Downtown Calgary Neighbourhood Guide

Stephen Avenue Calgary
Stephen Avenue Calgary
Discover Downtown Calgary

Downtown Calgary Neighbourhood Guide

Local favourites and hidden gems in centre city Calgary.

Downtown Calgary has it all. With great restaurants, arts and culture, shopping, and icons like the Calgary Tower, it is easy to plan a whole trip around all the things to see and do right in the heart of downtown Calgary. From great restaurants and live entertainment to festivals and public art, check out everything downtown Calgary has to offer.

Please verify the status of all activities and refer to our COVID-19 Traveller Update for more information.


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Cucina Market Bistro

Cucina Market Bistro.

Local on 8th Avenue

Local on 8th Avenue.

Best restaurants in downtown Calgary

Ready for dinner? Dishes at Cucina are meant to be shared, like family dinner on a Sunday night with Italian classics like arancini, gnocchi, and rigatoni. Flower & Wolf is an upscale but casual restaurant, located in the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire, with globally inspired dishes like BBQ brick chicken supreme, braised bison gnocchi, and aged sirloin steak with a cocktail list to match. Or you can take your dining experience to the sky with next level views at Major Tom, 40 floors above it all in Stephen Avenue Place. Start with fried oysters and the lobster roll to share, order the slow-roasted duck, pasta shells with burrata cheese, roasted broccoli pesto, and lemon, and save room for the strawberry pavlova with crispy meringue.

Check out more great restaurants in Downtown Calgary.


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Globe Cinema

Globe Cinema.

Live music and entertainment downtown

Concerts, film screenings, and live theatre make downtown a hub for entertainment in Calgary. The Palace Theatre hosts a diverse lineup of pop, country, hip hop, rock, punk, and DJ sets in a historic live music venue, while movie goers love the vintage vibes of the Globe Cinema, a favourite screening space for retro classics and the annual Calgary International Film Festival. Check out the Summer Stage every weekend for live music and family friendly performances from local performers at various locations across downtown (July 2 to August 28, 2021).

Check out more great events in Downtown Calgary.


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Chinook Blast (Photo credit: Neil Zeller).

Chinook Blast (Photo credit: Neil Zeller).

Festivals and events downtown

Downtown is also a great place to experience the Calgary Stampede each July, with the bulk of the Stampede Parade route winding through the city streets to kick off The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Find a spot on the sidewalk and get ready to wave and cheer on colourful floats, horses, and marching bands before grabbing a complimentary flapjack at Rope Square in Olympic Plaza or various community pop-up Pancake Breakfast events downtown throughout the 10-days

The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo has also been known to kick-off the festivities with the POW! Parade of Wonders and Otafest on Stephen Avenue. A procession of comic book heroes, anime enthusiasts, cosplay creators, and celebrity guests start the annual celebration of all things pop culture.

Please note: Calgary Expo: Limited Edition takes place September 10-12, 2021.

Chinook Blast is Calgary’s Mid-Winter Round Up with light installations, outdoor art parks, and interactive activations created by artists throughout the downtown core. It’s a great way to bundle up, embrace the chilly winter temperatures, and discover everything the season has to offer.


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Arts Commons (Photo credit: Arts Commons).

Arts Commons (Photo credit: Arts Commons).

Arts and culture downtown

Arts Commons brings live theatre to life in Calgary with resident companies like Alberta Theatre ProjectsDownstageOne Yellow RabbitTheatre Calgary, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. You can also experience more intimate live theatre performances with companies like The GRANDLunchbox Theatre, and Vertigo Theatre.

Downtown is also home to some of the most compelling visual arts galleries in the city. Contemporary Calgary, located in the former Centennial Planetarium, presents a rotating collection of international art shows and installations along with an open-studio residency program and speaker series. Live music is a key feature of downtown Calgary regardless of season. Discover indie artists playing at various festivals over the summer months, like the Calgary Folk Music Festival on Prince’s Island Park, or performing at local coffee shops like Café Koi and street busking on Stephen Avenue. Catch these low or no-cost acts by keeping an eye on yycwhatson.ca.

Get a great view of it all from the iconic Calgary Tower, with 360 degree views at 191 metres above the downtown core, it’s the best view of the city by far. Stand on the glass floor and watch the traffic zoom by below and enjoy a free multimedia tour that will take you through all the major landmarks in the city and beyond.

Please note: The Calgary Tower is currently selling tickets for specific time slots.


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Devonian Gardens at The CORE Shopping Centre.

Devonian Gardens at The CORE Shopping Centre.

Shopping downtown

Get ready to shop in downtown Calgary with everything from major shopping centres and upscale retailers to local gift shops you won’t find anywhere else. Explore four floors of shops, services, and food court vendors at The CORE Shopping Centre, home to upscale retailers like Holt RenfrewHarry Rosen, and the modern department store Simons. Make sure you spend some tranquil time at Devonian Gardens, an urban oasis with over 500 trees, a 900 square foot living wall, fish ponds, and a playground too. Visit Bankers Hall for the finest in fashion, accessories, and specialty perfume, wine, and chocolate shops, or find your new favourite lunch spot like Sunterra Market & CaféBourbon Street Grill, and Earls Bankers Hall

Looking for the perfect souvenir of your time in Calgary? The Calgary Tower Gift Shop is a hidden gem with Calgary Tower memorabilia and all-Canadian apparel. Have a sweet tooth? Volio’s Confections is known for creating traditional candies made by hand, with marshmallows, toffee, lollipops, and more.


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The Galleria Trees (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Colin Way)

The Galleria Trees (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Colin Way).

Public art downtown


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The Fairmont Palliser

The Fairmont Palliser.

Hotels in downtown Calgary

Looking for a weekend getaway or a staycation to change up your regular routine? Downtown is home to historic hotels, affordable accommodations, and modern takes on some classic architecture. The Fairmont Palliser is an iconic downtown institution, built in 1914, with all the historic charms you would expect. Across the street is Le Germain Hotel Calgary, an elegant property known for its flexible checkout times so you can hit snooze and enjoy the luxuries a little longer.

Enjoy a classic Canadian cocktail with the original home of the Caesar at The Westin Calgary, find affordable accommodations in the heart of downtown at the Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Hotel, or check out the vintage vibes and modern times at The Westley Hotel, a boutique property that will take you back to the ‘good old days.’ Of the 1970s.

Travelling with pets? The Petropolitan is centrally located near the Calgary Tower and offers pet boarding and daycare along with grooming and spa treatments for your furry family members.

Check out more great hotels in Downtown Calgary.


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The Calgary Transit C-Train Free Fare Zone (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Chris Amat).

The Calgary Transit C-Train Free Fare Zone (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Chris Amat).

Plus 15 Skywalk Network in Calgary.

Plus 15 Skywalk Network in Calgary.

Getting around downtown Calgary

Getting around downtown is easier than you think! Did you know Calgary Transit C-Train line is free within the downtown core between the Downtown West/Kerby platform and City Hall platform. This free fare zone is available to all riders any time the C-Train is operating and makes travelling through the downtown easy and budget friendly.

Another great way to get around is the Plus 15 skywalk network, 16 kilometres of interconnected sheltered pedestrian walkways that includes 86 bridges from building to building. It’s a great way to get around downtown, especially in the colder months.

Affordable and easy to find parking is available throughout the downtown core. Best of all, free street parking is available after 6:00 p.m. daily and all day on Sundays and holidays. Locals know that parking is free at The CORE Shopping Centre after 3:00 p.m. for the first three hours and just $2.00 after that. You can even download the My-Parking app to find available parking spaces and pay for your session right from your phone.

Have a question about downtown? Look for the friendly Downtown Ambassadors in red jackets to learn more about local businesses and activities, Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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