Alberta is nicknamed Canada’s Texas, and the lively metropolis of Calgary marches to the beat of her own drum – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Set deep in the prairies just east of the Rocky Mountains, it’s a city for music-mad, honky-tonking, hiking-crazy foodie fanatics. It’s also a great place to show your crush a good time. If you’re after a way to step up your dating game in Calgary (without falling back on cheesy tropes), we’ve got the top picks from our local insiders. Read on, Romeos and Juliets of the 21st century.
Caesar's Steak House
It’s no use dating on an empty stomach. And while drinking that pre-date cocktail might seem like a good idea to steady your nerves, chances are you’re going to want to soak up the booze with a decent dinner. Fortunately for you, Calgary is beef country – and nowhere does steak like Caesar’s. Pair your filet mignon with the Caesar cocktail, a Canadian twist on the classic Bloody Mary – bound to spice things up. The restaurant is elegant enough to be considered date material, but casual enough that no one’s going to feel underdressed.Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Upgrade your date night à la sofa to Canada’s take on Broadway. Founded in the ’60s as the first theatre production company in the city, Theatre Calgary is based downtown, and hosts live shows on the regular like Romeo & Juliet, Billy Elliot and the Scarlet Letter. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy musicals or an audience who sporadically bursts into song alongside the actors, consider this: it’ll give you (and your date) the perfect excuse to scrub up – and scrub up well. If you’re too busy making eyes at your date all evening, who cares? Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Love is blind. No, we’re not talking about the reality TV show, by the way, but your next date in Calgary. The restaurant Dark Table, located downtown, operates in complete darkness. The idea is to enhance guests’ other senses – mainly taste and smell. The mushroom and herb risotto is a favorite (with the added plus you don’t have to cut anything up). And if you do make a fool of yourself in front of your date, no one will see you blushing. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
There’s no better way to get to know your date – and Calgary’s urban oasis – than by electric bike. Most of the trails are traffic-free, and rentals from Pedego only cost CAD$35 ($26) for 2 hours. The romantic backdrop of the Glenmore Reservoir is an idyllic place to start, as the trails loop back into the city through a delta with Alberta’s snow-capped mountains looming majestically in the distance. Cycling burns a lot of calories, so pack a picnic to enjoy in Prince’s Island Park, or head to the stalls of Eau Claire Market for a quick pick me up. Recommended by local insider Patrick Twomey
Peters’ Drive-In is an iconic drive-in option that’s been drawing hungry crowds – and couples – for decades. It’s the classic all-American date, with a retro drive-thru serving fresh hamburger patties in brioche buns, mix-your-own-flavor milkshakes and classic greasy fries. And no one says you have to stick around – cut through Crescent Heights and tuck into your fare overlooking Bow River, on Sunnyside Bank Park. Views of the city – particularly at night – make for a terribly romantic evening. Recommended by local insider Yamila