10 Cheap/Free Things To Do in YYC

For the times (most of the time) the bank account is hurting. Ouch. 


Written By: Melissa Buzan

For the times (most of the time) the bank account is hurting.

Who needs a house when you have a field? – Have a field party! Grab a football, raid your fridge for those hotdogs you eat on your lazy days, and splurge on a pack of $1 freezies at Walmart. Field parties in my opinion are underrated. When the sun is in full force not much beats getting a bunch of friends, lawn chairs and Spotify playlists together for a good time. There are tons of places in Calgary to do this, the following are equipped with fire pits and bbq stands:

Bowness Park

Edworthy Park

North Glenmore Park

South Glenmore Park

Prairie Winds Park

Pearce Estate Park 

Sandy Beach

Shouldice Park

Stanley Park

Make the Peace Bridge a photoshoot backdrop – Before it was opened for use in 2012, many people questioned why we needed another bridge downtown – Like Nenshi has stated “I think it’s used to cross the river.” Though you may not agree with it’s implementation you have to admit…it’s pretty darn sweet. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, this pedestrian bridge makes your next Instagram post a hot one. Even if you’re not keen on throwing up your peace sign for some pics, it’s a great transition to checking the shops in Kensington.

Shake stop – Everyone who’s anyone in YYC  knows Peter’s Drive-In is one of the best places for a milk shake. Unfortunately, with their growing popularity it’s hard to get a seat on any of their picnic tables. Instead, take your $5 shake and stroll south to Rotary Park. This park has a perfect view over Centre Street Bridge and downtown Calgary. The best time to go is around sunset so you can take in all the twinkle and glitter over the Bow River, plus Peter’s is open till midnight every night so, why not?

Make like Alice and stumble into Wonderland – You may have seen the Wonderland sculpture passing by on your way to work, but it’s location in front of The Bow downtown makes it hard not to just stop and stare. Plan it out. Go on a weekend when the hustle and bustle is at it’s minimum and do some neck stretches – seriously, you may be looking up in awe for a while. Wonderland was created by Barcelona-based designer Jaume Plensa, and should not be taken for granted. It’s not only something to see…but something to admire.

Bike at Night –  Throw on some reflectors and get a different perspective of this well known biking hot spot along the Bow River pathway. It’s easy to see why Calgarians love going along Memorial Drive during the day, but once you try it at night, you’ll be surprised why more people don’t. In the last few years our downtown has developed beautifully with colourful LED lights. You may not be able to see all the stars in the sky from this point, but at least you can still “stargaze” at ground level.

Visit the royals – Walking along 17th is always fun, but one day try directing your path south towards the Upper Mount Royal area of the city. The grand estate homes are stunning with a ballin’ view of the city – Makes for great eye candy and a perfect area for a sunny day stroll. WARNING: You will be a victim of raging jealously.

Or visit a furry friend – Spending some time at the Calgary Humane Society is not only a cute date, but a meaningful one too. There are all kinds of animals, that would love to be cuddled and played for a bit! Guaranteed, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and your heart feeling full.

Get book-wormed – If the weather outside is not ideal you can still have a cheap date inside. Get a coffee or tea and spend a few hours in a book store or library. Almost all have couches and chairs, so take a load off with someone special and grab a couple different books you can sit in silence with for a while. You may think reading is a solo activity, but there’s something magical about being in silence with your imagination and best mate.

Tour the EC – Your summer should not come and go without a few stops at Eau Claire Market. It’s one of those places you can just walk around and see unique items, but not feel pressured to buy anything. Once that’s done there’s still the water park outside, right by the bridge leading to Prince’s Island Park – the ideal place for a picnic.

Don’t be shy. SAMPLE – Pick someone with a sense of humour, that’s just as hungry as you are, and scope out all the places around the city serving samples. Costco always has good taste testers – I find Friday the best day for samples (As you can tell, I’ve done this a few times) The Farmer’s Market is also a prime spot to try some delicious and often gourmet worthy products. And a lot of the time Calgary CO-OP liquor stores give away some too! Free Booze? Uhh WINNING!

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