Many outdoor activities, festivals and even northern lights! What would you like to do in Calgary? Have a read and find out some cool free things to do in Calgary.

Free Things To do In Calgary, Canada

Calgary was built on the prairies and it spreads wide and far. Having a car gives you a lot of freedom but luckily you find many things to do in the downtown area or within a walking distance. A city train going across the city is free within the downtown.

Free Things To do In Calgary, Canada


1- Float Down the Bow River

As soon as it warms up, one of the most favourite local activities is floating down the river. Just grab your friends, a tube, floaty or raft and enjoy the sunny day on the water. You can get off right in downtown and have a picnic in Prince’s Island Park afterwards.

Free Things To do In Calgary, Canada

2- Enjoy The Summer Festivals

Calgary is a very multicultural city. You can explore many different cultures from all around the world by joining the fun and live bands at many festivals happening in spring or summer – Kensington Sun and Salsa Festival, Marda Loop’s Marda Gras, Afrikadey! Festival, Inglewood Sunfest, Calgary Arab Festival, Fiestaval Latin Festival, Expo Latino, Fiesta Filipino, Japanese Festival “Omatsuri”.

3- Biking and Hiking In The Fish Creek Park

Fish Creek Provincial Park is the largest urban park in Canada. It has more than 80km of trails – both dirt and paved with various difficulty. If you come after sunrise or sunset, there’s a big chance you might see deer, porcupines and beavers in the park.

Free Things To do In Calgary, Canada

4- Best View of The City

See the city from above is not easy as Calgary is located in the prairies. Go to Nose Hill park, just 20 minutes from downtown, and watch the sunset with a city view. Many deer frequent the park around this time as well. On a clear day, you can see the mountains in the distance.

Free Things To do In Calgary, Canada

5- Canada Olympic Park

A park built for 1988 Winter Games is open year round and free to explore for visitors. If you’re willing to pay for adventure activities, the Olympic Park has many – slide down in the bobsleigh, zip-line from the ski jump tower, bike down the downhill trails or try the skyline luge racing down the hill in a cart.

6- Yoga In The Park

Outdoor yoga Calgary offers free yoga classes every Sunday at 1pm in Stanley Park (May to October). If you’re like me, you like doing things outside. And exercise is no different. Summer in Calgary comes as quickly as it disappears and I always make sure to maximize the time spending outdoors.

7- Canada Day Celebrations

Streets are filled with people dressed in red and white with Canada flags literally everywhere you look. 1st of July is Canada’s birthday and every city, town and village are celebrating the day filled with music performances, good food and fireworks. 2017 marked Canada’s 150th anniversary and the celebration ended with a huge firework show over the bridge on the Centre Street.

Cool Things to do in Calgary for free

8- Calgary Stampede Parade

Annual 10-day rodeo starts in July with a big parade through the Calgary’s downtown. Join the cowboys and indigenous people from Blackfoot, Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations as they show off the heritage of southern Alberta. Many establishments around the city offer free pancake breakfast during the Calgary Stampede. First Sunday of Stampede week is admission-free to the Stampede area from 6am to 9am with a rodeo show.

9- Glenbow Museum

A popular museum of art and history is Glenbow Museum. It’s the largest museum in Western Canada with free admission 5pm-9pm on the first Thursday of every month.

10- Shakespeare By The Bow

Recent grads of the Art School perform several plays from Shakespeare in the Prince’s Island Park every summer several times a week. Enjoy a picnic and outdoor theatre by the river.

Cool Things to do in Calgary for free

11- Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball is among the free things to do in Calgary. It’s one of my favourite summer activities and I play right in the downtown. Walk the Pathway along the Bow River to 12 Street & 9 Avenue SW, there are three courts available.

12- HIIT & Barre Workout

Visit Experience Centre in the East Village at noon during the week and get your heart pumping with these awesome workouts.

13- Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

A quiet place in the bustling city. Sanctuary and Nature Centre are open year round. Walk the nature trails and observe more than 250 species of birds and other animals.

14- Lilac Festival

The start of the summer is celebrated with closing the street for traffic and allowing locals and visitors enjoy the fun on the 4th Street. There are more than 30 music and art performances during the day, food trucks and artisan crafts.

Cool Things to do in Calgary for free

15- Northern Lights

The most beautiful natural phenomenon can be seen several times a year. Watch the Aurora and changing colours dancing in the sky. The only thing you need to do is to drive outside the city, away from the city lights and watch the magic unfold.

Cool Things to do in Calgary for free

16- Bonus Outside The City

Nearest mountains are only an hour away. You can go hiking in the Kananaskis area, around Canmore or in Banff, the most popular Canadian national park.

About The Authors: We are Maya & Michal. Nature lovers, adventure seekers and active travelers. Slovakia is our home country, Canada our adopted home and right now we travel around the world. Who we really are? Outdoor junkies! To be happy, all we need is some fresh air. Even better if it’s in the mountains.

The Canadian Rockies were our playground for more than 4 years. We learnt cross-country skiing, tried ice climbing, visited ice caves, attended a running race in -18C, jumped off of several cliffs into gorgeous Canadian mountain lakes. Right now, we’re traveling around the world. From Mexico through Central America and South America to New Zealand. And soon, we’re off to Asia… Just a few of our favourite memories are from – boating on Orinoco River Delta with indigenous people in Venezuelan jungle, mountain biking and mountaineering in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru and taking a 33 hours ferry to hike in the mountains near the southernmost city in the world, Puerto Williams in Chile. Check out our blog Travel With The Smile to follow our adventures.

Photos: All pictures by Maya & Michal of Travel With The Smile.

What about you, have you been to Calgary? What tips can you share with us?


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