Amble into the Allure of Chinatown
Calgary is home to several Asian-influenced communities, but perhaps none so prominent than that of the traditionally embellished Chinatown on the north fringes of Calgary’s downtown and bordering the south bank of the Bow River. A rich heritage of Chinese condominiums, apartments and shops line Centre Street just south of the Centre Street Bridge for 2 city blocks, between Riverfront Avenue and 4th Avenue S, and between 2nd Street SW to the west of Centre Street and 1st Street SE to the east of Centre Street. Nestled within seven blocks of this downtown area explorers will find a thriving community still steeped in tradition and culture.
Visitors should discover the ornate domed Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, styled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, where locals and visitors can participate in numerous daily activities from learning Mandarin to honing their sketching skills to learning how to do calligraphy or carve stone.
Dragon City Mall, just 3 blocks east on 4th Ave, is home to numerous stores from fashion to food, jewellery to cosmetics, and travel to healthcare. The compact Chinatown is not short of eating places, boasting a list in excess of 40 culinary options ranging from hole-in-the-wall offerings to full-dine restaurants.
If you’re eager to escape from the bustle of the District you can make your way to Sien Lok Park at the southwestern end of Centre Street Bridge overlooking the Bow River and bisected by Riverfont Avenue. This 2.4 hectare (5.8 acre) park is flanked at its entrance by 2 lion statues and houses a Chinese pagoda. The park is the venue for frequent tai chi sessions but also offers benches for the more sedate visitor or a playground for kids to channel their energy.
A visit to Chinatown is also recommended on our popular “Must-See Calgary: I only have two hours to explore” blog.
Other nearby destinations and attractions
- McHugh Bluff
- Centre Street Bridge
- Prince’s Island Park
- St Patrick’s Island Park
- Memorial Drive’s Field of Crosses (November)
- Eau Claire Market
- Some of our favourite downtown coffee shops
- The neighbourhood of Kensington
- Poppy Plaza
More information about Chinatown can be found on the Chinatown Community’s Official website.