Filled with immersive experiences, the fourth largest Chinatown in Canada is a central hub of Asian culture, food, and entertainment. Its corridors and alleyways are packed with hidden gem restaurants and shops. The neighbourhood begins just south of the Centre Street Bridge, along the banks of the Bow River. Numerous bike lanes and walking trails that run through the downtown core provide access to Chinatown. For those travelling by car, street parking is available along 3rd and 2nd Avenue and in Lot 888 off Riverfront Avenue – a perfect starting point for exploring the area.
Chinatown Neighbourhood Guide
Chinatown Neighbourhood Guide
Best Restaurants in Chinatown
Calgary’s Chinatown is not only home to amazing Chinese cuisine, it also features delicious Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and Thai options.
Perhaps the most iconic restaurant in Chinatown is the Silver Dragon, which has been serving authentic Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine since 1966. Decorated in a contemporary, Pan-Asian style with colours that create a warm ambience, this family-owned restaurant is best known for its ginger beef and dim sum trolley, with vegetarian and tofu options available.
Asian comfort food like subs, noodles, sushi, and hot pot are all on offer in Chinatown. The Vietnamese subs at Banh Mi Thi Thi draw line-ups out the door and often run out, so best to get there fast. Similarly, Chinese noodle dishes at U & Me, like the Golden Mushroom and Pork Fried Yee Mei, are local favourites. For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, get your sushi and gyozas delivered via bullet train at Point Sushi. Every Chinatown needs a good hot pot restaurant and Calgary’s got a great one in 1 Pot, where everyone gets their own pot, along with eight soup bases to choose from.
You will also find delicious drink and dessert options in Chinatown. Tucked away in a side-street basement sits Paper Lantern, a unique speakeasy experience that offers a tropical and Vietnamese escape. The cocktail menu is fun and eclectic with creations like ‘Pandan Pain Killer’ and ‘Saigon Sling’. Every wonder if ice cream tastes better rolled? Find out at Sweet Tooth, where staff chop and scrape creamy ice cream into Thai-inspired rolled works of art.
Shops in Chinatown
Dragon City Mall is in the heart of Chinatown and transports you to a faraway place with its eclectic collection of local shops and restaurants. Baby Face Skin Care is located on the second floor of the mall and is your one-stop shop for all Asian skincare needs. Another hidden gem within the mall is Hungs’ Jewelry. Whether you are looking for a gift or just to treat yourself, Hungs’ Jewlery features a selection of traditional fine jewelry and giftware designed in Asia.
Thalea Florist is a women-owned and operated shop that has been creating stunning floral arrangements since 1985. The experienced florists have expertise in both Western and Hong Kong floral design and approach each arrangement with care.
In 2022, vintage-loving friends Han and Rachel opened Bù Vintage Shoppe which translates to textile or cloth in Chinese. With their prime location next to the Silver Dragon, you can now get your dim sum, bubble tea, and vintage clothes all in one block on 3rd Ave!
Things to Do in Chinatown
The community hub for Chinatown is the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. In addition to regular programming and events, the Cultural Centre has a free museum that features rare replicas of Chinese artifacts and a permanent exhibition exploring the history of Chinese people in Calgary and Canada. The building itself is a cultural monument, with a main hall that boasts a 70-foot ceiling modeled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Its intricate designs include paintings of 561 dragons and 40 phoenixes.
Ambling around Chinatown is the best way to explore the neighbourhood, but there are a few stops to help direct your path. Sien Lok Park, on the southside of the Bow River Pathway, is a tranquil retreat from the energy of downtown. While relaxing at the park, make sure to check out ‘In Search of Gold Mountain’, a sculpture crafted from 15 tonnes of granite that honours Chinese history in Canada. One of the most unexpected spots in Chinatown has become known locally as mural alley, or graffiti alley. Located on the backside of the Canton Block, mural alley combines commissioned murals with street art to make for a mesmerizing passageway through Chinese culture.
Every August, the TD Calgary Chinatown Street Festival brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate Chinese culture with performances, food stalls, and local vendors. It is the perfect way for your family to soak up a sun-filled summer day in Calgary.