44 free things to do in Calgary this Summer

Jul 9 2017, 10:03 pm

They say the best things in life are free, or at least successfully done on a budget!

There is no use spending a ton of money this summer, when there are so many fun and exciting activities happening that don’t even cost a dime.

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Check out these 44 different free events happening around the city this summer!

Get Outdoors

Image: Outdoors in the Rockies / Shutterstock

Go Hiking in the Rockies

  • What: The view is worth the climb!
  • Where: Here are some of the best hiking spots in and around Banff to check out this summer.

Go Fishing

  • What: As Earl Dibbles Jr. always says “I got 99 problems and fishing solves all of them!”
  • Where: Here is a guide to some of the best spots to go fishing this summer.

Dive into an Outdoor Pool 

  • What: There is no better way to beat the heat of summer than to jump into a cold outdoor pool. Calgary has a ton of wading pools, spray parks, and outdoor pools, that are great for cooling the whole family off in the midst of a heat wave. The best part is that they are all FREE!
  • See a list of all the water parks run by the City of Calgary here!

Hobo Campfire Singalong

  • What: Join the Park’s Canada Theatre Troup for a fun campfire singalong down by the railway tracks.
  • Where: The Cave and Basin – 311 Cave Avenue, Banff
  • When: Saturdays in July and August
  • Cost: Free

Visit a National Park

  • What: Have you heard? Admission into all National Parks in Canada is FREE in honour of Canada’s 150 Birthday. Be sure to take advantage and celebrate the beauty that Canada has to offer!

Get Active

Barre at Noon in the East Village

  • What: Barre with a view! Keep those bums toned this summer and feel the burn in this free barre class in the heart of East Village every Thursday.
  • Where: East Village Experience Centre – 553 Riverfront Avenue SE
  • When: Every Thursday through till August
  • Cost: Free

FREE Lunchtime HIIT and Yoga Classes

  • What: On every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday join Barre Body Studio, Live YYC and Lululemon Ambassador Stef Rizvi for free classes of HIIT Barre and Yoga at 12pm sharp in front of the EV Experience Centre. There is no better way to spend your lunch hour!
  • Where: East Village Experience Centre – 553 RiverFront Avenue SE
  • When: Various Dates
  • Cost: FREE

Outdoor Games Station

  • What: Bocce, ladder golf and so much more! Both big kids (adults) and little kids are welcome.
  • Where: St. Patrick’s Island – 1300 Zoo Road NE
  • When: Every Sunday from June 18 to July 30
  • Cost: First come first served

Summer Markets

Greater Goods Pop Up Series

  • What: Sip on a delicious Iced Lavender Earl Grey Tea Latte (yes those do exist) and shop your favourite local makers each month in this rotating pop-up series.
  • Where: Greater Goods – 606 Meredith Road NE
  • When:
    • July – Gypsy Skulls
    • August – Stevie and Bean

East Village Junction

  • What: 12 makers, 12 shipping containers, and 1 parking lot makes the best retail shopping Calgary has ever seen. There are also various performances, a pop-up library, Junction jams and group runs hosted by Lululemon happening at different times throughout each week, so you just have to go more than once!
  • Where: SW corner of 4 Street and 8 Avenue SE
  • When: June 1-October 1 (Thursday to Sunday)
  • Cost: Free admission

Inglewood Night Market

  • What: Everyone’s favourite street party is back and happening on the first Friday of every month this summer. Be sure to come with an empty stomach and the desire to shop till the sun goes down. The event goes on rain or shine, so come prepared!
  • Where: 9 Avenue and 10 Street SE
  • When: July 14, August 11 and September 8
  • Cost: FREE

Essentials by Nature Pop-Up at Greater Goods

  • What: Essential oils are so important for the overall health and wellness of your body. Come learn more about the benefits of using natural, plant based oils and shop the full collection from Essentials by Nature, an Edmonton-based oil apothecary, at Greater Goods all weekend long.
  • Where: Greater Goods – 606 Meredith Road NE
  • When: July 29 & 30

Food and Drink Festivities

NHBR Nights

  • What: Yummy drinks, delicious food, and even better company – we’re in!
  • Where: NHBR Coffee Shop – 4038 16 Street SW
  • When: At the end of every month – stay tuned on social media for date announcements
  • Cost: $10-$20

101 Traditional Stampede Breakfasts

  • What: Pancakes, sausages and maple syrup – it doesn’t get any more Canadian than that. Click here for a full list of FREE Stampede Breakfasts happening all throughout the city!
  • Where: At various locations throughout the city.
  • When: July 6 – 16
  • Cost: FREE

Taste of Okotoks

  • What: Eat great food, enjoy live music and shop local vendors and this fun-filled event in the heart of Okotoks.
  • Where: Downtown Okotoks
  • When: July 22
  • Cost: FREE

BBQ on the Bow

  • What: Featuring over 35 teams of BBQ Competitors, along with cooking demonstrations, kids activities, beer gardens and live music from 11 of Calgary’s top local bands.
  • Where: Montgomery Community Centre – 50003 16 Avenue NW
  • When: September 2 and 3
  • Cost: Free

Festivals and Other Events

Photo Courtesy of Feistaval

Participate in on of the many free programs + events at the Calgary Public Library 

  • What: The Calgary Public Library offers a variety of different resources and programs for people of every age. Come learn something new this summer, all you need is a library card!
  • Where: Various Calgary Public Library locations around the city
  • When: July 11 – September 5
  • Cost: FREE


  • What: Join this community-driven bicycle festival for a week full of cycling festivities!
  • Where: Various locations around Calgary
  • When: July 14 – July 23
  • Cost: Free

Calgary Turkish Festival

  • What: Let yourself be transported Turkey as you experience some of the best of what this rich culture has to offer!
  • Where: Eau Claire Festival Plaza – 200 Barclay Parade
  • When: July 13-16
  • Cost: Free

Parks Day Celebration

  • What: Rediscover and connect with nature as you celebrate the beautiful and diverse park’s that Alberta has to offer. See a list of participating parks here!
  • Where: Various Provincial Parks across Alberta
  • When: July 15
  • Cost: FREE

Creekfest 2017

  • Live performances, interactive displays, nature walks and more family friendly activities await at this free event. You can bring the whole family to celebrate Alberta’s natural areas while learning how to respect and protect our provincial parks.
  • Where: Bow Valley Ranch, Fish Creek Provincial Park, 15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE
  • When: July 15 from 11 am to 4 pm
  • Cost: FREE

Granary Road Farmers Market Grand Opening

  • What: There is a new farmers market in town that includes a learning park, a public market, The Loft Kitchen and a bakery that will fill the market with the aroma of freshly baked treats each morning.
  • Where: Granary Road – 226034 112 Street W MD of Foothills
  • When: July 22
  • Cost: Free admission

Fiestaval Latin Festival

  • What: Celebrate Latin American Culture in this vibrant street festival!
  • Where: Olympic Plaza – 288 8 Avenue SE
  • When: July 21,22 and 23
  • Cost: Free admission

Chestermere Water Festival 

  • What: Celebrate everything water related as you enjoy Wakeboard competitions, a Kids Fun Zone, Artisan Market, Beer Gardens, live music and fireworks to end off a magical summer day.
  • Where: John Peake Park – 121 Chestermere Station Way
  • When: July 22
  • Cost: FREE

Pet-A-Palooza Calgary

  • What: A festival all about PETS! There will be a puppy stampede, French and English Bulldog Races, Wiener Dog races, free swag and more.
  • Where: Eau Claire Market – 200 Barclay Parade SW
  • When: July 29
  • Cost: Free Admission

Calgary Arab Festival

  • What: Come celebrate Arab traditions, such as folk dance, traditional music, food and so much more! This is a family- friendly event so bring your little along for some fun.
  • Where: Olympic Plaza – 228 8 Avenue SE
  • When: July 29 – 30
  • Cost: FREE

Kensington’s Diagon Alley

  • What: The community of Kensington will be turning into a magical wizarding world full of brilliant oddities for a day!
  • Where: Kensington Road and 10 Street NW
  • When: July 30
  • Cost: Free admission

Calgary Fringe Festival 

  • What: A plethora of uncensored, non-juried theatre performances happening all around the city. Enjoy!
  • Where: Various theaters around the city
  • When: August 4 – 12
  • Cost: $55-$200

Inglewood Sunfest

  • What: Celebrate summer in #yyc at this day-long street festival featuring over 200 vendors, food trucks, and live entertainment.
  • Where: Main Street Inglewood- 9 Avenue SE
  • When: August 5
  • Cost: Free

Marda Gras

  • What: Enjoy live music, exciting cultural performances, kids activities, loads of shopping and delectable bites at this lively family-friendly street festival.
  • Where: Marda Loop – 33 – 34 Avenues SW
  • When: August 13
  • Cost: Free

Expo Latino

  • What: Feel the heat and the energy as this world class festival takes over Prince’s Island park with exciting performances, sizzling dancing, exotic food, a stunning art market and so much more!
  • Where: Prince’s Island Park – 698 Eau Claire Avenue SW
  • When: August 18 – 20
  • Cost: Free

Old Time Ranch Rodeo

  • What: Cowboys from working ranches will compete in events that display for spectators the everyday skills that you need to work on the range, followed by a traditional afternoon rodeo. There will also be local artisans from the area set up at the Pekisko Creek Trade Fair and Art shows that will be open all day long.
  • Where: Bar U – Box 168 Longview Alberta
  • When: August 20
  • Cost: Bar U Admission – Free for 2017

The 27 Annual Pride Festival

  • What: Literally one of the most colourful celebrations of the year!
  • When: August 25 – September 4
  • Where: Prince’s Island Park – 698 Eau Claire Ave SW
  • Cost: Free

Fiesta Filipino 2017

  • What: Kick it Filipino style! A fiesta is meant to be a special time with friends with delicious food, fellowship and various activities.
  • Where: Olympic Plaza – 288 8 Avenue SE
  • When: September 1
  • Cost: Free admission

Fiasco Presents: Doors Open YYC

  • What: See Calgary from a unique perspective and celebrate it’s cultural heritage, as you gain free access to 40 different sites around the city with behind the scenes activities and revealing tours all day long.
  • Where: Various locations throughout the city
  • When: September 23
  • Cost: Free

Arts and Culture

Check out one of the many exhibitions happening at the Glenbow

  • What:
    • Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience: June 17 – September 10
    • Romancing Canoe – June 17 – September 10
    • Artefacts: Contemporary Moving Images, Karilynn Ming Ho: For the Left Hand Alone – June 17 – August 27
    • North of Ordinary: The Arctic Photographs of Geraldine and Douglas Moodie – February 18 – August 27
  • Where: Glenbow Museum – 130 9 Avenue SE
  • Cost: Free on the first Thursday of every month

Put the “Her” in Heritage

  • What: The Window Galleries present three new exhibits that focus on the alternative narratives of those whose voice was excluded from the first 150 years of our nation.
  • Where: Window Galleries (across from Max Bell Theatre in Arts Commons)
  • When: June 5 – August 28
  • Cost: Free

Shakespeare by the Bow

  • What: Enjoy some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays in the serene and natural setting of Prince’s Island Park. Presented by the talent at Theatre Calgary.
  • Where: Prince’s Island Park – 698 Eau Claire Avenue SW
  • When: June 20 – August 27
  • Cost: Free

Victors, Villains, and Vixens

  • What: A run off of Shakespeare After Dark. East Village has partnered with Theatre Calgary to bring you a week’s worth of performances on St. Patricks Island.
  • Where: St. Patrick’s Island – 1300 Zoo Road NE
  • When: July 25 – 30
  • Cost: Free


  • What: Prepare yourself as this interactive art show once again takes over our city for a week where science and art collide.
  • Where: Various locations around Calgary
  • When: September 13-17
  • Cost: Varies per location

Concerts and Performances

Image: Play Guitar / Shutterstock

Music on the Island

  • Where: St. Patrick’s Island – 1300 Zoo Road NE
  • When: Every Saturday from June 10 – July 29
  • Cost: Free

Check out some live Music on Music Mile

  • What: 2016 was the year of music here in Calgary, and the music industry in our city is now booming as a result. Spend date night at one of the many venues on YYC’s Music Mile, between Inglewood and East Village, and be entertained by some of our city’s best local talent at a live show, while enjoying a few drinks with your significant other. See the list of venues and performances here!
  • Where: Music Mile – between Inglewood and East Village
  • Cost: FREE

Check out the #IAMDOWNTOWN Summer Stage

  • What: Spend your lunch hour listening to some of Calgary’s best local talent on this outdoor stage on Stephen Avenue. From DJs, to Dance Troupes, to live bands, to Comedians, you will always be pleasantly surprised by the live performances set to play this stage this summer.
  • Where: Stephen Avenue – between Street and 1 Street SE
  • When: July 13 – August 30
  • Cost: FREE

Opera in the Village 

  • What: Enjoy grand performances of South Pacific and Cinderella at the Community Amphitheatre Stage on select days. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy the ambiance of the great outdoors as you enjoy some lively entertainment.
  • Where: Elbow River Pathway
  • When: August 10-20
  • Cost: FREE