Going out for dinner and cocktails, seeing movies and planning fun activities for a date is a great way to explore the city with your partner, but it can also start to get pretty pricey, even if you’re going dutch. To make it easier on your wallet, here are eight things to do on a date in Calgary that are budget-friendly or even free. All these date ideas are also great ideas for for an afternoon or night out with friends.
1. Go to Peters’ Drive-In and eat it at Crescent Heights Hill
One of the best places to get a perfect view of Calgary’s downtown skyline is at the top of Crescent Heights a the McHugh Bluff lookout. It’s also a really romantic place to watch the sunset. Make it even better by stopping at nearby Peters’ Drive-In first for a burger ($4.30 for a single) and a deliciously thick milkshake ($5) to share on the hood of the car. Or, go the opposite route and run the Crescent Heights stairs together before a well-earned rest on the hill.
Along Crescent Rd. N.W. off Centre St. N.
2. Attend Shakespeare by the Bow
Shakespeare by the Bow is something most Calgarians look forward to each summer. The Theatre Calgary-run program at Prince’s Island Park supports local, emerging actors and the best part is that it’s pay-what-you-can. This season, the featured play is Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which is about two friends who fall in and out of love with one another. Pack your own picnic and get there early to secure a good spot on the grass. The show is 90 minutes and runs Tuesday through Sunday until August 19.
Prince’s Island Park next to the Bow River Pathway, theatrecalgary.com
3. Get half-off Teppanyaki at Omo Teppan & Kitchen
On Tuesdays at Omo Teppan & Kitchen, your second meal is half-off. Omo serves Japanese teppanyaki – veggies mixed with beef, chicken or lobster cooked right at your table on a flaming grill – dinner and a show for two. Omo is the only restaurant in Alberta and only one of four in Canada that’s certified to serve Kobe beef.
522 Macleod Tr. S.W., 403-764-3222, calgaryteppanyaki.com
4. Explore the Glenbow on the first Thursday of the month
Take advantage of free admission to the Glenbow museum on the first Thursday of every month from 5 to 9 p.m. (a regular adult admission is $16). Check out the Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master exhibition (on until September 9), which features more than 100 of the Canadian artist’s paintings and drawings. Or, to really get a feel for the Glenbow, the Recent Acquisitions 2017 exhibit (on until December 9) showcases items the museum collected throughout 2017 such as works by artist Dorothy Hanzell Willis.
130 9 Ave. S.E., 403-268-4132, glenbow.org
5. Go see a movie for $5 at Canyon Meadows Cinemas
You can see a movie here for just $5 per person. Canyon Meadows Cinemas shows old favourites such as Jaws alongside movies that were released within the last few months and have made their way out of big-box theatres. Check the website as movies and showtimes change weekly.
110, 13226 Macleod Tr. S., 403-670-5444, canyonmeadowscinemas.ca
6. Play as much pinball as you want for $10 at Pin-Bar
Pin-Bar is the pinball arcade-meets-bar on 17th Avenue S.W. and on Sundays you can play to your heart’s content for just $10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The menu is also super budget-friendly and even includes quite a few vegan and gluten-free options. There are homemade pizza pops for $6, all sandwiches are $12 and the summer cocktail list includes fros for $8.
501 17 Ave. S.W., 403-930-8175, pinbaryyc.com
7. Go bowling for free at National Bowl
On Sundays at National Bowl from 5 p.m. until close, bowling is free. Considering the regular price for a lane is $60, that’s a killer deal. Also, on Saturdays and Sundays all day until 3 p.m., if you go for brunch upstairs at National on 10th and show your receipt, you get a free hour of bowling.
341 10 Ave. S.W., 403-474-2739, ntnl.ca
8. Enjoy year-round activities at Bowness Park
Calgary’s 30-acre Bowness Park is a true urban gem. In the warmer months, you can have a picnic, grill on one of the free barbecues and relax around a firepit, go rafting in the Bow River or just stroll or cycle together along the pathway. A shallow lagoon is a popular spot for paddling in the summer and skating in the winter and there are also groomed trails for a romantic cross-country ski under snow-capped trees. Visit the onsite boathouse and skate shop for equipment rentals or bring your own.
8900 48 Ave. N.W., calgary.ca