Take a guided tour of Calgary’s Music Mile
This post was originally published on the Travel Alberta website.
Here's what you can see while standing at one spot in the Calgary neighbourhood of Inglewood, just by rotating your head: an old hotel that's been transformed into one of the city's best restaurants, a barn that hosts a rising clothing brand, a warehouse housing a craft brewery, an art gallery, and an iconic maker of hats.
At that spot, you'll probably hear something interesting too. Not only was Inglewood named Canada's best neighbourhood a few years ago, locals are now calling it the Music Mile because of the amazing music venues that keep it bumping all year long. Among them is the shiny new National Music Centre, a museum/live venue/temple to all things music.
The neighbourhood also has an eclectic mix of retailers, local food spots, and craft breweries. So, we asked Kaley Bird, a musician who lives in the neighbourhood, to give us a tour of her favourite Inglewood spots.
As you can see, Kaley is partial to The Nash, for good reason. But Inglewood is a foodie haven. Here are a few other spots to check out.
- Spolombo's: A beloved spot with deep roots in the city, Spolombo's was formed by three former pro footballers who turn out Italian sausage and sandwiches that have become staples of Calgary eating.
- Without Papers: Authentic, hand-made pizzas with a creative bent. Try the Pizza the Hut, with wild boar pepperoni, mushrooms, mozzarella, and fontina.
- Burger 320: Freshly ground brisket and freshly baked buns make these burgers the favourite of many Calgarians.
Check out many more here.
Cody & Sioux has the modern western look down cold, but the music mile is full of fashion spots:
- The Livery Shop: Housed in an old barn (literally), the Livery Shop provides a retail outlet for independent Canadian brands, such as Camp Brand Goods and CoutuKitch.
- Purr: Women's fashions, footwear, baby wear, and everything else to look amazing.
- Adorn: A boutique curating women's apparel from designers all over the word, with a focus on classic pieces. A fave of many Calgary women.
Find many more here.
Alberta is in the midst of a craft brewery boom, and ground zero is Inglewood thanks, partly, to history. The neighbourhood is bookended by an iconic brick building that once housed the Calgary Malting & Brewing Company, which sated the thirsts of generations. The company and its famous bison logo are long gone, but a raft of craft brewers is taking its place.
- Cold Garden: A casual tasting room that is crawling with beer lovers most evenings who flock here for the classics and some new twists (birthday cake beer, anyone?).
- High Line Brewing: A batch craft brewery with an adorable tap room just off Inglewood's main street of 9th Avenue.
- Dandy: A true nano-brewry that crafts beer in the ale tradition, meaning unfiltered and unpasteurized beer made in naturally conditioned bottles, kegs, and casks.
Put a hat on, and not just any hat, but a Smithbilt. Crafted in Inglewood, these lids have adorned the heads of everyone from presidents to partiers at the Stampede.
The white Smithbilt cowboy hat (don't call it a "Stetson" if there's a local standing around) is the icon of Calgary icons. It's what gets placed on the heads of dignitaries. It's what you see on the heads of the greeters at the Calgary airport. And it's what keeps the sun off the face of thousands of partiers during the Calgary Stampede. And they are all made in Inglewood.
At night, Inglewood hums with live music. The Ironwood, located in an old theatre, has been hosting musicians of all stripes for years. Down one street is the Blues Can and its roots music, and down the other is Gravity Caf? and Wine Bar, which often hosts live music. Around the corner is Festival Hall, a unique space that has a dual purpose: home base of the Calgary Folk Music Festival, and also a year-round live music venue (the summertime festival takes place at Prince's Island Park downtown).
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, is the centerpiece of the Music Mile, a sparkling new temple to Canadian music. Inside is five floors of exhibitions telling the musical story of Canadian popular music and some amazing artifacts, such as a famous piano once owned by Elton John and the iconic recording bus of the Rolling Stones. Not only can you play with all sorts of music, the venue hosts artists year-round.