The archway of the new Central Library connects East Village to downtown. Start in East Village near St. Patrick’s Island or the Jack and Jean Leslie RiverWalk, and continue your way to Stephen Avenue, with plenty of things to eat, see, and do along the way.
Top 10 things to do in East Village and downtown Calgary:
- Explore downtown’s backyard: Opened in 2015, St. Patrick’s Island is just across the George C. King Bridge and offers Calgarians activities for all seasons. Check out Bloom, the public art sculpture that you can’t miss for miles; enjoy some fishing or outdoor programming in the summer, or bring your toboggan in the winter to slide down The Rise.
- Relax along the river: The Jack and Jean Leslie RiverWalk stretches from the Centre Street bridge to 9 Avenue SE, where pedestrians and cyclists can move along the Bow and Elbow rivers. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to enjoy a book or want to take part in some outdoor programming, RiverWalk is a cultural hub, recreational pathway, and peaceful destination.
- Fuel for adventurers: Steps from the RiverWalk is the Simmons building, with tenants sure to tempt any appetite — Charbar, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. Other historic buildings including the Hillier Block, St. Louis Hotel, and King Edward Hotel are also nearby, each restored to enjoy a new lease on life.
- Stop at Crossroads: With a playground, community garden, and public art installation, there’s lots to see and do at Crossroads, which connects the George C. King Bridge, RiverWalk, the Riff pedestrian street, and Fort Calgary.
- Stand at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers: This place is known to the Blackfoot as Moh’kinsstis. Before it was Fort Calgary — the birthplace of the modern city of Calgary — it was a gathering place for Indigenous peoples for thousands of years.
- Start on the Music Mile: One of the anchor points on Calgary’s Music Mile, Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, is comprised of five floors of exhibitions that tell the story of music in Canada and celebrate Canadian music icons.
- Catch a glimpse of governance: Walk around Historic City Hall, currently undergoing major renovations, to view facts about this building at the heart of Calgary. Then head inside the Municipal Building, where Calgary’s City Council meets. There are frequently exhibits on display inside the building, and groups of 10 or more can register for a tour of the City of Calgary’s Civic Complex with a volunteer guide.
- People-watch at Olympic Plaza: This plaza, built to celebrate the ’88 Olympics, is a prime spot for festivals in the summer (and for cooling off in the wading pool) and skating in the winter, all under the watch of the nearby Calgary Tower.
- Take in a show: Just across the way from Olympic Plaza is Arts Commons, a multi-venue arts centre featuring music, theatre, dance, and everything in between. About a 15-minute walk farther up Stephen Avenue is the Globe Cinema, a classic movie house that hosts many of the film festivals in Calgary.
- Find out what’s going on at the Glenbow: There is always something new to see at the Glenbow Museum, with its frequent rotation of exhibits from the archives and visiting installations featuring Western Canadian art and culture. Free admission is available from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm the first Thursday of every month.