In partnership with Tourism Calgary.
Wherever you are in Canada, there is a chance that you have a friend who lives in Calgary, and that friend undoubtedly would love for you to come and visit. Even though it can get a bad reputation for some cold, snowy weather, and winters that feel like they last a year – did you know that Calgary has the most sunny days in Canada?
Now if that’s not reason enough to hop on a quick flight and come visit your BFF, here is an itinerary with some of YYC’s greatest hits, so that you have no excuse not to spend 24 hours in Calgary with your Bestie.
Trust us, we tested this itinerary with our Calgary team hosting our besties from Toronto, and it’s action-packed, it’s fun, and it also gives you the perfect opportunity to catch up and share laughs, IRL.
But First, Brunch
If you haven’t been to this calgary-born staple, OEB Breakfast Co. has to be on your itinerary. Famous for their breakfast poutines – we’re talking duck fat fried potatoes, fresh toppings, smothered with that sauce (hollandaise) and topped with perfectly poached local eggs – OEB is the best way to fuel up for a day full of fun with your bestie. Breakfast poutine ain’t calling your name? You can’t go wrong with anything from their menu, including their classic breakfast, bananas foster french toast, crepes…shall we go on?
Stop #2 - Pedicure Time
Is there anything more essential to girl time than a quick visit to the spa? We visited the Stillwater Spa, located right in the Hyatt Regency Downtown (where we rested our tired heads after all our bestie bonding time), and it was quite possibly the best pedicure I’ve ever had. Our feet are still silky smooth!
We had some time to enjoy the amenities of Stillwater, including their whirlpool and steam room that are located right in the change room area, as well as the wide selection of tea, coffee and snacks in the lounge while you wait for your service providers. We sampled the house-made dulce de leche donuts (and maybe snuck a few back to the room with us).
After that much needed refresh, we headed back to our king room to freshen up for lunch!
Porch is a newer restaurant on 17th Ave, Calgary’s restaurant and entertainment district, and is easily one of the most instagrammable places in the city! It has an airy, mediterranean feel, and just one step inside has you double-taking out the window wondering if you were in fact transported somewhere much beachier than land-locked Alberta.
We tried a couple of their unique cocktails (both were delicious) and as we continued to catch up on the last few months’ happenings, we snacked on some tasty, mediterranean inspired appetizers.
It was a light, flavourful lunch, and the ideal venue for a shared meal to break up a busy day!
What we tried:
The Umami Mami, with Hana Tsunomata Infused Vermouth, Dill, Fever Tree, Sicilian Lemonade ang Grape
The Labrusco Spritz, with Cocchi Rosa, Aperol, Soda and Lambrusco
Lemon and Pepper Chips with sour cream and onion dip
Marinated Olives with harissa labneh, bulgar tabbouleh
Chicken Thigh Sticks with harissa, cilantro, tomato tabbouleh
Grilled Broccolini and Halloumi with shallow and sun-dried tomatoes
Next up: Caffeine Stop
It’s a small, but aesthetic space, and let us tell you – the coffees are delicious.
We both got their chocolate ganache lattes, which were rich, not too sweet, but very yummy. We sipped and savoured while we took in the gorgeous space and got our caffeine fix.
Stop #5: We're Pastry Chefs!
This was truly one of our favourite parts of the day! We got a private, hands-on lesson and learned how to make classic Parisian macarons, from the best! We pulled up our sleeves, and despite our nervousness for messing up the famously finicky recipe, the Ollia team helped us along the whole process, and they turned out amazingly (for first timers)! Surprisingly, they didn’t want to keep them to sell them in the shop, but luckily, they sent us home with the goods.
This is an experience that we would whole-heartedly recommend over and over. It was so much fun getting to learn about the Macaron making process, the do’s and don’ts, and the history of this iconic dessert! Plus, the delicious treats we got to take home weren’t a bad addition! We got to make a dark chocolate ganache flavour, as well as a milk chocolate passionfruit!
Time For a Nap
But actually. Our Macaron sugar buzz wore off and since we had a bit of time to kill before our dinner reservation, we headed back to the Hyatt for a little r ‘n r! Now, the Hyatt Regency is located right in the heart of downtown, right on Stephen Ave and just a block away from the Calgary Tower. This hotel is in the best location for all your Calgary adventures, and honestly – the room was so comfortable, modern and beautiful, with a stunning view of downtown and all the bright city lights!
Winner Winner, Bridgette Bar for Dinner
Bridgette Bar is a Calgary locals favourite, so definitely a must-try if you’re just spending 24 hours in Calgary. The mid-century decor is warm and inviting, but you’ll stay for the amazing wine list, chef driven menu, and do not. I repeat – do not skip out on the garlic bread.
The service was amazing – our server helped us narrow down our menu choices with some incredible suggestions, as well as delicious wine pairings!
Grilled Octopus Salad with orange, fennel and sherry vinaigrette
Wood Grilled Carrots with chili dressing, spiced almonds, pickled raisin and tahini
Garlic Bread with cheese curds
Rigatoni with truffled mushroom, parmesan sauce
The Final Activity
When we arrived to our final stop, we were incredibly full and a little bit sleepy from our mouthwatering meal at Brigette Bar (still thinking about it, TBH), but once we got into the great tunes and local beers on offer, we were definitely in the mood to knock down some pins!
National on 10th has such a lively atmosphere, and what’s better than a little friendly competition with your BFF? After a couple rounds of bowling, singing along to some Britney and an official calgary win, we finished our beers and headed back to the hotel!
Once we got back, we could see the beautiful lights of the city from our hotel room, including a breathtaking view of the TELUS Sky lights!
The view the next morning was equally spectacular, as we packed up our bags and checked out before heading back to the airport!
Calgary is full of so many fun, unique activities and events, and this beautiful city is the perfect backdrop for quality time with the people you love. With just 24 hours in Calgary, there is so much bonding and fun to be had!