Summer in the City: 10 Things to Do in Calgary

You never know what will happen when you know where everyone is going. We’re profiling the hottest events across Canada all season in our new Summer in the City series. Calgarian Irene Seto expounds upon her love for her city and the thrill that the fleeting summertime brings.


NOTE: Our thoughts are with the people of Calgary and Alberta as they recover from devastating floods. To help with a donation, please contact the Red Cross. Please contact the event source included to determine if any of the below suggestions have changed.

Summer in Calgary is a fleeting love affair. Filled with long, sunny days that stretch into the wee hours of the morning, Calgarians enjoy a sweet romance with all that our brief summer has to offer. Maybe it’s the blooming tulips in Olympic Plaza or the picturesque mountains just next door, but Calgary loves summer like no other Canadian city. The whole place comes to life.

The tulips in Olympic Plaza

The tulips in Olympic Plaza

With little time to spare, the people of Calgary are quick to jump right into the season. There’s always a flurry of activity that keeps us out and about in the city’s countless outdoor festivals, parks, concerts and more. Cyclists and runners fill North America’s largest pathway system as families and pets lounge nearby at the many picnic tables and barbeque pits along the way. Popular districts like 17th Avenue and Stephen Avenue Walk are filled with the constant hum of pedestrians shopping, dining and people-watching on the patios.

Stephen Avenue

Stephen Avenue

Style in Calgary—casual yet bold—perfectly suits the personalities of the people walking the streets. While the Calgary Stampede has us two-stepping in our Western boots and denim jackets for ten days of July, these staples are versatile musts for any summer wardrobe. Bright patterns and colours can be seen in pants, denim and dresses, plus the fickle weather keeps us on our toes—layers are a must in YYC.

Photo by Anthea Simms

Photo by Anthea Simms

Have you started falling in love with Calgary, where a little summer lovin’ goes a long way? Check out the activities and events that will keep you hopping over the next few months:

Shakespeare in the Park; Photo Courtesy of liveincalgary.com

Shakespeare in the Park; Photo Courtesy of liveincalgary.com

1. Shakespeare in the Park, June 26–August 10

This long-running Calgary summer tradition is back for its 25th season with one of the Bard’s most classic tales, Romeo and Juliet.

Address: Prince’s Island Park

Cost: Pay what you can

2. Cultural Intersection Art & Dance Gala, June 27

Take part in a multicultural affair with dance and art from some of Canada’s most gifted artists and performers.

Address: Endeavor Gallery, 200, 1209 1st Street SW

Cost: $25

Dj Tiësto will be performing at Chasing Summer Festival; Photo Courtesy of Tiësto on Facebook

Dj Tiësto will be performing at Chasing Summer Festival; Photo Courtesy of Tiësto on Facebook

3. Badlands Music Festival, July 5-7 and Chasing Summer Festival, August 9 and 10

Calgary has not one but two brand-new electronic music festivals coming to town. Your dancing shoes won’t know what hit them.

Locations: Canada Olympic Park and Fort Calgary, respectively

Costs: $199 for 3-day pass and $139 for 2-day pass, respectively

4. Pop-Up Picnics, July 10 and August 14

Bring a bagged lunch and make the most of your noon hour with fun activities and entertainment.

Address: Various locations TBD

Cost: Free

5. Big YYC, July 12

It’s big. Really big. A one-day arts and music smorgasbord featuring some of the best of Calgary’s cultural community including High Kicks, Bad Portraits, Wow Magic Fest and more. Hydrate, enjoy, repeat.

Address: Various locations

Cost: $15 and up

6. Ingelwood Night Market, July 12 and August 9

For all the night owls out there, this evening market (6 p.m. to midnight) will have you dancing in the streets with street food, live music, trunk sales and more.

Address: 10th Street SE in Inglewood

Una Pizza + Wine

Una Pizza + Wine

7. Una Pizza + Wine

Unwind with a glass of vino and a slice of the most delectable thin-crust pizza in the city. Great for a weekend lunch or a late-night snack, it’s worth the long wait to get a spot in this pizzeria.

Address: 618 17th Avenue SW

8. Market Collective 5-Year Anniversary, July 19-21

Calgary’s favourite grassroots community event is turning five! Celebrate with them as they bring in live entertainment, local artists, art installations, a farmer’s market and the ever-popular MC photobooth.

Address: Mewata Armoury, 801-11th Street SW

Cost: $5

9. Opera in the Village, August 22-25

Watch the RiverWalk come to life as it is transformed into a Cornish beach, complete with pirates and scallywags for the festival’s maiden voyage of “Pirates of Penzance.”

Address: East Village, 5th Street and Confluence Way SE

Cost: $35 and up

Steeling Home

Steeling Home

10. Steeling Home

Touted as a “modern general store,” this eclectic shop offers a mix of vintage and contemporary housewares, stationary and jewellery. It’s the perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind piece.

Address: 1010 17th Avenue SW