There is a lot to love about this unique and bustling downtown district – from the diversity and abundance of amazing restaurants to the hidden gems selling one-of-a-kind items – here are 10 reasons why we LOVE 17th Ave.
Tonkins Park is surrounded by some of 17th Ave’s most notable residents: Kit and Ace, Analog, Ollia Macarons & Tea, Alumni, and Beyond Scarf – to name a few. This downtown park is filled with benches and seating, and is accessible to some of Calgary’s best restaurants, shopping and people watching spots. You can also stop by throughout the year for events like movies in the park and exclusive shopping events held by yours truly.
Coffee Shops and Bakeries
If you’re looking for a quintessential coffee shop to change up your work from home set up, or you just have a hankering for a piping hot Americano, 17th Ave SW has more than enough options to ensure you get your daily dose of caffeine. Check out popular spots like Philosafay, Caffe Beano, or Waves for that java fix, or Black Sheep and Butter Block & Co for that unbeatable coffee/pastry combo.
17th Ave is inundated with plenty of outdoor patios – from rooftops to the extended patios that are now overflowing into the streets – there is no shortage of places to treat yourself to a cold beverage and an appetizer while sitting in the sun. See our complete list here! But, in addition to the plethora of al fresco dining options in this downtown Mecca, there are also patios where you can dine a story up, with views overlooking the bustling streets below, such as 1410 World Bier Haus or One Night Stan’s. Or, if you’re headed down to 17th with your pup in tow, have no fear, because they can join you for a coffee at Caffe Beano or for a cold beer at Ceili’s.
From niche boutiques retailing curated lines and local designers to big name brands with your favourite year-round staples, 17th Ave SW is your one-stop shop destination for all of your shopping needs. Check out the many consignment shops, such as Velour Clothing Exchange, Danielle’s Consignment or Thrift Couture for distinctive, secondhand finds. Or, head to local boutiques such as Kate Hewko or Era Style Loft for their curated collection of high-end,one-of-a-kind pieces. For outdoor gear, workout wear and more, don’t miss big name retailers such as Arc’Teryx, Fjallraven and Kit and Ace.
Just to re-emphasize HOW great a shopping destination 17th Ave SW really is, we obviously need to mention the amazing home décor and accessory stores located on our favourite downtown avenue. Spruce up your space with modern, made-in Canada furniture at 4Living, or Robert Sweep’s collection of exclusive fine imported modern furniture, lighting and house accessories. Or, browse brands like West Elm and Structube for contemporary designs and fresh styles that will complete any living space. If you’re looking to accessorize, Indo Designer Rugs collection of both contemporary and traditional rugs will energize any room with their striking patterns, and bold texture. The Rubaiyat also boasts a collection of glass art, jewellery, home décor and more. For when you’re really looking to change things up, Walls Alive holds Calgary’s largest stock of in-stock wallpaper, in addition to their assortment of luxurious and handcrafted C2 paint. And 17th Ave Framing will assist you in adorning your newly painted walls.
Diversity of Restaurants
17th Ave is known amongst Calgarians as a dining destination – you can find some of Calgary’s best restaurants, as well as some of Calgary’s best kept secrets, and everything in between. What makes this dining hub so unique is the variety and diversity of restaurants and eateries. Sample authentic Caribbean cuisine at Simply Irie, or dive into some gluten Free Venezuelan at Heaven. For a genuine Mediterranean and Egyptian dining experience, head over to Trio Restaurant and Café, where even their furniture is imported from Egypt. For a hearty meal featuring southern comfort delights like fried chicken, head to Cluck N Cleaver. And of course, the numerous Asian spots that are peppered along the Ave can’t be missed. Dive into some chow mein at Kings Chinese Food, or check out Kim Ahn Vietnamese Subs for a Chicken Satay Sub. To satisfy your East Indian craving, stop by Moti Mahal Restaurant. In addition to multiple Asian places, you can also find a variety of Mexican or Latin inspired joints, such as Tropical Latin Street Food, or Las Canarias, which boasts a delicious selection of Spanish Paella and Tapas. And for the hidden gem pick, Trawler’s Seafood, for a massive helping of their renowned fish and chips.
Unique Businesses and Hidden Gems
With any popular street, you will find mainstay businesses or popular shops that often become your go-tos, and 17th Ave has plenty of those. But, they also have tons of unique, hidden gems that you may not have known of before, but you certainly won’t forget now. For a day of family fun, check out destinations like Exit, which is Calgary’s ultimate Room Escape Experience, or PinBar, Calgary’s original pinball bar – yes, minors are allowed until certain times each day. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift idea, head to Son of the Pharaoh to peruse their collection of Egyptian replicas, jewellery, keepsakes and more. Betty Lou’s Library may be the worst best kept secret in Calgary, but is obviously still worth the mention.
Vegan and Veg Spots
Not only can you find an abundance of Vegan and Vegetarian options at 17th Ave restaurants, you can also find many restaurants that offer a strictly Vegan or Vegetarian menu. The Coup is a 17th Ave mainstay, and renowned for its delicious vegetarian fare. Newcomers V Burger and KB&Co are both completely plant-based, although their menu’s feature fairly different themes. V Burger combines your favourite comfort and fast food items such as bacon burgers, milkshakes, poutine and has completely veganized them. KB&Co’s plant based menu features charming menu items like artisan toasts, hearty grain bowls, sandwiches, smoothies and more.
Art Studios and Craft stores
Quarantine brought out the DIY in all of us, and in addition to eclectic and niche craft stores along 17th Ave, there is also a handful of must-see art galleries and studios to visit for some inspiration. If you’re looking for crafting supplies, head to Reid’s, where they have a unique supply of stationary, fine writing instruments, books, notebooks, party supplies and more. If you tried your hand at knitting during the long months of isolation or you’re interested in learning now, Pudding Yarn has you covered with their abundant supply of threads and yarns, as well as patterns to aid you in the creative process. For the best of both worlds, step into Passion for Glass, a local art studio where you can learn about working with glass to create art, as well as browse their gallery, which is stocked with unique jewellery, paintings, sculptures, functional glass pieces and more.
If this list has told us anything, it’s that 17th Ave has limitless options when it comes to food, shopping, services, and of course, bars and pubs. There are SO many excellent choices to enjoy a night out with friends over a round of cold beverages – but if you’re having trouble deciding, bar hopping is an excellent option. With most of the bars, restaurants and pubs on 17th Ave within close proximity to each other, it makes it easy to head into one location, have a drink, and then pop into another. After the sun goes down on 1410’s Rooftop patio, head over to Lately for a specialty cocktail, followed by an Irish brew at Jameson’s, just a few blocks down. Or if you’re further East on the Ave, you can stop by Trolley 5 and enjoy their selection of brews and hand-crafted pizzas. Don’t miss local favourites like National or The Ship and Anchor, before ending your evening with shots at One Night Stan’s, or a Daiquiri at Ricardo’s Hideaway.
Stalk the latest and greatest on 17th Ave: