The Perfect Weekend Recipe: Stay In Calgary, Play In The Mountains
From urban escape to Rocky Mountain awakening.
Although we love the bustle and adrenaline filled moments metropolitan areas bring, my husband and I have grown quite fond of exploring the outdoors; especially the beautiful mountain scene we are so fortunate to have here in Alberta. If you asked me 10 years ago to participate in outdoor activities of any sort, I would’ve given you a hard pass without thinking things twice. Add interacting with animals into that mix and I would have taken off sprinting. Times have surely changed.
Our friends wedding, which happened to fall on our anniversary weekend this year, took place in Bragg Creek, AB. With that in tow, Reggie and I decided to spend a few nights in Calgary and took full advantage of our proximity to the Rocky Mountains. With the help of Tourism Calgary, we were able to put an itinerary together that allowed us to explore nature’s centre stage with day activities in the mountains, while we headed back in the city to wash down our adventures with Calgary’s robust dining and nightlife scene.
WHERE TO STAY
Calgary is the perfect hub for adventure and will allow you to enjoy the benefits of a large metropolitan and sophisticated centre with convenient access to the unspoiled natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Depending on where you are in the city, you can even see the mountainscape on a clear day.
From experience, the NW quadrant of the city is the most ideal gateway to the Rockies. It is conveniently located between the Downtown core and the Northwest Calgary countryside and only a 45-minute drive to the front door of the mountains. We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton NW, which is one of the participating hotels in the Stay and Play promotional deal.
From now until October 31, 2019, some hotels in the NW quadrant of the city will provide you with a $50 gas card for every night you stay. We stayed for 3 nights and received a total of $150 worth of gas cards which fuelled our daily adventures to the mountains.
To see the full list of participating hotels and prices, visit the Visit Calgary website – Click here.
WHAT TO DO
As you venture into the mountains, the scenic drive offers an outstanding opportunity to adjust to the pace of life in the Rockies. Beyond getting lost in the profound beauty of its natural wonder, the Canadian Rockies offer a wealth of adventure/activities for you to do.
Here are 3 Day trips/activities you can do in the Mountains, all under an hour drive from Calgary:
Kananaskis Nordic Spa
Relax, let the stress go and live in the moment while you enjoy a rejuvenating outdoor hydrotherapy session at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa.
𝐓𝐢𝐩: Be sure to give yourself enough time here if you plan on visiting. The cycles are highly addictive and you won’t want to leave. Oh , and don’t leave without trying the Eucalyptus & Alchemist Steam Cabin!
On your way in or out of Kananaskis Country, make a stop at Barrier Lake and take in the views from the lookout or paddle the man-made lake in a rented canoe.
Explore Downtown Canmore
Spend some time exploring the shops and attractions in downtown Canmore by foot and stop by the Rocky Mountain Soap Factory for a free hand facial.
𝐓𝐢𝐩: The blood orange scrub topped with the lemongrass hand moisturizer is a heavenly, heavenly combo!
Take a Distillery Tour
There are a number of distilleries in Canmore that provide daily tours. We dropped in for the daily 3PM tour at Wildlife Distillery and got the opportunity to meet with Co-Founder Keith Robinson who educated us on the process of distilling local spirits.
𝐓𝐢𝐩: They make some mean cocktails, so don’t leave without trying one … or three 🙂
Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
Yamnuska (which means “wall of stone” in the Nakoda language) is home to Canada’s only Wolfdog sanctuary. We took an educational interactive tour through the sanctuary where we were enlightened on the difference between low, mid and high content wolfdogs and the sanctuary’s dedication to preserving wild wolves in their natural environment.
WHERE TO EAT
Truthfully, I’ve been envious of the dining scene in Calgary since I moved to Edmonton and love restaurant hopping whenever I’m in the city. It’s always difficult to choose a handful of restaurants to share, so I’ve curated a list of some of my favourite places to eat in Calgary for brunch/dinner. If you know me, then you definitely know that aesthetics are involved:
Located in the heart of 17th Street, Pigeonhole is definitely one of Calgary’s culinary treasures. The restaurant made top 10 in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list in 2017 and is infamous for its weekly Earlybird breakfast/brunch service. I can rave on about the wonderful service and the super pretty interiors, but the ultimate focus for me is the delicious food!
𝐓𝐢𝐩: Drop by for brunch and try the Smoked Salmon Arepas Benedict. It’s Gluten free and tasty AF.
OEB Breakfast Co.
When it comes to brunch, OEB Co. delivers and delivers well. Whether I’m in Calgary or Edmonton, this is one of my favourite places to stop for brunch … even on a weekday. Their benny game is top notch so there’s no going wrong with whatever you order off of the menu.
Calcutta Cricket Club
Beyond a doubt, CCC’s vintage-inspired décor is an interior sight to behold with savoury dishes to compliment its quirky aesthetics. The restaurant serves Bengali-inspired street food, tasty cocktails and more.
𝐓𝐢𝐩: Be sure to flag down the DIY mimosa trolley (pineapple mimosas are where it’s at) and try the sweet + savory Chai-Ovaltine Pancakes!
A brilliant take on the world famous Asian cuisine with a unique local twist. Two Penny has inventive cocktails which can be enjoyed in its relaxing artfully decorated space. Whether you’re seated at the bar
𝐓𝐢𝐩: If you order anything on the menu, make sure it’s the Ginger Beef. A dish so iconic that it was included in the Royal Alberta Museum’s Chop Suey on the Prairies exhibition. Also, pair the Ginger Soy Sour cocktail with the Ginger Beef and thank me later!
Not last for any particular reason because Bridgette Bar restaurant definitely sells itself. We had dinner here on our last night in Calgary and loved every moment of it. The restaurant draws in an eclectic crowd for lunch, happy-hour, dinner and even late nights. Bridgette Bar was named on Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants 2019 list and it’s easy to see why. The food is delicious, the service is excellent and the unique cocktails are superb. To top all of that off, they’ve managed to mount a whole MOTORCYCLE on the wall – that’s art.
𝐓𝐢𝐩: The rosemary-laced lamb sirloins are a must!