21 cheap date ideas in Calgary for you and that special someone

Jan 23 2018, 8:17 am

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion *ahem, Valentine’s Day,* an anniversary, or are simply looking for new ways to spice things up and spend quality time with your significant other, there’s no reason you should have to break the bank!

Let’s be honest, fancy dinners add up and they can get a little old! However, sitting at home in sweatpants watching Netflix also has a quick expiry date. So then, what is there to do in the midst of winter here in Calgary?

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Whether you’re an adventurous pair, huge foodies, have a passion for the arts, or crave the outdoors, there are a ton of exciting things to do in this city that will keep you both active over the next couple months as it begins to warm up.

Here are 21 date night activities that will get you out of the house and keep the flame alive – all on a reasonable budget!

Go skating on Lake Louise

  • What: Lake Louise was rated by CNN and HuffPost as the world’s most beautiful skating rink in 2014, and trust us – it definitely lives up to the reputation. Glide hand-in-hand with your special someone as you enjoy the tranquil views and fresh mountain air. The lake is even lit during the evening so you can skate under the stars and then warm up by a cozy campfire. Skate rentals are available.
  • Where: 111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise
  • Admission: Email or call the Concierge Team for prices and ice conditions before heading up.

Drinks and board games


Board games (Fotyma /Shutterstock)

  • What: This can often make a great first date, as there are lots of icebreaker opportunities to make it very obvious if there will be a second date in the cards. It’s also a fun way to get to know someone you’ve been dating for a little bit in a more casual atmosphere over drinks or coffee. Plus, there is nothing wrong with some healthy competition!
  • Where:
    • Hexagon Board Game Cafe – #200 1140 Kensington Road NW, Calgary
    • Boxcar Board Game Cafe – 1215 – 1st Street SW, Calgary

Head out on a Hot Chocolate Fest marathon 

  • What: It’s the sweetest date you’ll ever go on! For the entire month of February, various cafes, restaurants and chocolatiers are featuring their very own creative twist on a traditional hot chocolate. Spend an afternoon touring the city, trying out the various concoctions, and voting for your favourite one. Prepare for a serious sugar coma afterwards.
  • When: February 1 to 28, 2018
  • Where: Various locations around the city

Cocktail Happy Hour

  • What: The only thing better than sitting down to a delicious cocktail after work is not having to pay full price for it! $16 drinks can sometimes put a damper the evening, depending on your budget. However, $5 to $9 cocktails are a serious game changer. Psst! Don’t forget to check out reverse happy hours as well and drink for cheap well into the night!
  • Where:
    • The Wednesday Room – 100 – 118 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Cleaver – 102 – 524 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Gringo Street – 102, 524 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Craft Beer Market – 345 10th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Last Best Brewing & Distilling – 607 11th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Two Penny Chinese – 1213 1st Street SW, Calgary
    • Calcutta Cricket Club – 340 – 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Goro + Gun – #245 – 225 7th Avenue SW, Calgary

Taco Tuesday



  • What: Let’s be honest, any date that involves tacos is a good date! It might be slightly cliche, but you won’t have to worry about making dinner AND you get to dive into some freshly made guac, with a margarita on the side – that’s a winning combo.
  • When: Every Tuesday
  • Where:
    • Native Tongues Taqueria – 235 12th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Salt & Pepper – 1413 9th Avenue SE, Calgary
    • National – all four locations
    • Los Chilitos Taco & Tequila House – 1309 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • Julio’s Barrio – 1110 Memorial Drive NW, Calgary
    • Anejo – 2, 2116 4th Street SE, Calgary

Late night #HalfyHour 

  • What: 1/2 price tacos and tequila…. need we say more?
  • When: Daily until January 31, 2018
  • Time: 9 pm to close
  • Where: Blanco Catina – 723 17th Avenue SW

Spend the afternoon market shopping at the Galentines Market 

  • What: Grab a coffee at a local cafe and then head over the YYC Girl Gang Galentines Market to shop some incredible local vendors, all the while spending the afternoon with your significant other. You might even find each other the perfect Valentines Day gifts, handmade right here in Calgary, that makes for a special memory that you can both cherish for years to come.
  • When: Sunday, February 11, 2018
  • Time: 10 am to 4 pm
  • Where: The Commons – 1206 20th Avenue SE, Calgary
  • Admission: $3

Head out on an Urban Snowshoeing Adventure

  • What: Grab your partner and a pair of snowshoes and head out into the crisp winter air. Take in the picturesque views as you march your way through the many trails in and around the Calgary area, while getting a great cardio workout in at the same time. Couples who workout together stay together, right?
  • Where:
    • If your are an inner city roamer, check out Fish Creek Park or Nose Hill for some fantastic trails close to home.
    • If you’re interested in taking a drive out to the Rockies, Canmore, Bragg Creek and Banff all boast unreal trail paths that lead to some magical destinations.
  • Be sure to check trail reports before heading out and dress for the weather.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from Albertaparks.ca and AdventureSmart.

Take a road trip


Snowy Alberta (Inga Locmele/Shutterstock)

  • What: There’s really no better way to get to know someone than to be stuck in a vehicle with them for hours on end. Plus, it makes the adventure that much more memorable! We hear the views on the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise are tremendous. Just make sure you don’t limit the trip to one single destination – it’s all about the drive and what you discover along the way!

The Artsy Date 

  • What: Get inspired as you stroll with your partner through the many exciting new exhibitions coming to the Glenbow in the near future. The largest one features exciting photographs taken by the famous Frida Kahlo that examine the woman behind the artist. Remember, the first Thursday of every month is FREE.
  • When: February 23 to May 21, 2018
  • Where: The Glenbow Museum – 130 9th Avenue SE, Calgary
  • Admission: Regular admission (except for the first Thursday of every month).

The Ice Cream Date

  • What: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to dabble in some frozen deliciousness. There are various great local ice creameries situated throughout Calgary’s most popular neighbourhoods, which makes it the perfect excuse to do a bit of exploring. Pssst… we hear monogram has recently launched hot chocolate ice cream – no we’re not kidding!
  • Where:
    • Monogram – View all locations 
    • Lukes Drugmart – 112 4th Street NE, Calgary
    • Village Ice Cream – View all locations
    • Made by Marcus – 1017 17th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • UTCA Chimney Cakes – 207 13th Avenue SW, Calgary

Banff and Lake Louise: Snow Days


Banff snow sculptures (Banff & Lake Louise Tourism/Facebook)

  • What: Winter is more than just cold and snowy, as it is a season that brings majestic frosty views, fun activities, and beautiful memories at all ages. Banff National Park invites us all to celebrate the magic of winter in its month long festival of Snowdays, featuring a variety of events, shows and activities that combine history, culture and winter traditions that the whole family will enjoy. Be sure to check out the website for daily events and activities!
  • When: January 18 to 28, 2018
  • Where: Throughout Banff National Park
  • Admission: Varies per event

Ice Magic Festival 

  • What: Lake Louise’s Ice Magic Festival is a truly magical and unreal experience that Canadians look forward to year-round. This event boasts over 20 years of history and it gathers talented ice artists from around the world to compete and create artistic masterpieces out of ice, within 34 hours.
  • When: January 18 to 28, 2018
  • Where: The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – 111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise
  • Tickets: Online, Adults $12.50, Youth $5 (3 to 12 years), Seniors $7.50 (55 + years), Family $30 (2 adults + up to 4 children aged 3-17 years)

Go Stargazing

  • What: Enjoy a romantic evening stargazing with an unobstructed view of the entire sky at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, home to one of the largest telescopes in Canada. There will also be experts there to teach and answer any burning questions you may have about science and the universe, making this both a fascinating and educational date!
  • Where
  • Admission: Varies per event (*** The observatory site is private land and are only open to the public during the posted event times.)

Wander a bookstore


Books / Shutterstock

  • What: Spending hours in a bookstore might seem painful for some, but for others it’s a way to escape the frigid winter weather while still spending some time outside the house. Allowing yourself to get lost in an aisle of books is an amazing way to kill a few hours, and it’s also a great way to get to know someone, as book preference will tell you a lot about a person’s personality!
  • Where:
    • Fair’s Fair (For Book Lovers) Inc. – 907 9th Avenue SE, Calgary
    • Shelf Life Books – 1302 4th Street SW, Calgary
    • Indigospirit – 317 7th Avenue SW, Calgary

Enjoy the Canmore Winter Carnival

  • What: Winter in the Rocky Mountains is truly magical, and the Town of Canmore invites you to come celebrate this beautiful season with them. Spend the afternoon out of the city as you check out the variety of indoor and outdoor events throughout the town, such as the ice carving competitions, art crawls, skating parties, log sawing competitions, cardboard sledding, a pooch parade, and more!
  • Where: Throughout the Town of Canmore
  • When: February 1 to 11, 2018
  • Cost: Varies per activity

Stroll through a frozen waterfall

  • What: Johnston Canyon is one of Banff’s most famous areas for a reason! Walk hand-in-hand through a winter wonderland with your love and bask in the surreal frozen views. It’s a moment that will feel frozen in time!
  • Where: Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB

Play a Round of Monster Mini Golf

  • What: Get some healthy competition going as you play each other in a heated game of glow-in-the-dark Monster Mini Golf. Play among cool monster decor with freaky animated props that pop up around every corner, and be entertained by their in-house DJ. No matter how many times you go, this is one activity that will truly never get old!
  • Where: 2020 – 32nd Avenue NE, Calgary

Catch a flick in an old fashioned movie theatre


Movie theatre/Shutterstock

  • What: You know what they say; dinner and a movie is a classic! Try switching it up by checking out an independent film, old classic, or something from a different genre at one of Calgary’s original old fashioned theatres.
  • Where:
    • Globe Cinema – 617 8th Avenue SW, Calgary
    • The Plaza Theatre – 1133 Kensington Road NW, Calgary

Night out at the Theatre 

  • What: Alberta Theatre Projects is a trendy, intimate, romantic theatre in the downtown core that makes for a great night out for you and your special person. Check out their listings of current shows and be prepared to be blown away by international-calibre talent and contemporary playwrights from around the world.
  • Where: 220 – 9th Avenue SE, Calgary

Toonie Day

  • What: Ski Mt. Norquay for only $2  – yes that is less than a cup of coffee! If you thought this deal couldn’t get any better, think again. Not only do you ski for $2, but your money is also donated to a local charity at the end of the season. Help them beat their $20,000 total from last year!
  • When: February 7, March 7 & April 11, 2018
  • Time: All day long
  • Where: Mt. Norquay – 1520 Banff, AB
  • Admission: $2
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Kristy ArchibaldKristy Archibald

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