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A Complete Guide to Downtown Calgary

A Complete Guide to Downtown Calgary

There are many things you can do in Calgary, especially Downtown Calgary, whether you are planning to visit or move. Here we break down the cost of living here, the hotspots, and other relevant information for anyone looking to check out this part of Stampede City. 

The Cost of Living in Downtown Calgary

The Cost of Living in Downtown Calgary

Calgary is actually one of the most accessible places to live in Canada financially. Data shows that the monthly cost of living is generally around $1,300 for individuals and $4,600 for a family of four, without factoring in rent. 

According to both government census and private organizations, the average residential rental rate in Calgary is about $1,319

Other factors that affect the price include whether or not you live in the city centre. This is more or less the rate if you live in the downtown area, though. 

Single-bedroom apartments can go up to $1,750, while 3-bedroom apartments can go for up to $3,000 a month. Between them, 2-bedroom units can go for up to around $2,500.

An average household can expect to spend $680 a month on groceries. This will cover basic food and household needs.

As for utilities, the general cost hits an average of $320. This should include internet, electricity, garbage disposal, water, heating, and cooling. 

As for clothing, you can expect to spend around $100 – $500 for a full outfit from reliable mid-range brands. 

Finally, you can expect to pay about $1.60 per litre of gas in Calgary. If you’re using public transportation, Calgary Transit notes a fare of $3.60 for adults and $2.45 for youths aged six to 17, with an exception for students 18 to 21 that are still in high school full-time.

There are also day passes and monthly passes available that go for $11.25 and $112 respectively. Other special passes include airport passes, low-income monthly passes, and yearly passes for both low-income and regular-income seniors respectively. 

Expense/ServiceAverage Cost
Rental Rate$1,319
Monthly Groceries$680
Utilities (electricity, internet, heating, cooling, garbage, water)$320
Clothing$100 - $500
Gas$1.60 per litre
Public Transport Fares$3.60 (adults)

$2.45 (ages 6 - 17)

Where to Eat in Downtown Calgary

Where to Eat in Downtown Calgary

First off, there are over 5,900 restaurants in Calgary, so you have many awesome places to eat in the downtown area. 

As for cost, you can expect to spend anywhere from $16 to $200 for a shared meal depending on whether you’re visiting local delights, the usual fast food options, or fancier spots.

If you’re looking for a great barbecue restaurant in Downtown Calgary, you need to check out Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey. They are known for their Texas-style brisket and ribs, but their cocktails are also worth a visit. 

After that, you can head over to Sweet Tooth Ice Cream for some dessert. They offer rolled ice cream and have a wide variety of flavours that are the perfect treat for your palate.

There are also tons of vegan options available, arguably the best of which is SaVeg Cafe. All of their Asian-infused offerings are not only delectable but also purely plant-based. 

Those are just some of the popular and highly recommended restaurants you can visit in the area. If you are looking for something else, it’s a safe bet you’ll find a great option in Downtown Calgary.

RestaurantGoogle RatingOperating HoursAddress
Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey4.6 / 5Sunday - Thursday: 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM

Friday, Saturday: 11:00 AM - 2:00 AM

1136 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P3
Sweet Tooth Ice Cream4.4 / 5Monday - Thursday: 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Friday, Saturday: 2:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Sunday: 2:00 PM - 10:30 PM

206 Centre St S, Calgary, AB T2G 2B6
SaVeg Cafe4.8 / 5Monday - Thursday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Saturday, Sunday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

637 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0E1

Popular Spots to Visit in Downtown Calgary

Popular Spots to Visit in Downtown Calgary

There are many fun places to see in Downtown Calgary, but it’s hard to miss its most iconic site: the Calgary Tower. The observation tower is a definitive symbol of the place and even has a revolving restaurant you can enjoy.

The Calgary Tower is an amazing sight to see, and it gives you a gorgeous panoramic view of the city. There’s no dress code, as long as you’re wearing shoes or flip-flops. 

The food and drinks served there are also remarkably enjoyable, so it’s a pretty complete experience overall. The 190.8-metre tower is a must-see for anyone going downtown.

If you’re looking for a spectacle that’s more in line with nature, you’ll likely enjoy the Devonian Gardens. The huge 2.5-acre space is home to botanical gardens, a humongous living wall, and indoor park activities. 

There are also some fish ponds you can look at inside that have a variety of fish thriving. 

If you’re in the mood to see other types of animals, the Calgary Zoo is a short drive from the main downtown area. It’s home to almost 300 species and can be toured comfortably in just two hours. 

Because they follow the “Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare”, you can visit with the knowledge that all the animals are cared for, kept in humane and quality conditions, and given the freedom to live their lives naturally. 

Each habitat is kept up consistently, so it’s safe for both the animals and their visitors. 

Finally, if you’re just looking for a more relaxed form of entertainment, there are plenty of movie theatres you can go to. The best you can find in Downtown Calgary is Globe Cinema

It’s an independent theatre, so you can experience amazing art-house, classic, and indie films here. As an added bonus, they also serve great popcorn. 

VenueGoogle RatingOperating HoursAddress
Calgary Tower4.4 / 5Monday - Sunday: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9
Devonian Gardens4.5 / 5Monday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Sunday: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

333 7 Ave SW 4th floor, Calgary, AB T2P 1B5
Calgary Zoo4.6 / 5Monday - Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM210 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6
Globe Cinema4.4 / 5Varies based on film screening schedule and running festivals617 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1H1

Community and Cultural Behavior in Downtown Calgary

Community and Cultural Behavior in Downtown Calgary

Downtown Calgary is a pretty inclusive and diverse place, with over 120 languages being spoken in the city. It’s actually considered one of the most diverse places in Canada due to a population that is made up of hundreds of ethnic backgrounds. 

If you’re looking to connect with other Calgarians and get a feel for the local community, you can check out one of the many community centres in the area. If you’re not sure which one will work for you, try Sunalta Community Hall.

They pride themselves in being inclusive and supportive, which is very clear when you actually visit. Various events and workshops are held here, but the real highlight is their outdoor space.

The district also has a large focus on digital transformation, at least on a governmental and business level. The  Alberta Energy Transition Study even shares that this goal can potentially produce $61 billion worth of economic activity within a few decades.

The city centre is also considered very walkable. The streets are pedestrian-friendly and well-maintained, and you won’t have a hard time getting to where you want to go.

You can even walk the city centre end to end within an hour. If you’re commuting, the traffic is pretty manageable. 

Traffic congestion is rated at 18 percent, which is significantly lower than the worst-ranked traffic in the world at 71 percent. You can expect Downtown Calgary rush hours to be from 7:30 to 9:30 AM and around 4:00 to 6:00 PM

The commute also doesn’t take very long, with average times clocking in at just under half an hour.

VenueGoogle RatingOperating HoursAddress
Sunalta Community Hall4.2 / 5Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM1627 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0J7

Crime in Downtown Calgary

Crime in Downtown Calgary

If you’re concerned about crime in Downtown Calgary, you’ll be glad to know that crimes committed were down 17 percent in 2022. The majority of these crimes have also been non-violent in nature. 

Calgary has a Safety Index of 63.18, which means it is actually a very safe place. Data from polled individuals also shows that people feel very safe walking alone during the day, with moderate safety impressions for nighttime walks. 

There is generally a low crime rate in the area, with the biggest concerns for citizens being car theft, drug use, and vandalism. That said, even the numbers for these popular incidents are generally moderate to low, especially in 2022.

Finally, there are also more than 1,900 police officers in Calgary, so there is a solid presence of law enforcement throughout the area. Surveys reveal that 77 percent of Calgarians trust the police to ensure their safety.

Top Crime Concerns Of Polled CitizensCrime Rate*
Items stolen from car46.40 (Moderate)
Car stolen33.57 (Low)
Drug dealing or use52.86 (Moderate)
Property theft and vandalism45.93 (Moderate)

*Data pulled from Numbeo, with rating system 

Medical and Emergency Services In Downtown Calgary

Medical and Emergency Services In Downtown Calgary

Medical care and attention is one of the most important resources to consider about any place. Thankfully, Downtown Calgary has completely free healthcare for citizens, save for certain dental services, elective cosmetic procedures, and some prescription medication. 

If you’re in need of emergency services, a reliable space you can reach out to is the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre. Their emergency services are very efficient and their team is caring and committed. 

They provide urgent care 24/7, but it’s best to check their emergency wait times via their website or telephone line. They are also not a full-service hospital, which means you will be transferred if you need to be treated overnight. 

If you’re in need of dental care, Bow Valley Dental is a solid choice. They have great staff and their space is always super clean. 

It also doesn’t hurt that they have highly-certified specialists on board too. Their equipment and treatment are very modern, which is why they rank among the best dental clinics in Calgary.

Calgary also has a lot of amazing walk-in clinics you can visit. If you’re intent on finding a great one downtown, though, your best bet is the Downtown Medical Clinic. Although not currently open every day of the week, their services are pretty consistent.

Their staff is also friendly, understanding, and knowledgeable. The downside is that there can sometimes be a bit of a wait on their busier days, though this is somewhat expected because of their location. 

Medical FacilityGoogle RatingOperating HoursAddress
Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre3.3 / 5Open 24/71213 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0X7
Bow Valley Dental4.7 / 5Monday - Thursday: 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Friday: 7:30 AM - 2:00 PM

255 5 Ave SW #267, Calgary, AB T2P 3G6
Downtown Medical Clinic3.8 / 5Tuesday - Thursday: 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Friday: 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

914 6 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0V5

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