25 Best Things To Do In July
This month, shop at an Asian-style night market, be brave and try crispy chicken feet on a stick and have coffee with a cat in Kensington.
Calgary Night Market runs several times throughout the month at Southcentre Mall.
Photograph by LINDSAY ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY
The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is this month, so be sure to put some Stampede-related activities on your to-do list. But it's not all about the Stampede either.
Here are our 25 suggestions for an entertaining July.
This is not the year to sit out the City of Calgary’s Canada Day events. Because it's Canada 150, there are going to be even more celebrations than usual. As well as things that happen every year like fireworks and free pancake breakfasts and a living flag, there are new Canada Day events this year. Try to make it to the opening of a time capsule from 1967 at Confederation Park, a concert at Riverfront Avenue East featuring Tegan and Sara and the Indigenous showcase at Prince’s Island Park.
Various locations, calgary.ca
The annual North American show jumping tournament returns to Spruce Meadows from July 5 to 9. You can get a better idea of how the sport works but make sure that you also spend some time exploring the Spruce Meadows grounds. There’s shopping, there are family-friendly activities like face painting and pony rides, and you can see the Prairie Dogs performances.
Spruce Meadows, 18011 Spruce Meadows Way S.W., 403-974-4200, sprucemeadows.com
photograph by LINDSAY ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY
Maybe you checked out the Calgary Night Market at Central Memorial Park last year. This year, the Calgary Night Market is even bigger. As before, admission to the market is free and there will be a range of stalls featuring local artisans and food stalls. This year, the event runs at a new location — there are several markets running in the Southcentre Mall parking lot this summer. There is also live entertainment and karaoke. The markets are on July 7 and 8, there's a Stampede market on July 14 and there's a market on July 28 and 29.
Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Rd. S.E., facebook.com
The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth kicks off July 7 and runs until July 16. You’re going to want to see the rodeo, watch the chuckwagon races and the evening show, tour the barns and attend a lot of the free concerts at the Coca-Cola Stage. But you’re also going to want to eat. A lot. There are 40 new foods on the Stampede Midway this year and they range from really tasty treats to eat-them-because-you’ve-been-dared-to dishes. Start with the Cereal Monster Sandwich and work your way up to the crispy chicken feet on a stick.
Calgary Stampede, 403-261-0101, calgarystampede.com
Take a break from the heat and the noise of the Stampede Grounds and visit the Western Showcase during Stampede this year. Cool down in the air-conditioned building, relax a little with a glass of wine and experience Western culture though art, exhibitions and presentations.
Calgary Stampede, 403-261-0101, westernshowcase.com
Seed N Salt opened in Mission in June and its menu is all about salads, bowls, smoothies and other healthy options. There’s a patio here too. A smoothie bowl on the west-facing patio seems like a great way to start a summer morning.
Seed N Salt, 2008 4 St. S.W., seednsalt.com
If the hot weather has you feeling sluggish, cool off with some ice cream or popsicles or slushy drinks. Try some of the best cool treats in the city this month — we recommend you try one cool treat a day for the whole of the July.
Dozens of miniature model trains made out of Lego blocks will be on display at the Cave and Basin Historic Site on July 7 and 8. You get to ride some trains during this weekend, too. Visitors from Airdrie’s Iron Horse Park will be on-site and there will be 1/8 scale trains that visitors can ride around the Cave and Basin pool deck.
Cave and Basin Historic Site, 311 Cave Ave., Banff, 403-762-1566, pc.gc.ca
Really, you can do that now. Regal Cat Café had its grand opening on June 24. It’s a full-service café but there’s also an enclosed “Kitty Kingdom.” It’s totally separate from the café, so if you only want a coffee without the cat company, that’s okay. The Regal Cat Café is working with the Meow Foundation, so all the cats you visit are up for adoption.
Regal Cat Cage, 303 10 St. N.W., regalcatcafe.com
There’s a big concert at Fort Calgary right in the middle of Stampede. It’s on July 12 and big names in Canadian music will be performing. Buy tickets to hear Steven Page, Trooper and Sloan perform. Headlining the concert is Tom Cochrane with Red Rider. Proceeds from the event support the Rotary Club of Calgary Downtown.
Fort Calgary, stampedeshaker.com
photograph courtesy of the nash & Off cut bar
If you love cocktails and you love Inglewood, you’re going to want to stop by The Nash and Off Cut Bar before August 24. Its “Cheers to Inglewood” cocktail program runs until then. It involves creating a new cocktail every two weeks that’s based on a different Inglewood business. All proceeds from the special cocktails support The Alex Youth Health Centre.
The Nash & Off Cut Bar, 925 11 St. S.E., 403-984-3365, thenashyyc.com
If you haven’t visited the new pop-up retail park behind Studio Bell, make a point to visit this month. It’s called East Village Junction and there are 12 vendors selling everything from fresh fruit to clothing to jewellery. Lululemon also has its own container and every Sunday, local Lululemon ambassadors and YYC Run Crew lead a group run starting at 9:30 a.m. The weather is nice now. There's no reason not to run.
Southwest corner of 4 St. and 8 Ave. S.E., evexperience.com
Two big-name musicians in the Americana and roots-country music scene are performing at the Banff Centre’s Shaw Amphitheatre this July. Lethbridge-based singer-songwriter Leeroy Stagger will take to the stage along with Corb Lund. Tickets for the July 15 concert are $50 each.
Shaw Amphitheatre, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, 403-762-6100, banffcentre.ca
The community-driven bicycle festival Cyclepalooza runs July 14 to 23, which means there are numerous bike-related events for you to take part in during the 10-day festival. Like in previous years, this year’s Cyclepalooza will include a Bike Prom (on July 22) and social rides. New this year is the addition of the “en Blanc à Vélo” event. The premise is simple. Dress in your very best (white) clothes, pack up a picnic, go for a bike ride and then enjoy that picnic in Central Memorial Park.
Rooftop yoga returns to Junction 9 this summer, but there’s an additional series for people out there who love both yoga and movies. Junction 9’s next Summer Yoga and Movie Night on the Rooftop event at Junction 9 is July 21. The yoga is led by Stef Rizvi and then a classic movie will be screened after the 60-minute workout. You’ll also get a 10 per cent discount code to Swimco if you attend this session.
Junction 9, 919 9 Ave. S.E., 403-474-9118, junction9.ca
It was formerly Molly Malone’s and now it’s Prohibition Freehouse. As well as serving local beers and tasty cocktails, Prohibition has what it calls a meatball-centric menu. Order a cocktail and the meatball platter and try to sit out on the rooftop patio. Dinner and drinks taste even better when you’re looking out over Kensington Road.
Prohibition Freehouse, 1153 Kensington Cres. N.W., 403-452-8549, prohobar.com
The Canada 150 celebrations don’t end after Canada Day. Bragg Creek Days runs July 21 to 23 meaning over three days there are two pancake breakfasts, a market and games, live entertainment, a show and shine and a pie-eating contest. This year also marks the 50th annual Bragg Creek Days parade and the theme is red and white in honour of Canada 150. Plan to be in Bragg Creek on Saturday, July 22 to see it.
When the Calgary Folk Music Festival takes over Prince’s Island Park, Shakespeare by the Bow doesn’t come to a halt. Not really, anyway. The venue switches to St. Patrick’s Island instead of Prince’s Island Park, and instead of As You Like It, the Theatre Calgary team and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation present a different Shakespearean type show. It’s called Victors, Villains and Vixens. It’s free to see and it runs nightly from July 25 to 30.
St. Patrick’s Island, 403-294-7447, theatrecalgary.com
A new restaurant opened in the historic Grain Exchange Building last month. It’s called Meat & Bread and it’s a Vancouver-based restaurant dedicated to making high-quality, good-value sandwiches. (You might have tried these sandwiches if you’ve visited the original location in Vancouver’s Gastown.) Expect sandwiches made with house-roasted porchetta, homemade meatballs and fresh ingredients. There will be a few dessert options on the menu, too.
Meat & Bread, 821 1 St. S.W., meatandbread.ca
photograph by chris tait
The 38th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival is the must-attend festival at the end of July. It’s four days of incredible music performances, shopping, trying new food trucks and just generally enjoying the festival ambience at Prince’s Island Park. Headliners this year include Blue Rodeo, the Barenaked Ladies and Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. But be sure to venture away from Mainstage, because the Polaris Music Prize-winning musician Tanya Tagaq will be performing on National Stage 4. This year, the festival runs July 27 to 30.
Prince’s Island Park, calgaryfolkfest.com
If you have a dog, plan to take them to Pet-a-Palooza on July 29 and 30 for a little pampering and a little shopping. If you don’t have a dog, plan to visit the pet-friendly festival anyway. Even non-pet owners can appreciate dogs racing other dogs and dogs diving off docks.
Eau Claire Market, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., petapaloozawest.com
Imagine the Kentucky Derby. Packwood Grand is the Calgary version of that. On July 29, wear your very best outfit — including a fancy hat — and enjoy an afternoon of horse racing, socializing and good food.
Century Downs Racetrack, 260 Century Downs Dr., 587-349-7777, packwoodgrand.com
Buds of Buds is turning those neighbourhoods into an urban gallery from July 1 to 15 with the Painted Windows Exhibit. More than 20 artists were each given the window of a local business to let loose and show their talent. These aren't the usual cowboys and horses window murals you might see during Stampede. A few of the artists involved include Isabelle Pilz, Kaylin Obst and Kristin Linquist.
If you’re hunting for some new, summery shoes, head to the new shoe store on 9th Avenue S.E. The Shoe Closet’s second location (the first is in Cochrane) sells a variety of different shoe brands, including Birkenstock, Rockport and Bueno. You’ll also find clothing and accessories here.
The Show Closet, 1404 9 Ave. S.E., 587-435-7463, facebook.com
The Calgary Arab Festival, running July 29 and 30 this year, is a weekend-long cultural festival at Olympic Plaza. Stop by to learn about the different cultures in the Middle East as a whole. The festival includes everything from exhibition tents showcasing Arabic fashion, art and entertainment, traditional food and a shisha café.
Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave. S.E., facebook.com