This list of the best things to do after dinner in Calgary proves that there is plenty going on in the city after the sun goes down. The nightlife scene is incredibly diverse, so whether you like to dress to the nines for sophisticated speakeasy cocktails or prefer the homely atmosphere of a brewery taproom, you'll find something to keep you entertained.

    The lively arts scene encompasses both grand historic venues and ground-breaking modern performances, with a mix of dance, theatre, comedy, and live music. There's also plenty for science and history fans, with historic walking tours and late openings at museums and science centres. Here's our pick of the most exciting, intriguing, and impressive places to go in Calgary at night.


    Calgary Tower

    Lofty evening views from a glass-floored observation deck

    The Calgary Tower offers spectacular views of Downtown Calgary. An elevator whisks you up to its 160-metre-high observation deck, where you can watch the city lights. You'll have clear views of the surrounding skyline, with the splendid mountains of Banff National Park in the distance.

    Learn more about the tower by downloading a multimedia tour to your smartphone, or watch a film on Alberta's spectacular scenery in the theatre room. If you're feeling brave, step out onto the glass platform to watch cars passing beneath your feet. An onsite gift shop sells souvenirs and knick-knacks by local brands.

    Location: 101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9, Canada

    Open: Monday–Tuesday from 4.30 pm to 9 pm, Wednesday–Friday from noon to 9 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 403-266-7171


    Stephen Avenue Walk

    Lively pedestrian street with pubs, bars, and outdoor art

    Take an after-dinner ramble down Stephen Avenue Walk to see some of Calgary's most elegant period buildings and playful street art. Historic buildings include Hudson's Bay department store, and City Hall, which is built of local sandstone. Grab dessert at a late-night food truck, or shop for Canadian and western wear and Kanata Trading Post or Lammle's.

    As far as bars and pubs go, you're spoiled for choice. Both National on 8th and Bank & Baron have patios where you can enjoy the evening air, while James Joyce Irish Pub is popular for its exuberant atmosphere. Stephen Avenue hosts live music and other events throughout the year, such as the YYC Hot Chocolate Festival in winter.

    Location: 340 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1C1, Canada

    Phone: +1 403-215-1570


    photo by Daniel (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Spark After Dark events at TELUS Spark

    Adults-only science talks and interactive exhibits

    TELUS Spark is an immersive science centre with programmes for all ages, but the adult fun starts after dinner. Events focus on everything from the latest robot technology to the effect of drugs on your brain or the intersection of gender and sexuality. Attend a lecture by expert scientists, or take part in one of the many hands-on science experiments.

    Watch a planetarium show at the Infinity Dome and see stars turning above you or explore the inside of a volcano. All the centre's usual exhibits are open after dark, minus the crowds you'd see during the day. There's also a bar serving themed cocktails, or you can eat ice-creams named after planets at Astronaut Ice Cream.

    Location: 220 Saint George's Drive Northeast, Calgary, AB T2E 5T2, Canada

    Phone: +1 403-817-6800


    photo by Mack Male (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Arts Commons

    Diverse arts venue for comedy, music, dance, and film

    Arts Commons is an arts centre that does a little bit of everything, from cutting-edge theatre to classical music. It's home to several prestigious arts organisations, including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Theatre Calgary, and performing ensemble One Yellow Rabbit. Past events have included Steel Magnolias on stage, a lecture on The Secret Life of Bears, and concerts by the Canadian National Jazz Orchestra.

    The venue is divided into several performance areas. The biggest one is Jack Singer Concert Hall, which can seat 1,800 people for its monumental concerts. Meanwhile, Motel accommodates just 50 people looking to enjoy experimental performances. Head to the Ledge Gallery or Lightbox Studio to see innovative performance projects by local artists.

    Location: 205 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K9, Canada

    Phone: +1 403-294-9494


    The Grand

    Theatre with a celebrated history and international visiting performers

    The Grand is the oldest theatre in Downtown Calgary, hosting stand-out performances in a magnificent historic venue. Opened in 1912, the theatre has seen performances from famous names such as the Marx Brothers, Fred Astaire and Sarah Bernhardt. Today, the venue hosts theatre, dance, and concerts, as well as lectures by distinguished speakers.

    Past events have included comedy tours, international dance troupes, and theatrical performances by avant-garde ensemble One Yellow Rabbit. The Grand also promotes local and emerging performance artists with their 'Live and Local' performances in the lobby. Leave plenty of time for a drink in The Dark Arts, the theatre's cocktail lounge.

    Location: 608 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1M6, Canada

    Phone: +1 403-205-2922


    photo by Qyd (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    The Palace Theatre

    A live music venue with a diverse roster of acts

    The Palace Theatre was built in the 1920s as a movie house, but now hosts live music, concerts, and workshops. The line-up is varied, from country and blues to electro-pop and trance music. Come and listen to bands like The Darkness and Hanson, country icon Orville Peck, or Canadian folk band Wild Rivers.

    Along with concerts, the Palace Theatre also hosts fantastical performances like Le Cirque de la Nuit, participatory entertainment with a steampunk feel. Its onsite bar serves bottled and draft beer and a selection of cocktails. Most of the venue is standing-room-only, so get there early if you want a seat on the mezzanine level.

    Location: 219 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 7N2, Canada

    Phone: +1 587-393-6993


    photo by thivierr (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Calgary ghost tours

    Learn about the haunting history of Calgary

    Calgary is a historic city with a colourful past and no shortage of haunting and ghostly stories. Take a tour around the city to hear about strange occurrences at the Chamber of Commerce building, a famous family curse, a ghost who loves music and the spirit of a misbehaving monkey.

    Downtown Calgary ghost tours introduce you to the secret stories behind familiar landmarks, while more far-flung ones take you to some of the city's best-preserved historical areas. There are also tours around Calgary's most haunted pubs, so you can relax with a drink while you listen to eerie tales and ghost stories. Some walking is usually involved, so remember to wear comfortable shoes.


    Barley Belt craft breweries

    Calgary's best home-grown brews

    Calgary has a wealth of independent breweries creating interesting and tasty new beers. Many are clustered in the Manchester district, unofficially known as the 'barley belt', where old industrial buildings have been repurposed as cool taprooms with soaring ceilings and mellow patios.

    Make a beeline straight for Eighty-Eight Brewing Co. for their tropical IPA flavoured with fruity pineapple and mango undertones, or try a tart Belgian sour beer at Village Brewery. The cosy atmosphere of Bow River Brewing is reflected in its delicious amber lagers like High Country Amber, blended with Alberta malts. Fans of dark beers will love the Mexican hot chocolate stout at Cabin Brewing Company.

    Location: Manchester, Ogden, Calgary, AB, Canada


    Calgary speakeasies

    Be transported back to the Prohibition era

    There's nowhere better for retro cocktails or some smooth jazz than Calgary's stylish speakeasies. One of the most famous is Betty Lou's Library, where the entrance is by password only and there are live burlesque shows every week. Hidden basement bar Sub Rosa is another great speakeasy for music, with live DJs at the weekends and a thumping dance floor.

    Head for Shelter Cocktail Bar for a more down-to-earth vibe, with a mix of glitz and grunge, as well as a cocktail menu that changes with the seasons. Try Vietnam-inspired cocktails like Saigon Sling or Morning in Hanoi at atmospheric bar Paper Lantern, or work your way through a vast choice of champagnes and champagne cocktails at Untitled.


    Calgary casinos

    You might just hit the jackpot

    Calgary's casinos offer a superb array of table games and slot machines in a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Cowboys Casino is great for casino novices, with learn-to-play events where you can pick up the rules of poker, blackjack, or baccarat with a craft beer in hand. Grey Eagle Casino has gorgeous views of the Canadian Rockies and live music in a world-class entertainment venue.

    Elbow River Casino is a good stop for fans of horse racing, with more races than anywhere else in Calgary. They also host touring comedians at their dedicated comedy club, Yuk Yuk's. For something a bit different, try the virtual golf simulator at PURE Casino, where you can practise your swing on a wrap-around screen.

    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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