23 FREE things to do in Calgary this month in August

Aug 1 2018, 6:16 pm

We’re officially into the second half of summer, and is that bank account ever feeling it.

Between the late nights out, patio drinks, camping trips, and celebratory dinners, going out with friends in the summer can really add up — but it doesn’t have to.

There are plenty of great events going on around the city this month that you can enjoy completely free, all you need to do is find them.

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Free First Thursday

What: Explore the Glenbow at your leisure for FREE on the first Thursday of every month. They are launching some neat new exhibitions this month that you won’t want to miss out on.

When: Thursday, August 2

Time: 5 pm to close

Where: Glenbow Museum – 130 9th Avenue SE

Admission: Free

Go Hiking in the Rockies

What: The view is worth the climb, and all it will cost you is a bit of sweat.

Where: Here are some of the most picturesque hiking spots in and around Banff to check out this summer.

Take a float down the Bow River

What: This is a tradition most of us Calgarians look forward to doing at least once during the summer. Plus, it’s the ultimate refresher when stuck in a prairie heat wave. Save some cash by borrowing a friend’s tube!

Tips: Make sure that you have enough life jackets for your entire group, book your raft ahead of time, park a vehicle at the beginning and the end of your route, and check weather advisories before heading out.

WhereLazy Day Raft RentalsSports RentThe Paddle Station and the Outdoor Centre at the University of Calgary

Tour de Bowness

What: Get a taste of what the Tour de France is like at the 17th Annual Tour de Bowness. 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. This event started in 2001 and is now the largest amateur bike race in the province.

Where: Various locations

When: August 4 to 6

Cost: Free to watch

Rent a bike and go on a river adventure


Alberta Adventures(Oleksiy Rezin/Shutterstock)

What: Grab your squad, get yourself some wheels, and put those bike paths to good use — all while seeing the city from a different perspective.

Where: Rent bikes at these locations: Rath Bicycle and Bike and Brew, or borrow one from a friend for free!

Grab some fresh produce at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market

What: Grab your weekly haul of delicious produce, eggs, baked goods, meats, preserves, florals, and more, all grown and produced on farms right here in Alberta. You can enjoy live entertainment and other fun activities happening at this quaint community farmers’ market. The market will go on rain or shine, so come prepared.

When: Every Wednesday

Time: 3 to 7 pm

Where: 1320 5th Avenue NW

Admission: FREE

East Village Junction Pop-Up Retail Park

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 this summer.

When: May 18 to September 3

Where: 430 8th Avenue SE

Admission: Free

Summer Market Presented by Southcentre + Curated 

What: Southcentre Mall and Curated market have partnered up together to bring four uniquely curated artisan markets to YYC this summer. You can look forward to shopping from many talented makers and artists, treating yourself to delicious foods from YYC Food Trucks, and enjoying live entertainment, all in the south parking lot of Southcentre Mall.

When: August 10 and 11

Time: 5 to 10 pm

Where: Southcentre Mall – 100 Anderson Road SE

Admission: FREE

YYC Free Market 

What: Give and take (leaving no trace) is the theme of this fun yearly summer market.

When: Tuesday, August 14

Time: 6 to 9 pm

Where: Container Site in Sunnyside – 1010 2nd Avenue NW

Admission: FREE

The Market on Stephen Avenue

What: Shop up to 60 vendors offering fresh food, spices, sauces, treats, art, fashion, and more. Enjoy shopping the walk.

When: Tuesday, August 14, 21 and 28

Time: 10 am to 4 pm

Where: Stephen Avenue – 1st Street SE to 2nd Street SW

Admission: FREE

Inglewood Night Market



What: Calgary’s favourite night market is back. Check out the second market of the summer on July 13 and enjoy live entertainment on both the Main Stage and the Variety Show Stage, and delicious food truck eats, all while shopping some of Calgary’s best local makers and artists. New to the market this year is a licensed area in collaboration with Village Brewery. Be sure to grab a brew and enjoy the line-up of incredible local talent.

When: Friday, August 10

Time: 5 pm

Where: Between 9th Avenue and 10th Street SE

Admission: FREE

RNDSQR Sales Centre Community Series: Movie Night

What: Vote between Moana and Despicable Me on Instagram and enjoy a family outdoor movie night. Popcorn is complimentary and Gypsy Lemonade will be there serving up delicious lemonades and other yummy treats. There is no better way to start the long weekend.

When: Thursday, August 2

Time: 7 to 10:30 pm

Where: RNDSQR Sales Centre – 2212 33th Avenue SW

Admission: Free, RSVP here

Heritage Day at Fort Calgary

What: Celebrate the best of Calgary’s multicultural heritage at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers. Enjoy kids crafts, a Backfoot Ecology Session, Free Museum tours, and more at this free, family-friendly event.

When: Monday, August 6

Time: 10 am to 4 pm

Where: Fort Calgary – 750 9th Avenue SE

Admission: FREE

Inglewood Sunfest

What: Celebrate the best of summer in #yyc at this day-long street festival featuring over 200 vendors, food trucks, live entertainment, an old classic car show and so much more. It’ll be an affair to bring the entire family down for.

When: August 4

Time: 11 am to 6 pm

Where: Mainstreet Inglewood – 9th Avenue SE

Admission: FREE

Floating Lantern Peace Ceremony

What: Celebrate Calgarian’s collective desire for peace as you set sail to your lantern in the Olympic Plaza pool. This event is an annual international affair that aims to remember and commemorate the 200,000 people who lost their lives in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Calgary’s event will be held in tandem with 7,500 other cities who have banded together to promote peace.

When: Saturday, August 4

Time: 8:20 to 10 pm

Where: Olympic Plaza – 228 8th Avenue SE

Cost: Free or donate $20 online to receive a custom lantern

Calgary Dragon Boat Race and Festival 

What: Compete in this traditional Chinese cultural event that stems from a 2000-year-old Chinese legend. Work with a team of up to 26 people while navigating through the waters. After the race, enjoy the all-day festival that includes a kid’s play zone, food trucks, beer gardens, live performances, and more.

When: August 10 to 12


Friday: 1 to 10 pm

Saturday and Sunday: 7 am to 10 pm

Where: North Glenmore Park – 5R7, 7305 Crowchild Trail SW

Cost: Free

The 34 Annual Marda Gras Street Festival

What: Experience Marda Loop come to life as you enjoy live music, exciting cultural performances, kids activities, loads of shopping, and delectable bites at this exciting family-friendly street festival.

When: Sunday, August 12

Time: 10 am to 5 pm

Where: Marda Loop – 33rd Avenue between 18 and 22 Street SW

Cost: Free

Love your Library day

What: Show some love for your local library and head over for a full schedule of stories, family programming, behind-the-scenes tours, musical performances, collaborate art, story walls, and more. Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.

When: Saturday, August 18

Time: 10 am to 2 pm

Where: Libraries city-wide

Admission: FREE

Taber Cornfest

What: Enjoy a corn parade, fun run, chilli cookout, exciting entertainment, live music, a show and shine, and more as you celebrate this famous Taber vegetable. The night will end off with a huge fireworks show. Find out why Taber corn really is a big ol’ deal.

When: August 23 to 25

Time: Varies per event

Where: Confederation Park – 50th Avenue and 50th Street, Taber

Admission: FREE

RNDSQR Sales Centre Community Series: Women’s Shop & Sip

What: Enjoy this outdoor shopping event featuring some of Calgary’s best clothing designers, brands, and shops. Shop edgy designs from Parts + Labour, curated high-end consignment from The Upside and Kristen’s Consignment, fabulous trends from Collins Street and unique pieces from Coco + Violet. There will be food and fancy drinks of course. Did someone say back to school shopping?

When: Saturday, August 24

Time: 4 pm until late

Where: RNDSQR Sales Centre – 2212 33rd Avenue SW

Admission: Free

Calgary Pride


Image: Calgary Pride / Facebook

What: It’s the most colourful celebration of the year. Enjoy a week of festivities as you celebrate LOVE, equality, and happiness in YYC.

When: August 24 to September 3

Time: Varies per event

Where: Various locations

Tickets: Vary per event. See full event listings here

Grab some fresh produce at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market

What: Grab your weekly haul of delicious produce, eggs, baked goods, meats, preserves, florals, and more, all grown and produced on farms right here in Alberta. You can enjoy live entertainment and other fun activities happening at this quaint community farmers’ market. The market will go on rain or shine, so come prepared.

When: Every Wednesday

Time: 3 to 7 pm

Where: 1320 5th Avenue NW

Admission: FREE

Taste of Calgary

What: Going on a date or just looking for something fun to do with friends? Sample some of Calgary’s best international cuisines and sip on delicious, locally made craft beers, wines, and cocktails as you enjoy the warm summer weather and listen to live outdoor music for four days in a row. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

When: August 10 to 13

Time: 11 am to 9 pm

Where: 200 Barclay Parade SW

Cost: Free Admission, sampling tickets are $1 purchase online in advanced

DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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