Nothing says summer quite like a tasty meal eaten outdoors. When your own back deck gets repetitive, a picnic in a nearby park is a perfect choice! Parents can relax and kids can run around in the fresh air and enjoy amenities like wading pools, playgrounds, spray parks, and wide-open spaces for playing games. Here are 5 of our favourite picnic spots in Calgary. Don’t feel like cooking or making sandwiches? Just pick up takeout, or even grocery store sandwiches, for an easy day.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a large park that is home to a sports field, tennis courts, playgrounds, pathways, picnic areas and BBQ spots and the Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club, plus an outdoor swimming pool with a wading pool (there is an access fee for the pool complex). Its location right on the Elbow River makes it a beautiful warm-day destination; you could even try your hand at fishing! Bring water shoes for the kids so they can wade.

If you’re driving, try the parking lots in the area of the Lawn Bowling Club and the Stanley Park Pool.

5 fantastic places to picnic in Calgary, AB (Family Fun Calgary)

Bring a blanket and you can picnic amongst these beautiful gardens in Stanley Park!

5 fantastic places to picnic in Calgary, AB (Family Fun Calgary)

The banks of the Elbow River are a lovely place to hang out in the summer.

Riley Park

Riley Park’s large grassy spaces, mature shade trees, playground, beautiful rock gardens and large (free) outdoor wading pool draw families from nearby neighbourhoods and across the city. There’s also a cricket pitch; perhaps you’ll get the chance to watch a match (is that what a cricket game is called??).

Olympic Plaza

5 fantastic places to picnic in Calgary, AB (Family Fun Calgary)

Olympic Plaza is a great spot for an urban – but comfortable – picnic!

Where’s it written that a picnic needs to feel rural? That’s right – it’s not! Enjoy an urban experience at Olympic Plaza in the heart of downtown Calgary. Besides great views of the surrounding buildings, including the sandstone Old City Hall, the plaza offers a shallow wading pool (this is not an official Calgary wading pool) and lots of steps and grassy areas you can sit on. You’ll often find festivals and special events taking place here, so you might also get a little free entertainment with your lunch!

Bowness Park

Bowness Park has been through a lot of Calgary’s history and is a beautiful place to visit.

Bowness Park is popular for its many paths, playground, picnic shelters, picnic areas and BBQ stands and its lovely location on the Bow River. Kids (and parents) will enjoy the large wading pool. For a fun experience, rent a boat from the Bowness Park Boat House and go for a spin – in a pedal boat, canoe or kayak – on the lagoon!

South Glenmore Park

5 fantastic places to picnic in Calgary, AB (Family Fun Calgary)

South Glenmore Park’s fenced playground and splash park is very popular on nice days!

On the south bank of the Glenmore Reservoir, this park is very popular with families for its fenced playground and spray park, public tennis courts and great reservoir and city views. The park is on the bike trails that connect Fish Creek Park with the reservoir and the Elbow River pathways. If you want to stretch your legs, walk west along the paved path towards the Weaseled and look for walking paths in the trees.

5 fantastic places to picnic in Calgary, AB (Family Fun Calgary)

Just outside the fenced park, you’ll find picnic tables with views of the reservoir, sailing club and downtown!