Illustration by Jeannie Phan
See a side of Calgary that you never knew existed, from its booming food scene to its network of scenic bike paths.
Style Setter: Hotel Arts
This chic downtown hotel is worth a visit for its decor alone, but the amenities are also top notch: two award-winning restaurants, Raw Bar and Yellow Door Bistro; luxurious in-room spa treatments; and free bike rentals in the warmer months.
Location, location: River Wynde
If you really want to get a sense of the city, stay at the cozy River Wynde B&B, which is located on a quiet side street just a short walk from Kensington Village, the popular shopping and restaurant district. It's also close to yoga studios, cafés and spas.
Patio Pleasures: Rooftop Bar @Simmons
This rooftop bar is about more than just drinks. Chef Jessica Pelland takes her commitment to local food seriously, sourcing from local farmers, ranchers and artisans and taking inspiration from what's in season when developing her menu. Also worth checking out: Charbar, Pelland's indoor resto, located on the lower floor.
Veg Out: Ten Foot Henry
Named after a cartoon character that became a fixture on Calgary's art scene in the '80s, this "vegetable-forward" restaurant easily combines design and delicious food. Though there's meat on the menu, the dishes that shine, like a seriously satisfying omelette, make veg the star.
Spring: Calgary by Bike
One of the city's best perks is its urban pathway system, the largest in North America. Popular Calgary blogger Mike Morrison has released a bike map with must-visit spots around town since 2015. (Get yours at calgarybybike.ca.) If you need to borrow a ride, try Nomad Mobile Gear Rentals; they'll deliver a bike to your door, then pick it up once you're done.
Summer: St. Patrick's Island
Cross the George C. King Bridge onto this island park for one of the best views of downtown Calgary. The space was redeveloped in 2015 and now offers an amphitheatre, a picnic grove, wading pools and public art.
Satisfy your inner shopaholic by wandering through the Inglewood neighbourhood. Visit The Silk Road Spice Merchant for hard-to-find spices, The Uncommons for gifts and Plant for terrariums and vintage home decor.
Winter: Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Built to preserve the history of music in Canada, Studio Bell aims to educate and excite kids, adults and musicians alike. The space has a performance hall, recording studios and interactive exhibits, plus it houses the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
WHAT'S CLOSE BY
If you have time to range farther afield, here are three other cool spots to see in Alberta.
3 hours away: Red Rock Coulee
Get your camera ready! The prairie vistas at Red Rock Coulee are filled with unique spherical red boulders, thought to be the largest in the world.
4 hours away: Athabasca Glacier
In the summer, go for a guided tour across the most-visited glacier in North America. You can walk on the ice and collect fresh water from the streams.