Interested in moving to Calgary? We don’t blame you! It’s clean and picturesque, with plenty to see and do. And even though it’s host to nationally acclaimed annual events — like the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary International Film Festival — it still manages to maintain its characteristic small-town charm. No wonder Calgary was once called the Heart of the New West. 

When it comes to lifestyle, outdoor recreation dominates in Calgary, especially with Banff a mere hour-and-a-half away. You’ll find everything from fishing to mountain biking to horseback riding. Calgary weather boasts summers that are comfy and winters that are cold and snowy, but the temps rarely reach below -10°C or above 30°C. You can expect lots of sunshine year-round, and even the long winter is more enjoyable, thanks to all the great ski resorts in the nearby Rockies. 

And although there was quite a long downturn, Calgary’s real estate market has rebounded in a big way. In fact, according to the Calgary Herald, the region saw a record number of home sales at the close of October 2021 — and the year-to-date sales are expected to set another record, as they’re already 61% higher than the average over the last five years. According to RE/MAX, this was partly due to home buyers moving in from other provinces where housing costs can be substantially higher. Combine that with the fact that Alberta has no provincial sales tax, no payroll tax, and no health premium, and you can understand what’s fuelling the appetite for the area. 

Sure, it’s easy to decide that Calgary’s the place for you. But what particular neighbourhood is calling your name? Calgary boasts many great neighbourhoods, so picking just one may be a challenge. Want to make it a little easier on yourself? Read on to explore our top five picks for the best Calgary neighbourhoods.

Bow River in the springtime

Altadore

Located in southwest Calgary, Altadore borders the Elbow River and features amazing parks, like River Park and Sandy Beach. A blend of urban and rural living, it’s very family-oriented and located in the coveted Marda Loop area — one of Calgary’s most bustling outdoor shopping and dining districts, featuring over 150 eateries and retailers. Families can take advantage of local amenities like the South Calgary Outdoor Pool, skating rinks, the Giuffre Family Library, and The Military Museums — dedicated to preserving the memories of those who served in the Canadian Armed Forces’ Army, Navy, and Air Force. Did we mention that commuters love the proximity to Downtown Calgary?

Beltline 

One of the hippest (and most popular) neighbourhoods in Calgary, this bustling inner-city community is southwest of Downtown, which makes commuting to work a cinch. It’s home to 17th Ave, a retail and entertainment district packed with shopping, amenities, yoga studios, and a bustling nightlife. You can channel your inner internal decorator in the design district with its unique galleries and furniture shops. And, full of the energy that young urbanites crave, Beltline offers many condos and apartments for sale or rent, along with a small number of houses. It also has family appeal for parents who don’t mind sacrificing space to have amenities at their doorstep. Added bonus? There’s an elementary, junior high, and high school nearby. 

Q: What are the safest communities in Calgary? 
A: Edgemont, Citadel, and Hawkwood are some of the safest neighbourhoods when it comes to living in Calgary, based on their low crime rates per capita.
The view of Calgary from Nose Hill Park
View of the city from Nose Hill Park

Edgemont

If an abundance of green space is a must, then consider this unique hilltop neighbourhood located in northwest Calgary. Edgemont surrounds Edgemont Ravine, the network of ravines located in northwest Calgary, and provides pathways for running and cycling. It also offers easy access to Nose Hill Park — one of the largest urban parks in Canada, with sweeping views of the city. Said to be one of Calgary’s safest neighbourhoods, it’s very family-oriented and has an elementary and junior high school in the area. And amenities are just a short drive away at Country Hills Village — a shopping centre with everything from spas and restaurants to medical offices and car care shops. 

Fresh produce at a local market

Bridgeland

Prefer a small-town feel in a big city? Just northeast of Downtown Calgary, this highly walkable community has a quaint main street lined with fantastic cafés, diners, and specialty grocers (with locally sourced ingredients). If you’re drawn to an eclectic vibe, you’ll find it here. Often referred to as “Little Italy” for its Italian restaurants, the area is also teeming with local spots, offering a variety of cuisines and flavours, including the Blue Star Diner — serving Canadian and global comfort fare — and IKUSA Izakaya & Tokyo Market — offering ramen, sushi, and grilled Japanese favourites. Close by is Bridgeland Distillery, craft makers of premium spirits and recently crowned Alberta Distillery of the Year. Bridgeland Riverside Farmers’ Market runs from June to October, and the area is also home to the famous Calgary Zoo, Canada’s second largest zoo. The best part? This neighbourhood has several new condo developments that attract many young urbanites and retirees. 

Q: What is the richest area in Calgary?
A: The neighbourhood with the highest cost of living in Calgary is Upper Mount Royal (52% higher than Calgary in general), but Roxboro comes in a close second. 

Brentwood

It’s easy to see why Avenue magazine voted Brentwood Calgary’s best neighbourhood two years in a row. Residents say the large presence of family-owned businesses and an abundance of community volunteers contributes to Brentwood’s unique spirit. Located just outside the inner-city, it’s close to Nose Hill Park and the University of Calgary. It also offers easy transit options, thanks to the local CTrain station and bus routes that run through the area. With several great schools to choose from, it’s ideal for families looking for a well-established and peaceful neighbourhood, as well.

Q: What is the best area to live in Calgary?
A: That would be Brentwood, according to Avenue Calgary’s annual analysis of best places to live in Calgary. In fact, Brentwood was awarded the “Best Neighbourhood” title two years in a row, for 2019 and 2020. The 2021 results aren’t out yet, but we’re beginning to see a pattern…

Calgary makes a great case for those searching for solutions to that elusive work-life balance challenge. Offering all of the amenities of a big city — from shopping to culture to a good transit system — its relatively compact size and perfect location also allows for easy escapes to fresh air enjoyment. All told, Calgary presents wonderful options that young professionals, families, and even retirees will value.

A couple unloading their PODS moving and storage container in a Calgary neighbourhood

Found your favorite Calgary neighbourhood? Make life easy for yourself and let the professionals expertly transfer your stuff. PODS Moving and Storage delivers a container right to your driveway, so you can pack and load on your own time. Then, it’s delivered straight to your next home. If you need some extra time to find your perfect place, no problem. Storage is built in — keep it in a secure PODS Storage Center until you’re ready.

Still thinking about where you want to call home? Visit the PODS blog for guides to the most affordable major Canadian cities as well as neighbourhood guides for Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax

Sources:

  1. Best neighbourhood in Calgary – Avenue Calgary
  2. Best neighbourhoods to buy a home in Calgary – Calgary Herald
  3. Alberta taxes – Alberta.ca
  4. Calgary’s real estate market – Calgary Herald
  5. Homebuyers moving from other provinces – RE/MAX
  6. Edgemont Ravine – Calgary.ca
  7. Safest neighbourhoods in Calgary – mycalgary.com
  8. Richest area of Calgary – Area Vibes

Talar Sakarya is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Eternally curious and restless, she loves to travel and ranks Italy, Ireland, and Indonesia as her top three favourite destinations.