Each year as the sun starts sticking around a little longer, Calgary comes alive. The city’s parks are host to stages and music festivals, bike tracks mark up the many pathways and the Bow River is packed with city dwellers getting a cool down. Here are just a few reasons to make the most of Calgary this summer.

1. All the music

Studio Bell, home to the National Music Centre, is in Calgary. It has Canadian music history exhibitions, sound installations and a 300-seat theatre. Nearby, check out Music Mile, which boasts more than 20 live music venues.

Then, of course, there are the festivals. The annual Sled Island Music & Arts Festival (June 19 to 23, 2019) includes 250 bands at more than 30 venues and outdoor stages across the city. The Calgary Folk Music Festival (July 25 to 28, 2019) hosts more than 70 artists on eight stages. And, during the Calgary Stampede (July 5 to 14), Nashville North, the on-grounds bar, offers live music all day, every day.

2. The pathways are perfect 

With 580 kilometres of pathways and 95 km of additional hiking and biking trails, Calgary has one of North Americas most extensive urban pathway networks. Ride the 138-km loop around the city or hike through Fish Creek Provincial Park.

3. River floats are fun

It’s Calgary’s iconic summer pastime—an afternoon float on the Bow, soaking up the sun and city skyline. Get equipped at Lazy Day Raft Rentals, start your two-to three-hour ride at Bowness Park, bob through downtown and end at pretty Prince’s Island Park. 

4. The Ship & Anchor is a mainstay 

Ask any Calgarian about “The Ship” and they’ll tell you it’s an institution. This 17th Avenue S.W. pub is where many locals sipped their first legal drink, just like their parents did before them. The menu features hearty pub classics, but what makes this place so special is that nowhere else in the city will you find downtown suits, millennial hipsters, suburban moms and burly bikers sharing a table on the packed curbside patio or listening to a local band at the Saturday afternoon “Ship Jam.”

5. The East Village is booming

This newly revitalized neighbourhood is the place to be when the sun is shining. Have a picnic at St. Patrick’s Island, enjoy pop-up markets, music performances and food truck frenzies, or just stroll along the RiverWalk pathway while enjoying a baked treat from local favourite, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery.

[This story appears in the June 2016 issue of WestJet Magazine]