Here are 17 free things to do in Calgary this spring

Mar 23 2021, 4:04 pm

As recommended by health officials, if you choose to participate in events outside of your home, please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand washing. If you are sick, please stay home.

Spring seems to finally be upon us in Calgary, and it’s time to come out of that winter hibernation and take advantage of some of the many things to do in the city this season.

There are an abundance of events and cool things to check out in YYC right now, whether you want to get outside, try a unique activity, explore a new place, or take part in a virtual event from the comfort of your couch.

While it’s easy to start dropping lots of money on activities after a winter cooped up at home, there are tons of ways you can make the most of the warm weather on a budget.

We’ve rounded up a list of free things to do in Calgary, so that you can enjoy the sunny spring days without breaking the bank.

The Kensington Market

What: Support local businesses and celebrate the arrival of spring with this monthly market, offering wonderfully unique finds from a wide array of vendors.

When: April 10
Time: 11 am to 4 pm
Where:¬†The parking lot beside the Kensington Tim Horton’s (1204 Kensington Road NW)

Arts Commons presents National Geographic Live

What: Arts Commons is taking their 10th annual National Geographic Live series online this year.

In these livestreams, viewers will hear from virtual speakers who will transport them to extraordinary places, challenge perceptions with amazing stories, and view natural events from around the world through stunning photography.

When: April 12, May 10, and June 7
Time: 7 pm
Where: Online
Tickets: Free, with advanced registration required

Visit Devonian Gardens

What: Feel like you’re in a tropical paradise within downtown Calgary at Devonian Gardens. Stroll the boardwalk, take in the plants and ponds, and grab a quick bite at the food court.

When: Daily
Time: 11 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 pm on Sundays
Where:¬†4th floor of the CORE Shopping Centre¬†(400 ‚Äď 317 7th Avenue SW)

Crossroads Market

What: This isn’t your traditional farmers’ market. Along with fresh produce and local eats, shoppers will find comics, jewellery, vintage items, a hair salon, and more at Crossroads Market.

When: Weekly from Friday to Sunday
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Where: 1235 26th Avenue SE

Check out High Park

What:¬†High Park offers downtown views, adorable string lights, colourful picnic tables, and fun signs to take photos with ‚Äď on top of a parking garage in the Beltline. Have a spring picnic six floors above street level and snap some cool pictures while you‚Äôre at it.

When: Open daily
Time: 7 am to 11 pm
Where: The top level of the Centre City Parkade at 340 10th Avenue SW

Calgary Farmers’ Market

What: Pick up farm-fresh produce, warm and delicious baked goods, and locally-produced artisan goods at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Pet products, coffee and tea, and flowers are also available to purchase.

When: Thursday to Sunday weekly
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Where: 510 77th Avenue SE

Wordfest’s Imagine On Air broadcast channel

What:¬†Wordfest’s broadcast channel has assembled the “best writers, biggest thinkers, and sparkiest creators” in one virtual place to help fuel your curiosity. Join these great minds for a live conversation and get inspired.

When: March 23, 25, and 30, April 6, 8, 15, 20, 22, and 29, and May 4
Time: 7 pm
Where: Broadcast on

Snap photos at PARK PARK

What:¬†PARK PARK took an urban parking lot in Inglewood and turned it into a modern play space. Visitors will find life-size symbols of a tree, a phone, a picnic table, a bike, a book, and more. Each of these colourful symbols also contains a useful feature integrated that relates to what they depict ‚Äď check out these curiosities and be amazed.

When: Open daily
Where: CPA Lot 43 (880 11th Street SE)

Bridgeland Arctic Adventure

What:¬†Participants can choose their own adventure through the neighbourhood of Bridgeland ‚Äď from the full, self-guided course to a scavenger hunt. Afterwards, join Bridgeland Distillery for a beverage at their ice bar and relax by the firepits.

When: Now through March 31 
Self-guided (the ice bar is open 2 to 6 pm Friday through Sunday)
Where: Throughout the Bridgeland community, view map for details
Cost: Free, unless you purchase a drink at the ice bar

Check out art installations at Southcentre Mall and #ChooseToChallenge

What: In celebration of International Women’s Day this month, Southcentre Mall invited three emerging female artists to create mural artwork for shoppers to enjoy, with an interactive graphic design on the flip side of each mural celebrating three of the mall’s female entrepreneurs, for a total of six Instagrammable backdrops.

When: Now until March 31
Time: Mall hours (11 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday, and 11 am to 6 pm on Sundays)
Where: Southcentre Mall (100 Anderson Rd SE), and virtually

Visit the National Music Centre’s Amplify platform

What: Amplify serves as an extension of the NMC’s onsite programs through an online hub detailing the sounds and stories of music in Canada. Take a guided tour of the museum virtually, delve into articles from their vast collection of historical musical instruments, equipment, and memorabilia, and learn more about the power of music for healing and wellness.

When: Anytime
Where: Online, from the comfort of your own home

Watch a tournament happening in Calgary’s Curling Canada Bubble

What:¬†Calgary is hosting Curling Canada‚Äôs curling bubble at WinSport’s Markin McPhail Centre right now, and there are still four tournaments left to watch between now and May. Tune into the action on TSN and cheer on athletes in this truly Canadian sport.

When:¬†Now until March 25 (Home Hardware Canadian Mixed Doubles Championships),¬†April 2 to 11 (World Men‚Äôs Curling Championships),¬†April 14 to 18 (Grand Slam of Curling), and April 30 to May 9 (World Women’s¬†Curling Championship)
Time: Broadcast schedule available here
Where: Broadcast on TSN and Sportsnet

Visit a sculpture covered with flowers and snakes in the Esker Project Space


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What:¬†While we wait for the Esker Foundation‚Äôs main gallery to reopen, their Project Space window brings some art into our lives while simultaneously providing a concept to contemplate. Visible from street level, ‚ÄúThe Garden‚ÄĚ is a clay sculpture¬†combining elements of nature with the human form, created by ceramic artist Yvonne Kustec.

When: Now through June 6
Where: Esker Foundation’s Project Space window (1011 9th Avenue SE)

Spark Science from Home

What: TELUS Spark Science Centre hosts a wide variety of fun and educational options online, from virtual programs and Dome Movies at Home to Cereal Science and a collection of experiments and activities.

When: Programming varies, learn more through their website
Where: From the comfort of your own home
Cost: Varies by program

Explore fandoms and win prizes during Calgary Library and Calgary Expo’s four-month reading challenge

What: Calgary Public Library and the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo have paired up to host a reading challenge. Over the next few months, kids and adults alike can take on both reading and creative challenges to be entered to win one of 25 prizes.

When: Now through May 15
Where: Anywhere
Cost: Free with your Calgary Library card

Glenbow from Home

What: Tour Glenbow’s extensive collection and galleries of rotating exhibits virtually and get cultured without even leaving the house.

When: Anytime
Where: Online, available through Glenbow’s website

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s virtual concert series: City Spaces

What: While their concert hall remains closed, the CPO has taken their show on the road, playing from iconic Calgary spaces in these free new virtual performances. City Spaces bring music to audiences from places that include the top of a modern skyscraper, the interior of a brutalist-era gallery, and the grand ballroom of a historic hotel.

When: April 3 and 17
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Watch performances virtually, broadcast from the Fairmont Palliser and Contemporary Calgary

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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