Plan a romantic getaway to Calgary, Alberta, Canada — Photo courtesy of AJ_Watt / E+ Via Getty Images
Calgary, Alberta, offers seriously decadent and delicious ways to hang out with the one you adore. From award-winning restaurants to fun things to do that’ll ensure you get to know each other even better, there’s plenty to explore in this modern city in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
As a city, Calgary is cosmopolitan and vibrant. It has the second youngest population of any city in Canada. Yet, it also offers interesting nods to its cowboy past when ranchers ruled the land. You’ll see many a Stetson worn without irony.
Here are 10 ways to explore the very best of Calgary as a couple.
Head to Calgary’s Chinatown for cocktails at a ‘secret’ bar
It’s no secret that cocktail hour at the Paper Lantern spells love — Photo courtesy of Lisa Dack Mint Photo
From the outside, you’d never know that this former basement tailor shop houses one of the city’s coolest bars. Look for the red paper lantern, enter through the nondescript shop doorway, and follow the hip-hop beats to find yourself swept up in Paper Lantern’s retro Vietnamese tropical vibe.
The excellent daiquiris, Singapore slings, and mai tais come complete with umbrellas — and there are plenty of modern cocktails on the menu, too. The delicious Vietnamese street food that Paper Lantern serves is cooked by the owner’s mom and perfect for sharing.
Create a signature-scented candle
Alice Lau shares her expertise with scents at Milk Jar in Calgary — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Book an evening class with the Milk Jar Candle Company, where you’ll develop your fragrance profiles and create a beautiful candle and diffuser. An in-house fragrance expert takes you through the process as you sniff all manner of oils that you’ll blend to create your perfect fragrance to energize you, relax you, or get you in the mood.
Order up a bottle of wine to sip while you play with fragrances, or opt for a delicious non-alcoholic canned cocktail from Calgary’s own Wild Folk.
Enjoy a fantastic brunch at Calgary’s Deane House
Try the Pacific halibut and wild rice cakes for brunch at Deane House — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Historic Deane House, built in 1906 and carefully restored, is a stunning spot for a romantic brunch. Situated in Fort Calgary (a National Historic Site), where the Bow and Elbow rivers converge, the setting is pretty and the food is superb.
The menu focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, and the attention to detail in each dish makes each bite memorable.
Book a sumptuous stay at The Dorian
The plush rooms at The Dorian are perfectly romantic — Photo courtesy of Gabe Roth, Photofusion Media
The Dorian, a Marriott Autograph Collection property, is an Oscar Wilde-inspired dream. There are portraits of the writer throughout the property, rich hues in the ornate wallpaper and velvet upholstery, and a copy of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” on every bedside table.
The hotel also has a gorgeous rooftop bar for romantic sunset happy hours and a fully outfitted gym featuring Peloton bikes.
Grab lunch with a view at Major Tom
Take in the stellar Calgary skyline and mountain views from Major Tom — Photo courtesy of Colin Way
Located on the 40th floor of a downtown skyscraper with floor-to-ceiling windows, Major Tom offers the absolute best views of Calgary and the snow-capped mountains beyond. This multi-award-winning restaurant only opened a few years ago but fast became the place to see and be seen.
Every dish on the menu is pure pleasure, from potato donuts and sturgeon-mousse-topped tater tots to homemade pasta and the most perfectly executed upscale burger.
Make sweets with your sweetheart
Learn to make the sweetest treats at Ollia in Calgary — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Share a sugar rush at Ollia Macarons & Tea by taking their Macarons 101 class. Under expert instruction, you’ll bake and fill macarons with tantalizing flavors (including savory ones). You can add a tea tasting and learn which teas go best with each delicate macaron flavor.
Get up close and personal with a Calgary celebrity chef
Calgary chef Darren Maclean serves up a traditional yakitori omakase dinner — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Pull up a stool at Shokunin, where Canadian celebrity chef Darren Maclean (a finalist on Netflix’s “Final Table”) serves an exquisite eight-course yakitori omakase experience.
Watching MacLean’s mastery over each dish is highly entertaining. You’ll need to book way in advance for yakitori omakase experience — or hope that someone cancels and you can take their spot. Not into waiting? Opt for a regular dinner reservation at Shokunin.
Wander through Calgary’s oldest neighborhood
The Next Page is one of many cool indie businesses in Inglewood — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Explore Calgary’s historic Inglewood neighborhood, where you’ll discover places like The Next Page, a used and new bookstore with a hidden movie theater in the basement. You’ll also find tons of cute vintage stores, small art galleries, restaurants, and bars. Check out Purr for fun, retro-inspired Calgary shirts that make for cool souvenirs.
Get pampered as you sip on cocktails
Nothing like self-care with your sweetheart at Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House — Photo courtesy of 2C Photography
Enjoy side-by-side nail treatments while you graze on tapas and sip cocktails at Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House. This fun spot also offers facials, waxing, and hair styling, so you can indulge in whatever self-care pleases you both.
Enjoy a classic steak dinner at Caesar’s
Caesar’s has perfected the romantic dinner — Photo courtesy of Lola Augustine Brown
Caesar’s opened in 1972 and hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. This Calgary staple has perfected the classic steakhouse dinner, complete with velvet banquets, low-lighting, a Sinatra-heavy soundtrack, and dashing servers providing impeccable service.
Opt for a table-side Caesar salad, flambéed steak Diane, or cherries jubilee for some bonus dinner theater.