It’s shaping up to be a beautiful summer, but there’s one little wrinkle: you’re broke. It happens to the best of us. This city can get expensive fast, and, if you’re not paying attention, you can find yourself with empty pockets and a depleted savings account.
Not to worry though, because there are lots of ways to enjoy summer days in Calgary without spending a single cent.
We’ve put together a list of things to do in this city that don’t cost a thing!
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Visit the Calgary Stampede for Free
Want to go to Stampede but the admission price is making your wallet weep? No problem at all — if you’re willing to get up early. On July 8th, you can get to Stampede for free if you arrive between 8 and 11 am.
If you keep an eye out, there are always several free pancake breakfasts every day of the Calgary Stampede, so, if you pair those up, you get a free breakfast and free admission. Not a bad deal as far as free goes in this city.
Where: 1410 Olympic Way SE
When: 8 am to midnight
Celebrate Latin American Culture with Fiestaval
A family-oriented event, Fiestaval is a celebration of all things Latin American with multicultural arts and entertainment. There will be a wide assortment of performers and vendors, giving you an opportunity to take part in Latin culture through music and food.
The event is entirely free to attend and easy to get to as it is located in the heart of downtown Calgary.
Where: Olympic Plaza 228 8th Ave SE
When: July 20: 5 pm to 10 pm, July 21: 11 am to 11 pm, July 22: 11 am to 11 pm
Bring your pooch to Pet-A-Palooza
A celebration of all things pets, Pet-A-Palooza is a great event to attend if you’re broke this summer. There will be lots of vendors showcasing their wares, as well as fun events like bulldog races, dock diving, and a puppy stampede.
The event is going to be held at Eau Claire, and you can bring your pet to enjoy the fun along with you.
Where: 200 Barclay Parade SW
When: July 28 and July 29, 10 am to 4 pm
Stop by the Inglewood Sunfest
A fun summer festival in the heart of one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods, the Inglewood Sunfest is full of events and entertainment fit for anyone to enjoy.
Street performers and staged bands will be present as well as vendors selling crafts and imported wares. It’ll be a great time to celebrate the Calgary summer and admission is totally free.
Where: Mainstreet Inglewood
When: August 4, 11 am to 6 pm
Check out the Chinatown Street Festival
This free event draws in about 50,000 people every year and is a celebration of everything of Chinese culture in Calgary.
The Chinatown street festival is separated into six zones: cultural, sport, merchants, food, performance, and hidden gems. Not only will there be lots of vendors, there will also be Chinese musical performances and Chinese calligraphy lessons.
Where: Various locations in Chinatown
When: August 8, 10 am to 6 pm
Play Pokemon Go
Last month, a trailer came out for Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee, upcoming games for the Nintendo Switch that allows players to connect their game with their Pokemon Go account.
Whether you’re excited about the upcoming game or not, Pokemon Go is a free game for Android and IOS that brings players on an adventure to catch Pokemon in the real world.
The game tracks your location with a GPS and encourages players to walk to real-world locations like community centres and churches to find supplies and catch Pokemon along the way.
The game is entirely free, and it’s a fun way to explore your neighbourhood in a way that you might not have seen it before.
Visit Glenbow Museum
The Glenbow Museum has been a fixture of Calgary culture for the last 50 years. It’s a showcase of culture and art from Alberta, both historic and contemporary. On occasion, special exhibits make appearances at the museum as well.
Most of the time, admission for adults costs $16, but on the first Thursday of every month, admission is free from 5 pm to 9 pm, making it a great place to visit if you find yourself pinching pennies.
Where: 130 – 9th Avenue SE
Hours: Free first Thursday of the month, 5 pm to 9 pm
Visit the Chinese Cultural Centre
A community centre dedicated to serving Calgary’s Chinese community, the Chinese Cultural Centre provides cultural and educational events and programs for everyone.
Opened in 1992, they’ve become well known for putting on shows, displays, as well as art and recreational events.
Where: 197 1st Street SW
Hours: 9 am to 9 pm
Stop at the Grain Academy and Museum
Free admission and easy access from Victoria Stampede C-Train station make this a great place to visit this summer if you’re tight for money.
This museum teaches you everything there is to know about grains and how this resource is grown and distributed from Alberta to other areas of Canada. It’s also home to the largest model railway display in Calgary, and a working model grain elevator.
Where: 20 Roundup Way SE
When: Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm
Take a look at the Esker Foundation
A privately funded contemporary art gallery, the Esker Foundation connects people with art through relevant, accessible, and educational exhibits and programs.
The Esker Foundations also hosts the Project Space at street level to showcase the presence and accessibility of contemporary art. If you’re broke this summer, this a great place to hang out seeing as admission is absolutely free.
Where: 1011 – 9th Avenue SE, Fourth Floor
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11 am to 6 pm