48 Hours in Calgary: Winter Guide

three friends riding the conveyer up WinSport snow hill with snow tubes
three friends riding the conveyer up WinSport snow hill with snow tubes
Seasonal Itinerary

48 Hours in Calgary: Winter Guide

Things to do during a winter weekend in the city

Calgary is a winter city. Whether you’ve lived with winter your whole life or you've never seen a snowflake, Calgary will invigorate and inspire during the snowy months. 48 hours is the perfect amount of time to experience the city, either before or after a visit to Banff. Here are some ideas for your quintessential winter visit.

Supress from menu


Day One: Neighbourhoods, Skating, and Cocktails

Morning in East Village

East Village, one of Calgary’s most lively neighbourhoods. Bordering the river and located adjacent to downtown, the walkability of the East Village makes it perfect for a winter stroll to discover some of the city’s best destinations including the award-winning Central Library or one of Calgary’s oldest buildings, The King Edward Hotel

Where to Eat: Breakfast 

  • Sidewalk Citizen Bakery: Take your pick from a variety of fresh pastries or dive into Sidewalk Citizen’s all-day breakfast menu offering delicious sandwiches and toasts, all prepared with freshly made sourdough bread. 
  • CHIX Eggshop: Combining a quirky breakfast diner feel with award-winning country fried chicken, this all-day restaurant is the perfect place to fill your belly with next-level breakfast options, and funky craft beverages. 
  • Shoe & Canoe Public House: Celebrate Canada’s history with much-loved local staples like Alberta beef and bison on the dynamic menu, which pays homage to Canadian explorer David Thompson. 

What to Do: Stroll Along the Bow River 

Winter is perfect for a brisk walk in the cool, crisp air to take advantage of Calgary’s RiverWalk — a four-kilometre pathway that stretches along the Bow and Elbow Rivers, from Centre St. to 9 Ave. S.E. Enjoy all the viewpoints, art installations and river accessibility the walkway has to offer. 

Supress from menu
Family sits at a table inside Sidewalk Citizen enjoying baked treats

Enjoy baked treats and drinks for breakfast at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery (photo credit: Travel Alberta/Chris Amat)

man walking across George C King bridge in East Village along Calgary's RiverWalk

Calgary's RiverWalk offers 4km of riverside pathways (photo credit: Colin Way)


Afternoon in Inglewood 

Inglewood is Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood. It's brick-lined main street is filled with funky local shops, hip breweries, and independent cafes. 

Where to Eat: Lunch  

  • The Eden: Step into this family owned bistro and enjoy cool, crafty cocktails and a specially curated menu inspired by French cuisine.  
  • Ari Sushi: Enjoy authentically prepared sushi made to order right at the kitchen bar, ensuring a delicious and unforgettable dining experience for all. 
  • Deane House: Experience a slice of Calgary’s history at this award-winning restaurant, in the former home of an RCMP officer. You’ll enjoy local farm-to-table dishes with beef, bison, pork and lamb sourced right from Alberta farms.  

What to Do: Visit a Free Art Gallery 

The Esker Foundation offers a variety of art exhibitions and collections to take in at no cost, not to mention a cozy place to spend a winter afternoon. Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Gravity Cafe is a local’s favourite, just below the gallery. 


Evening in Inglewood & Downtown 

Where to Eat: Dinner 

  • The Nash: Expect nothing short of delicious with the ever-changing seasonal menu, fresh rotisserie features and wood-fire grilled options.  
  • Rouge: Await fresh, foraged and on-site garden-grown ingredients on your plate at this high-end restaurant, located in a history-rich building.  
  • Nupo: Enjoy incredible plant-forward and vegan dishes, alongside sustainably sourced sushi from around the world, in an interactive dining experience at the intimate six-seat Omakase Sushi Bar. 

What to Do: Lace Up and Sip Cocktails 

Locals and visitors alike can skate for free at Olympic Plaza. Bring your own skates or rent a pair, and glide the night away under the city lights and evening sky. Afterwards rest your feet and unwind with a tasty cocktail at any of the bustling bars along Stephen Ave.  

Where to Stay 

  • Alt Hotel Calgary East Village: Enjoy a bouqtiue hotel experience in the East Village neighbourhood with beautiful views of the Bow River. 
  • Hotel Arts: Hotel Arts is a distinctive Calgary hotel that offers everything from golf simulation, to spa services. It even has a heated outdoor pool. 
  • Hyatt Regency: Located right along Stephen Ave, and steps from Olympic Plaza, this is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring. 
Supress from menu
couple views an art piece at Esker Foundation

Located in the trendy Inglewood neighbourhood, Esker Foundation is free to explore (photo credit: Colin Way)

couple learning to skate at Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary

Ice skate at Olympic Plaza in Calgary (photo credit: Travel Alberta/Roth and Ramberg)


Day Two: Brunch, Polar Bears, and Skiing 

Morning in Bridgeland 

Just north of the Bow River, Bridgeland is home to countless brunch spots, beautiful green spaces, and incredible views of downtown. 

Where to Eat: Brunch 

  • Blue Star Diner: With locally sourced ingredients, expect the unexpected with a menu that puts an imaginative twist on old classics and introduces you to new favourites. 
  • OEB Breakfast Co.: Enjoy breakfast classics you love or with a twist, from Moroccan-styled duck benedicts and Ahi tuna poutine to traditional bacon and eggs. 
  • Diner Deluxe: With real butter, fresh herbs, sustainable and seasonal ingredients, Diner Deluxe offers outstanding made-from-scratch meals for all hours of the day.  

What to Do: Check out Classic Attractions 

See some of the city’s most popular attractions like the polar bears at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo and Flint the robo-dog at Telus Spark. Or if a view of the city’s skyline is what you are looking for, visit Tom Campbell's Hill Park just a short walk from the Zoo! 

Also, even though it may be cold out, don’t pass up on a local cold treat at Made by Marcus located a walking distance from Tom Campbell's Hill Park. 

Supress from menu
eggs benedict with hashbrowns at OEB Breakfast Co.

Enjoy an indulgent breakfast at OEB Breakfast Co. (photo credit: April-Marie McHardy/OEB Breakfast Co.)

a child and polar bear touch palms through the glass at Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo

Meet Calgary's polar bear residents, Baffin & Siku (photo credit: Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo)


Evening in Bowness 

Bowness was once it’s own town and still retains that familiar feeling with it’s welcoming locals. It’s place along the TransCanada highway also makes it the perfect launch point for your mountain adventure. 

Where to Eat: Dinner 

  • NOtaBLE: Passion and community are at the heart of NOtaBLE, which is why you’ll always find fresh seasonal and local ingredients, an upscale atmosphere and friendly service.  
  • Rising Tides Taproom: With delicious craft beers on tap and savory snacks, Rising Tides is a space for live music, comedy shows and diverse activities — all in the name of building community.  
  • Angel’s Drive In: Crush your cravings with an old-school burger and milkshake at this retro drive-in diner.  

What to Do: Ski and Tube in the City 

Finish your stay in Calgary with classic winter past-times. At WinSport, you can ski, snowboard or even tube under the lights of Canada Olympic Park. 

Where to Stay 

Supress from menu
family exploring the ski hill at WinSport

Hit the slopes with the whole family at WinSport’s Winter Hill (photo credit: Colin Way)

three friends riding the conveyer up WinSport snow hill with snow tubes

Before your highspeed descent, take the conveyer lift to the top of the WinSport Tube Park (photo credit: Colin Way)