New Age Travel and Services camper van rentals and operations are based out of Calgary. Perhaps that leads to a bias, but I say confidently that our hometown has many fun activities and the best tourist attractions; from historical attractions to fine dining. It was with pleasure that we compiled our local’s guide to Calgary.
While we do hope you enjoy driving your camper van to Banff or researching camping ideas in Jasper… we also wish you enjoy these things to do in Calgary.
Where to Eat
Calling all foodies - Calgary’s restaurant scene is a delectable treat. This is no better exemplified than 25 of Canada’s top 100 restaurants in 2021 were Calgarian venues.
New Age Travel and Services are regular dining enthusiasts. Consequently, we’ve perused our fair share of menus. What you’ll find here is that restaurants clump together in zones or neighbourhoods. Hence, rather than making a list of the best restaurants in Calgary, we thought it best to direct you to the best areas that will guarantee good dining options.
Mission & 17th Ave
17th Ave is famously known as “The Red Mile”. After winning NHL playoff games, Flames fans would march down the sidewalks (and sometimes take over the roads) celebrating and bar hopping. If you’re looking for vibrant venues and good food in Calgary, this is the place.
“Mission” is a small community that intersects 17th avenue at 4th street. This popular road houses many boutique stores, cafes, and restaurants. In fact, Mission is home to our zero waste supplier: Without Co. Many of Calgary’s top fine dining restaurants are in this area. For example, Pigeon Hole, Vin Room Mission, and Model Milk.
A night out at any of these places will not disappoint. Just be sure to practice safety: don’t drive and drive your camper van rental ;)
As one of the oldest communities, Kensington has long since been a destination on Tourism Alberta's checklist. The community has boutique shopping, specialty foods, and live entertainment. Further, Kensington is ultra pedestrian-friendly and located across the river from downtown.
Are you someone that likes to find cool things before they become trendy? Look no further because Inglewood is that type of locale. This trending neighbourhood has lots to offer, including some of the best vegan and vegetarian meals in the city of Calgary.
At the heart of downtown is a road you shouldn’t drive your camper van because it's a walkway only open to pedestrians! 8th Ave (aka Stephen Avenue) is an 11 block stretch of stores and pubs. This area is usually at its peak during typical "office hours" while Calgarians are working in their downtown towers. It’s also close to many of the most popular downtown Calgary attractions.
Where to Sleep
Camping In the Surrounding Areas of Calgary
If you’re still camping in your camper van, and find yourself in Calgary looking for a place to stay, we have a couple of suggestions. While it is possible to find spots to sleep inconspicuously, more worthwhile areas are in the surrounding communities.
Bragg Creek & MacLean Creek Campground
These two destinations are a great spot for resting your head. Here, you’ll gain access to the mountains and other fun outdoor activities available in the foothills. Think hiking, cycling, ATVing, and crackling campfires.
18 km south of Calgary hosts one of the growing metropolitan areas called Okotoks. The Okotoks campground is smack dab in the middle of the town making it a convenient location for camping. Exploring around the town is easy, too, by way of pathways. Download the map.
Chestermere is a small city just east of Calgary. Its popular features are the manmade lake and its accompanying water activities. When visiting Chestermere you can enjoy hobbies like boating, fishing, and swimming. Plus, if you don’t feel like going into the water, enjoying the beaches and parks is a breeze.
Hotels in Calgary
After a vacation in a camper van rental, Calgary hotels might offer a nice place to clean up and indulge. Here are a couple of hotels in Calgary New Age is happy to recommend.
Hotel Arts Downtown
Even locals book nights at Hotel Arts - especially in the summer. Why, you ask? For unprecedented pool time. Due to its popularity, the staff recommends hotel guests make pool-side reservations. You'll get priority treatment! If you’re not a hotel guest but would still like some poolside fun, you can pay a pool usage fee. Though, such visits are on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Hotels on Airport Trail
Many travelers opt for a hotel near the airport the night before their flight. If this convenience interests you, rest assured many good options are on Airport Trail. Some good ones include the Hyatt at the Calgary Airport and Hotel Clique.
New Age Travel and Services offers airport pickup and drop-off as add-ons. If you have selected this option, we will be happy to provide this service to any of these hotels.
Fun Things To Do In Calgary
Float Down the Bow River
Calgarians love to float down the bow river. In the heat of the summer, locals float to catch up and cool down. Believe me, nothing’s better than chill time on the cold water floating down the bow with your friends.
Companies like Lazy Day Rentals make floating a piece of cake. The company offers rentals with all the equipment you need (life jackets, paddles, rope, and, of course, the raft) right at the boat launch. Floating 15 kilometres from Edworthy Park to Prince’s Island is roughly 2-4 hours depending on the river flow.
Sculpture & Art
Block after block of the cosmopolis offers art and sculptures, each one unique. The peace bridge is the stage for many Instagram-worthy photos. Many people have heard of the giant head in front of the Encana building (officially named The Wonderland)
Calgary has the nickname Cow Town from its early stampeding days. The history of the nickname and the cow sculptures that pay monument to that event is at the Udderly Art Legacy Pasture. It’s not a large nor is it a well-known space… Though, it is kind of neat. https://www.avenuecalgary.com/city-life/the-story-of-calgarys-cow-sculptures/
For those of you looking for educational tourist attractions, we’ve got you covered. The city is full of museums. In particular, Heritage Park Historical Village is an immersive and educational outdoor attraction. You’ll find pioneer houses, a steam train, and an introduction to the lives of pioneer western settlers.
The Telus Spark Science Center will test your scientific understanding and teach you up to date scientific theories. The ultra-funky building has revolving exhibitions promoting development for children. It also has adult nights for those of us who love to experiment.
Bell Studio will inspire your inner musician as you see and hear Canadian history through musical artifacts and rare instruments. Keep an eye on their website! They sometimes have free admission coupons under the Tickets & Pricing section.
Explore Calgary’s Pathways & Nature
Nose Hill and Fish Creek Parks are two of the city's largest natural reserves. They are as popular as they are considerable in size. Each is over 11km squared! What’s also cool is hundreds of kilometres of biking or walking paths connecting them and all areas of the city.
Try the Shared E-Scooter Program
Bird, Neuron, Lime - the three scooter rental options available. Electric scooters are a fun mode of transportation and exploration. You reserve one using one of the company’s apps. Scan the scooter’s QR code to start your trip and end it just as easily.
Festivals, concerts, sporting events, the Calgary Stampede, and other one-off Calgary events happen frequently. They are absolutely worthwhile; however, in our local’s guide to the city, we deliberately left them out.
After all, traveling to Alberta is great at any time of the year.
Extend Your Road Trip
So there you have it: a reason to extend your Western Canadian road trip by a day or two and experience the van life in Calgary!
If you have any other questions about our fine town or the neighbouring areas, do not hesitate to contact us. Also, contact New Age Travel and Services to rent a camper van! Or book your camper van today.