Best of Calgary
Collected by Amie Watson
After the worst flooding in Alberta history last June, Calgary is on the mend. Forced to renovate and rebuild, however, Calgarians are taking the situation as an opportunity to improve and reinvigorate their town. And powerful as it was, the flood couldn’t wash away the budding fine dining scene, food truck culture, craft beer renaissance, and new downtown bike lanes. After a thorough watering, the YYC—as locals affectionately call it—is a blooming wild rose.
140 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A3, Canada
The plaque of past “Beer passport” winners posted on the wall at this neighborhood watering hole makes you want to be a regular. Those fine folk all successfully completed the challenge of drinking eighty of the pub’s international beers over the...
2043 33 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 1Z5, Canada
Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters are the golden standard of well-made, high-quality coffee in Canada—two of its baristas placed first and second at the 2012 Canadian National Barista Championship. P&S has been roasting its own coffee since 2009,...
2310 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1X2, Canada
Thanks to an Enomatic Wine System for preserving open bottles of wine, Vin offers more than 100 glasses in 2 oz tasters, 6 oz glasses, and even by the half bottle. You’ll find reasonably priced gems, including the Calliope Figure Eight...
1308 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T3, Canada
Spolumbo’s Fine Foods sells gourmet Italian sausage sandwiches made by three Italian-Canadian boys—men, really, since former Canadian football players and co-owners Tom, Mike, and Tony are about three times the size of the average Canadian (about...
1414 8 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J6, Canada
Both a store and a food truck, this is the home of all things sweet, stuffed and iced. Jelly Modern makes its artisanal donuts fresh daily with local, organic ingredients whenever possible. There’s an online schedule to remind you that Madagascar...
899 Centre St S, Calgary, AB T2G 1B8, Canada
When award-winning CHARCUT Roast House started selling the best $5 burger in Calgary from the back alley of its restaurant, lines stretched around the block. Now the local, natural pork and roasted garlic sausage patties come from the hottest...
1240 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M7, Canada
One of only two Canadian restaurants to ever make the S. Pellegrino Top 100 list, this Inglewood fine dining establishment has reopened post-flood with a revamped, local, seasonal menu. When the weather permits, take a seat on the garden patio...
804 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3J6, Canada
This kitschy, old-school diner serves massive portions of mouth-watering breakfast and lunch fare. Hungry families, hipsters, and businesspeople alike dig in to pulled pork hash with caramelized apples and onions served in a mini skillet; crispy...
340 13 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0W9, Canada
This little sister of the award-winning River Café stands on its own two feet. The same philosophies abound, however (local ingredients, herbs and greens from the restaurant’s garden, slowly roasted meat, and lots of vegetarian options), and, like...
718 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B7, Canada
Nominated for the Best New Restaurant Canada award in EnRoute Magazine, this exciting eatery hit the radar when its former chef competed on Top Chef Canada. He then relocated to British Columbia, leaving his sous chef in charge of both the market...
308 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8, Canada
Definitely the coolest restaurant on the block, Model Milk, housed in a former dairy building, does eclectic fine dining in a rustic-hip setting (think exposed brick, and uncovered light bulbs dangling from salvaged wood). There’s nothing stuffy...
119 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G8, Canada
At Raw Bar, sip a well-made, Asian-inspired cocktail by the heated outdoor pool. The refreshing menu features premium liquors and is the creation of the bar’s award-winning mixologists. The best poolside concoctions include the “Canton Swizzle”...
1215 10 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0W6, Canada
Every year the Calgary Folk Music Festival takes over Prince’s Island Park for the best in North America country, bluegrass and folk music. This year’s fest featured country veteran, Steve Earle, Nova Scotian heart string-puller, Amelia Curran,...
1429 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T4, Canada
This live blues bar in Inglewood is known for its great music and its Cajun menu. Come for dinner and stay for the show. But if you don’t want to pay the $15-25 cover fee, then it’s best to book a table early and enjoy the deep-fried pickles with...
2206a 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W9, Canada
For one week in late June, the Sled Island music and arts festival fills the downtown core’s top venues with the best in Canadian indie music. Past performers include Austin, Texas rockers, Explosions in the Sky, and up-and-coming Canadian star,...
1817 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary, AB T2M 4R6, Canada
While Canada might be a hockey nation, in Calgary from June to November football is king. The Calgary Stampeders’ proximity to their rivals, the unfortunately named (and, subjectively, weaker) Edmonton Eskimos makes for plenty of controversy....
210 St. George's Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6, Canada
While few Calgarians were seriously injured during the flooding, the Calgary Zoo was relatively hard hit. It lost four peacocks (most of the flock of twelve evaded collection by staff sent to evacuate them) and a pot-bellied pig (it died from the...
1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1, Canada
Calgary is famous for the Calgary Stampede, ten days of cowboys, rodeo events, chuckwagon races, a midway (complete with deep fried Mars bars and corn dogs) and great music. No one’s kidding when they call it The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
698 Eau Claire Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P, Canada
A two minute walk from the bustle of downtown Calgary, Prince’s Island Park—which is surrounded by the Bow River—is home to festivals all summer long. The Calgary Folk Music Festival and 52,000 of its closest friends rock and/or folk out on the...
1212 13 St SE #104, Calgary, AB T2G 5R3, Canada
This home of modern design is part gallery and part store. It’s full of innovative abstract art and functional contemporary decor such as John Greg Ball’s subsonic chair with built-in subwoofers, Eveline Kolijn’s sculptural installations, and...
2429 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1X2, Canada
Enjoy a detoxifying facial and professional make-up application in this chandelier-illuminated contemporary parlor that’s somewhere between retro-chic boudoir and Victorian teatime. Whether you need your nails done or your hair styled for dinner,...
1006 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M4, Canada
Calgary’s Inglewood neighborhood has come a long way from its trading-post roots. Founded in 1875 as a commerce hub along the Bow and Elbow rivers, it emptied out as residents moved to the suburbs. Now it’s seeing a revival, with shops, galleries,...
197 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4M4, Canada
You’ll have to check the calendar for the next pop-up event from this collective of over a hundred local artists and musicians. From upcycled, eye-popping necklaces by Tinged to the masculine characteristics of designer Rebecca King's elegant...
1403 9 Avenue Southeast, Calgary, AB T2G 0T4, Canada
To the team behind the Silk Road Spice Merchant the difference between artisanal, freshly ground coffee and your average pre-ground brew is the same as the difference between small-batch, aromatic herbs and spices from their shop and the dried...
1609 14 St SW, Calgary, AB T3C 1E4, Canada
With five locations and a well-organized in-store digital database, the friendly staff of family-run Fair’s Fair used bookstore can easily find what you’re looking for, and they have the best selection of popular and hard-to-find books in the...
120 10 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V3, Canada
For over a decade Trend has been one of the best consignment stores in Calgary. The discerning deal-seeker will dive into the color-coded racks of gently worn dresses, pants and shirts from brands including Banana Republic and Jacob. The clothes...
835 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A1, Canada
2501 Alyth Road SE, Bay 2, Calgary, AB T2G 1P7, Canada
Since 2002, Paul Hardy has been the local boy with design talent to spare. Now regarded as one of Canada’s top designers, some of his “Oscar-worthy” designs and soft, elegant lines of women’s apparel have won him praise from celebrity stylist,...
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