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.

Approaching Chinatown – and downtown Calgary – from Centre Street Bridge

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.

www.iamcalgary.ca Chinese Cultural Centre Chinatown
One of the two main entrances into the Chinese Cultural Centre (1st Street SW entrance)
Gary, our mascot, pays a fleeting visit to the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre
The ornate dome inside the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre

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.

Streetside shopping in Chinatown
Early morning winter scenes in Chinatown

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

More information about Chinatown can be found on the Chinatown Community’s Official website.


  • Improve cv

    24 January, 2020

    Asian culture looks so different thou so sophisticated and interesting with their long-lasting traditions. I love this atmosphere.


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