25 Best Things to Do in Calgary This February
This month, visit a new restaurant that’s all about poke bowls, get a Star Trek training experience at Telus Spark, see a shower that sprays light instead of water as part of the city’s newest winter festival and attend the final High Performance Rodeo show of the year.
The Black Arm Band presents "dirtsong" on February 2. This is the final show in the 31st High Performance Rodeo.
Photograph by Sarah Walker
If you're looking for ways to fill your calendar in February, we have ideas for you. And they include everything from trying new restaurants, doing some local shopping and attending new arts-y festivals during the Family Day long weekend.
Here are our 25 suggestions for an entertaining February.
If you’re into urban planning and believe that bacon isn’t just for breakfast, make sure that Baconfest 4 is on your radar this month. Baconfest is a celebration of the American urban planner Ed Bacon. (If you’re unfamiliar with him, he’s the only urban planner who has ever made the cover of Time magazine. And yes, he’s related to Kevin Bacon. He is Kevin’s dad.) On February 1, 8, 15 and 22, films on urban planning are screened and there will be actual bacon for eating, too.
John Dutton Theatre, 616 Macleod Tr. S.E.; Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.E., facebook.com
Exposure, Alberta’s annual photography festival, returns to various venues and galleries from February 1 to 28. Admire new work, chat with the artists and maybe even register to join in a photography workshop.
Various locations, exposurephotofestival.com
The last show of the 31st High Performance Rodeo is on February 2. It’s called dirtsong and it’s kind of a cultural journey through Australia. Musicians, composers, dancers and filmmakers that are part of the Black Arm Band highlight Australian Aboriginal traditions and culture. This is an entertaining and educational multimedia production and it’s only on stage this one night. Tickets are from $29.
Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-9494, artscommons.ca
Market Collective returns to the Chinese Cultural Centre February 3 to 5. This time, its theme is love, so expect to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift here (and the perfect ambience while looking for it). In between browsing vendors’ booths, treat yourself to a Made By Marcus treat or lunch at the Eats of Asia booth. Admission is $5 for the whole weekend.
Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 1 St. S.W., marketcollective.ca
On a chilly, grey winter’s day, sometimes you just need a hot chocolate (or several) to really make the most of it all. The month-long YYC Hot Chocolate Fest kicks off on February 1 and will see more than 70 local restaurants, cafés and businesses competing. Each participant prepares a signature, limited-edition beverage and you’re encouraged to vote for your favourite in each of the two categories. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds support Calgary Meals on Wheels.
Various locations, 403-243-2834, yychotchocolate.com
Chinese New Year isn’t a one-night thing. The 2017 Year of the Rooster Chinese New Year Carnival kicked off in January and continues until February 12. At some point this month, head to the Chinese Cultural Centre to see lion dances, admire Chinese lanterns, see martial arts demonstrations and try some traditional Chinese New Year dishes. Apart from Market Collective, admission to the carnival is free.
Chinese Cultural Centre, 197 1 St. S.W., culturalcentre.ca
photograph by jared sych
There’s a new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Boxwood. It’s called Provision. It’s owned by the same team that operates Avec Bistro and its menu is all about the vegetables and the seasonal ingredients. Also expect pairing dinners and wine tasting events to happen here down the road.
Provision, 340, 13 Ave. S.W., 403-265-4006, provisionyyc.com
It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen movies like Fargo, Fight Club and The Princess Bride in theatres. But, this month, you can have that experience all over again. Between February 3 and 9, the Flashback Film Fest stops in Calgary and 17 movies from the 1980s and 1990s will be screened. If you’d like, wear those baggy jeans and a scrunchie for true nostalgia factor. (Ticket prices are really affordable, but maybe not 1980 affordable — a ticket for one movie costs $7.99.)
Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinemas, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., cineplex.com
In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, Calgary Opera is presenting a very Canadian opera this month. Filumena is based on a true Alberta love story. It centres on an Italian woman who is living in the Crownest Pass during the 1920s and is stuck in a loveless marriage. Expect a musical portrayal of love, betrayal and revenge. Filumena is on stage February 4, 8 and 10.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., 403-262-7286, calgaryopera.com
Unless you’re a Super Bowl superfan, you’re probably not going all the way to Houston on February 5 for the Super Bowl. Instead, make it a special occasion and book a getaway to Priddis. Azuridge Estate Hotel is offering a Super Bowl burgers and beer menu — you’ll get a pint, a burger and a side (all in a gorgeous setting) for $35.
Azuridge Estate Hotel, 178057 272 St. W., 403-931-0100, eventbrite.ca
So both you and your date are Star Trek fans. The perfect Valentine's Day outing could be to Telus Spark, because the new travelling exhibit opens on February 4 and it is all about Star Trek. Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience includes a hologram orientation, simulated training, phaser target practice, the chance to learn to speak Klington, and more. The exhibition is here until June 4. Or, head to Adults Only Night on Thursday, February 9. The theme is Android Love Song and includes a chance to visit the new travelling Star Trek exhibition, but also learn about the future of love. Think love has an algorithm? Think androids can become really, freakishly human? Find out during a science-themed date.
Telus Spark Science Centre, 220 St. Georges Dr. N.E., 403-817-6800, sparkscience.ca
photograph by alana willerton
First High Line Brewing, now Cold Garden — Inglewood is becoming the spot to go if you’re into locally brewed beer. And Cold Garden might be one of the most distinctive spots yet. Inside, you’ll see pool noodles that are used to insulate the glycol lines, the cracks in the floor are filled in with gold glitter and there are stained glass windows that used to belong in a church.
And, of course, you'll find beer. There are seven main beers as well as four rotating taps, and maybe one day, also a cider. The brewery and tasting room is officially opening this weekend (January 27).
Cold Garden, 1100 11 St. S.E., 403-603-8656, coldgarden.ca
Last year was the inaugural Block Heater music festival. It was such a mid-winter, folk music success that it is returning to four Inglewood venues from February 10 to 12. This year 25 folk, roots, funk and indie musicians will perform during the weekend, including Mariel Buckley, Iskwé, Reuben and the Dark and The Torchettes. Tickets range in price from $15 to $25.
Various locations in Inglewood, calgaryfolkfest.com
Kenny Broad has been places you’ll never go. Actually, he’s probably been to places you wouldn't even dream about visiting. That’s because he’s interested in underwater cave exploration and interdisciplinary research. In this talk, which is part of the National Geographic Live! series, hear Broad tell stories about the risks of his career. He’ll talk about being chased by venomous snakes, running out of oxygen while underwater and being stranded on an island. He's telling his stories on February 12 and 13.
Jack Singer Concert Hall, 205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-9494, artscommons.ca
photograph courtesy of theatre calgary
This year, there’s an extra presentation in Theatre Calgary’s season. The show is called Skylight and it’s an intimate play with a short run-time — it’s only on-stage from February 14 to February 26. The play is in the Engineered Air Theatre, as opposed to the Max Bell Theatre where Theatre Calgary shows usually are, so expect to see elements of a broken relationship up close.
Engineered Air Theatre, 205 8 Ave. S.E., theatrecalgary.com
It’s finally happening. Calgary is getting a restaurant where poke bowls are the star. Po-ké is a 780-square-foot space, designed by David Lam. Lam also designed spots like Cluck N Cleaver and Ke Charcoal Grill and Sushi, so expect to be enjoying your poke bowl in a cool, modern space. As well as poke bowls, the restaurant will specialize in sushi burritos, po-ké dogs and musubi, which is a kind of Hawaiian sushi made with spam. Po-ké is scheduled to open its doors in the middle of February.
Po-ké, 908A Centre St. N.E., 403-455-6507, facebook.com
(But, biking isn't required if you don’t want to.)
Gilles Brassart, the owner of Cassis Bistro, Market 17 and Suzette Bistro, is quite the cyclist as well as a talented chef. Recently, he’s seen groups of cyclists meeting at Cassis Bistro before or after their group rides. So, he created Velo Café, a space that specifically caters to cyclists — that’s right, cycling cafes are no longer just a West Coast or Euro thing. But, even if you’re not here to meet with other riders or catch up with the cycling community, you can still order coffee and eat healthy food.
Velo Café, 102, 2505 17 Ave. S.W., velocafeyyc.com
The next show the Alberta Ballet brings to the stage is Life by BalletBoyz. An all-male troupe performs new pieces by highly regarded choreographers. The show is artistic yet athletic, powerful yet intimate, and an interesting examination of life and death. The show runs February 16 to 18 and tickets begin at $29.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., 403-294-9494, albertaballet50.com
photograph courtesy of downtown calgary
Prismatica by Raw Design will be at Olympic Plaza.
Things are going to get creative, bright and one-of-a-kind downtown this Family Day long weekend. From February 17 to 20, the first ever Downtown Winter Light Festival will be running and its aim is to brighten up this cold, dark month. The festival includes art installations, interactive light pieces, theatre pieces and more. You’ll want to stop by to see the pieces, which include a coloured ice-like palace, a shower that sprays light instead of water and a chandelier made from clear chopsticks and chopstick rests. It’s free to see the pieces shown at this festival.
Various locations downtown, downtowncalgary.com
To celebrate the arrival of the Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet to Calgary’s dance scene, the new school is presenting a performance and gala on February 18. It’s called The Blue Gala because the hope is that the event will lift people’s “blue” spirits and because attendees are encouraged to wear as blue as possible. The event includes a ballet performance by Hattowi, Williamson and Gailen Johnston, as well as students and former colleagues, and a reception. There’s also a fundraising element, as a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Pancreatic Cancer Canada.
Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, 111 12 Ave. S.E., hwballet.com
Mountain Equipment Co-op is making it really easy to get active as a family on February 20. The company’s FUNdraiser event allows families to choose an activity they prefer — cycling, running or yoga, or all three — and then participate altogether. The final event, which is the yoga that begins at 12:30, is followed by music, coffee and local food. Ticket prices vary, but the proceeds support Watt Riot Cycling.
Various locations, mec.ca
And you thought it was only a television show (inspired by a book, inspired by a true story.) Cowtown Opera brings Prison Divas to Festival Hall on February 23 to 26. The opera is a parody of the popular television series, so expect things to get comedic as well as musical. For example, there will be an improvised opera using Tweets, a dueling divas competition and some belly dancing. And, it all happens behind bars.
Festival Hall, 1215 10 Ave. S.E., cowtownoperacompany.com
Oenophiles have probably already penciled this event into their calendar. Winefest returns to Stampede Park on February 24 and 25, and that means sampling different wines from around the world, paired with local appetizers. And, you can take home a complimentary wine glass.
BMO Centre, Stampede Park, 20 Roundup Way S.E., 403-228-0777, celebratewinefest.com
photograph courtesy of y stage theatre
The Star Keeper is a 55-minute play that doesn’t star ordinary actors. The stars in this show are all puppets, and they’re more than a little extraordinary. In this family-friendly show, the audience will meet a worm named Pretzel, a very, very old woman and a baby who is anything but easy-going. The show from Y Stage runs February 24 to 26.
The Playhouse, 115 9 Ave. S.E., 403-221-3708, vertigotheatre.com
The Academy Awards are on February 26. You know the drill. Dress up in your finest, join other film-lovers and watch as the winners are announced — and make a mental note of all the movies you still have to watch. You have viewing party options: Theatre Calgary is hosting Night With the Stars: A Royal Affair while CIFF is hosting A Red Carpet Affair.