Calgary wears September well. The weather is pleasant, the light golden, the food fantastic – and changing leaves add extraordinary texture and colour to the city’s streets and parks. There are options for foliage-viewing almost everywhere within the city limits and beyond, but only a few options that offer autumnal views alongside delicious food.
You have to stroll under Prince’s Island Park’s massive cottonwoods just to get to the front door, and it’s worth leaving time to walk the long way around. Lovely year-round but particularly majestic during fall, the park is a perfect backdrop to a shared fish and game board and a bottle of red wine. (25 Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, river-cafe.com)
Lazy Loaf and Kettle
The stretch of Bow River between Crowchild Trail and Edworthy affords a stunning view of sparkling water and the south-side escarpment, thick with turning balsam poplar trees and evergreen Douglas firs. Grab a coffee and a sandwich (or better yet, a mammoth slice of cake) at Parkdale’s Lazy Loaf and Kettle, and snack while you stroll. (8 Parkdale Cres. N.W., 403-270-7810, lazyloafandkettle.com)
Nestled in landscaped grounds in the lush greenery (and redery, and yellowery) of Fish Creek Park, the Ranche is an away-from-it all oasis in the city. On a crisp fall day, grab a spot on the veranda with a plate of wild caribou and a bottle of Unibroue beer, and watch aspen leaves tremble in one of the city’s most peaceful settings. (15979 Bow Bottom Tr. S.E., 403-225-3939, crmr.com/theranche)
A great place to be in any season, Rouge occupies a charmed location in a heritage house, its massive yard bursting with flowers, native shrubs and mature trees. The restaurant’s proximity to Inglewood and the Bow River makes it unbeatable for inner-city leaf watching in the fall. Splurge on the chef’s tasting menu and stay for hours. (1240 8 Ave. S.E., 403-531-2767, rougecalgary.com)
Lake Agnes Tea House
Food tastes better after a couple of hours of hiking uphill, especially near Lake Louise, one of the most indisputably beautiful places in the world. Admire striking views of bright yellow larch trees amid the conifers, then refuel on split pea soup with homemade brown bread and a cup of maple tea. (About 3.6 km from the Chateau Lake Louise up the Lake Agnes Trail, lakeagnesteahouse.com)
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