A Calgary picnic is going the perfect date this summer, so why not try new foods and enjoy some new views? Whether patios are open, closed or somewhere in between, dining outside is such a summertime luxury. Especially somewhere like Calgary, where summer feels like a very short season between long bouts of cold and — sorry for my language — snow. What we lack in consistent temperatures and weather patterns, we make up for in SUNSHINE. Studies have shown that Calgary is, in fact, the sunniest city in Canada (with an average of 333 sunny days a year)!
So, one sure fire way to take advantage of our sunny city, is a summer full of picnics in our green spaces. We have rounded up 5 of our favourite parks, and the delicious eats in walking distance, so you can surprise your summer-lover with the perfectly planned picnic date.
1. TOM CAMPBELL’S HILL NATURAL PARK
If you are looking for an insanely amazing view of the Calgary skyline while you munch on some of the best burgers in the city and say hi to passing furry friends, this is the place. Bring a blanket or an extra sweater to watch the sunset, and make sure you park close to the Made By Marcus/Lil’ Empire headquarters so you can grab their insanely yum burgers (and chili cheese fries, duh) AND so you have a perfectly reasonable excuse to grab a scoop on your way home.
Our Picnic Pick: Lil’ Empire Burgers
Bonus Sweet Treat: Made By Marcus
2. SANDY BEACH PARK
This park can definitely be quite busy during the summer! With tons of picnic tables, a playground and access to the river to dip your toes in, Sandy Beach Park has a nice variety of terrain to choose from. Whether you prefer sitting on a riverside beach in the sun, some soft grass in the cool shade of the trees, it’s a great place to spend a gorgeous summer’s day. Plus, you are within walking distance of A1 Cantina, where you can get an amazing mexican feast to devour by the riverside in Sandy Beach, or looking over the Elbow River from the east side of Riverdale Park.
If you’re not in the mood for tacos (I’ve heard this can happen), get a delicious seasonal scoop from Village Ice Cream and wander the trails! This would be a super great first date idea. If it doesn’t go well — hey, at least you got some ice cream.
Our Picnic Pick: A1 Cantina
Bonus Sweet Treat: Village Ice Cream
3. LOUGHEED HOUSE & BEAULIEU GARDENS
If you love beautiful, botanical vibe gardens overlooking a Calgary Heritage building, while the smell of barbeque wafts through the air, the Lougheed House/Beaulieu Gardens is the perfect picnic date night spot for you. Centrally located and just steps away from 17th Ave, you have endless choices for your takeout pick, or for post-picnic patio hydration. For this downtown Calgary picnic date, we recommend Comery Block – it’s only a block away, easy to share, just the right amount of messy to keep your date humble and pro-tip: their mac and cheese is unreal.
Our Picnic Pick: Comery Block
4. ST. PATRICK’S ISLAND PARK
With access from both East Village and Inglewood, we have the gorgeous St. Patrick’s Island. It’s often the landing spot for an iconic Elbow river float, and is a 31 Acre area of pathways, forests and wetlands for exploring! Since it has such direct access to Inglewood, we recommend grabbing a pie from Without Papers Pizza and heading to the park to find your perfect Calgary picnic spot.
Our Picnic Pick: Without Papers Pizza
5. PRINCE’S ISLAND PARK
Now, if you are feeling extra fancy and wanna treat your boo to a real special evening, this would be the perfect picnic date to truly WOW them and show off your date planning skills. The park itself is so romantic, with meandering trails along the river and through the gardens, and the paths lead directly to River Cafe – known in the city as one of the most magical date night dinner spots. They now have a special picnic menu for exactly this occasion, complete with their own licensed Picnic Garden so you can pop that bubbly and cheers to your person. Take a stroll across the Peace Bridge after dinner for a romantic post-dessert view.