5 winter activities to enjoy in beautiful downtown Calgary

Nov 20 2023, 7:54 pm

This past summer, The City of Calgary launched #ExploreDowntownYYC to encourage locals to discover all the vibrant local businesses in the downtown area.

With winter in full effect, the vibrant city centre is brimming with magic and buzzing with anticipation for the holiday season that’s fast approaching.

Whether you’re a foodie looking to expand your palette or want to find the cutest boutique in the city, here are a few areas in downtown Calgary you should check out.

Shop in the downtown core

Going into any city’s downtown core means finding some of the best shops — and Calgary is no exception.

The CORE Shopping Centre has over 160 shops and services, including TD Square, Holt Renfrew, Artizia, and more. While you’re there, check out Devonian Gardens, a unique one-hectare oasis that boasts botanical gardens, fountains, fish ponds, and a playground.

If you’re downtown on the weekend and on the hunt for the best vintage finds, Good Neighbour is a pay-what-you-can market consisting of clothing, non-perishable foods, and household items like houseplants.

Grab a bite at the Beltline

explore downtown Calgary

Colin Way/City of Calgary

Named after Calgary Municipal Railway’s Route No. 5 trolley, downtown Beltline has some of the best food in the city, with dozens of options from modern dishes to classic favourites.

If you’re looking for a cool vibe while you eat, one of the most unique places is I Love You Coffee Shop, a Japanese-inspired jazz bar that’s always spinning vinyl all day, has walls lined with local art, and serves up some amazing coffee and snacks.

Offering an indulgent selection of food, Donna Mac serves an eclectic mix of comfort foods that’ll tantalize your tastebuds. Rodney’s Oyster House Calgary is another classic, serving up both Maritimes seafood and hospitality.

And don’t forget about Last Best Brewing & Distillery to grab a delicious craft beer, freshly distilled spirit, and some delectable Alberta-inspired cuisine.

Explore the best on 17th Avenue

Branded as the Retail & Entertainment District (R.E.D.), 17th Avenue is one of the most vibrant and lively neighbourhoods in Calgary, with events running all year round.

Whether you’re in the mood for karaoke, learning a new craft, or just looking for a fun activity to fill your day, there’s no better place to spend your time than on 17th Avenue.

As the holiday season fast approaches, you can also keep your eyes peeled for the annual 17th Days of Christmas holiday events taking up the neighbourhood to get you into the spirit.

Dive into the rich history of Victoria Park

One of the oldest communities in Calgary, Victoria Park was named after Queen Victoria in 1889 and has some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Home to some of the most vibrant cultural fixtures like the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede and the Scotiabank Saddledome, the area also has Stride Gallery, a not-for-profit artist-run centre that aims to foster community conversation and participation.

Nestled between the Beltline and Victoria Park is Haultain Park, this historic site was once occupied by two historic Haultain schools — with the original smaller school remaining as an office for the Parks Foundation Calgary.

Eat at some of the top restaurants in Canada

expore downtown Calgary

Neil Zeller/City of Calgary

Home to seven of Canada’s top 100 restaurants, Calgary offers a wide array of dining destinations that’ll suit anyone’s taste buds.

From the sustainable offerings at River Café to the long-cherished Japanese cuisine at Shokunin, be sure to reserve your tables early, as they’re liable to fill up fast.

If you’re just looking for an amazing cocktail and atmosphere, there are options like Paper Lantern in Chinatown and Betty Lou’s Library off 17th Avenue that serve up some tasty drinks with an impeccable atmosphere.

Ready to #ExploreDowntownYYC? Visit the City of Calgary’s official website to plan your perfect day in the city.

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Chris MiddletonChris Middleton

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