30 outdoor activities in Alberta to try before summer 2019 is over

Aug 2 2019, 2:58 am

In just over a month’s time, we will have to officially bid adieu to flowery summer dresses, long lazy afternoons, endless pitchers of sangrias, breathtaking hikes, and all things summer as autumn gently descends upon YYC.

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And while fall has its own allure, no other season is quite as steeped in passion and sweltering (no pun intended) escapades as summer.

With that in mind, here are 30 fun outdoorsy activities you absolutely need to do in and around Calgary before Summer 2019 draws to a close!

Get lost amongst the sunflowers at Bowden SunMaze


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What: Snap Insta-worthy pictures, or just enjoy some quality time with your friends and family at Bowden SunMaze amongst seemingly endless rows of sunflowers in full bloom.
When: Flowers are blooming beginning the first week of August, mazes open on August 7
Time: Seven days a week, from 11 am to 5 pm
Where: Eagle Creek Farms – Range Road 14, Bowden
Tickets: $9 for adults

Dance like no one’s watching at Marda Gras Street Festival


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What: Marda Gras is a free family-friendly event that attracts over 35,000 visitors from all over Calgary. On Sunday, August 11 the streets of Marda Loop celebrate the festival’s 35th year in the community. Come and enjoy live music, dance, and cultural performances, a fun kids area, unique shopping, and lots of great food.
When: August 11, 2019
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 33rd Avenue SW between 18th and 22nd street
Admission: Free

Dive headfirst into the past at Historic Dunvegan Provincial Park


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The park is home to Historic Dunvegan, a provincial historic site that features a Hudson’s Bay Company Factor’s House and St. Charles Church.

All these sites feature guided tours so visitors can learn more about the fur trade, First Nations, and missionaries.

Well-spaced sites are also nestled in the forest near the Peace River for those who want to spend an overnight trip in the park. Visitors who are coming in only for a day can explore the historic site, wander riverside trails, or take a canoe on the river and go fishing.

Camp under the Milky Way at Elk Island National Park


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Whether you want to go stargazing, canoeing, hiking, or maybe you just want to spread a blanket and have a picnic with your family, Elk Island National Park has something for everybody.

The park is a Dark Sky Preserve, so if you plan your trip right, you can enjoy the breathtaking wonder that is the Northern Lights — as well as some potential meteor showers.

Traverse along the Silk Road at the 2019 Chinatown Street Festival


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What: Anyone and everyone are welcome to participate in the “Silk Road” experience that includes multi-cultural performances, cuisines, arts, crafts, and more. This all-day event is the pride of Chinatown’s summer festivities and is expected to see around 30,000 visitors this year.
When: August 17, 2019
Time: 11 am to 7 pm
Where: Chinatown, 3rd Avenue / Centre Street SE
Tickets: Free to attend. Register here

Celebrate and support Pride at Calgary Pride


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What: It’s the most colourful celebration of the year. Enjoy a week of festivities as you celebrate LOVE, equality, and happiness in YYC. Highlights include Memorial Park Pride on August 24, and Pride Parade and Pride in the Park on September 1.
When: August 23 to September 2, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations
Tickets: Vary per event. See full event listings here

Unleash your inner carnivore at BBQ on the Bow


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What: BBQ on the Bow is an annual Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) sanctioned BBQ Competition and outdoor festival taking place at the Montgomery Community Association (Shouldice Park) during Labour Day long weekend. Enjoy food demos, live music, beer gardens, food trucks, kids zone, and more.
When: August 31 and September 1, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Montgomery Community Centre – 5003 16th Avenue NW
Tickets: Free

Do the Cha Cha Cha at Expo Latino


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What: Western Canada’s largest Latin festival is heading to Prince’s Island Park. Celebrating its 19th anniversary by enjoying live entertainment, dancing, exotic food, artisan market, and more.
When: August 16 to 18, 2019
Time: 6 to 10:30 pm (Friday), 12 to 11:30 pm (Saturday), and 12 to 10 pm (Sunday)
Where: Prince’s Island Park – 689 Eau Claire Avenue SW
Tickets: Online. Children 12 and under free. Free on Friday with a non-perishable food item for the Food Bank, and free on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 1 pm, though no re-entry

Sip on coffee, peruse artisanal vendors, and enjoy live local music at Canmore Mountain Market


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What: The Canmore Mountain Market is a summer tradition in Canmore for over twenty years operating every Thursday from May to October. Visitors and locals are treated to an excellent selection of locally and regionally produced items including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, jams, coffee, and baked goods. The market also offers unique crafts, clothing, jewellery, and other artisanal products. Patrons can experience the market rain or shine – all with a beautiful mountain backdrop.
When: Every Thursday to October 3, 2019
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Downtown Canmore next to the Canmore Civic Centre Plaza- 7th Avenue
Tickets: Free

Channel your inner Harry Potter at Calgary Quidditch Club’s Summer Drop-In


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What: Channel your inner Harry Potter with Calgary Quidditch Club’s Summer Drop-In. No experience required, everyone 18-years-old and over are welcome. Teams will be selected at 6:30 pm sharp.
When: August 12 and August 26, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8 pm
Where: Sunnyside Community School – 211 7th St NW, Calgary
Tickets: $5

Get lost in crystalline blue waters at Carnarvon Lake


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Carnarvon Lake is at the end of a 20.4 km roundtrip trail located near Kananaskis Improvement, Alberta that features an exquisite waterfall.

Located one hour southwest of Calgary, the trail starts at the Cat Creek picnic area along the banks of the Highwood River. The crystalline turquoise and Caribbean blue waters of Carnarvon Lake is so endlessly iridescent that you will never want to leave its shore

Bask in the glorious beauty of Athabasca Falls


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Athabasca Falls is located on Highway 93A west of the Ice Fields Parkway, around 33 km away from the town of Jasper.

From Calgary, you’re going to want to take the Highway 1 westbound to Lake Louise and then hop onto Highway 93.

Follow that past the Saskatchewan River Crossing and the falls should eventually be on your left.

Once you get there, there are plenty of hikes around the falls that will provide you with many different angles of the same beautiful oasis.

Pose with the penguins at Calgary Zoo


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With a myriad of exhibits, activities, and of course, animals, the Calgary Zoo is one of the best ways to spend a summer day. Pose with the Penguins, explore the animals of the African safari, or even take trip millions of years back into the prehistoric park to learn about how animals and people have evolved over time.

The zoo is open every day (except December 25) from 9 am to 6 pm.

Forget about all your troubles at Banff Upper Hot Springs


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Banff Upper Hot Springs is located in the middle of Banff National Park on Mount Sulphur.

You’ll have access to hot springs filled with natural minerals and breathtaking views of Mount Rundle directly from the pool. Pack a picnic and cool off or you can grab a Thermal Waters pass and enjoy the hot springs, the cave, and Basin National Historic Site for one price.

Revitalize your soul at Cameron Falls


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Cameron Falls offers a spectacular background to relax, re-energize, and revitalize your body for some gorgeous hikes.

There is a full-day hike available, Carthew-Alderson Trail, which is just over 20 km, but with so many beautiful spots along the way to hydrate and breathtaking views to take in, there’s always an opportunity to head back early and crack a cold one at a bar in town.

Stuff yourself silly at Calgary’s Summer Feast


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This 10-day prix fixe culinary adventure invites patrons into restaurants around YYC to enjoy menus priced anywhere from $25 to $65, and is taking place between August 16 and August 25.

Click here for a list of participating restaurants around Calgary.

Groove to western Canada’s largest EDM festival, Chasing Summer


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What: Chasing Summer 2019, western Canada’s largest EDM festival, is headlined by The Chainsmokers and Above & Beyond. Other performers include Steve Aoki, Alesso, and more.
When: August 3 and 4, 2019
Time: 1 pm to 11 pm
Where: Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds – 1001 Barlow Trail South East.
Tickets: Available online

Enjoy an adults-only night at Heritage Park


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What: Heritage Park will be hosting an adults-only night on Friday, August 9, inviting those aged 18 and older out for a night of drinks, food, rides, and not a kid in sight.
When: Friday, August 9, 2019
Time: 7 to 10 pm
Where: Heritage Park — 1900 Heritage Drive SW
Tickets: $20, available online or at the gate

Go on an enchanting journey at Calgary’s Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia


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What: Luzia is a Mexican inspired Cirque du Soleil, complete with acrobats and dazzling water-themed storytelling inspired by Mexico’s modernity, history, and tradition.
When: August 16 to September 22
Time: schedules vary, check the website here
Where: Stampede Park (Lot #6)
Tickets: Available online, starting at $49

Get a taste of what the Tour de France is like at the 18th Annual Tour de Bowness


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What: For three days you will have the opportunity to watch cyclists from various viewpoints throughout the city as they compete for a variety of titles and prizes. The Tour de Bowness will be adding hand cycling to the event in 2019, and stick around on Monday to enjoy the Tour de Bowness Street Festival put on by the Bowness BRZ.
When: August 3 to 5, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations
Tickets: Free to watch

Contemplate the Jurassic Period at Drumheller


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Drumheller is home to both the world’s largest dinosaur – an 86-foot tall T-Rex – and Canada’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

The town also features some interesting hoodoos to check out, the Trekcetera Museum, the Star Mine Suspension Bridge, the Atlas Coal Mine, some great restaurants, a huge 75-foot fountain, and the ghost town of Wayne, which sits only 15 minutes away.

Driving from Calgary, Drumheller is an easy 135 km away. Head east to Highway 9, take that north route until you hit Beiseker, and then it’s straight east again to Drumheller.

Canoe against the majestic backdrop of Lake Minnewanka


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Located 130 km east of Calgary, the fastest way to get to Lake Minnewanka is by car. With normal traffic, you can get there in just an hour and half.

With year-round activities, Lake Minnewanka is an awesome destination for winter or summer lovers alike. With lots of trail options, you can hike or bike along the rocky shoreline. Go for a boat cruise, rent a boat, or if you prefer, paddle your way through the lake while canoeing or kayaking.

Cliff jump into cool blue waters at Horseshoe Lake


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Horseshoe Lake features, unsurprisingly, a lake shaped like a horseshoe. The waters are cold — you’re in the Rocky Mountains, after all — but make for a perfect place to cool off, or just float around.

The drive out to Horseshoe Lake from Calgary will make for one epic road trip. Head west along Highway 1, then exit onto Highway 93 just after Lake Louise. Follow that highway as it twists its way throughout the Rocky Mountains (with a few picturesque stops along the way, we’re sure) before reaching Horseshoe Lake.

Take a dip in the glacial waters of Moraine Lake


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The drive from Calgary to the lake is around two-and-a-half hours long. You can jump on the Trans Canada Highway, turn left on to the scenic Bow Valley Parkway, and then merge onto Lake Louise drive, eventually making a left on Moraine Lake drive.

Once you arrive, you can spend your day walking through trails and hiking around the lake. Take a dip in the glacial waters or grab a kayak and a paddle. There’s space for campers wanting to prolong their experience, and, if you don’t enjoy sleeping in a tent or an RV, you won’t need to worry, as there’s a lodge near the water just for you.

Take an epic summer road trip on the Icefields Parkway


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The easiest way to get onto the Icefields Parkway from Calgary would be to take Highway 1 west to Lake Louise. Once there, simply drive, bike, hike, or bus your way up Highway 93 as far as you’re willing to go.

Along the drive, visitors will see more than 100 glaciers, frozen waterfalls, shimmering lakes, green forest, and much more. There’s plenty of opportunity for hikes (both easy and difficult), camping, and general sight-seeing.

Make a splash at Alberta’s giant aquatic obstacle race


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What: The Sylvan Lake Aqua Splash is a giant inflatable obstacle course big enough for adults to jump around on. The gigantic floating fortress features a 15-foot tower, a climbing wall, a launch bag, a trapeze swing, and basically anything else you could ever imagine. Located, as the name suggests, on Sylvan Lake, the aqua park can be found just west of Red Deer, meaning that it is only an hour and a half drive from Calgary for a full day of fun on the lake.
When: Now to September 2, 2019
Time: 11 am to 8 pm for the full season
Where: Bay #1, 5100 Lakeshore Drive Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Tickets: Available online, starting at $15

Tantalize your tastebuds at Taste of Calgary


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What: The annual celebration is celebrating its 23rd event this year, and it will feature global cuisines from a mix of unique restaurants and beverage companies. Going down from August 8 to 11 at 200 Barclay Parade SW (Eau Claire Market), this event offers patrons free entry and then the opportunity to buy $1 sampling tickets for food and drink once inside. Expect amazing vendors and some live music too.
When: August 8 to 11, 2019
Time: 11 am to 10 pm
Where: Eau Claire Market – 200 Barclay Parade SW
Tickets: Free entry

Get your groove on at the YYC 2019 Fiesta Filipino


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What: True to its primary objective of promoting the Filipino arts, culture, and traditions, the Fiesta Filipino YYC, during its two-day celebration, features exhibits, paintings, songs, sports, and dances that showcase the richness of its cultural heritage.
When: August 30 and September 1, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Olympic Plaza – 288 8 Avenue SE
Tickets: Free

Spend your lunch hour listening to some of Calgary’s best local talent at #IamDowntown Summer Stage


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What: Spend your lunch hour listening to some of Calgary’s best local talent on this outdoor stage on Stephen Avenue. DJs, live bands, and more — you will always be pleasantly surprised by the live performances set to play this stage this summer.
When: Mondays to Saturday until August 24, 2019 (No show on August 5)
Time: 12 to 1 pm (weekdays), 6 to 8 pm Saturdays
Where: Stephen Avenue, outside the Telus Convention Centre
Admission: Free

Indulge in the theatre and arts at Calgary’s Fringe Music Festival


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What: A plethora of uncensored, non-juried theatre performances happening all around the city. The Calgary Fringe will host a combination of local, national, and international productions – 26 altogether – for a total of over 160 performances over nine days.
When: August 2 to August 10, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various theatres around the city
Tickets: Online

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