10 Non-Stampede Things to Do This July

Downhill karting at Winsport

Well cowpokes, July is upon us once again. You look outside your window and can see bright skies, perfect views of the mountains, and western-themed décor showing up everywhere you look. This means that the Calgary Stampede is here again. This year it will be our 110th exhibition (one was cancelled due to Covid-19) and that means millions of people will be there yelling, “Ya-hoo!” 

This will get loud, rowdy and expensive. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not for everybody. Lots of people want to avoid participating in the Calgary Stampede and that is OK. There are things you can do that are still fun and be a good way to enjoy our summer weather. Here are 10 things you can do instead of Stampeding, be you a visitor to the city or a resident.

Go Hiking in the Mountains

As any Calgarian will tell you, the best way to get far from the maddening crowd is to spend a day exploring the natural wonders in our backyard. One of the main reasons why people are so attracted to our beautiful city is because we are so close to the mountains. It is easy and convenient to just get in your car and go on a wild adventure. Besides, there is no better way to recharge than to get out and explore nature.

Go Swimming in Neighbourhood Pools

In July, things really heat up and the best way to cool off is to find a cool pool to jump in. Whether outdoor or indoor, going swimming is not only a great way to stay in shape but to unwind and even make a few new friends. In Calgary, we have swimming areas in several different neighbourhoods. Most of them are walking distance from our homes. Just take some time and see what your options are by going to the City of Calgary website.

Get in Touch with your Inner Scientist

Telus Spark is the perfect place where fun and imagination come to life thanks to a mixture of both art and science. This year the Spark has a massive outdoor park called the Brainasium that includes a 65-foot slide. Also, in honour of our Indigenous friends there is a Gathering Circle to attend where stories will be told along with an Indigenous plant garden to check out. Don’t forget that they also have their own superhero team called Sacred Defenders of the Universe in their Wonderspaces section. Perfect for the kids and the kids-at-heart. 

Touch the Sky at Winsport

Have you ever wanted to feel like a race-car driver or go tobogganing in the summer? At Winsport, you can do these things thanks to the Skyluge. You can purchase a ticket, sit on one of their downhill carts, and fly down the hill at any speed you want. This fun, fast-paced activity can be done by any age or ability. If you are not looking for any speed, they also have mini-golf course where it is just as enjoyable and joyful.  

Take your Bike on the Trails

When it comes to getting around in Calgary, biking is one of the best ways to do it. With 3724 cycle routes found throughout the city, you can get everywhere and anywhere that you would want to. Not to mention that when you ride your bike you get to see some amazing scenes along the way. A good way to get some fresh air, discover new places, and feel a sense of pleasure that can be found on two wheels. If you don’t have a bike, you can always rent one in several rental places and ride like the wind. 

Get to Know the Animals at the Zoo

At the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, the idea is to conserve our natural resources and the wildlife from all over the world. There is so much to explore at the zoo, from the Penguin Plunge to the Prehistoric Park. They have all kinds of food and retail stores to check out. It’s like traveling the world and through time but in one handy location. The possibilities are endless; you can wave to the newborn gorilla in Destination Africa or have a butterfly land on you in the Conservatory. Just make sure that you don’t hug a grizzly bear in the Canadian Wilds.

Have a Lazy Day on the Bow River

On these long sunny days, there is nothing more satisfying than floating down the bow in a raft. Whether you have your own boat or plan to rent one from local vendors, being able to ride these small waves is a calm and soothing experience. If you are looking for a way to get off of social media for a while, this is the best way to detox. You can tell this is true when you catch sight of all the wild birds flying overhead. It makes you think that this is what Sheryl Crow meant when she was “soaking up the sun.”

Rent a Scooter and Roll

You have seen them all over the place. When it comes to these beautiful days of sunshine, sometimes you just want to ride around and see the city. Which ever company you choose whether it is Neuron, Bird, etc. this is an inexpensive way to kill some time and have a little excitement. It is safe for all ages to jump on and makes a good family activity. It never hurts to try something new (even if you do fall off the first time). 

Take yourself on an Ice Cream Tour

In the summertime, when a person feels the heat and wants a treat, the first thought that comes to mind is ice cream. Calgary is blessed with many local shops that make their own sweet sensations right in the store. Some are walking distance but there are some that are hidden. No worries because no matter what, you will find a gem. Even the pickiest of ice cream connoisseurs will have their taste buds melting when they step inside.  

Shop at the Night Markets

The best way to shop local is at one of these evening markets. As most of these are outdoors, it tends to be a little cooler which can be refreshing if you have been in the sun for a long time. Some markets only last for one evening but there are markets that last all summer long (ie. Bridgeland, Inglewood, etc.). Never-the-less, these summer happenings are great to visit when you want to get that perfect gift, even if it is just for yourself. 

The Stampede is a big part of our heritage and is a great boost to our economy but everybody needs a break. That’s why we have all kinds of activities, places to go, and things to do when you are feeling overwhelmed by it all.  So, there is no pressure to participate, nor is there any shame in taking some time to step away from it. Just don’t be afraid to go outside and be active on your own. Make this your own special 10 days!