You’re sitting around on Saturday morning with your S.O. Over your avocado toast and fair trade coffee, you have the same conversation you’ve had the past several Saturdays.
“Babe, what do you want to do today?”
“I don’t know, babe, what do you want to do today?”
“Babe, I don’t know what I want to do today. That’s why I asked you!”
After another half an hour of this conversation, you admit defeat, slumping over on the couch, and lose your entire day watching The Office seasons three through five for the twelfth time.
It’s easy to run out of ideas for fun, everyday things to do with your bae. It’s also not financially viable to go out for meals, go to concerts, or plan getaways for every weekend. So what do you do on those normal Saturdays?
Fear not! We asked Calgarians for their favourite everyday date ideas, and compiled our favourites here. Next time you find yourself having the aforementioned conversation, just refer to this list of simple, but fun ideas.
1. Walk around Kensington
An easy way to kill an afternoon is taking a stroll through Kensington. Grab a coffee at Higher Ground, a rooftop beer at Oak Tree Tavern, or indulge in an Italian sandwich at Peppino.
2. Walk down 17th Avenue
Start your day off by checking out the street’s boutiques like SalvEdge, Purr, and Bamboo Ballroom. Next, go bar hopping between 4th and 5th Street to Ship & Anchor, Ox, National on 17th, and Ricardo’s. Finish your day off by grabbing pizza and wine a block over at Una.
3. Walk around Inglewood
I love Inglewood because it feels like a small town in the middle of Calgary. Calgary’s suburban sprawl makes everything seem uniform and new, but Inglewood has managed to uphold it’s historical roots. Bonus points: The majority of the shops are locally owned and operated. Check out some artisan-made goods at the Uncommons, grab a coffee at Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar, or pick up some groceries at Bite.
4. Go plant shopping
Speaking of Inglewood, my personal favourite everyday date is going plant shopping. I love Plant in Inglewood, as the countless specimens are high quality, and they have a huge assortment of ceramics and plant holders. Plant also hosts workshops where you and your S.O. can learn to care for your plants or make terrariums together.
5. Go on a hike
We are lucky enough to be within a two hour drive of some of the country’s best hikes. Hiking doesn’t just have to be a summer activity either. Take advantage of less crowded trails and beautiful winter scenery at places that are usually packed in the summer such as Heart Creek or Johnston Canyon.
6. Visit a hot spring
Enjoy the Banff Upper Hot Springs, or venture deeper into the mountains to find some natural hot pools.
7. Go to the arcade
Embrace your inner-child and go play some arcade games. Play some classic arcade games Rec Room, shoot some hoops at Home & Away, or play some pinball at the newly opened PinBar.
8. Play laser tag
Remember how fun it was to go to Laser Quest with your friends when you were a kid? We assure you, you aren’t too old for it! Get your adrenaline pumping as you run through the maze and shoot some harmless laser beams at your boo. (All in good fun, of course!)
9. Strip poker
A friend of mine swears by this as her favourite stay-at-home date: She and her man uncork a bottle of wine (or two), grab a deck of cards, and have to remove an article of clothing whenever they lose a round. If you’re like me and don’t know how to play poker, no problem! Apply the concept to any of your other favourite games like cribbage, Go Fish, or bring a whole new meaning to the board game, Sorry.
10. Make homemade sushi
If you don’t know what you’re doing, prepare for things to get a little messy – but don’t worry, that’s all part of the fun! And if you don’t want to risk accidentally poisoning yourself, make veggie sushi with yam, cucumber, and avocado.
11. Double Bubble
This is the adorable nickname a friend of mine gave to having a bath with her boyfriend. Head to Lush and treat yourself to some nice soaps and bath bombs. (Hello, glitter bomb!)
12. Take Jenga to the next level
Take a Sharpie and write Truth or Dare scenarios on each tile. Or, relive your university days by inviting some pals over and write Sociables rules onto each of the tiles. Make up a fun wager for whoever collapses the tower.
13. Cook dinner together
Peruse the farmers’ market and pick out some meat and produce. Sip on some vino while you make a meal together with your handpicked ingredients.
14. Take in some arts and culture
Appreciate some art exhibits and learn about some history at one of Calgary’s world class exhibits. Check out the National Music Centre, the Glenbow Museum, or one of Calgary’s best kept secrets, the Esker Foundation, where the art installations are stunning and admission is free(!).
There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to add a little spark to your relationship. Go with just your beau, or get some friends together and make it a double or triple date. Calgary has lots of bowling alleys, like National on 10th, Mountain View, Paradise Lanes, and Let’s Bowl.
16. Outdoor ice skating
Lace up your skates, grab your guy, and do your best Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir impression at one of Calgary’s outdoor rinks, like Bowness Park, Prince’s Island, or Olympic Plaza. Or, grab your hockey sticks, and have a little one-on-one game at one of Calgary’s countless community rinks.
17. Go to the movies
With the Academy Awards on this coming Sunday, take the opportunity to watch an Oscar-nominated flick or two. Or check out the locally owned and operated Globe Cinema who are always bringing in buzz-worthy indie films and hosting cool events, like Spice World twentieth anniversary screening on March 2.
One of my favourite summer activities is picking up an assortment of snacks, grabbing a blanket, and finding a sunny spot outside to spend the afternoon. My favourite spots are Central Memorial Park, Stanley Park, or finding a secluded riverbank along Elbow Drive. Stay refreshed by taking along the best summer drink, “Poor Man’s Sangria”: In a portable juice jug, mix wine, ginger ale, juice, and frozen fruit.
19. Go for a bike ride
One of the best ways to have fun while working up a sweat is hopping on your bike and riding along Calgary’s downtown cycle track. Alternatively, try biking around the Bow River Pathway, or along Elbow Drive.
20. Lawn games
Pick up a bocce ball or croquet set and head to a public space like Riley Park or Beaulieu Gardens (beside the Lougheed House) to play.
21. Drive to Canmore
Take a day trip to Canmore. Plan a leisurely hike nearby, or check out the shops on the main drag.
22. Chopped: Couples Edition
Channel your inner Bobby Flay by playing this awesome game invented by my friend and her boyfriend. As she explains, they each pick a random ingredient and have a friend pick a third. They then try to create a delicious concoction out of the three usually unrelated ingredients. “Bok choy, Cheerios, and tomato sauce was a challenge,” she says.
23. Have a fondue night
Grab the fondue set that’s collecting dust in your cupboard and pick up some bread, meat, and veggies. Melt some cheese, or heat up some oil (or hey, why not both?). Finish the meal off by melting some chocolate and dipping fruits like strawberries, pineapple, and pears.
24. Potluck with friends
Host a night in with friends and have them each bring a dish to share.
25. Check out local music
Hit up one of Calgary’s music venues and enjoy some tunes from some local acts. For nighttime gigs, head to Broken City, the Palomino, or Dickens. If you want to see some music during the day, check out the Blues Can, The Ship & Anchor, or Mikey’s Juke Joint, who all host afternoon jams. (Check each venue’s website for specific days and times.)
26. Telus Spark
Head Telus Spark and check out their interactive and ever-changing science exhibits. If you want a kids-free experience, complete with a licensed bar and adult-oriented exhibits, check out one of their monthly Adults Only Nights.
27. Play video games
Dig up your old Nintendo or Sega Genesis and play some of your favourite games from your youth. (My personal favourite: James Bond Golden Eye for N64.)
28. Shoot some pool
What’s a better casual date than grabbing some beers and shooting some pool? Head to Side Street Pub, Hop In Brew, or Olympic Billiards to find a table.
29. Walk along the river pathway
Breathe in some fresh air get some exercise by taking a stroll along the Bow River Pathway.
30. Make a painting
Head to an art supply shop, pick up a canvas and some acrylic paints and create a masterpiece together. For those of us who aren’t as talented with a paint brush, try your hand at a dirty pour painting. This style involves mixing paints with different mediums (like olive oil, silicone sprays, or just water) to achieve a flowing effect on the canvas. This painting method is easy for beginners to pick up, and there are tons of tutorials and tips for different variations to experiment with available online.