Although we often associate winter with staying indoors tucked into our cozy living rooms, holding a cup of hot cocoa, winter in Calgary is actually filled with activity! It is in the winter months that the city offers some of the best things to do in Calgary, with Calgary recreation being a hot topic!
Tobogganing, skiing, skating, and walking amongst magical snow-covered scenery are just a few of the recreational activities that Calgarians can enjoy. Not sure where to find these wintery adventures? Or perhaps you are looking for recreation options to keep you out of the chilly air?
Here is everything you need to know about Calgary recreation and the popular Calgary neighbourhoods to seek out for winter activities!
Home to one of the city’s main bodies of water, the Arbour Lake neighbourhood is one of the best places to go for Calgary recreation in the winter (and also year-round). This northwestern community is near the University of Calgary – a widely popular place known to host a number of recreational opportunities both indoors and out.
The University of Calgary is where you’ll find the Olympic Oval, which is open for public use, lessons, and Olympic training. Of course, in addition to the University, Arbour Lake is most known for the community’s lake (and namesake): Arbour Lake. Here families can register for winter programs that include skating, figure skating, and hockey.
Arbour Lake, Calgary Recreation Locations:
- University of Calgary (skating, indoor gyms/courts, climbing wall, indoor swimming)
- Arbour Lake (skating, winter programs, pond hockey, figure skating)
- Melcor YMCA (indoor swimming, sports programs, climbing, arts and dance, gym)
- CrossFit Calgary (weight training, fitness classes, indoor programs)
- Hot Yoga on Crowfoot (yoga)
- Crowfoot Park (sledding hill, baseball park for summer, fields)
- Litorco Martial Arts (karate, kickboxing, fighting)
When considering Calgary recreation for the winter months, Bowness must be added. This expansive southern neighbourhood includes the WinSport Winter Sport Institute. Originally known as Canada Olympic Park (or “C.O.P” by residents), this winter wonderland is where the 1988 winter Olympics were held.
To this day, it is the one place in Calgary to hit the slopes, try the luge, go tubing, and much more. Aside from WinSport, the neighbourhood is named for its close proximity to the Bow River, which offers nature-immersed walking and ski paths, pond skating in Bowness Park, and breathtaking views of the river.
Bowness, Calgary Recreation Locations:
- Hockey Canada (indoor hockey)
- WinSport (skiing, bobsleigh, luge, tubing, skating, skeleton, shinny, hockey)
- Bowness Park (skating, walking, cross-country skiing)
- Bowness Community Association (arena, skating, ice rentals)
- Yoga in Bowness (yoga)
- Calgary West Fit Body Bootcamp (classes, fitness facility)
Confederation Park (Rosemont – North Mount Pleasant – Collingwood)
One of the many popular parks in Calgary is Confederation Park – home to the Confederation Park Golf Course. Of course, when the snow has fallen and there are no longer chances to tee off, Confederation park becomes so much more. It is here that Calgarians can snowshoe or ski.
If it’s the right time of the season, visitors can also walk through the Lions Festival of Lights—a yearly exhibition that boasts thousands of Christmas lights throughout the golf course. Confederation Park also has well-groomed walking paths, wetland views, exhilarating tobogganing opportunities, and a natural playground area (designed to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday).
Confederation Park, Calgary Recreation Locations:
- Confederation Park (walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing)
- Fit for Change (gym, fitness facility)
- Rosemont Community Association Outdoor Rink (skating, hockey)
- Mount Pleasant Outdoor Rink (skating, hockey)
Found in the city central of Calgary within the Downtown neighbourhood is Olympic Plaza. This uniquely styled square is transformed into a popular skating rink throughout winter. The rink was originally developed for the 1988 Olympics and remains as the only ‘refrigerated’ outdoor ice rink in Calgary. Couples, families, and those just looking to get out can come and skate at the public skate times (skate rentals are also available), and absorb the exciting and eclectic energy that Downtown Calgary radiates.
Further north of the Downtown neighbourhood is the Bow River where numerous walking and running paths are open year-round for those willing to brave the cold. These paths are widely popular for those living near and around the core, and the area is guaranteed to offer stunning views of the frozen water in the winter and twinkly lights of the pedestrian bridges.
If you would prefer to stay indoors while exercising, there are also dozens of Calgary recreation gyms and fitness centers available within the neighbourhood.
Downtown, Calgary Recreation Locations:
- Olympic Plaza (skating)
- Bow River Pathway (walking, running)
- Fifth Avenue Club (gym, fitness facility)
- CityFit Calgary (gym, fitness facility)
- The Bow Valley Club (squash, fitness facility)
- Cityscape CrossFit (gym, fitness facility)
- FRESH! Fitness (gym, fitness facility)
- World Health Calgary Gyms (gym, fitness facility)
- GoodLife Fitness (gym, fitness facility)
- Centennial Place Fitness Centre (gym, fitness facility)
Other Notable Calgary Recreation Locations:
Each and every neighbourhood in Calgary has something to offer in terms of winter activities and recreation. Whether it is a local outdoor skating rink, an excellent sledding hill, or walking paths leading through Calgary’s best communities. Take a look at these other notable Calgary recreation locations where you can find things to do all winter long!
- Fish Creek Provincial Park (walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing)
- Spruce Meadows (walking, skating)
- Prince’s Island Park (walking, skating, cross-country skiing)
- Hidden Valley (walking paths, local outdoor skating rink, tobogganing hill, playground)
- Thornhill Aquatic and Recreation Centre (hockey, skating, swimming, gym, classes)
- Village Square Leisure Centre (swimming, wave pool, waterslides, gym, classes, skating, hockey, gymnasium)
- Edworthy Park (walking)
Looking for mountain-views and even more winter activities to fill your year with? Be sure to visit Canmore, Banff, Kananaskis, and Lake Louise for further hiking, skiing, skating, snowboarding, and other snow-filled fun!
Make this winter one filled with activity and soak in those snowy days every chance you get! Be sure to check out the local Calgary recreation options available in your area and get ready to keep moving this season!
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.