Stampede survival guide: 10 activities away from the grounds

Author: Claire Bourgeois

A visit to the grounds and midway are a must for any Calgarian. However, sometimes the deep-fried Oreos get the best of us and we need a break from the madness. Here are some other awesome things to check out in Calgary during Stampede this year.

 

Live music at the King Eddy

Stampede at the King Edward Hotel is back this year with a variety of Canadian roots and country artists. Escape the crowds for a few hours and enjoy some food and craft beer at a Calgary institution just a few blocks from the grounds in the East Village. 

July 7-16: Bell Live Series Performances

 

Stuff your face for free at one of many Stampede Breakfasts

As a born-and-raised Calgarian, I can honestly say that some of my favorite memories growing up have been loading up a plate with pancakes and maple syrup courtesy of the many free pancake breakfasts in the city. Your daily recommended serving of breakfast food got started Thursday at the pre-Stampede First Flip on Stephen Avenue .

For those with dietary requirements, the Get Stacked! vegan breakfast is for you. Visit the Bridgeland community association from 9 - 11 a.m. on July 8 for an extensive meat-free spread featuring vegan pancakes, sausages, fruit and potatoes as well as many gluten-free options.

Saturday, July 8: Get Stacked

 

"Anti - Stampede" Dance + BBQ

As fun as Stampede can be, some people just aren’t into it. In a city of 1.4 million, we can’t all be expected to like the same things, right? This inclusive anti-stampede party, hosted at Broken City, features music ranging from 80’s dance music to hip hop and RnB. The only music sure to be excluded from the DJ set? You guessed it – country.

Friday, July 14: Anti-Stampede Dance + BBQ

 

The Calgary Stampede Parade

A stampede staple, the parade is a must for anyone new to the city and includes 30 marching bands, 40 floats, 750 horses and 4,000 people. Get there early to secure a spot and be sure to check the route map for traffic closures. Be sure to swing by the grounds after the parade for free entry from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Friday, July 7: Stampede Parade

 

Avoid rodeo crowds at Spruce Meadows, July 5 – 9

Head south of downtown for the North American horse jumping competition at the world-class Spruce Meadows riding facilities. Perfect for all ages, the tournament will feature the best show jumpers from this side of the Atlantic. 

July 5 - 9:  'North American' horse-jumping tournament

 

Visit a museum

From finding out exactly how many midway foods will result in a stomachache to studying the varied people found stumbling out of Nashville North at any given hour, the Stampede midway is filled with lessons just waiting to be learned. If your intellectual side craves something a little more refined, however, spend an evening at The Glenbow Museum or Telus Spark.  

Thursday, July 6: Free first Thursdays at The Glenbow 

Thursday, July 13: Telus Spark Adult Night 

 

Get your thrills without the lines at Calaway Park

Enjoy all the fun of the midway without standing in line for hours at Calaway park, located just west of the city near Canada Olympic Park. With rides and attractions for all ages, this is a perfect activity for the whole family.

 

Beat the heat on the Bow/Elbow rivers

With record temperatures hitting Calgary this summer, cool off on one of the two rivers that flow through the city. If you choose to rarft, be sure to consult the City of Calgary's rules and guidelines regarding float rules.

 

Take advantage of one of Calgary's many happy hours

Stampede can get expensive. Save some cash by hitting up a patio during happy hour for some mind-blowing food and drink deals. 

Cleaver: Sunday to Thursday food and drink specials, before 7 p.m. and after 9 p.m.

Anejo: Half priced drinks and food daily, 3 - 5 p.m.

National Beer Hall: Food and beverage happy hour, 3 - 6 p.m.

 

Explore the city by bike on Calgary's extensive bike path system

Calgary is home to award-winning bike paths and an extensive city-wide system of pathways and bike lanes. Work off those mini donuts with an afternoon ride along the river - stopping at the Simmons Building for lunch at Sidewalk Citizen or coffee at Phil and Sebastian.

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