25 Best Things to Do in Calgary This September
This month, run an eight kilometre race while Beethoven's music plays live, touch 12-foot lotus flowers that light up to your heartbeat and donate some fruit to help make a cool local cider.
The Calgary Produce Marketing Association Fall Harvest Sale runs from September 8 to 9.
Photograph courtesy of Heritage Park
When: September 1
You don't have to be Scottish to check out Calgary's Highland Games. Now in its 105th year, the event celebrates Scotland's rich culture and history with a full day of Highland dancing, drumming and piping competitions, heavy events such as caber, open stone and heavy hammer, vendors and food trucks.
Calgary Rugby Union, 9025 Shepard Rd. S.E., calgaryhighlandgames.org
Got more apples, crab apples, berries and pears than you know what to do with? Uncommon Cider wants them. The local craft cidery is asking Calgarians to donate their extra fruit to help them make a cider that will be available for purchase in fall 2019. That may seem like a long time from now, but you'll want to keep an eye out for it — the Calgary Food Bank will be getting some of the profits from sales. Uncommon Cider has fruit drop-off stations set up on select days at various locations until September 23.
There are several escape rooms around the city, but Smartypantz has taken things to the next level with a virtual reality escape room. You and up to three friends will don virtual reality headsets, controllers and gear before taking on one of two available storylines. Try Space Station Tiberia to save the world from an asteroid, or Depth of Osiris where you're trying to get an artifact from an underwater temple.
1601 14 St. S.W., 587-318-5640, calgary.smartypantz.ca
When: Grand opening on September 1
The Dandelion is the newest addition to Ramsay and the vegan restaurant is having a big block party to celebrate its grand opening on September 1. The party, which runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., will feature a vegan market, a local art exhibition and live music. And of course, you'll get to check out The Dandelion's new space and try out some of its plant-based fare. Stop by to welcome this new eatery to the neighbourhood.
1048 8 St. S.E., facebook.com
When: September 6 and 20
Learning how to cook just got a little easier. This fall, Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market will once again be offering its Social Hour events twice a month, which could feature multi-course dinners, tastings or cooking classes. Upcoming events include a four-course dinner with wine pairings on September 6 and a "Best of Brunch" event where you'll learn how to make Italian brunch recipes on September 20. Click here to see the list of available classes between now and the end of November.
3326 17 Ave. S.W., 403-727-7627, sauceitalianmarket.com
When: September 7
One of Canada's biggest film festivals is back. Every year, thousands of cinephiles come out to watch some of the approximately 200 feature and short film screenings that take place during the Calgary International Film Festival. Now, that's a lot of films, so if you're having trouble narrowing down which ones you want to see, then check out CIFF's Trailer Party on September 7. You'll get a better idea for which shows you want to see during the festival by watching their trailers. CIFF runs from September 19 to 30.
Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., calgaryfilm.com
Visit one of Calgary's newest breweries for a pint
It's no secret that Calgary's brewing scene is growing at an astonishing rate. In the last few weeks alone, at last four new breweries have popped up in Calgary. What's cool is that each one is quite unique, meaning you get a different experience no matter which one you check out. Play arcade games at Revival Brewcade, try the fries and special dipping sauces at Marda Loop Brewing Co., check out Ol' Beautiful's space that's inspired by a Japanese aesthetic called wabi-sabi, and re-visit Calgary's time as the host of the 1988 Winter Olympics at Eighty-Eight Brewing Company.
When: September 8
There's lots to love about this year's Honens International Piano Competition and Festival lineup, from performances by emerging pianists throughout the week to events like a free reading of The Hockey Sweater set to live piano music. One of the best events is saved for last though: an afternoon chamber music concert in Central Memorial Park, which will feature a performance by the 2015 Honens International Piano Competition winner Luca Burrato. The entire festival and competition run from August 30 to September 8.
Various locations, honens.com
When: September 8
Now in its fifth year, this renamed event is not your typical carnival. In addition to a fleet of local food trucks, a local artisan market and two stages featuring live music, attendees can cheer on wiener dog races and learn cool tricks at a circus school.
Shaw Millennium Park, 1220 9 Ave. S.W., circlecarnival.com
When: September 8 and 9
This weekend, check out the activities and exhibits at Heritage Park, then grab some well-priced produce from the on-site Calgary Produce Marketing Association Fall Harvest Sale on your way out. There will be plenty of fruit and vegetables to choose from (think carrots, tomatoes, apples and cabbage) and the money made from the sale will go towards local charities. Look for the sale in Heritage Park's Historical Village from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., 403-268-8500, heritagepark.ca
Catch a screening of a big blockbuster hit at the newly opened Cineplex Cinemas Seton and VIP. Not only does the entire building feature recliner seating, but there's also a licensed VIP Lounge. Four of the theatre's auditoriums are adults-only VIP Cinemas, which allow guests to order food ranging from salads to burgers and drinks like beer and wine to their seats.
Cineplex Cinemas Seton and VIP, 19683 Seton Cres. S.E., cineplex.com
When: Halloweekends start September 8
Halloween always comes early at Calaway Park. From September 8 to October 8, the local amusement park is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays, and they make the most of them with their Halloweekends. Visitors are also encouraged to dress up in costumes for the Boo Crew Costume Party on September 15 and 16.
Calaway Park, 245033 Range Rd. 33, 403-240-3822, calawaypark.com
photograph by julieta cervantes
When: September 11 to 16
It's been more than seven years since The Book of Mormon made its Broadway debut and eventually garnered 14 Tony Awards award nominations (it won nine). Now, Broadway Across Canada brings the popular musical comedy to Calgary from September 11 to 16. Set in Uganda, the production tells the story of two Mormon missionaries that are sent to preach to and convert a local village.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., calgary.broadway.com
When: September 11 to 29
Alberta Theatre Projects’ 2018/19 season opener transports audiences back to a future Queen Elizabeth I’s early years, as she faces some serious accusations following her father’s death and her brother’s rise to the throne. This thriller by Canadian playwright, director and actor Kate Hennig is a sequel to ATP’s season opener from last year.
Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons, 215 8 Ave. S.E., atplive.com
When: September 13
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra playing Beethoven’s music by the Bow River sounds like an idyllic concert setting, but it’s actually the backdrop for a new Calgary race. Runners will race eight kilometres while the CPO plays, and afterwards, there will be a free concert for participants and their supporters.
Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave. S.E., runyyc.ca
When: September 15 to 16
Now in its 35th year, Calgary's ArtWalk event is essentially a giant gallery hop. On September 15 to 16, Calgarians can explore as many of the 20 participating galleries as they want for free, including the Alberta Craft Gallery, Inglewood Fine Arts, Contemporary Calgary, the Christine Klassen Gallery, Art on 9th, the Glenbow and more. You can also meet local artists at select galleries.
Various locations, calgaryartwalk.com
When: September 19 to 23
Every year, Beakerhead educates and amazes Calgarians with its science, arts and engineering related activities and exhibitions. This fall is no different, and while there are plenty of cool things to check out, be sure to visit Pulse and Bloom. Set up at Fort Calgary, this art installation features 12-foot lotus flowers that light up to your (and your fellow participants') heartbeats. Plus, it's free to visit. Beakerhead runs from September 19 to 23.
Pulse and Bloom is located at Fort Calgary, 750 9 Ave. S.E., beakerhead.com
photograph courtesy of drift luxury nail bar
If you need a little more relaxation in your life, visit the newly opened Drift Luxury Nail Bar in southeast Calgary. You can get a pedicure while sitting on a zero gravity chair, a manicure while listening to a guided meditation session through headphones, a hydrating facial, a relaxing massage and more. There's also a cafe where you can grab some Monogram coffee.
108, 8400 Blackfoot Tr. S.E., 403-301-0888, driftluxurynailbar.com
When: September 21 and 22
Drink a cold one with Alberta Beer Festivals at its brand new festival focused around beer, cider and spirits. During the two-day event, you can sample drinks and snacks from a range of distilleries, breweries, cideries and restaurants. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy too, including live music shows, photography walls, art exhibits and DJ performances.
When: September 21 to 30
Excited for the return of YYC Pizza Week? We don't blame you. Having nearly 30 restaurants come up with special pizza creations is pretty cool on its own, but the fact that $3 from each order will support Calgary's Meals on Wheels makes the whole experience even sweeter. This year's pizza creations haven't been revealed yet, but last year's selections ranged from a backyard bacon cheeseburger pizza to a Nashville hot chicken pizza.
Various locations, yycpizzaweek.com
Go to one (or both) of the two local apple festivals happening over the same weekend
When: September 22 and 23
If you love apples, this is your lucky weekend. Two local apple festivals are taking place from September 22 to 23. On one end of the city there's the Kiwanis Apple Festival, which will feature activities like apple archery, apple baking and pressing, live music and a silent auction. And on the other, there's Applefest at Granary Road, which will feature food products inspired by apples along with its Public Market and Active Learning Park. Choose one to visit or go to a different one each day.
When: September 22 to 23
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at local businesses, charitable organizations and facilities? During Doors Open YYC, you can find out more about how they're run by touring their spaces. The Calgary Horticultural Society, Aleppo Savon, local fire stations and Fiasco Gelato are just a few of the venues you can check out this year.
When: September 26 to 30
Make the 45 minute drive to High River for the largest hot air balloon festival in Western Canada. At the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival, spectators can book a flight on a hot air balloon and watch flights from the ground throughout the festival. But if you can only attend one night, check out the Balloon Glow Night at Spitzee Elementary School on September 28 — the sight of more than a dozen glowing, lit-up hot air balloons anchored to the ground is one you won't want to miss.
Calgary restaurants have stepped up their margarita game with special happy hour deals, unique flavours ranging from pineapple rosemary to blood orange and even giant margaritas for groups of at least three. Make plans to visit one the city's best spots for margaritas with a group a friends this month.
Fall officially begins on September 22, which means our days of hot, sunny weather are numbered. With only a few patio-worthy days left, you'll want to make the most of them. Whether you're looking for patios with the best view, romantic patios or pet-friendly patios, our Patio Guide has got you covered. And of course, you can always visit one of these patios with features like heaters, fireplaces and enclosures on colder days.