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The Best Parks for a Relaxing Picnic in Calgary

By REW (Real Estate Wire) Nov 18, 2021

In these trying times, the best gift you can give yourself and your family is to grab your picnic blanket and head outdoors to explore one of the very many fantastic parks in Calgary.

Here are our top four picks for parks to relax and revitalise you.


1. Prince’s Island Park

This downtown oasis in the middle of the city, named for Peter Anthony Prince, a lumberman from Quebec who founded the Eau Claire Lumber Mill in 1890, Prince’s Island Park is considered a favourite among Calgarians. Due to its proximity, it’s also one of the perfect parks in Calgary for working downtowners to visit on a lunch break. 

The canopy of trees, home to countless species of birds who fill the air with song along with the many pathways and hiking trails makes this park a popular all-age playground for jogging, rollerblading, biking, picnicking and invigorating nature walks. 

For something a little more structured, check out the Chevron Learning Pathway which boasts a recreational and educational walk around a constructed inner-city wetland at the east end of the park. Seasonal activities include cross-country skiing and outdoor skating on the lagoon.

Desperate for a picnic lunch but not in the mood to tackle the shops en-route? Let the award-winning River Café’ restaurant pack a delicious seasonal dish picnic basket for you including drinks and dessert. 

Prince’s Island Park abounds with energy as a host venue for festivals and events throughout the year, including Canada Day celebrations and the annual Calgary Folk Music Festival.  

Yelp Rating: 4/5 Stars.


2. Fish Creek Provincial Park

Located in the south of the city, Fish Creek Provincial Park, which borders the Tsuu T’ina Reserve, is the second-largest urban park in Canada. The park is so big it includes a boat launch and the McKenzie Meadows Golf Course. 

The ecosystem made up of dense spruce and aspen forests is a birding enthusiast paradise with more than 200 species of birds such as wood warblers, finches, woodpeckers, towhees, ducks, geese, Great Blue Heron, the American White Pelican and bald eagles that nest along the Bow River valley. It also boasts an abundance of wildlife such as deer, beaver, moose, coyote and even cougar among other animal sightings. 

Day use shelters are equipped with picnic tables, power outlets, a charcoal grill, fire pit and potable water. These are quite large so ideal for family gatherings. Be sure to bring your firewood and charcoal.  

If you’re enjoying the day and your picnic basket happens to get a tad light, Annie’s Café’ is the perfect place to top up with coffee, soups, baked goods, sandwiches and more.

Along with the fantastic picnic areas and pathways for walking and cycling, Fish Creek Provincial Park is a hive of activity with local events always on the go. Be sure to pop into the Visitor Centre on the way in to be enlightened as to what is happening around the park on a particular day.

Other attractions and amenities include:

Yelp Rating: 4/5 Stars.


3. Confederation Park

On the hill in Calgary, this well-maintained park for all seasons marking the centennial of the Canadian Confederation is considered a model in landscape design. The open greens and natural wetland areas of Confederation Park thrive with aquatic vegetation and exotic bird and animal species.  

A tipped-over Voyageur canoe sculpture forms the centrepiece of a natural playground for kids which includes a multi-level fort and thrilling 4.5-metre slide. 

Other amenities and attractions include:

  • Picnic areas

  • Golf course

  • Tennis courts

  • Baseball diamonds

  • Adult exercise equipment

  • Seasonal cross country skiing and sledging

  • Flower and rock gardens

  • Year-round washrooms

Something to diarise - the Lions Festival of Lights, a local tradition lighting showcase around Christmas time. 

Yelp Rating:  5 Stars.


Sue Higgins Park

In the south-eastern corner of Calgary, situated along the west bank of the Bow River, Sue Higgins Park, formerly Southland Park, is roughly 62 hectares of pure greenery. Given all that space it’s little wonder the park is home to the largest off-leash area in Calgary which makes it very popular among dog lovers. 

The Park consists of an island, flood plain, riverbanks and inland marshes with amenities and activities such as: 

  • Picnic tables

  • Pathways and hiking trails

  • Washrooms

  • Deux Chiens Assis, two bronze dog statues crafted by French artist Henri Jacquemart in the 1800’s

  • A large variety of wildflowers and extensive tall shrub community

  • Bird species, wildlife and a Boreal Chorus Frog population

Yelp Rating: 4/5 Stars.


Whichever parks in Calgary best suit your picnic relaxation fancy, remember to always be kind when you unwind and make sure that the only thing you leave behind is your footprints.

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