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11 fun things to do in Calgary this summer

LIVE together | 13 MIN READ | 2019-06-25

Calgary is a beautiful city, filled with amazing views and growing neighbourhoods. And there’s so much to do – from outdoor activities to cultural celebrations and musical events. We’ve done the research and pulled together 11 fun things to do in Calgary while the weather outside isn’t frightful. Here’s the quick list, with details below:

1. Explore the Bow River

2. Experience the Calgary Stampede

3. Get lost at Calgary Corn Maze

4. Learn about and celebrate different cultures

5. Jam out at a musical event

6. Ride a rollercoaster at Calaway Park

7. Get active with different activities across Calgary

8. Do some shopping at a local farmers’ market

9. Catch some rays at the beach

10. Pack a picnic and enjoy Calgary’s skyline

11. Attend a pet-friendly event with your furry friend

1. Take a float down the Bow River

girls in rafts splashing each other on the Bow River in Calgary

Image Credit: Avenue Calgary

*Notice: While the Bow River is truly beautiful, there is a current advisory on from the City of Calgary to refrain from boating or taking part in activities on the river due to rising water levels. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the views or bike along its paths, but please remember this and watch for the advisory to be lifted before partaking in the activities suggested here.*

The Bow River is simply stunning whether you walk, boat, float, or swim in it.  It has so much history too! According to Travel Alberta, it originates in the Canadian Rockies and flows 587 kilometers through the town of Banff and east through Canmore and the foothills, through the city of Calgary and on through the prairies. 

It’s also famous for its trout fishing. But even if you’re not an angler, there are still so many ways you can enjoy this long and beautiful, flowing body of water. Here are some other things to do on the Bow River in Calgary:

Bring a canoe, enough lifejackets for all, and paddle your heart out

Rent a kayak or raft, or blow up a floaty and float your way down the river (just be sure you have a way to get back to your car!)

Get a campsite and go camping on the bank of the Bow River

Go for a bike ride, walk or jog along the river

Pack a picnic and enjoy the views

Bring your bathing suit and jump in!

The Bow River also leads to St. Patrick’s Island, where you can visit Fort Calgary, experience the Calgary Zoo, have lunch or pack a picnic basket filled with goodies. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

2. Experience the Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede man riding horse in arena

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

This one may seem obvious, but if you haven’t taken in the Calgary Stampede, you should. From Friday, July 5th to Sunday, July 14th, this is THE event in Calgary where you can experience shows (like rodeos!), listen to music and experience different attractions like the Calgary Stampede Parade (happening on July 6th). The parade is something you shouldn’t miss, with two hours of entertainment including floats, marching bands, western horseback riders and more!

Ticket prices vary depending on the event and show, but for general admission, it’s free for kids under 7 years old, $9 for children (ages 7-12) and seniors (ages 65+), and $18 for everyone in between. With multiple events happening each day, be sure to plan your schedule according to what you’re interested in and see what’s happening here.

3. Get lost in Southern Alberta's largest corn maze

Calgary corn maze 2018 superheroes in the maze

Image Credit: Calgary Corn Maze

The theme and design changes every year at the Calgary Corn Maze (last year it was superheroes!), how fun is that? It’s also the largest corn maze in Southern Alberta, at over 10 acres in size consisting of two phases. Each phase takes 30-50 minutes to complete, depending on how lucky your path choices are. However, they do offer shorter corn mazes (around 20 minutes) for families and younger kids. 

Be sure to check the seasonal schedule for growth heights before you go – in late-July the corn typically reaches 6 feet and above, and in mid-August it reaches 8 feet and above (that’s to say it’s worth the wait if you’re 6 feet and up!).

At night, they have “Flashlight Nights”, where guests can go through the mazes in the dark. This is for older kids and adults and takes at least 45 minutes to complete, but sounds like a great time for a date or night out with friends. In early to late August, there’s also a sunflower maze at the Calgary Corn Maze farm – the perfect place for photos and to enjoy pretty flowers. 

4. Celebrate different cultures with these events in Calgary this summer

image of Calgary skyline from a distance

Image Credit: Daily Hive

Calgary is a city filled with culture, with lots of events, parades and dances happening all summer long. If you’re looking for something to do, why not experience, learn about and celebrate the different cultures in our beautiful country of Canada? Here’s a bunch we found worth checking out: 

Feast and dance at Mexifest in Eau Claire, Calgary: It’s a party! With authentic food, entertainment, vendors and markets – experience Mexican culture at this street fair from July 5th to July 7th. Tickets are $15-$30 (depending on if you want to go for one day or the weekend) and it’s located at Eau Claire Market Plaza in Downtown Calgary.

Celebrate and learn about Turkish culture at the Calgary Turkish Festival: From July 12th to July 14th, this free entry Turkish Festival includes traditional art, folk dance, music and gourmet food. There’s also lots of events for the kids! Check it out at 139 Barclay Parade Southwest in Calgary.

Check out Fiestaval, an opportunity to learn about Latin American culture: Have some fun at the Latin American Culture festival with delicious Latin cuisine, dancing and entertainment on July 19th to July 21st from 11 am to 11 pm at the Downtown Calgary Olympic Plaza (228 8th Avenue Southeast). Plus, it’s free for anyone to attend!

Visit Calgary’s 9th annual Japanese “Omatsuri” Festival: Learn about authentic Japanese customs, presentations of traditional dance, music and song, martial arts and more on Saturday, August 10th from 10 am to 5 pm at the Max Bell Centre in Calgary. 

Be a part of Heritage Day in Calgary: On Monday, August 5th from 10 am to 5 pm at the Heritage Park Historical Village, wear your traditional cultural clothing and enjoy a live ceremony welcoming new Canadians, family-friendly games, shops, exhibits and challenges to get to know others in the community. See prices for admission here

Expo Latino is Western Canada’s biggest Latin Festival: On August 16th, 17th and 18th, Expo Latino features world class performances of dancing, cultural food and an artisan market. Head to Prince’s Island Park to enjoy this festival in Calgary and visit the website to purchase tickets.

Fiesta Filipino YYC at Calgary’s Olympic Plaza: From August 30th to September 1st visit Calgary’s Olympic Plaza for Fiesta Filipino, where activities like live music, markets and food celebrate traditional Filipino culture. Tickets haven’t gone on sale yet – visit the website for updates.

5. Love music? Check out these musical events in Calgary this summer

Calgary music festival band on stage

Image Credit: The City of Calgary

Music events are the best – especially when you can enjoy them outdoors. Everyone there shares the common love, and dancing and singing along is always highly encouraged. Check out this list for some exciting musical events happening in Calgary this summer:

Calgary International Blues Festival: Held at various locations, jam out at the 15th annual Calgary International Blues Festival from July 29th to August 4th this year. Tickets are definitely worth the price for the quality and breadth of amazing music this event offers! 

Calgary Folk Festival (celebrating 40 years!): Deep roots plus cool grooves equals this event, from July 25th to July 28th at Festival Hall in Calgary. With 71 bands from around the world, you’ll get your value for the price, including memories you won’t forget.

Heritage Town Square free concerts: On Wednesday evenings from July 3rd to August 28th, enjoy free concerts at Heritage Town Square (front of the park before the gates in Engineered Air Bandstand) from 6 pm to 8 pm. Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy this lineup of music all summer long.

Country Thunder Music Festival: If a weekend of country music sounds like your thing, this event is for you! From August 16th to August 18th at Prairie Winds Park, listen to artists like Terri Clark, Lauren Alaina, Jake Aldean and Jake Owen get their country music on. Here’s the website with all the details.

Zac Brown Band: Again, for the country music lovers – on Friday, July 12th Zac Brown Band is playing at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Tickets start at $75.00 each – find more information here.

Looking for more music events in Calgary this summer? Check out this list – there are just too many to name!

6. Test your courage at Calaway Park in Calgary

theme park in Calgary green rollercoaster

Image Credit: The Crazy Tourist

The biggest outdoor amusement park in Western Canada – Calaway Park in Calgary is open from May 18th to October 14th this year. This park is 160 acres of pure fun, with over 32 rides and games, food, entertainment and events for the family.

Check out the list of events happening at the park, including family fun Friday nights, comic fest for kids, Canadian Heroes Weekend, and more.

7. Calgary summer events for those that like to get active

person riding a bike through a bridge in Calgary

Image Credit: Cornerstone

Calgary is the perfect city for walking, biking or jogging basically anywhere (because it’s so beautiful!). But if you’re looking for something new, here are some outdoor and sporty Calgary events this summer: 

Calling all bikers for Cyclepalooza: Calgary is so beautiful, why not bike it? From July 12th to July 21st, bike around Calgary for a community-driven, DIY festival for cyclers in Calgary. Check out the schedule of events here.

Watch some water sports at the annual Chestermere Water Festival: On Saturday, July 27th, head to Chestermere for a wakeboard competition, food trucks and boat tours, fireworks, a Kids’ Fun Zone, an artisan market and beer gardens. This is all happening at John Peake Park from 11 am to 11 pm and the schedule of events is coming soon.

Hike to the waterfalls near Calgary: Looking for a weekend getaway? Check out this list of 15 Alberta waterfalls worth the trip for some ideas to get you started.

Tee up at the 2019 ASIS Golf Tournament in Calgary: On Monday, August 12th at Lynx Ridge Golf Club in Calgary, put together your best foursome for an afternoon of golfing, dinner, drinks and awards. More information here.

Get the kids involved in the Tiny Tykes Triathlon: On Sunday, July 7th from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, bring your little ones from ages 3-8 years old to partake in different activities like swimming, running and biking. What a great way to have some fun with your kids this summer!

Looking for more fitness and sports events in Calgary this summer? Check out this expansive list.

8. Go shopping at a farmers' market in Calgary

farmers market veggies and prices

What’s more fun than waking up on a Saturday morning, grabbing your reusable shopping bags, and heading to a local farmers’ market? Especially in the summer when the sun is shining, the air is fresh and people are smiling, it’s a great way to shop for groceries (and grab a pulled pork sandwich or freshly baked croissant).

Here’s a list of farmers’ markets in and around Calgary from May to October 2019. Need we say more?

9. Grab your sunscreen and head to the beach

girl with pink floatie jumping into a lake

There aren’t a lot of public beaches in Calgary, but there are a few good ones. If you’re looking to catch some rays by the water, here are three public beaches you can hit up this summer in Calgary:

Sikome Beach in Calgary is open from June 29th to September 2nd every day from 10 am to 7 pm. For $3-$5 (children 5 and under are free), you can’t go wrong packing a lunch and spending the day here. The lake is sandy and the beach is large (and quite busy) so there’s lots of room. There are playground nearby too, for those that would rather swing than swim.

Ebeling Beach at Aspen Beach Provincial Park has lots of room and is kid-friendly, but it’s first-come-first-serve, so be sure to arrive early (it can fill up around 11 am most days)! Entry and parking are free, there’s a hot food concession stand on the beach and playgrounds are nearby. 

Bowness Park in Calgary has a playground, wading pool, coffee shop and restaurant, and boat rentals in the summer. It’s located in Northwest Calgary and is the perfect place to sit by the water, throw rocks, play around and catch some rays.

This website tells you all about the 10 beaches to explore in and around Calgary – check it out for more ideas! Pool hopping more your thing? This pool finder helps you find the pools closest to you, quick and easy.

10. Pack a picnic and enjoy the view of Calgary's skyline at Nose Hill Park

two people having a picnic with healthy juices

In Northwest Calgary, you’ll find the expansive Nose Hill Park, a natural environment park covering 11 square kilometers. It has fantastic views, hiking trails, off-leash dog park areas, public washrooms, and is open from 5 am to 11 pm daily. 

Be sure to wear hiking shoes if you plan to go for walks around the park, as paths are dirt and quite hilly. If you’re into trail biking, this is a great place for you, too! Bring a picnic basket filled with snacks and water and take a stroll around for a fun, outdoor summer day in Calgary.

11. Have a weekend out with your furry friend

girl in blue dress holding a white fluffy dog

On July 27th and July 28th, Pet-a-Palooza is hosting the biggest pet party in Calgary – with Running of the Bulls, wiener dog races, a puppy stampede and dock diving. From 10 am to 4 pm, admission is free and is located at Eau Claire, 200 Barclay Parade. 

Apparently, 1 in 10 Calgary residents own at least one dog – so if that’s you, head on over for a barking good time.

There you have it – a list of 11 fun things to do in the exciting city of Calgary this summer. Let us know what you’re getting up to in the West this summer by sending us pics of your favourite activities and we’ll be sure to share them!

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