Analog Coffee on 17th Avenue SW looks awesome on the outside and has great coffee on the inside. Thanks to its location on the nicer part of 17th Avenue, it is often busy and a great place to sit down with a laptop if you can find a table. I don’t often visit Downtown Calgary, but 17th Avenue SW is a good reason to. This is one of the few coffee shops that open late in Calgary.
Higher Ground Cafe
Higher Ground Cafe in Kensington is just outside of downtown and pretty close to Crave Cupcakes. Another great local coffee shop that opens late. Take a walk before/after to the Peace Bridge or that photogenic MEMORIAL sign/sculpture.
Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters
My favourite local coffee shop is probably Phil & Sebastian. They now have several locations besides Marda Loop incluing Chinook Centre and on 4th Street in Mission. I think they were the first coffee shop I’ve been to that I’d consider “fancy coffee”.
The Bay Downtown Arches
The Calgary Downtown location of The Bay (Hudson’s Bay Company) was completed in 1913, the first of the “Original Six” flag ship stores in Canada. The beautiful colonnade with polished granite was opened in 1930. It has been a favourite location of newly wed couples to shoot wedding photos for decades.
Learn More About the History of HBC
Devonian Gardens at The Core Downtown
Opened in 1977, you can find the Devonian Gardens on the 4th floor of The Core Shopping Centre (aka TD Square) by the Food Court. It is a free indoor botanical garden and park complete with a living wall and koi pond. I remember going to the Devonian Gardens when I was little visiting from Hong Kong. It’s quite a pleasant surprise to see in the concrete jungle of urban downtowns. This wonderful garden is also a favourite spot for weddings photos and actual weddings.
More about the Devonian Gardens at the City of Calgary
The Lougheed House
Lougheed House (aka Beaulieu) is the former home of Senator James Alexander Lougheed built in 1891 and doesn’t have much if anything to do with former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed. This sandstone mansion was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992. Located in the Beltline Area, it’s a bit tucked away and a stark contrast to its modern neighbours. I know about it, because the wife and I booked it for our wedding photos. We came back for brunch on our 5 year wedding anniversary. The Lougheed House will always be a special place to us.
Learn more about the Lougheed House
Calgary Central Library
Completed in 2018, the Calgary Central Library is a beautiful piece of architecture costing close to $250 million dollars. Located in the revitalized Downtown East Village behind the Calgary Municipal Building, it is a welcomed place to just be around. Conference rooms and children’s play area are available free of charge and a library card is free as well! I especially appreciate the section of books relating to Calgary and its history.
Learn more about the Calgary Public Library
Built in honour of Canada’s Centennial, the Husky Tower was later renamed the Calgary Tower. It’s a recognizable structure in the Calgary skyline. You can take an elevator ride up to the top and get a 360° panoramic view of Calgary. There’s also a revolving restaurant on the observation deck. Located about a block away from the historic Fairmont Palliser Hotel and walkable Stephen Avenue (8th Avenue SW), there are plenty of things to explore when visiting the Calgary Tower.
Learn more about the Calgary Tower
The Calgary Peace Bridge is an interesting looking pedestrian bridge connecting the Kensington and Eau Claire neighbourhoods by Prince’s Island Park. It looks like a red Chinese finger trap and is a favourite spot for local photographers due to its unique architecture. Take a stroll through Prince’s Island Park and grab a bite to eat or sit down for a coffee in trendy Kensington.