Picnic and barbecue season is here and Calgarians are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating outdoors. There are at least 3,211 picnic tables in the city, as well as 416 barbecue sites.
Here are 20 of our favourite spots to enjoy eating outdoors while the weather is warm, both in the city and a short drive away.
Where to Have a Picnic or Barbecue in Calgary
Stationed on the Bow River, this popular park offers a number of land and water features for the perfect day in the sun. Bring your picnic or pick up food from the Seasons of Bowness Market and enjoy a bite to eat in the park’s picnic areas, or relax around one of the many firepits. Feeling hot out in the sun? Cool off in the river or head over to the Bowness Park wading pool (once it reopens).
8900 4 Ave. N.W.
Also known as North Capitol Hill Park, Canmore Park is located in Charleswood. There’s plenty of open space to set up a picnic blanket, but there are picnic tables and benches here too. There are also tennis courts and ball diamonds here, or you could take a walk to the nearby Confederation Park.
2020 Chicoutimi Dr. N.W.
This picnic spot is ideal for those looking for a quiet spot where they can really appreciate nature. There are multiple man-made lakes to admire and you can birdwatch – the area is home to a variety of different waterfowl such as Belted Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons. Bring your fishing poles if you’re interested in trying to catch a bite – no swimming here, though – or go for a paddle down the river in your canoe.
67 Riverview Dr. S.E.
It’s central, it’s family-friendly and it’s a great place for a picnic. Edworthy Park has numerous picnic sites, shelters and gazebos as well as fire pits and barbecue stands. You can book a picnic site at this park, too. Bring the dogs and go for a walk along the pathways after enjoying your sandwiches alfresco. And, be sure to save room for an ice cream cone from Angel’s Cafe.
5050 Spruce Dr. S.W.
After using the picnic tables or barbecue stands at this park, take the family for a leisurely bike ride through the beautiful trails here. This park has tennis courts, water fountains and a playground for a great day out. It’s also where you will find the Calgary Canoe Club and the Calgary Rowing Club.
7305 Crowchild Tr. S.W.
If such an award existed, this park would win the award for being the most romantic picnic site. Park at the base of the hill, slap on some sunscreen and hike to the top. Your lunch won’t be your only reward for making it to the top — you’ll also be rewarded with spectacular views of the entire city. There are benches scattered along the top of the hill, so try to find one to sit on as you eat lunch.
5620 14 St. N.W.
This venue is ideal for a mid-week picnic. Eat your lunch on the garden bistro chairs or tables, or choose to sit on the concrete steps instead. As pandemic restrictions begin to change, you might even catch a live performance on the park’s stage.
228 8 Ave. S.E.
Picnicking here will make you feel as though you’ve escaped the city. Home to the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and a 15-hectare reconstructed wetland, this is the place to soak in the beauty of nature while eating at one of the picnic sites.
1440 17A St. S.E.
Between 2016 and 2017, Prairie Winds Park received a number of improvements to makes this a must-visit park during the summer. The park was updated with a range of amenities including tennis and basketball courts, a new playground, a cricket pitch and a scooter bowl. There is even a wading pool (which is temporarily closed) and lazy river for cooling off on hot summer days. Enjoy your picnic at Prairie Winds’ picnic and barbecue areas. You can stick to classic picnic meals or get creative with your picnic using the parks tandoori oven.
223 Castleridge Blvd. N.E.
Enjoy your picnic while watching the ducks on the pond or set up in the grassy area in front of the Enmax Stage — there’s plenty of room for popular summer yard games like croquet or bocce ball. Come out to experience some of Prince’s Island’s many events throughout the season, including the Calgary Folk Festival when it returns next year.
4 St. and 1 Ave. S.W.
Located right in Calgary’s inner city, this picnic spot is just down the hill from SAIT and up the road from the hustle and bustle of Kensington. Buy some picnic supplies from Sunnyside Natural Market and spend the whole day in the park. There’s a cricket pitch for the sports fans, a playground and flower and rock gardens.
800 12 St. N.W.
Bring the whole family for an afternoon picnic at this riverside park. Cook over one of the park’s fire pits or barbecue stands and relax at one of the many picnic areas and shelters. Kids will like the updated playgrounds and adults will appreciate the views and close proximity to Britannia. Visit Britannia’s Village Ice Cream for a cone before heading home.
4500 1A St. S.W.
If your idea of a fun day out includes challenging friends to a game of ball or testing your skills on the courts, then Shouldice Park is the place for you. Pack a lunch and enjoy a full day of activities here: bring tennis racquets, baseball gloves and the soccer ball for an afternoon of fun. Afterward, replenish your energy and cook up some hot dogs and burgers on the barbecue. Shouldice is home to Jumpstart Inclusive Playground, which is 15,000 square feet of accessible playground area for all kids.
4900 Monserrat Dr. N.W.
Spend the morning at Heritage Park, pick up some cheese buns and cinnamon rolls from the bakery and take them to South Glenmore Park to eat at the sheltered picnic tables. If you’re feeling energetic afterward, walk to the Weaselhead Natural Area or, if you know how to sail, rent a boat from the Glenmore Sailing School.
90 Ave. and 24 St. S.W.
This 21-hectare park has a range of amenities to enjoy during a social picnic including tennis courts, a sports field and an outdoor swimming pool (closed for the season) and wading pool. There’s also raft access to the Elbow River and the Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club is located right in the park.
4011 1A St. S.W.
Where to Picnic in the Mountains
With both campsites and picnic areas available for use, this Kananaskis Country park is perfect for either a weekend long or single day escape from the city. Enjoy a meal with friends and family at one of the park’s many picnic spots, such as Barrier Damn, Barrier Lake or Widow Maker, then spend the rest of your trip canoeing, kayaking, rafting and hiking.
Bright blue water, incredible mountain views and plenty of hiking trails, this glacially fed lake is a picturesque spot for a picnic. The picnic area here has eight tables, two kitchen shelters and even flushing toilets.
For a picnic by an impressive waterfall, head to Sheep River Provincial Park. Sheep Falls is just a short walk from the day-use area and is a cool site to enjoy lunch outdoors.
Located about 12 kilometres outside of Banff, this picnic spot is a popular, scenic area. Cool off with a dip in the water or rent a canoe or standup paddle board. Or, just admire the mountain views from the shore. There are eight picnic tables here as well as two fire rings.
Drive to Canmore with picnic basket in tow and get ready to enjoy an entire day at the sandy beach. With gorgeous mountain views and pristine water, this is the place for a good, old-fashioned picnic. There are no fire pits here.