My Favourite Local Stuff

Local Things Around Calgary that I love...

  • Live Theatre & Theatres  (yes in Canada, we spell it "re")
    • Alberta Theatre Projects
    • One Yellow Rabbit
    • Vertigo Theatre
    • Hit & Myth Productions and Ground Zero Theatre
    • Mob Hit Productions (sadly no more)
    • The Uptown Stage & Screen (facebook link) in The Barron Building
      • I am VERY sad that the Uptown Stage & Screen had to "cease operations and vacate the Barron Building" in August 2012.  This theatre was an absolutely amazing art-deco movie theatre that should be designated as a Heritage Building!  
      • If I ever win the lottery, I'm buying this building from Strategic Group, renovating and moving into the penthouse, and re-opening it as a theatre the way it should be!
    • The Plaza Theatre
      • Most statutory holidays, they have "audience participation" type events, like Rocky Horror Picture Show, or Sing-Along-With-the-Sound-Of-Music.
    • Loose Moose Theatre
      • I've been going to LooseMoose for 25 years, followed it from it's location on McKnight Blvd by the airport, to Inglewood in the historic Garry Theatre, to it's current home in Crossroads Market.  I used to start every weekend with my friends going to LooseMoose to laugh for 2 hours in the front row, experiencing the funniest improv theatre imaginable!  Keith Johnstone was co-founder and former Artistic Director (a.k.a. the godfather of Improv), and Dennis Cahill, also a founding member of Loose Moose carries that mantle forward today. 

  • Restaurants - Calgary has an amazing diversity of fantastic restaurants.  Please support your local favourite restaurants during the pandemic by ordering take-out from them! 

    In no particular order, here's some of my current favourites (updated Feb 25, 2021).
    • Fasil Kebab Hut (NE - Pakistani Cuisine).  Their Tandoori BBQ platter for $25 easily feeds two people!  And the Mutton Krahi is fantastic.  Don't forget the Garlic Naan & Mango Lhassi!
    • Fusion Sushi (NW - Crowfoot Ranchlands location) - fantastic and fun!  All-u-can-eat for $30/person. You order off iPads!  The NW Crowfoot location is the best one. Make sure you reserve!
    • Phils (NW - 16th Ave North Hill Location) - been going here for years for consistent, yummy, reasonably priced breakfasts.
    • OEB (NE Bridgeland location) - fancy breakfast place with many tasty types of amazing eggs bennies!
    • Gaucho (SE - by Chinook Mall - Brazilian BBQ) - my favourite Brazilian BBQ restaurant.  For meat-atarians only!!
    • Mina's (Downtown by Eau Claire Market - Brazilian BBQ) - my 2nd favourite Brazilian BBQ restaurant.  Used to be partners with Gaucho many years ago, then split off to do his own restaurant.
    • Joeys' Only Seafood (NW Crowfoot location) - Tuesdays are all-u-can-eat Fish & Chips, Thursdays are all-u-can-eat Fish Tacos!  And on your birthday, you get a discount equal to your age!  (I turned 50 last year, so 50% off to the total bill = 2-for-1 basically).
    • Chicken-on-the-Way (NW Kensington original location or NW Crowfoot location). COTW has been a staple for fried chicken, corn fritters and fries since the 1950's.  On your birthday, be sure to hit as many COTWs as you can.  You get a free snack-pack on your birthday!
    • Cheesecake Cafe (SW on Macleod Trail south of Chinook Mall).  HUGE slices of cheesecake here!  And on your birthday, you get a free slice when you buy an entree.
    • Blackfoot Diner (SE - between Inglewood & Ogden) - before the pandemic, this was a 24-hour truckstop where you could go for late-night eats that are still great to this day!   Also has a jukebox and model fun train that zooms around above your heads!
    • Calgary Court ( Chinatown, 2nd Ave N) - Hong-kong Style Chinese food.  I've been going here for 25 years for lunch, usually at least once a week (til the pandemic).  Awesome daily specials that come with a drink and their daily soup!
    • Delicious Country (Chinatown, Centre St.) - Northern Style Chinese - VERY spicy!  Try the Chili Fish Soup.
    • Han's Taiwanese Restaurant (Chinatown, Center St.) - Taiwanese food, the only one in Calgary.  Amazing unique dishes.  Fish in Topan sauce is to-die-for.  Spicy here too!
    • Tang's Dynasty (Chinatown, 3rd Ave) - Northern Style / Mongolian-style street food.  Lots of lamb dishes on the menu, and handmade noodles.  Their lamb skewers are awesome (regular or spicy!)
    • Pho Hoai (Chinatown, 3rd Ave) - Vietnamese - I've been going here for lunch for 25 years as well.  Used to be able to get a large beef-sate-pho-noodle-soup here for $5 back in the 90's.  It's a bit more now, but the same family owns and runs it. 
    • Trung Nguyen  (Chinatown, 3rd Ave) - Vietnamese Subs.  Helen & James own this shop.  It's been there for at least 10 years.  They make my favourite Vietnamese subs here!
    • Peter's Drive In - A fixture & a tradition in Calgary since 1964.  You haven't had a real milkshake til you've had a Peter's Milkshake!  Long lineups in the summer, but worth the wait!
    • Ponshu - my favourite, very authentic, Japanese-owned and operated Izakaya / Sushi restaurant.  Their daily specials and happy hour discounts are fantastic!
(ok, rant over)
  • Festivals / Events (click here for a good reference site)
    • Chinook Blast (formerly GLOW Winter Light Festival) - Downtown various locations - February weekends. Put on your winter boots, bundle up, and explore the amazing light-installations and art-installations downtown!  This festival has morphed and changed over the years with a new name each year.  But it's always interesting and fun to walk around downtown to see the various light-art-installations. 
    • Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (usually in April, but is moving around due to the pandemic.)  This the biggest nerd-fest outside of Toronto Expo.  It used to be locally owned and run, but a couple years ago, Informa bought all the big comic-expos.  It's still a fun time, but not quite as intimate and interactive as it used to be.
    • Calgary Stampede - First Friday of July, and runs for 10 days after that to the following Sunday.  Whether you're a real cowboy, or an "urban cowboy", the Stampede is always a hoot!  Favourites for me are the Chucks & Grandstand Show (with fireworks at the end!), walking through the AG barns looking at all the livestock, searching the midway for the latest "weird foods", shopping "The Market" (affectionately known amongst my friends as the "Festival of Crap!") in the BMO center, where everything is for sale!  Don't miss the Delimanjoo!  Watch the Coke Stage lineup for who might be doing a free concert each night!  Some amazing acts have shown up there over the years.
    • NOTE: there is a "Pride Day" at the Stampede each year now.
    • Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival - if you're in the LGBTQ community, this is a must for your calendar.  Nine days of LGBTQA film and events guaranteed to provoke, challenge and entertain. Usually held in May.
    • Calary Pride Week - the week before Labor Day weekend.  We're not quite sure why our Pride festival is so late in the season, but it's still the most colorful parade that Calgary puts on, and it gets bigger every year!
    • The Festival Of Animated Objects - Describing this as a "puppet festival" is like calling a rainbow "bright".  This biennial festival is an explosion of creativity, weirdness, hilarity, and surprises every two years!  Events are held all around Calgary at different venues.
    • The High Performance Rodeo - usually in Feburary, this festival is NOT about horses folks!  Every year, One Yellow Rabbit Theatre productions brings together a diverse array of live performance artists., theatre, comedy, drama, dance, contemporary art, spoken word, and so many other creative artists that we don't have good adjectives for. 
    • Calgary International Beer Fest - each May, at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park, BeerFest presents all sorts of new brews for folks to try, one shot at a time.  Be careful!  Those little shots of beer go down easy, and after a couple of hours, it's like you've drunk a 12-pack all by yourself!
    • Spruce Meadows National - if you like horses, this is horse-heaven! Spruce Meadows is one of the best equestrian facilities in the world, and attracts the best talent across the globe!  The National is Spruce's first tournament of the summer season.  
    • Calgary Fringe Festival - In August, Calgary's Fringe Festival takes over many venues across Calgary.  There's something for everyone - always a very diverse array of entertainment to amaze, astound and entertain!
    • GlobalFest - This is Calgary's most explosive festival of the year.  This fireworks festival attracts teams from all over the world.  This is a super-fun outdoor evening event for everyone!  Get to Elliston Park early to stake out your spot for the fireworks show. This ends up as a "sea of humanity" when the show finishes, and everyone walks down International Ave. back to their cars to head home.
    • Beakerhead - An amazing mashup of art, engineering, science, performance, creativity, and craziness!  Every year Beakerhead brings new and fantastic things to life!

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