Looking for ideas to romance your sweetheart in Calgary? Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. No matter the season, these three itineraries are packed with fantastic ideas for YOUR romantic weekend in Calgary.
It’s easy to get romantic in Calgary. Naturally, it’s a beautiful city: the pristine Bow River flows through the heart of Calgary; the majestic Rocky Mountains linger on the horizon; and its rolling hills offer plenty of spots to take in the sights. Calgary continues to lead as the cleanest city in the world, and this local pride carries into luxurious hotels, fabulous food and drinks, and excellent entertainment.
These three itineraries are packed with my favorite restaurants, activities and accommodations that I’ve discovered over 10 years of living in Calgary and visiting with my own sweetheart.
Now, I know that “romance” means different things to different couples. So, each itinerary has a unique THEME that carries through the recommended accommodation and activities. Mix and match to your heart’s content. Enjoy!
Be sure to check out these 9 romantic weekend getaways only a short drive from Calgary!
- A COZY Romantic Weekend in Calgary: Kensington & Bow River
- A SOPHISTICATED Romantic Weekend in Calgary: Stephen Avenue Mall
- An ADVENTUROUS Romantic Weekend in Calgary: Beltline & Olympic Park
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1. A COZY Romantic Weekend in Calgary: Kensington & Bow River
Kensington is a quaint, super-cute area along the north side of the beautiful Bow River. The plethora of unique little shops, cafes and eateries; the eclectic mixture of old brick and modern art; and easy access to the river valley’s lovely walking and cycling paths … It’s easy to catch the romantic vibes in this charming little neighborhood.
This cozy romantic weekend itinerary in Calgary immerses you in Kensington’s quaint village vibe and the beauty of Prince’s Island Park. Kensington shops generally open between 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays, so you can swap these two days depending on the weather or your mood!
ACCOMMODATIONS: A luxurious and cozy boutique inn
Overlooking the Bow River and nestled in the heart of Kensington is this ultra-romantic boutique inn: Hotel Arts Kensington (1126 Memorial Drive Northwest).
Hotel Arts Kensington oozes romance! Wrap yourself in their luxurious plush linens; warm yourself by the fireplace; and, take in the river view from your private balcony. Or, sip your cocktail in the fireside lounge or upscale restaurant downstairs. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast and bikes for getting out on the Bow River pathways. I LOVED staying here.
SATURDAY ACTIVITIES for a COZY Romantic Weekend in Calgary
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Stroll hand-in-hand around pretty Kensington
Your romantic weekend in Calgary can be wonderfully lazy. Roam in and out of Kensington’s bookshops, vintage clothes and toys, artisan galleries, tea houses, sweeteries, and taverns. Pick up wine, get a pedi, and even do yoga together.
Kensington Ave and 10th St NW (up to about 3 Ave NW) are full of little gems. The entire neighborhood is very pedestrian-friendly.
You can also wander up to Riley Park, which has lots of pretty treed paths and a flower garden in the northeast corner. This is definitely one of my favorite parks in Calgary. In the summer, watch for a farmer’s market that pops up across from the southwest corner of the park.
Here are some of my favorite stops in Kensington:
- Tea/coffee shops: Espresso Cafe (273 10th St NW) and Oolong Tea House (110 10 St NW).
- Treats: Crave (1107 Kensington Rd) has the most delicious local cupcakes. Sadly, my favorite chocolatier closed its Kensington location; but Gummi Boutique (205 10 St NW) has lots of other sweet treats.
- Eateries: Many in historic buildings, including Kensington Pub (207 10a St NW) and Oak Tree Tavern (124 10 St NW #2). Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey (1136 Kensington Rd NW) has amazing BBQ.
If you want an activity, here are some cute options in Kensington:
- Hexagon Board Game Cafe (1140 Kensington Rd NW #200) makes for a cute and casual date.
- Historic Plaza Theatre (1133 Kensington Rd NW) shows an eclectic mixture of classics and new releases.
- Color Me Mine (334 14 St NW) for ceramic painting, which is an easy 15-minute walk from the Inn.
SATURDAY EVENING: Enjoy a romantic dinner; maybe add a little spice & salsa?
Here are two great options for Saturday evening near Kensington:
- Stay local by enjoying a romantic dinner downstairs. The Inn’s restaurant, Oxbow, is recognized as one of Calgary’s best and is conveniently just downstairs.
- Add a little spice and salsa: Take a short cab ride over to Sultan’s Tent (4 14 St NW) for a sultry, utensil-free feast fit for a Moroccan king and queen. Then, finish your night with drinks and salsa dancing across the river at Rio Bar & Grill (800 6 Ave SW).
SUNDAY ACTIVITIES for a COZY Romantic Weekend in Calgary
SUNDAY BRUNCH: Make the most of your romantic inn
Make the most of staying in a super-romantic inn with a fantastic restaurant downstairs… and breakfast included. Head to Oxbow for a wonderful Sunday brunch. Choose from a breakfast menu or brunch buffet.
On warm Sunday mornings, opt for the sunny patio overlooking the Bow River.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Relax along the river at Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s Island Park is just a 20-minute walk along the Bow River. You’ll cross pretty bridges, including the iconic Peace Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
Prince’s Island Park is often bustling with festivals and buskers, and swarming with ducks and geese. Even when it’s cold, it’s a pretty area to stroll with a warm cup of coffee in hand. When you need to warm up, cross to Eau Claire Market (on the south side of the island) for a drink or bite to eat.
In summer, here are some fabulous things to do in Prince’s Island Park:
- Have a picnic with Shakespeare by the Bow. Shakespeare by the Bow live performances are always excellent. Sunday afternoon performances typically start at 2 p.m. To make the experience even more romantic, pre-purchase an upscale picnic basket from the island’s River Cafe. Get tickets at theatrecalgary.com.
- Book a guided river float: Calgary River Experience is highly rated and Calgary’s only river guide. Between April and October, take a 2-hour float from Pearce Estates Park (1440 17a St SE). Customize your tour to include lunch (like at the romantic River Cafe on Prince’s Island Park!).
- Rent a double kayak: The Paddle Station has a mobile truck in Prince’s Island Park. Enjoy a romantic paddle down to St. Patrick’s Island, and then enjoy some wine with an unbeatable river view from charbar’s rooftop patio (Simmons Building, 618 Confluence Way SE; just across from St. Patrick’s Island).
In winter, you can rent skates for the lagoon. Check calgary.ca to make sure the lagoon is open and for rental locations.
For a fantastic view of Calgary’s skyline, climb the stairs to Crescent Heights Lookout. It’s just north of Prince’s Island Park; follow Bow River Pathway across the Bow River and look for the stairs behind the community hall. It’s worth the workout!
2. A SOPHISTICATED Romantic Weekend in Calgary: Stephen Avenue Mall
Our second itinerary takes your romantic weekend in Calgary to the historic Stephen Avenue Mall. Stephen Avenue is a year-round pedestrian mall in downtown Calgary, featuring eclectic and high-end shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
This romantic weekend itinerary is about elegance and sophistication. We explore Calgary’s arts and culture scene, treat you to some of Calgary’s finest restaurants in elegant surroundings, and take you to the top of the iconic tower for breathtaking views.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Top-rated sophistication and location, location
Here are two fabulous accommodation options for a romantic weekend in downtown Calgary:
- Le Germain Hotel (899 Centre Street SW): One of Calgary’s top-rated hotels. It’s in a terrific location, across the street from the iconic Calgary Tower and a block from Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall. Continental breakfast and wifi are complimentary. Enjoy in-room massages with the onsite spa!
- Fairmont Palliser (133 9th Avenue Southwest): Such an elegant historic hotel, right at the foot of the Calgary Tower. It was built in 1914, features a 1920s-themed restaurant and lounge, and has an indoor pool, hot tub, spa and coffee shop. Breakfast is included but wifi and parking are extra. Airport shuttle is available.
I’ve only been through these two hotels for coffee and lunch dates, but both were beautiful with friendly service. And you can see that Booking.com customers love both choices.
SATURDAY ACTIVITIES for a SOPHISTICATED Romantic Weekend in Calgary
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Stroll Stephen Avenue Mall’s plaza, museum and tower
Spend a leisurely afternoon touring Stephen Avenue Mall. A national historic site, this pretty pedestrian street features more than 30 restored historic buildings, now home to a range of shops and eateries. If it’s cold, use the indoor walkway (called Plus-15) to explore downtown.
Here are a few of my favorite stops on Stephen Avenue Mall:
- Olympic Plaza (Stephen Ave/Macleod Tr): At the east end of Stephen Ave is a spot where I’ve spent a lot of time: Olympic Plaza. It’s across from Old City Hall, a pretty sandstone building, and was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics. It’s a festive skating rink from mid-November to mid-March (rentals available) and a regular gathering spot for festivals, events and people-watching in summer.
- Glenbow Museum (130 9 Ave SE): A rich collection of art, history and pop culture with an emphasis on connection to the local landscape. When you enter, be sure to look up … the 4-storey ‘Aurora Borealis’ hanging sculpture has a 5-minute light show throughout the day you want to check out. With four floors, it’s recommended you give yourself about 4 hours here. Plus, the gift shop has lots of unique pieces to check out, too.
- Calgary Tower (101 9 Ave SW): There’s nothing more quintessential Calgary than getting an elevated view from the Calgary Tower. Dare to stand on the glass floor and look down to the sidewalk 500 feet below! Mind over matter … If you’re here during the Calgary Stampede, the Tower is the best spot to watch the fireworks.
If you want to walk along the Bow River, you can easily do this, too. Two great options are: Prince’s Island Park (head north on 3 St SW) and St. Patrick’s Island (follow the 7th Ave CTrain line east to the river and then continue to the pretty George C King Bridge). Both are about a 20-minute walk from Olympic Plaza.
On your way back from St. Patrick’s Island, stop for wine and an unbeatable river view from charbar’s rooftop patio (Simmons Building, 618 Confluence Way SE).
SATURDAY EVENING: Enjoy a romantic dinner and live performance
For dinner, here are some terrific options along Stephen Avenue in Calgary:
- Teatro Ristorante (200 8 Ave SE): An Italian eatery in an historic building, right beside Olympic Plaza and across from Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Murrieta’s West Coast Bar & Grill (808 1 St SW #200): A sophisticated seafood and steakhouse with live entertainment.
- Bank and Baron (125 8 Ave SW): This pretty historic interior used to be a bank and now features an upscale pub scene.
After dinner, head to Arts Commons (205 8 Ave SE) for excellent live entertainment:
- Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is phenomenal. I love their variety of shows, from classic Beethoven to Star Wars film feature. My favorite was their Lord of the Rings film feature; the movie played on a theater screen while the Orchestra played the entire soundtrack live … W.O.W. I highly recommend.
- Theatre Calgary wows audiences with their eclectic styles of shows, brilliant sets and riveting talent. Take in a Shakespearean classic, A Christmas Carol, a contemporary or independent.
SUNDAY ACTIVITIES for a SOPHISTICATED Romantic Weekend in Calgary
SUNDAY BRUNCH: Fabulous food just steps away
Here are my three favorite places on Stephen Avenue Mall for brunch:
- Blue Vinny Diner (105 8 Ave SW): This unassuming cafe is FANTASTIC. Coconut french toast. Smoked salmon eggs benny. This menu is SOOO good.
- Thomsons Restaurant (112 8 Ave SE): Made-to-order omelet, warm cinnamon buns, smoked salmon. Thomsons is known for its Sunday brunch.
- Sky 360 (101 9 Ave SW): If you didn’t make it to the top of the Calgary Tower on Saturday, this is a great time to do it! With a rotating view nearly 510 feet above Calgary, Sunday brunch is a great way to take in the view.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Gardens, mall and public art
A wonderful way to end your romantic weekend in downtown Calgary is an afternoon in the Devonian Gardens. It’s located on the 4th floor of the CORE Shopping Center, accessible by elevator between 2nd and 3rd St SW. Since you’re in a mall, it’s easy to find good coffee and treats to enjoy while roaming the gardens.
If you’re interested in doing a bit of shopping, CORE Shopping Centre is quite a nice place to do it. You’ll find a variety of high-end and regular shops.
Another relaxing Sunday afternoon activity is a personal walking tour of Calgary’s downtown public art. My favorite pieces are: “Wonderland” head in front of The Bow (500 Centre St S), “the Family of Man” aluminum sculptures (515-577 1 St SE) and the entire Calgary Public Library building (800 3 St SE).
3. An ADVENTUROUS Romantic Weekend in Calgary: Beltline & Olympic Park
Sometimes, romance needs a little adrenaline push! I have some great ideas for you …
For this adventurous romantic weekend itinerary, we get your hearts racing at Canada Olympic Park with free-falls and speed tracks, and then lock you in a hot mess to see if you can escape. FUN! Don’t worry … we also have awesome food and craft beer lined up for you, too.
This itinerary takes you around Calgary a little more than the first two. It’s helpful to have a car for more options and your day at Canada Olympic Park; but you can also take taxis, Uber or Lyft.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Stylish elegance and great access
I recommend staying at Hotel Arts in Calgary’s beltline, which skirts along the south edge of Calgary’s downtown. Hotel Arts (119 – 12th Avenue Southwest, Beltline) is both elegant and stylish, and includes a great breakfast, wifi and complimentary bikes. Enjoy their spa services and take advantage of luggage storage after you check out Sunday morning.
I’ve only been to Hotel Arts for an event, but the food was fantastic and the environment super-chic.
SATURDAY ACTIVITIES for an ADVENTUROUS Romantic Weekend in Calgary
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Olympic adrenaline, baby!
Canada Olympic Park (or COP at 88 Canada Olympic Road SW) is SO much fun! You can visit COP on Saturday or Sunday; since it’s all outside, I recommend planning this for your nicest weather day.
COP is typically open until 5 p.m. Come early enough to enjoy to the fullest!
Winter tubing: During snowy winter days, bundle up for some hilarious fun on the Tube Park! It’s one of the fastest tube slides in Western Canada and has food trucks and washrooms on site.
From May to September, COP transforms its hill for more thrills: summer bobsleigh, ziplines, downhill go-karts and bungee-jumping. I’ve only done the first two, but they were SO much fun! To slow things down afterwards, take a round of mini golf or on the chairlift around the Park.
- Summer bobsleigh: A professional pilot will steer you down the Olympic bobsled track; 60 seconds of twisting through 10 turns and traveling up to 50 mph with 2 g-force.
- Monster zipline: North America’s fastest zipline starts at the top of the Olympic ski jump tower, with a 328-foot drop, 1640-foot long run, and speeds up to 75 mph. Don’t worry: you get instructions and a small practice run before the big zip, and a final run that’s less scary and just fun.
- Downhill go-karts: Steer your way down the mile-long course on your personal luge. Complete with a romantic chairlift to the top!
- Free-fall bungee: This 8-storey free fall gives you a taste of skydiving, with a nice slow descent at the bottom. Then go again!
Wind things down with a stroll or paddle-boat ride through nearby Bowness Park.
SATURDAY EVENING: Dinner, followed by craft beer or country music
Two of my favorite restaurants in Calgary are near COP. So, don’t leave Calgary’s northwest without enjoying one of them!
For dinner, you can’t go wrong with either of these AMAZING restaurants in the Bowness area:
- Salt & Pepper (6515 Bowness Rd NW): This authentic Mexican restaurant has delicious food!! And just wait ‘til you see the drink menu.
- NOtaBLE (4611 Bowness Rd NW): An upscale, locally-sourced restaurant with excellent food.
Now head back to Hotel Arts to park your car and freshen up. It’s time to take advantage of Hotel Arts’s premier location! The best of Calgary’s craft beer scene is only blocks away along 10th and 11th Aves SW.
Here are my favorite spots for Calgary’s craft beer:
- Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub (140 10 Ave SW): Casual with great pub food and selection of local beers.
- CRAFT Beer Market (345 10 Ave SW): Good food in a warm setting. Canada’s largest selection of draft beer.
- Last Best Brewing & Distilling (607 11 Ave SW): A fun brewpub featuring in-house beers and good food.
For another truly iconic Calgary nightlife experience, there’s no better place to go than Ranchman’s Dancehall (9615 Macleod Trail SE). It’s a 15-20 minute cab ride south, but it’s really SO much fun. Nightly dance lessons, live entertainment and mechanical bull-riding to feel like a cowboy/cowgirl.
SUNDAY ACTIVITIES for an ADVENTUROUS Romantic Weekend in Calgary
SUNDAY BRUNCH: A local brunch hot-spot, plus ice cream
Hotel Arts is not only super-close to Calgary’s best craft beer scene; it’s also super-close to highly-rated restaurants, Calgary’s best ice cream and the popular restaurant row on 17th Ave SW.
So for brunch, you have many options! Here’s what I suggest:
- Brunch at a nearby restaurant: Yellow Door Bistro (right in Hotel Arts) has won awards for its delicious breakfasts; and, Beltliner (243 12 Ave SW; only a block away) is a stylish diner known for its breakfasts.
- Dessert from Calgary’s BEST ice cream: Village Ice Cream (431 10 Ave SE) is a local favorite, tucked away at the end of a parking lot so it doesn’t feel like much. BUT, that ice cream is mmm-mmm. It’s only a 10-minute walk from your hotel and opens at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Work your way out of a hot mess in a locked room
Wrap up your adventurous romantic weekend by getting locked in. Don’t think it’s romantic? Nothing will bring you two together like escaping a post-apocalyptic nightmare or a pirate abduction … Mila and Keira sure make it look sexy!
Here are two great options for escape rooms in Calgary – both with strong reviews, options for only two people, and in locations that fit the itinerary. Plus, treats afterwards!
- Level 1 Escape (517 16 Ave. N.E.): Solve puzzles, riddles and physical challenges. Horror and post-apocalyptic themes. Sci-fi and prison themes. This location is just off Deerfoot Trail and an easy stop to or from the airport. Afterwards, you MUST follow it up with burgers and milkshakes at Peter’s Drive-in (219 16 Ave NE). Peter’s is a Calgary classic, the thickest milkshakes you’ll find anywhere, and only a 5-minute walk from Level 1 Escape.
- Exit Calgary (60, 880 16 Ave. S.W.): Find your way out of travels gone awry. Tokyo. Egypt. Pirates. Space. When you find yourself back in Calgary, celebrate at long-time iconic pub, The Ship & Anchor (534 17 Ave SW; a 10-minute walk from Exit) or with a fondu at The Livingroom Restaurant (514 17 Ave SW). If it’s a nice day, opt for the patio for people-watching along the popular 17th Ave corridor.
No matter how you define “romance,” I hope you found some fun ideas in these three itineraries to work into your own romantic weekend in Calgary.
From the glistening Bow River, to the enrapturing Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and heart-pounding thrills at Canada Olympic Park … plus luxurious accommodations, fabulous food and drinks. Calgary is such a FUN city to romance your sweetheart.
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Featured photo credit (pouring wine): Louis Hansel from Unsplash.