48 Hours in Calgary: Summer Guide

couple walking through a downtown Calgary Park on a sunny summer day
couple walking through a downtown Calgary Park on a sunny summer day
Seasonal Itinerary

48 Hours in Calgary: Summer Guide

The top things to do in the city during a sunny summer visit

As Canada’s sunniest city, Calgary in summer is all about maximizing time outdoors and soaking up the sunshine. With a variety of festivals, markets, parks, hikes, and patios there’s so much to explore. Here are some bucket-list ideas to spend two fun summer days in the city. 

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Day One: Nature Walks and Market Finds

Morning in Inglewood 

Established in 1875, Inglewood is one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods and is full of locally owned restaurants, breweries, shops, and historic buildings. Thanks to its small-town vibe, it has remained highly walkable and a bike-friendly area. Kick off your morning at one of the great breakfast destinations below before strolling along the Music Mile, which spans from Inglewood into the East Village and is home to 20 music venues, including the historic King Eddy. 

Where to Eat: Breakfast 

  • Monki Breakfast Club & Bistro: Breakfast with a twist awaits at this Instagrammable restaurant, with exposed brick walls, wall-mounted plants, monkey figurines hidden throughout, and casual seating. Order creative dishes like the breakfast perogies, kimchi hash, and Ube mochi pancakes. 
  • Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar: This family-owned café is a must-visit for its in-house roasted coffee and hearty dishes like a roasted butternut salad, avocado tuna salad wrap, and fruit and protein-packed smoothies. 
  • Inglewood Drive-In: If you’re starting your day a bit later, try kicking it off with a kimchi burger or browse the breakfast menu for diner-style sandwiches like the spicy maple bacon or old-school bacon and eggs at this local old school diner. Looking for a cool treat? Try the refreshing and fruity Dole Whip! 

What to Do: Inner-City Hike 

After fuelling up, put that newfound energy to use with an inner-city hike. The Bow River pathways connect to the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, which first opened in 1929 and is home to more than 200 species of birds and mammals. A 1.4-kilometre (0.87 mi) loop trail is great for birdwatching, particularly in the morning when wildlife tends to be most active. The trail winds through grasslands, marshes, and forests and feels like an escape from the city.  

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family walking outside Inglewood Drive-In with ice cream

Inglewood Drive-In is a favourite burger shop for locals

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Spend the morning bird-watching at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary (photo credit: Tess Ciarloni)


Afternoon in Ramsay 

Next to Inglewood, this heritage community has ties to Calgary’s industrial-building period when railyards, a sandstone quarry, and stockyards surrounded the area. And, like Inglewood, there’s no shortage of outdoor fun with beautiful patios at craft breweries, walking paths, or an epic photo op of Calgary’s skyline on Scotsman’s Hill.  

Where to Eat: Lunch 

  • Red’s Diner: Lunch fare at this classic diner includes favourites like the chicken club, BLT sandwiches, and fish & chips. The build-your-own-burger option lets you customize the perfect burger to satisfy your cravings.  
  • The Dandy Brewing Company: Alberta’s first nano-brewery pairs 20 taps of its own Dandy beer with big New York-style pizzas and house-made sodas, all packed with flavour. If you’re unsure what beer to start with, the restaurant offers samples in its tasting room. Dine inside or on the expanded patio. 
  • Rosso Coffee Roasters: Located in what was originally an iron foundry, Rosso’s Ramsay café is a showcase of industrial architecture. It’s also a tasty spot for lunch and fresh coffee, ground on-site. Alongside seasonal coffee brews, the menu features pesto chicken and vegan sandwiches, and loaded salads. Enjoy on the garden patio. 

What to Do: Explore the Market 

Crossroads Market isn’t your typical farmers’ market. While you can certainly find farm-fresh veggies and tasty treats, plenty of unexpected novelties and unique finds can be discovered amid the 150 vendors selling antiques and crafts. Take home a vintage comic book or old-school butter dish to make your trip to the market feel like a treasure hunt. 

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calgary skyline from Scotsmans Hill during Calgary Stampede

Scotsman's Hill offers picture-perfect skyline views. Visit during July to see an overview of the action at Calgary Stampede (photo credit: Anna Grebeschuk)

group of friends sampling beer at Dandy Brewing

Sample craft beverages at Dandy Brewing (photo credit: Roth & Ramberg)


Evening in Mission 

Make your way about 10 minutes west to the Mission district. Originally a Francophone village called Rouleauville, Mission is now a bustling inner-city community. It still has ties to its past, with historic buildings, parks, and cafés all full of European charm. Its main drag, 4th Street, is a foodie’s paradise with a variety of delicious international cuisines, along with fun bars and patios to enjoy an evening cocktail.  

Where to Eat: Dinner 

  • Shokunin: Voted one of Canada's top restaurants, Shokunin is a modern take on Japanese cuisine with a Canadian twist. Small plates, meant to share with friends and family, and seasonal ingredients, are at the heart of this contemporary Japanese dining experience. Enjoy sashimi, ramen, seafood, fish, Yasai vegetables, and so much more. 
  • Añejo: Inspired by Jalisco and Central Mexico, Añejo offers Mexican flare in a bright and colourful setting. Enjoy authentic tacos, spicy chilli, tortilla soup, and desserts like churros. The restaurant is also home to Canada’s largest tequila selection, so add a little fiesta to your dinner! 
  • South Block Barbecue & Brewing Co.: Stop by this barbecue restaurant and brewery, which brings a Carolina-style approach to its wood-smoked meats. There’s plenty to try from the apricot pork belly, brisket and pimento mac n cheese to the brown butter herb turkey. Round out your mouth-watering meal with maple bourbon carrots or beets and goat cheese. 

What to Do: Take a Historical Walking Tour 

There are 14 points of interest to explore around Mission’s historic districts, which you can discover with a free walking tour that delves into the history and significance of each stop. The tour starts at Rouleauville Square, once the heart of the village, which offers views of the historic St. Mary’s Cathedral. The tour continues through the neighbourhood, passing along the Elbow River pathway, through Lindsay Park and up 4th Street.  

Where to Stay 

  • Le Germain Hotel: Elegance and comfort come together at Le Germain Hotel. Enjoy flexible checkout times, room service and a 24-hour gym during your stay. Plus, its award-winning restaurant, CHARCUT Roast House, is helmed by Top Chef Canada finalist, Connie DeSousa.  
  • Fairmont Palliser: This historic hotel is over a century old and has stood as a historical landmark since 1914. Today, it offers a stately stay with 407 elegantly designed rooms, a large indoor pool, and historic spaces to visit, like the Hawthorn Dining Room & Bar. 
  • Sheraton Suites: This pet-friendly hotel includes a pool with a waterslide, free breakfast, and an on-site fitness centre. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of the downtown core.  
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South Block Barbecue & Brewing sign

Hit the patio at South Block to soak up the sun while enjoying Carolina-style barbecue smoked meats

exterior of the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in downtown Calgary

The Historic Fairmont Palliser Hotel is in the heart of Downtown Calgary (photo credit: Travel Alberta/David Lieske)


Day Two: Brunch, Murals, and Musics

Morning at Prince's Island Park 

Located on the Bow River in the heart of Calgary, Prince's Island Park is a natural escape from downtown that doubles as grounds for some of the city's biggest festivals. From the lively Calgary Folk Music Festival to the colourful Carifest, and hilarious Great Outdoors Comedy Festival, there is always something fun to see, attend, or explore. 

Where to Eat: Brunch 

  • Prologue Day Bar: Sample specialty coffees, artisan teas, and French pastries to start your day. Or, for something heartier, the avocado toast and breakfast wraps pair perfectly with the selection of handcrafted cocktails available after 9 a.m. 
  • Flower & Wolf: Every dish here is made from scratch using carefully selected ingredients, local produce, and seasonal ingredients. Dine outside on the picturesque patio, and enjoy the fluffy buttermilk pancakes, smoothie bowls, and French toast. 
  • Hutch Café: Start your morning with French-inspired cuisine and a dash of home-style cooking. Choose from dishes like the lobster Benedict or breakfast platter, made with locally sourced vegetables, seafood, and meats.  

What to Do: Float or Paddle Down the Bow River 

One of Calgary’s most popular summer activities is a lazy tube, raft, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard ride down the Bow River. Lazy Day Raft Rentals provide everything you need for a great time on the river plus convenient drop-off stations at the end of your water adventure. 

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interior shot of Flower & Wolf's dining room

Eat local at Flower & Wolf

woman paddle boarding down the Bow River with the city skyline in the background

Paddle or float down the Bow River with equipment from Lazy Day Rentals. The float ends right at their drop-off location (photo credit: Olga Mangova)


Evening in East Village 

Music lovers and architecture enthusiasts will fall in love with a visit to East Village. This community is home to Studio Bell: Home of the National Music Centre, which explores the sights, sounds, and stories of Canada’s musical history. Nearby, the visually striking Central Library is a must-see. 

Where to Eat: Dinner 

  • Simmons Building: Home to three Calgary favourites under one roof, here you’ll find dishes cooked on Charbar’s wood-fire grill, steaming coffee from Phil & Sebastian and aromatic, fresh-baked pastries and bread from Sidewalk Citizen Bakery
  • Nupo: Sample artisanal cocktails and a flavourful vegan and sushi-forward menu. Treat yourself to the unique Omakase Sushi Experience, offering three seasonal dishes, a sashimi tasting and 12 courses of nigiri. 
  • Fortuna’s Row: Dine in a sunbeam-lit, century-old warehouse transformed into a contemporary Latin American brunch & supper club, located along Calgary's scenic riverfront. Chef Mikko Tamarra, celebrated for his culinary prowess and inspired by his experiences in Mexico and Peru, invites guests on a vibrant culinary journey through Latin America. 

What to Do: Explore St. Patrick’s Island 

East Village connects to a revitalized urban oasis known as St. Patrick’s Island. Stroll through and discover a fishing cove, naturalized wetlands, wooded areas, a playground, an accessible picnic area, and an amphitheatre.   

Where to Stay 

  • Hilton Garden Inn: Stay the night in this welcoming hotel with a restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace, indoor pool and free shuttle service to the airport. 
  • Hyatt Regency: Relax in cozy, well-appointed rooms, among the largest you’ll find in Calgary, and spacious suites offering scenic city views where you can relax after a day of exploration. 
  • Alt Hotel Calgary: Ultra-comfortable rooms with views of the Bow River await in this friendly hotel with flexible checkout times and a 24-hour gym. 
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two ladies walk their bikes along a pathway on St. Patrick's Island Park

Visit the Bloom sculpture, a 23-metre-tall art installation made of connected streetlights that represent a towering flower, on St. Patrick's Island Park (photo credit: Travel Alberta/Roth & Ramberg)

people gather to have cocktails at Fortuna's Row

Dine on Latin-American cuisine at the trendy Fortuna's Row (photo credit: Colin Way)