When one of my best friends moved to the city of Calgary, Alberta recently, I immediately made a mental note to add it to our list of travels. Only an hour flight from Abbotsford or Vancouver in British Columbia, we were able to jet off for a quick weekend getaway. The reality is, you could make this trip a quick weekend getaway from any city in North America. If you want to add skiing or snowboarding to the itinerary, you’ll want to extend your stay to at least 4 nights, but if you stay off the slopes, you can get a lot in, in a couple of nights.
On a recent Saturday, I packed up my toddler (who ate a ton of cat food and puked RIGHT before leaving for the airport – see my Insta posts for details on that one), and off we flew to YYC.
Flying into Calgary is GORGEOUS. The views actually don’t seem real. If you don’t have a wild toddler to wrangle, I suggest booking a window seat so you can take it all in.
Once we landed, we wasted no time, and headed straight to a vegan restaurant in the South West part of downtown (not because any of us are vegans, but because it was supposed to be tasty). The Coup is a hipster-y type place with an extensive cocktail menu and some really delicious meals. I definitely recommend, but will add that if you are traveling with a kid, they don’t have highchairs.
The next day, we hopped in the truck and drove the hour and a bit drive to Banff, Alberta. The drive itself is super enjoyable because you are driving through the epic Rocky Mountains. My friend chose Tunnel Mountain for us to hike, which we knew would provide a sweaty workout and probably be the right amount of time for my daughter Yale. We miscalculated a bit because just as we were about to get to the top, Yale took off her mitts then started to freak out because her hands were numb. She wouldn’t calm down so I had to take her out of the backpack I was carrying her in and carry her in front, just using my arms, the entire way down. If I had to do it again – to be completely honest – I’m not sure what I would do! haha…but the views on the way up were so gorgeous, I’m pretty sure I would try this again, and maybe just put hand warmers in Yale’s mitts. If you’re going at an “intermediate” pace, the hike takes about an hour and a half round trip. Near the top where it was colder, the vibe was very “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – it was a total winter wonderland.
On the way there we stopped at Rave coffee in Canmore for coffee to go (recommend – lots of legit coffee choices) and on the way back, we stopped at Tank 301, a brewery and restaurant, for some delicious soup and charcuterie.
We rounded out the day with a stop at Regal Cat Café back in Calgary which I especially recommend for people who don’t have pets. If you have your own cats, it might not be as exciting of an activity – unless you’re a toddler, in which case all the cat toys may as well be your toys – so good times.
Other hot weekend getaway tips that I didn’t get to experience for myself are:
Accommodations: Hotel Arts
Skating (so Canadian!): Central Library & Bowness Park