From the shops and restaurants of 17th Avenue to the live music venues of Inglewood, there is no better way to experience Calgary than to explore one of its neighbourhoods. Wander the best neighbourhoods in the city, meet the locals, and get an insider’s view into what makes Calgary such a vibrant place.

Here’s what to expect when you explore some of Calgary’s most unique neighbourhoods.

1. The Beltline

Discover a stretch of art galleries and contemporary furniture showrooms along 10th, 11th, and 12th Avenues SW that make up The Beltline community known as the design district. Start your day with breakfast at Monki and check out their massive hot sauce collection, take a walking tour of public art and make the Chinook Arc light up using your phone, or check out Re:Grub for stacked burgers and out of this world milkshake creations that will make it easy to see why there is a lineup out the door.

2. 17th Avenue Retail & Entertainment District

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17th Avenue Retail & Entertainment District is the centre of Calgary’s nightlife and the ultimate place to see and be seen. Grab a pint at National on 17th, shop local with a huge collection of boutique retailers, watch some European football at the Ship and Anchor, and be sure to follow 17th Avenue to Cowboys Dance Hall for live concerts and dance party atmosphere that will get you dancing in no time. With hot restaurants and cool boutiques, 17th as the locals call it, is where Calgary comes to play.

3. International Avenue

Multiculturalism comes to life in Calgary with a trip down International Avenue . Murals celebrating the history and diversity of the community can be found throughout the neighbourhood while the annual Globalfest celebrates its international flare with a fireworks show that lights up the night sky each year. Get healthy and exquisite fare at Tomoka Coffe, explore authentic Ethiopian cuisine at Ensira, or go Around the World in 35 Blocks with a food tour that explores shops and market from over five continents.

4. Downtown and Stephen Avenue

Olympic Plaza

Downtown Calgary is the first stop for many visitors to Calgary and for good reason. Downtown activity is centered on Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue SW) a pedestrian mall and Calgary icon. On busy weekdays you will see Calgary’s business crowd mix with buskers and street performers, along with world-class restaurants, like Saltlik, a great place to try a classic Alberta steak. Calgary’s arts & culture scene is also anchored in this entertainment district with the Glenbow Museum open for exploring during the day and performing arts companies taking the many stages at Arts Commons and Theatre Junction GRAND at night.

5. Eau Claire

Eau Claire Market Mall

Eau Claire is known as Calgary’s festival district, sitting on the banks of the Bow River and hosting exciting community events every year. Explore local shops at Eau Claire Market Mall or catch a blockbuster movie at Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinemas for the perfect downtown movie date.

6. Chinatown

Follow the ornate blue dome of the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre and find your way to Chinatown for a cultural experience in the heart of downtown Calgary. A vibrant collection of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and South Asian restaurants, shops, grocers and bakeries make this friendly neighbourhood a cultural hub in Calgary. Silver Dragon Restaurant has been a local staple for over 40 years with fresh dim sum delivered tableside.

7. Marda Loop

A movie theatre and a trolley car gave the neighbourhood of Marda Loop its name. Today, this walkable community is home to a roll of the dice at Pips Board Game Café, deluxe five course meals that change daily at Anew Table, or try the Mud Pie Mint cookie at Cookie Occasion. The Marda Gras Street Festival attracts over 35,000 visitors each August for live music, dancing, shopping, food, and kid’s activities – best of all it is free to attend. If you want to get an idea of what a true Calgary neighbourhood has to offer, Marda Loop gives you an idea of where locals live, work, and play, all in one spot.

8. Inglewood

Ironwood

Inglewood is Calgary’s original main street and has the history to prove it. Today, this historic neighbourhood is a bohemian paradise of unique shops, restaurants, and live music venues that are all part of the Music Mile. Get an education in Japanese knives at Knifewear, try the wood fired rotisserie chicken at The Nash, or take in big band swing or live jazz standards at Ironwood Stage & Grill and you will see why Inglewood was named the Best Neighbourhood in Canada in 2015.

9. Kensington

Snap a must-have Instagram shot at the Peace Bridge before you walk across the Bow River to Kensington, one of the most walkable neighbourhoods in Calgary. Locals can’t get enough of the organic, fair trade coffee at Higher GroundYou can even take in art house movies and documentaries at Plaza Theatre, the oldest building in the neighbourhood.

 

10. East Village

The revitalized East Village is redefining the Calgary skyline with public spaces that any architecture enthusiast will fall in love with. Tune up with some music history at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, a performance and exhibition space inspired by the prairies, the mountains, and the inside of an instrument. Just a few blocks away, the historic Simmons Building brings three Calgary favourites under one roof with an Argentine wood-fired grill at charbar, coffee roasting at Phil & Sebastian, and the smell of fresh baked bread at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. From musical performances to fresh baked pastries, this former industrial area is bringing new life to Calgary one building at a time.

 

11. Mission

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What started as a French speaking community in the heart of Calgary has become a collection of trendy shops and restaurants along 4th Street in Calgary. Mission is home to vibrant flavours and restaurants for every taste. Check out the contemporary Mexican cuisine of Anejo, the Korean tapas of Anju, and the pretzels and boots of beer at WURST with a live oompah band performing every Saturday night in the basement pub. The neighbourhood shows its true colours each June with Lilac Festival, a celebration to shake off the winter blues and jump into spring.

 

12. Bridgeland

Bridgeland

Bridgeland might be known as Little Italy but has gained a reputation as the breakfast capital of Calgary and features several hole-in-the-wall restaurants you just have to try. Head to Edmonton Trail and become a fan of brunch with the organic, homegrown eggs served up at OEB Breakfast Co. and the Bridgeland Breakfast Sammy at Blue Star Diner. It’s always a good idea to get in line early for the legendary ramen at Shiki Menya – only a limited number are made each day – before you flip through the vinyl record collection at Lukes Drug Mart, a family run business since 1951.

 

Explore these unique neighbourhoods and book your trip to Calgary with Air Canada - Tourism Calgary's official partner airline, flying from over 35 destinations directly into YYC Calgary International Airport.

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