With it’s urban sprawl and close to 200 communities, Calgary can seem like a pretty big city. But, for those who become acquainted with the growing metropolis, it starts to feel pretty small. Closing in on my fourth year here, I’ve been able to explore a lot of different areas, and of course, have developed a few favourites.
1. 17th Avenue SW
This is the community that I gleefully call home. After months of research and condo shopping, it was a no-brainer. The community is close to downtown, filled with green space, and just so cool.
The scenery on 17th Ave has changed from “party central” to a district filled with up & coming restaurants, trendy shops, and high-grade coffee spots. If you’re looking for a patio to sit and have a drink, a great meal, or enjoy just the culture of seeing people out-and-about, this is the place to be. Some of my favourites include:
The community of mission neighbours 17th Avenue, and as expected, it is becoming pretty trendy itself. If you’re looking for excellent desserts, designer clothing, Mexican, Italian, or Lebanese food, this is the place to be. A little farther from downtown, you will find the Elbow river running along the edge of this community, landscaped with a boardwalk and natural park space. My favourites include:
Mercato (looking for something to pick up? No problem – try the market!)
One Cycle (okay, this might not fit with my restaurant theme, but if you’re looking to burn a few calories before a big meal, this is the spot to go)
3. Stephen Avenue
Stephen Ave and its surrounding area are where you will find the after work crowd. Filled with restaurants and attached to the main downtown shopping centre, this district is always filled with hustle & bustle. The cobbled streets, sandstone buildings, and old banks are not to be missed. Plus, stop in one of the western wear shops and pick yourself up something for Stampede.
The Core (Bright and spacious, this mall is sure to have all of your fashion needs)
Ruth’s Chris (Okay this is technically on 9th ave, but it’s the best steak I’ve ever had)
National Patio (I haven’t actually been here yet, but it has one of the few roof top patios in Calgary, for those nights you just want to sit and soak up the summer breeze)
This area is the old city of Calgary. It is undergoing gentrification, but the main drag still keeps the charm of a tiny village with boutique shops, a fire-hall turned restaurant, and antique stores (for you military buffs, there is a military superstore as well). You enter the district through downtown via an old, steel bridge – letting you know things have changed. There are excellent bike and walking paths along the water, and all the houses have such character. Be sure to visit:
Silk Road Spice Merchant (I couldn’t speak more highly of it)
5. Aspen Landing
This community is located at the end of the newly created west LRT line. It is about a 20 minute drive from the downtown core, but it is suburbia at its finest. Things can be a little pricy here, but some great shops include: