Calgary typically evokes images of cowboys, stampede, and major oil. While you can find copious amounts of people wearing cowboy hats in June, Calgary is actually a city with an incredible locally made scene. From food, to markets, to shopping, Calgary is the perfect place to find unique stores, and will have people asking you where that last Instagram picture was taken.
Winding through this city is the beautiful Bow River, where us locals flock to the minute the weather is beautiful (which is often, since we’re Canada’s sunniest city.) The river starts in the Rocky Mountains and flows crystal clear, bringing nature right to your feet, even though the skyscrapers are just a couple blocks away. This connection to nature seeps into the day-to-day lives of Calgarians, and visitors alike. So, toss any stereotypes you have of Calgary aside, and be prepared to experience a vibrant city, filled with gorgeous coffee shops, small smoothie joints, and the perfect socially conscious boutiques.
Phil & Sebastian
You’d think with over five locations in Calgary, you’d be able to find a seat at this coffee shop, but instead, Phil & Sebastian’s shops are always bustling. With direct trade coffee, delicious snacks, and the coolest décor, the vibes at Phil & Sebastian are some of the best in the city.
1126 Kensington Road N.W
Voted one of Calgary’s best coffee shops, they serve fairtrade and organic coffee, espresso and tea.
Rosso is a powerhouse in Calgary, but with over 6 locations, still manages to feel like you’re part of a small community.
Wild and Raw
1119 Kensington Road N.W
This café and juice bar is family owned, and is mostly vegan. They have delicious organic fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, hot drinks, and food.
Dairy Lane Café
319 19th St N.W
Open since 1950, this cozy (and I mean cozy – there are probably only 10 tables in this place) café has some of the best breakfast food in the city. They try to source every ingredient from local farmers, and have a mission to reduce their environmental footprint, while giving back to the community.
924 17th Ave S.W
Knowing about this restaurant is dangerous. Once you’ve tasted this delicious vegan and vegetarian food, and basked in the funky retro décor, you’ll be hooked.
The Village Flatbread Co.
In the mood for some pizza? The Village Flatbread is the place to go. With plenty of vegan and veggie options, everyone can enjoy a slice.
Ten Foot Henry
1209 1st St. S.W
This restaurant is named after a 1930’s Calgary comic strip character, who was a muse in Calgary’s creative community in the 1980’s. Ten Foot Henry has both a sit-down restaurant to enjoy a fancier dinner, as well as a grab and go café right next door.
1011 1st S.W.
Go here if you’re looking for some entertainment to go with your dinner & drinks. From jazz music, to spoken word poetry, to indie music, Café Koi is the place to go to support local art and music.
221 19th St. S.E
If you’re looking for something sweet, Fiasco gelato is the place to go. Fiasco is so much more than a gelato shop, as their mission and values are really what makes this place so incredible. This B Corp Certified business is committed to caring about for community and our planet.
102- 1812 4th St. S.W
This carefully curated store is stunning. The products are hand-picked for their beauty, craftsmanship, and ethical production.
Outside The Shape
1222 10th Ave S.E
This store is tucked inside a house, only discernable by its bright red door. Inside is a collection of Canadian makers, creators and artists. You can also stock up on your zero waste essentials here!
1327 9th Ave S.E
Walking into Plant is like walking into a jungle dreamland. Every square inch of this place is filled with plants, succulents, planters, and home décor, all perfect for making your home a garden oasis. (P.S The shop has two dogs, bouLake and Clyde! They love getting pets.)
135 8th Ave S.W
This company is a world-wide leader in corporate responsibility, and is the perfect place to stop in at for any adventure gear you might need while exploring in and around Calgary.
Velour Clothing Exchange
200-1022 17th Ave S.W
This vintage store specializes in 60s-90s vintage clothing, but has a selection of modern clothing, all consigned! Plus, the owner, Myra, is so kind and helpful, and is such a fashion inspiration!
921 9th Ave, S.W
Pick up any of your beauty and natural wellness products here. They have a large selection of zero waste products as well.
Things To Do
Walk along the Bow River
Grab a cup of coffee, and stroll along the Bow River. It’s a beautiful walk, and connects so many neighborhoods that make up Calgary.
Surf the Bow River
While you’re walking, you may see a few brave souls surfing on the river. Yes. That’s right. Surfing. This sport has gained popularity in the city, and on warm summer days, you can find groups of people sitting in the grass, watching the local surf crowd conquer the waves. You can rent surfboards in town, and give it a try!
130 9th Ave S.E
This art museum is a must see while visiting Calgary. Learn about the history of Alberta and the indigenous groups that have been here since time immemorial. There is also a great rotating selection of exhibitions featuring world renowned artists, and Canadian icons.
Take a spin class at YYC Cycle
101-3505 14th St. S.W
Check out the Give’r classes on Fridays. For 10$ (with 100% of the proceeds going to a local charity) you can sweat it out to good tunes, knowing that you’re helping give to organizations doing great things in Calgary.
Bike and brewery tour
Spend an afternoon biking and drinking your way through Calgary with Nomad Bike Tours. You’ll get to see some of the sights that most people miss when they come to Calgary, and you get to taste some of the best beers while you’re at it.
Gay history walks with Calgary Gay History Project
Lead researcher and historian Kevin Allen started the Calgary Gay History project to educate people on the city’s gay history. Allen leads Gay History Walking tours, highlighting significant political and social events, as well as visiting historical gathering spots for the LGBTQ+ community.