Here are a couple of the more interesting walks around Calgary:
Eau Claire combines a bit of a nature walk with unique merchants and patio cafes. Park anywhere around Eau Claire Market or Chinatown. Start at the Market with its one-of-a-kind local merchants and scope out its patio restaurants (including OutWest and Hard Rock Cafe). Wander to Princes Island, with a mile of trails along the lagoon and the Bow River. Walk along the Bow River bike paths to 10th, for a view of downtown on one side and the blue-green Bow River on the other. Cross over the pedestrian bridge by 10th Street bridge to the charming Sunnyside neighbourhood and then walk along the north side of the fast-flowing River, crossing back on the Princes Island Bridge.
calgary has Canada’s second-biggest Chinatown! Chinatown is a six block area spanning the Centre Street hill into downtown, with over 50 Chinese restaurants. Park anywhere north of 4 Ave., near Centre Street. The Centre Street Bridge has both lion statues and the view of downtown. The shops feature imported Asian specialties, with many signs in Chinese. Don’t be afraid to ask what the items are, and some shop owners amy even offer you a sample. Check out the blue-domed Chinese Cultural Centre closer to the Eau Claire Market. There are in the neighbourhood before 2 pm, try a tasty multi-course Dim Sum buffet, served on carts at your table.
Kensington/Sunnyside (Louise Bridge Crossing)
Sunnyside is a collection of smaller older houses and quaint little shops. Parking is tight here, so consider taking the northwest LRT. Begin at Riley Park, on the west side of 10th St. NW across from the Safeway. It has Calgary’s only cricket field, beautiful flower gardens, and a kiddie wading pool. Wander down 10th Street down to and along Kensington Road, for this shopping district’s trendy delights. Or you can wander down 10A and check out the modern “in-fill” houses so prominent in the “Hillhurst” part of the neighbourhood. Cross 10th Street at Memorial Drive take in a view of downtown and the Bow River. East of 10th Street you’ll find one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods, “Sunnyside” with lots of pretty older as well as innovative inn-fill houses.
17th Avenue/Mount Royal
The Mount Royal area combines some of the city’s most expensive homes with some interesting shopping and eating experiences. Start along 18th Avenue by the Stampede LRT station on Macleod Trail. Check out the various buildings of the Catholic Church. 17th Avenue itself doesn’t get interesting until 2nd Street SW with a string of restaurants and bars (extending to 11th Avenue). It becomes more upscale past 4th Street (see below) with a series of trendy bars and restaurants catering to the student crowd. The best spot to divert into Mount Royal is 6th Street, which you can take all the way up the hill, for a view of the Elbow River valley and the Glencoe club, (you can spend a whole day wandering around these streets) and then come back down anywhere between 7th street and 13th Street. Around 8th Street and Mount Royal Village Mall, the “Avenue” takes a noticeable upscale tone with several art galleries and up-market clothing stores. West of 8th to 14th Street, there are lots of busy shops and restaurants (even several ice cream and fast-food joints).
This neighbourhood is known for its antique and collectible shops. Calgary’s original neighbourhood was settled even before the Canadian Pacific Railway set up the station by Palliser Square. You can start with Fort Calgary, with its Interpretive Centre and the reconstructed Fort (in progress). Head across the Elbow River to see the oldest surviving house in Calgary, now a teahouse. Inglewood also has several interesting restaurants there too (Australian cuisine, anyone?). Wander along the side streets to check out the renovated old houses, and some of the new in-fills. End the walk at the eastern end, crossing St George’s bridge to visit the Calgary Zoo and Prehistoric Park.
This neighbourhood is known for eclectic restaurants and for interesting older houses in well-treed streets. Along the Elbow River are miles of walking and bike paths, taking you right to this neighbourhood. The Reservoir Park is about 10 km away and Fort Calgary is about 3 kilometres. Fourth Street is Calgary’s “Restaurant Row”, filled in with several quaint little boutiques. You can divert yourself onto 17th Avenue (see above) or continue to 11 Avenue, known as “Electric Avenue” for its bars and shops and,or continue right into the downtown core under the Eaton Center Mall overpass.
This beautiful neighbourhood sits just off the Elbow River bike paths, and is the focus for summer recreation in this part of town. The park is nestled south of the Elbow River between Elbow Drive and Macleod Trail (just north of 42 Ave). In the summer, there’s barbecuing, baseball, bocce, kite flying, suntanning, and swimming, at either the outdoor pool or in the river. Take a walk up the hillside path on the north east corner of the park (where the bike path hits the trees. 1st Street has the most interesting modern architecture in Calgary, and is often called “Architecture Alley” and features many award-winning houses with stunning views.