25 Best Things To Do In Calgary This April

This month, try out archery tag, indulge in some guilty pleasures, see a dance show that's also part circus, part burlesque, and eat a lot of tacos during the YYC Taco Fiesta.

DJD's spring production "Modern Vaudevillians" runs April 20 to May 6.

Photograph courtesy of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks


April in Calgary is the month for opera shows, high-tech fashion shows and an expo where you can meet the actors from some of your favourite television shows.  

Here are our 25 suggestions for an entertaining April. 


Admire fashion that’s smart — really smart

At MakeFashion on April 1, you’ll see garments that look good but have a functional, technological element too. We’re talking about suits that can charge your phone, dresses that are basically an arcade game and attire that will change colour based on the environment. This year, the runway will feature everything from animated ties to dresses that can read brainwaves. As well as techy fashion from 22 designers, there will be live performances and music. 

Telus Spark Science Centre, 220 St. Georges Dr. N.E., 403-532-7800, makefashion.ca


Join in a bike-riding party that’s for a good cause

photograph courtesy of prostate cancer centre

The inaugural Saddle Up For Men’s Health fundraiser was so successful in 2016 that it’s coming back again this year. The second event is on April 1 and involves riding a stationary bike at YYC Cycle from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. — you can do it solo or as part of a team if riding straight for eight hours sounds a little crazy. As well as the exercise, there will be a silent auction, drinks and snacks. The goal of the event is to raise funds to expand the programs at the Prostate Cancer Centre

YYC Cycle Marda Loop, 3505 14 St. S.W., prostatecancercentre.ca  


See an opera about a strong woman who doesn’t really care for marriage

Princess Turandot has had plenty of suitors, but she’s not going to settle down into marriage easily. Instead of just accepting a proposal, she tests each of her suitors, asking them to solve three riddles. If they fail, they’re sentenced to death. (Yup, the stakes are high.) See what it takes for Princess Turandot to meet her match when the Calgary Opera stages Turandot on April 1, 5 and 7. 

Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., 403-262-7286, calgaryopera.com


Check out the newest café to open in Altadore

It’s called Neighbour and it’s from the same team that’s behind Our Daily Brett in Bankview. Neighbour is a grab-and-go spot with an extensive drink menu — think Mexican hot chocolate and cortados as well as teas and coffees. Pick a drink and then head for a walk through River Park and Sandy Beach Park. 

4038 16 St. S.W., @nhbrcoffee 


Allow yourself to fully indulge in those guilty pleasures

On April 2, there’s no need to feel ashamed of your love of The Bachelor or hide the fact that you know all the lyrics to every Disney movie ever created. Cowtown Opera wants you to embrace all that when you attend its penultimate show of the 2016/2017 season, Guilty Pleasures. The show will include a musical parody of a hit reality TV show and a Disney sing-along, with people who love the same things you do (but also feel a little guilty about it). 

Bella Concert Hall, Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate S.W., cowtownoperacompany.com 


Get a refresher on 1970s Canadian politics

Alberta Theatre Projects gets political, but also comedic, in its next show 1979. It’s set in 1979, when Joe Clark was the Prime Minister and was getting ready to put his first budget before the Parliament. The show is about power, politics and leadership. It runs April 4 until April 22. 

Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons, 403-294-7402, atplive.com


Meet local artists and bid on a piece of artwork you’ll treasure forever

photograph by shane arsenault

Katie Ohe and Harry Kiyooka at the inaugural KOAC Gala in 2016.

On April 7, Calgarians are invited to Hotel Arts to rub shoulders with prominent artists (like Katie Ohe, Harry Kiyooka and Alex Janiver), bid on artwork in an auction and try different Scotches in a tasting. April 7 is the second annual fundraising event for the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre, which when complete, will provide an in-residence mentorship program, have an art library with thousands of books and showcase artwork and sculptures. The centre is being developed by Ohe and Kiyooka, both well-known local artists who have made significant contributions to the art world in Calgary and beyond.  

Hotel Arts, 119 12 Ave. S.W., koartscentre.org


Get to know Homo naledi

Chances are, you don’t know Homo naledi very well. You might not know him at all, but he seriously shook some things up in 2013. That year, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger discovered Homo naledi and it resulted in a new understanding of human evolution. Hear Berger talk about the discovery and what it means on April 9 or 10. This is part of the National Geographic Live! series at Arts Commons. 

Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 8 Ave. S.E., artscommons.ca 


Gather a group of friends to try out archery tag

Yup, archery tag is a thing and you can try it out for yourself when Archery Games opens its doors this month. But before you start re-watching The Hunger Games, know that this is more like dodgeball than actual archery. (Read: you’re not going to get speared. Your arrow is foam-tipped and everyone wears a helmet, just in case.) Archery tag is a 20-person game played on an AstroTurf arena equipped with obstacles, referees and a scoreboard. Like dodgeball, the goal here is to hit your opponents, only you’ll hit them with the soft arrows instead of balls.

Archery Games Calgary, 2015 32 Ave. N.E., 403-475-2565, archerygamescalgary.ca 


Talk about play

Have you ever stopped to think about how the design of public play spaces affect how kids play? At a d.talks event on April 13, three panelists delve into this topic and discuss whether the desire to protect kids from risk — and whether the new movement toward free play — is changing how play spaces work. 

Central Public Library, 616 Macleod Tr. S.E., dtalks.org


Take your geeky friends to Telus Spark

If waiting until the end of the month for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is too long for you to contain your love for Star Trek, then head to this month’s Adults Only Night at Telus Spark. On April 13, the adults-only event centres around the temporary Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience exhibit. You can also learn about how the solar system has been inspiring stories for thousands of years — well before Star Trek — with a beer in hand. 

Telus Spark Science Centre, 220 St. George’s Dr. N.E., 403-817-6800, sparkscience.ca


Watch a lot of movies that probably didn’t make it to theatres

The Calgary Underground Film Festival is back. This year, it runs April 17 to 23. If you’ve never been before, know that it’s six days of under-the-radar films of all genres. If you have seen a film at the festival before, add the Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party and the CUFFcade to your list — you can play five, entirely new arcade games.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., calgaryundergroundfilm.org


Catch the final production in Theatre Calgary’s 2016/2017 season

The last Theatre Calgary show to come to the Arts Commons stage before the company returns to Prince’s Island Park for Shakespeare By the Bow (this year’s production is As You Like It), is an upbeat, high-energy musical. Crazy For You tells the story of a banker who visits a quiet, small town to foreclose a theatre. But something happens while he’s there that causes him to have a total change of heart. The musical opens on April 18 and runs until the Victoria Day long weekend. 

Max Bell Theatre, Arts Commons, 403-294-9494, theatrecalgary.com 


Treat yourself to a light pastry from Mari Bakeshop

photograph by alana willerton

Varieties of choux at Mari Bakeshop.

East Village’s newest bakery, Mari Bakeshop, has been open for just over one month now. If you haven’t already stopped in, make a point to check it out this month. There are soft pretzels, loaves of bread baked fresh at several times throughout the day, Asian-style roll cake, and a lot more. If you just want something small, go for the choux pastry. It’s a small, golden pastry filled with light cream, available in flavours like raspberry, lemon and chocolate. 

Mari Bakeshop, 529 Riverfront Ave. S.E., maribakeshop.ca 


See a show that’s part circus, part burlesque

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks is doing something a little different for its spring show this year. It’s not just a dance show — it’s more like a variety show, complete with live music performed by a jazz piano trio and special guest performances from the community. Modern Vaudevillians runs April 20 to May 5 and is a vaudeville-inspired performance, so expect it to have acrobatic, burlesque and comedic elements.

DJD Dance Centre, 111 12 Ave. S.E., decidedlyjazz.com 


Attend a birthday party, of sorts

There’s a birthday party on April 22, but it’s not your traditional party because the birthday boy won’t be present. That’s because April 22 is William Shakespeare’s birthday and he would be 453. He’s still a big deal though, so celebrate in his honour with beer, loot bags and a lot of cake. This is also a fundraiser for The Shakespeare Company and the event includes some sharing of details about the company’s 2017/2018 season. 

Wild Rose Brewery, 4580 Quesnay Wood Dr. S.W., 403-852-2273, brownpapertickets.com 


Hear the CPO perform Bowie classics

Attend this concert on April 22 and expect to get some shivers. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra performs some of Bowie’s biggest hits from his five-decade career, including “Heroes” and “Space Oddity.”

Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons, 403-571-0849, calgaryphil.com 


Eat Halifax street food at a new restaurant on Edmonton Trail

You don’t have to buy a plane ticket to Halifax if you want to satisfy your cravings for the street food that the East Coast city is known for. Head to Blowers and Grafton for a Halifax donair, donair pizza, mussel bucket, clams and chips and other Halifax street eats. Pair your meal with an East Coast-inspired cocktail, like the Peggy’s Coke, the Maritime Mule or the Waterfront. 

Blowers and Grafton, 709 Edmonton Tr. N.E., 403-276-1770, blowersgrafton.com 


Become an expert on Californian wine

More than 400 wines from 150 California wine producers will be poured at the BMO Centre on April 25. Get to know the differences between the wines and sample some hors d’oeuvres, too. The California Wine Fair might be biggest tour of California wines in Canada, but this isn’t just a food and wine event. Attend and you’ll also be supporting the Calgary Opera

BMO Centre, Stampede Park, 403-262-7286, calgaryopera.com


See an updated version of a classic fairytale

photograph by carol rosegg

You know the story of Cinderella. The evil step-mother and step-sisters, the glass slipper, the handsome prince and the happy ending. From April 25 to April 30, you can see Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella when Broadway Across Canada brings the show to the Jube. It’s the story you know, but with a few unexpected and contemporary twists. 

Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., calgary-broadway.com


Get yourself — or the sporty women you know — new workout gear

Browse the new Sport Chek Women store at Chinook Centre for whatever kind of sporty attire you desire. And there’s a lot to choose from. Over the 16,000-square-foot store there is apparel, footwear and gear. There’s even a New Balance Stride I.D. Experience Lab, where you run barefoot on a treadmill and get your running gait analyzed to help you pick out the best running shoe.  

CF Chinook Centre, 6455 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-697-5618, sportchek.ca


Meet Jeremy Renner and John Cusack and Princess Jasmine

(When we say meet Princess Jasmine, we mean meet the woman who played the voice of the cartoon character, Linda Larkin, in the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin.)

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo takes over Stampede Park from April 27 to 30. Like every year, there will be four days of panels and workshops and shopping and guest appearances. This year, chat with Jeremy Renner and John Cusack, and meet the actors behind some of your favourite television characters, like Eleven from Stranger Things, Glenn from The Walking Dead and Hodor from Game of Thrones

Stampede Park, calgaryexpo.com 


Eat as many tacos as you can

photograph courtesy of yyc taco fiesta

Taco from the Unicorn Superpub made specially for the 2016 YYC Taco Fiesta.

For the taco lovers out there, the YYC Taco Fiesta is something to look forward to at the end of this month. Starting on April 28 and running until May 5, the second annual fiesta will see participating restaurants offer limited-edition tacos made just for the event, as well as tacos that are already on the menu. This isn’t a food competition, but rather a week-long excuse to eat a lot of tasty tacos. Proceeds from taco sales support local charities — this year, the festival supports the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Kids Up Front.  

Various locations, yyctacofiesta.ca


Get inspired to get outside and climb this summer

Three British climbing movies are screened one after the other on April 28 at the Plaza. Plan to attend the screening if you want to get excited for a summer of bouldering and outdoor rope climbing — or if you’re just impressed by the feats of strength and endurance accomplished by climbers on really, really big rocks. 

Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Rd. N.W., snifevents.com


Buy yourself some homemade vegan treats

Cookies, brownies, cupcakes, pizza buns and more will be available for purchase at the Community Natural Foods across from Chinook Centre on April 29. And they will all be vegan. There will be a few gluten-free items, too. If you’re not really into vegan or gluten-free treats, you might still want to attend because proceeds from the 8th Annual Calgary Vegan Bake Sale support The Alice Sanctuary and the Free Spirit Sanctuary

Community Natural Foods — Chinook Station Market, 202 61 Ave. S.W., facebook.com 


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