Weekend Inspiration: Getting Outdoors In YYC

August 9, 2017

Looking for some staycation inspiration?

Calgary is filled with things to do in the great outdoors, and if you’re in search of ideas for a weekend well spent, look no further than the Northwest.

For the adventurers, the loungers, and the thrill-seekers among us, the Northwest offers countless possibilities for stepping outside and enjoying the local landscape.

Here are our favourite sources of summertime weekend fun.

Float the Bow River

Despite only being a stone’s throw from the Rockies, Calgary is also home to the Bow River—a picturesque current that moves throughout the Northwest and making it a perfect pick for rafting.

Park your car or lock up your bike to see the city through a new perspective. There are a number of drop-off and pick-up points along the river that make for a float that can be as short or as long as you’d like.

Some of our favourite drop-offs include the Northwest’s Bowness Park and Baker Park and helpful hints and safety advice for many of the drop off and pick-up points around the city can be found here.

Don’t own the gear? Head down to University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre to rent a raft, paddles and a life jacket for your float, and get any information you might need about river-safety. For a checklist of what you’ll need for your river-adventure, start here.

Experience farm life

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind without ever leaving the city. You can embrace country living at its finest by visiting Northwest Calgary’s own Butterfield Acres.

A beloved Calgary mainstay, Butterfield Acres is the perfect rural family getaway within the city limits, and a great pick for animal lovers. Butterfield Acres offers the highlights of rural living, including petting zoos, pony rides, goat milking and tractor-rides, making it a great weekend destination during the warmer months, and its resident pumpkin patch also makes it a fun choice come fall.

Take a picnic

If you’re looking for a bit of a slower-paced weekend activity, consider a picnic. The Northwest’s collection of parks is impressive, and several lend themselves to warm-weather lounging, especially if food and a blanket are involved.

For a one-stop-shop approach to picnicking, we recommend the Northwest gem that is Bowness Park. Located along the Bow River between Stoney Tr. and 85 St. N.W, Bowness Park’s shallow lagoon running off from the river is a favourite spot for paddle-boarding and picnicking during the summer.

Beyond a gorgeous landscape with the Bow river running through, the park is also home to Seasons of Bowness—a restaurant and fresh market that is open seasonally. The market is the true picnic-hero, offering baskets that can be purchased when you pre-order, making for an easy, fresh choice for those who didn’t want to prep their picnic at home.

For a paddle or canoe post-picnic, you can visit the Bowness Boat House, operated by the University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre.

Jump in a pool

No pool? No worries!

Since the warm season is generally short, many Calgarians don’t have a pool of their own. Don’t let this deter your dreams of swimming once the temperature rises. If you find yourself sans pool once summer heats up, it’s easy to find your way to one of the Northwest’s many public pools.

From lap-lanes to wading pools, some of our local favourites include:

Ride some rides

Did you know that Calgary is home to an amusement park of its very own, and in the Northwest, no less?

As Western Canada’s Largest Outdoor Family Amusement Park, Calaway Park has been offering affordable, family-friendly fun and entertainment for over three decades, and we’re lucky enough to have it right here in YYC.Whether you’re looking for some thrills or just a great throwback to times past, Calaway Park offers something for everyone. Come for some nostalgia-soaked experiences, including a host of roller-coasters, water-rides, and amusement-park confections like mini-doughnuts or funnel-cakes.

Catch a movie outside

You don’t need to head indoors to catch a flick—just head down to Kensington.

The Kensington Summertime Outdoor Movie Series in August is offering free outdoor films all month long. A different film will be screened each week in the parking lot next to Purr in Kensington (located at 1220 Kensington Rd NW) and there will be free hot chocolate and ice tea for all moviegoers. Summer 2017 screenings include some of our favourite cinematic classics, including The Breakfast Club on August 5, Ghostbusters on August 12, Pretty Woman on August 19 and Jaws on August 26. All screenings start at 9 p.m.

Come for a laid back Saturday evening, and to throw back to some of our favourite films.

Have a favourite way to spend an outdoor weekend in the Northwest that we didn’t include? Be sure to share with us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram!

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