Crawl 

Calgary is fortunate enough to have multiple streets and avenues that are adorned with bars, pubs and restaurants. We’d argue that there’s nothing better than an ice-cold beer, surrounded by your friends. There’s something about the hops, the barley, or maybe it’s the malts that just hit differently.

If you’re wanting a relaxed bar-hopping experience, we suggest hitting up the 4th Street SW area in YYC’s Beltline. Start along 12th Ave SW at Central Taps for some lunch and tasty signature cocktails on their sun-filled patio, before heading next door to 33 Acres Brewing and sampling their plentiful menu of beers. Here you’ll find delicious brews with their own Pacific North West twist. We suggest their Fluffy Cloud IPA – it’s dank, citrus-forward and super juicy.

After, head over to Leopold’s Tavern, on 4th St SW. Leo’s is a community favourite, and where a ton of those working in the industry love to hang out. It’s always a good time. Jump next door to Home & Away in time for happy hour from 3 pm-6 pm Monday to Friday, and if you’re still going after your fourth pitstop, keep hopping along to St. James Corner for a refuel.

A super fun alternative if you don’t want to do a self-led pub crawl, is booking a party with Pedal Pub Calgary! They have the Beltline East Tour, the Beltline West Tour, the Brewery Flats in Inglewood Tour, and a Wildhorse VIP Boss Pass Tour. Pedalling your way around Calgary is a great way to spend the day with your buddies and get in a mini-workout while you drink!

Support Local at the Calgary Night Markets

Shop local this summer at one of Calgary’s night markets! Wander around the little lanes decorated with lights and streamers, and check out the vendor’s handmade crafts, foods, vintage clothing, antiques, and collectibles. There is normally live music too, chilled beer and wine, and dogs!

There’s the Inglewood Night Market happening next on August 12, and September 9 and 16; the Marda Loop Night Market scheduled to be up and bumping on September 2; or there’s the 4th Street Night Market on August 13, and September 10.

The lively markets have been bustling with people during the last few weeks, so make sure you get there on time or else you might miss out!

Pull Up to the Big Art Drive-In

We’re not sure why the old-school drive-in movie theatres seem to keep disappearing, because they’re such a cool concept and puts the simplicity back into date night. However, Telus Spark Science Centre has got our backs here by offering The Big Art Drive-In again for 2022.

There are not a lot of details released just yet for this, but they’ve said they’ve got an exciting new home, a new set of movies and immersive experiences. They’ll have a giant LED video screen for movies, as well as a large-format set up for concerts with lighting and special FX that will help provide a fantastic live experience for events.


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Attend GlobalFest 

This explosive festival is back again for its 20th Anniversary celebration. For those of you who haven’t been before, there is an abundance of fireworks, pavilions, performances, international food, children’s programming and entertainment!

Take your tastebuds on a culinary adventure, as they have 25 food trucks and food booths showcasing cuisines from around the world. The whole park is going to be licensed, so guests over 18 years of age can enjoy their alcoholic drinks wherever they’d like to sit.

The festival will run from August 18 – 27 and showcase presentations from musical artists hailing from Austria, Canada, France, Germany and India. It’s located at the lake at Elliston Park, which helps add to the illumination, with the shimmering reflection of the fireworks on the water.

Tickets will set you back about $20.00, or you can splurge a bit more for a VIP ticket costing $46.00, or a GlobalPass which will get you in on all 5 nights for only $74.00. Children under 5 years of age are free!


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Cheer on the Stamps at a Calgary Stampeder’s Game

The season has only just begun, so why not grab some tickets and head to McMahon Stadium this summer? The Calgary Stampeders games have different themes throughout the season, which only adds to the vibrant atmosphere.

Join the red and white sea of screaming fans as the boys take on their Canadian rivals. It’s a great day out and you can even start the party early by setting up a tailgate party in the parking lot before kickoff! Tickets are as cheap as $19.00, click here for single-game tickets.


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Get the Need for Speed at Skyline Line Calgary

This fast-paced activity is for thrill-seekers. Soak up the sunshine with the wind in your hair and a smile plastered across your face. Skyline’s Downhill Karting experience has over 50 twists and turns on a track covering a distance of over 1,800 meters!

Located at Winsport Canada Olympic Park, this downhill karting experience is open only in the summertime. It’s basically like real-life Mario Kart — what’s not to love?

Try River Surfing

When you can’t go to the ocean, head to the river! Though deprived of the sea, Albertans have a great knack for bringing fun to rivers and lakes. Now, this doesn’t have to be done in the summer per se, but we feel it’s probably a bit more enjoyable when the weather is warm and the water isn’t -30.

There’s a very cool group of people who head up to Kananaskis to try and ride the waves there, but there are also some city cats who can tear up the current right here in Calgary.

River surfing is a fun way to get outdoors and be a part of the community. The Alberta River Surfing Association is there to help you out with any questions if need be. Head to their website for all information about safety, gear, and the best spots to surf. They’re the experts!

See you out there, Calgary!

Madeline HoskingMadeline Hosking

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