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Road Tripping: Calgary, Alberta

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Have you seen summer in Vancouver? With the sunshine, the ocean, the beach volleyball, the craft beer and the endless patios, it might just be the best place on earth. Yet no matter how beautiful our city may be, the burning temptation to hop in the car and take a road trip is a feeling that we just can’t shake.

10 hours and one mountain range away is one of Vancouver’s best road trip destinations – Calgary, Alberta! With only a few days to spare, how does a Vancouverite make the most of their Cowtown adventure? Well, from a foodie who has eaten/lived in both cities, here are:

7 awesome things for Vancouverites to do, see, and eat in Calgary, Alberta!

1. Go for Brunch

Finding the best places to eat brunch in Calgary has become a sport for the locals. Though we hold Vancouver’s brunch restaurants in high regard, the playing field in Calgary is fierce! As dozens of restaurants vie for the best brunch experience in Calgary, unique menus and dining spaces have sprung to life.

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We’ll never forget the brunch we had a Vero Bistro Moderne in Calgary. The walls looked like a plush, red couch. Our Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict with arugula and bruschetta was topped with a Jumbo Wild Prawn. But things didn’t stop there – the entire benny was on a fresh-baked croissant. (Forget you, boring english muffin, we want all our benedicts to come on hot, buttery croissants!) And guess what, foodies? Vero takes reservations on Opentable. C’est magnifique!

Other brunch restaurants we recommend: Blue Star Diner, Vendome, Monki 

2. Grab a Cupcake in Kensington

The smell of Crave Cupcakes will stop you in your tracks. I’m a seasoned cupcake enthusiast, and I truly believe that this Calgary cupcakerie has some of the best cupcakes in Canada. If we ran Foodie Tours in Calgary, we’d do everything to get Crave Cupcakes on the list! The cupcakes are rich and moist, and the icing is perfectly smooth and buttery. In full or bite-size, quality is never compromised.

Favourites include: Crave-o-Licious and A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

3. Shop the Downtown Maze

Hey Vancouver, remember how you always say Calgary is SO COLD? Well Calgary’s got this nifty little invention that we could benefit from here in Raincouver. The +15. These are skybridges (15ft above ground) that connect the buildings in the downtown core. There are 59 and counting! So even in the dreariest weather, you can spend the day shopping, eating, and relaxing around Calgary’s downtown, without facing the elements!

4. Refuel at a YYC Food Truck

As proud hosts of the World’s Best Food Truck Tour in Vancouver, we are thrilled to see the food truck revolution in Calgary take the city by force! From Chicken and Waffles to Savoury Asian Tacos, there are over 40 delicious street eats in the city! For expert advice on the best street food in Calgary, follow our friends at YYC Food Trucks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They’re the organizers behind Calgary’s Food Truck Frenzies – note the dates and start pack the car!

5. Chase down a Cuppa Joe

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In recent years, a refined coffee culture has found its way to Vancouver and Calgary. Foodies have developed a palate for single origin, premium coffee, sipped to the sound of cool, indie music. When in Calgary, check out Phil & Sebastian Coffee for some of the city’s best beans.

Hint: On a hot summer day in Calgary, visit Village Ice Cream for your does of caffeine! They have a dedicated Phil & Sebastian Coffee flavour!

6. Eat beef

When in Vancouver, eat seafood. When in Calgary, eat steak! Alberta beef is considered to be the best in North America and you deserve to see why. Charcut Roast House in downtown Calgary is a perfect place to eat a great steak.

Not sure how to request your steak? Medium rare, which cooks the exterior and leaves the middle warm and dark pink, showcases the full flavour and ideal tenderness of the meat. Or, you can forget the cook altogether and treat yourself to the Waygu Beef Tartare from Anju Restaurant on 17th Avenue (pictured above).

7. Party in a Mall

Remember the days of waiting outside to get in the club? Calgary is so over that. National (or more affectionately, National North) on 8th Avenue SW, is tucked inside Scotia Centre mall in downtown Calgary. There are four National locations in the city, but this particular spot is a local go-to for Calgary nightlife, as you can stay warm, safe and happy while you wait!

Happy Road-Tripping, Foodies!

To read more Awesome Things We Ate in Calgary, click here.

Joyce Chua

About Joyce Chua

I’m fascinated by food and its impact on culture, especially in an increasingly globalized world. I love how Vancouver’s multicultural food scene opens doors to history, culture, and understanding. Here’s to a life of eating and learning!

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