Calgary is one of the the most livable cities in Canada, but let’s break down the top neighbourhoods within it!
There are many things to see and do in Downtown Calgary. So naturally it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s the first stop for Calgary visitors. Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue SW) is Calgary’s only historical pedestrian mall. It offers pedestrians a unique year-round experience with a plethora of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. During Happy Hour on weekdays you’ll find Calgary’s business crowd along with street performers. You can choose to eat at first class restaurants, like Saltlik which offers a rare steakhouse experience or maybe have a cocktail at ONE18 EMPIRE, a whisk(e)y-inspired bar and restaurant which also offers breakfast. There are many unique stores and boutiques at Bankers Hall and the CORE. Calgary’s arts and culture scene are also very vibrant in this district. The Glenbow Museum, a cultural cornerstone, is open during the day and Arts Commons is here for you to experience music, theatre, and dance. Don’t forget to check out the Theatre Junction GRAND which has evolved to a hub for creation and presentation of contemporary performance from Calgary, Canada, and around the world.
17th Ave also know as the Retail & Entertainment District is a pedestrian friendly district with a variety of restaurants, shops, services and more. The communities that surround this area are the Beltline and Lower Mount Royal. Calgary’s famous boutique shopping destinations mix with everyday necessities. From Hot Yoga Studios, to accountants and salons, 17th Ave has you covered with accessible services and convenient ways to cross off your to-do list. If you are looking for a fun night out, this is where you most likely will end up, as most of Calgary’s nightlife is located here. Meet up with a friend for a coffee at Analog Coffee, grab a pint at National on 17th, watch a live band or some soccer at the Ship and Anchor or try some modern vegetarian cuisine at The COUP. And let’s not forget to mention that 17th Ave was nicknamed the “Red Mile” referring to the Calgary Flames 2004 playoff run. As the locals say, 17th Ave is where Calgary comes to play!
Eau Claire, known as Calgary’s Festival District, is centrally located in Downtown Calgary south of the Bow River and north of 4th Avenue. You will find a mix of riverside condos, restaurants, hotels, shops, a large public plaza with a market and a wading pool/spray park. Eau Claire is one of Calgary’s most popular areas with many great summer festivals, such as the Calgary Folk Music Festival, Carifest, and Shakespeare by the Bow. In the winter don’t miss the Skating Party which is a popular free event on the Prince’s Island Park lagoon. And if you’re in the mood for a movie, check out the Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinemas for the perfect downtown movie date.
Chinatown is Calgary’s most culturally distinctive neighbourhood and gives Calgarians a little taste of China, Hong Kong, Japan and Vietnam. Calgary’s Chinese Cultural Centre with the traditional architecture and décor, is the largest facility of its kind in North America. For shopping you would go to the Dragon City Mall with its small, independent shops selling music, Chinese art and affordable clothing, plus there are lots of restaurants and services. Check out the Silver Dragon Restaurant for some authentic Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, or if you’re having a late night out and feel hungry, the U & Me Restaurant is there for you 20 hours a day! Every summer Chinatown attracts thousands of visitors for its annual Chinatown Street Festival. The festival has six different zones, each of them featuring different attractions – merchants, food and cultural performances.
Beltine is a popular community with an urban feel, known as the design district as there are many art galleries and furniture showrooms. It’s one of Calgary’s most densely populated neighbourhoods, with a bustling vibrant street life, featuring a mix of retail shops, apartment buildings, condominiums and offices. It has the reputation of being one of Calgary’s primary areas for eclectic night-life, restaurants and urban culture but also is known for its embrace of heritage buildings. Beltline ranked 2nd overall in Calgary’s Best Neighbourhoods 2017 and has a Walk Score of 90. This makes it a top choice for residents that prefer a car-free lifestyle. There is a large variety of great restaurants such as Raw Bar for cocktails and Vietmodern cuisine, Holy Grill for breakfast or brunch and Craft Beer Market for food and drinks!
Inglewood is Calgary’s original Mainstreet and oldest neighbourhood. It’s a shopping and arts district with many parks and a pathway system that runs close by the river. If you are fond of nature reserves, you will find the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre ,the Bow Habitat Station, and the Inglewood Wildlands Park. Inglewood promotes arts and culture and is a district with many shops, boutiques and eateries. It is the home of Music Mile, Jazz YYC, Sunfest, Night Markets and many more events are hosted in Inglewood throughout the year. Willow Natural Foods is where you will find supplements, gluten free/vegan/organic groceries. You can visit the Ironwood Stage and Grill for live music every night, cocktails & refined bar fare or the ROUGE with its rich atmosphere, making it an ideal venue for your dining experience. Another fun thing to do with the family in Inglewood is to visit the Calgary Zoo which is Calgary’s top tourist attraction. Inglewood was named the Best Neighbourhood in Canada in 2015.
East Village has been redeveloped and revitalized with amazing architecture including several luxury condominium towers and carefully-restored historic buildings. This neighbourhood offers a new downtown lifestyle with walkable access to the best of city life. You will find public art and culture, new civic institutions like the New Central Library, and Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. Enjoy public spaces like the two kilometres of RiverWalk™ , lovely parks like St. Patrick’s Island Park and new retail and dining opportunities. The historic Simmons Building brings together three Calgary favourites – Charbar for Argentine wood-fired grill, Phil & Sebastian for grabbing a java and watching it roast, and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery for signature bread-baking and freshly baked pastries. All these are an invitation to explore every corner of this urban village.
Kensington is Calgary’s Urban Village with over 250 shops, restaurants, and services, plus its ultra pedestrian-friendly. If you are coming from Downtown, walk across the Louise Bridge, ride along the bike path, or use the Sunnyside LRT station and you’re there in just minutes. Calgary’s controversial and beloved Peace Bridge is a pedestrian bridge for both pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Bow River. Kensington is where you’ll find The Container Bar, Calgary’s only outdoor alleyway patio bar, Wine Bar Kensington a perfect spot to have a glass of wine and catch up with a friend and Flipp’n Burgers a popular retro-style burger joint. Locals can’t get enough of the organic, fair trade coffee at Higher Ground. End your night by watching a movie or documentary at the Plaza Theatre, the oldest building in the neighbourhood.
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