How to have the best birthday party in Calgary

Have you ever had a great birthday party? Something really special that you’ve never forgotten about? The best birthday party I had in Calgary was when I turned 30. It was Stampede Friday and all my friends came out to celebrate with me at Cowboys. I lucked out on the timing for that one, but I’m usually stumped for birthday party ideas. 

Huzzah! It’s your birthday! Well, it will be sometime this year…

Birthday party in Calgary

Having a stellar birthday party in Calgary is all about the planning. You don’t know what you don’t know, so  I checked in with some cool Calgary peeps to get their suggestions on how to have the perfect day. Some like to party, some like to chill, but each suggestion is worth replicating, I think. 

An outdoor adventure birthday in Calgary

Outdoor adventurer, Leigh McAdam has a June birthday, which she tries to spend in Calgary with her family. Her #1 rule is no working at all. Then her party day ideally unfolds like this:

I open presents from my husband in bed while sipping a freshly made coffee. Enjoy pancakes or other baked treats before heading out for a bike ride or a full day hike – preferably somewhere I haven’t been before in Kananaskis Country. If I have an extra hour I’d definitely want to hit the Kananaskis Nordic Spa for some downtime or fit in a pedicure in Calgary.

birthday parties calgary
A retreat for the frazzled and the weary, welcome to Kananaskis Nordic Spa. (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

Then home for a shower and glass of wine, followed by dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I sure don’t want to cook. Ideally the restaurant is somewhere close, where I can walk or bike so having a drink isn’t a problem. (Stalker here can report that Leigh ended up going to Bread and Circus for dinner with @NatureRocksEH.)

calgary pies
At Calgary’s Pie Junkie (a favourite of Leigh’s) you can get cute individual pies or the standard size.

The day is finished with either homemade coconut cake or fresh raspberry pie. Pretty simple. And perfection in my books. Follow Leigh’s adventures on: Hike Bike Travel.

I can’t keep up to this gal. Not even on her birthday!

Healthy birthday party ideas 

Fitness guru Elmira Barry’s has been kicking my butt for several years now. (I go to Hot Yoga on 17th, The Ritual and One Cycle.) Her perfect day begins with carb loading.

I’d hit the Calgary Farmers Market in the morning, where I’d get a coffee from Analog, a Veggie Delight Bagel from Waynes Bagels (on pumpernickel, of course!), then a gluten-free pineapple carrot muffin from Delissitude Bakery from Renee, and lastly, a ginger shot from Cherry pit. I love walking around and seeing all the delicious items the local vendors have.  

calgary birthday party ideas
Elmira plays THE BEST music in every class she teaches.

Probably I’d teach a class at 1 of our 4 studios – all in great neighbourhoods. Then I’d walk around 17th Ave, go for a walk with my dog around Brittania or Stanley Park. There’s so many beautiful parks in the city to choose from!

Birthday party ideas for hipsters

Irene Seto runs the cool, millennial lifestyle blog: Mint and Heritage. Here’s a look at her birthday party ideas:

I haven’t always fêted my birthdays as I’ve gotten older, but I’ve come to realize that birthdays are the perfect boost for your personal wellness and self-worth. You shouldn’t need an excuse to celebrate yourself, but when you have one – like a birthday, you should take advantage!

How adorable is Irene?! (Photo credit Stephanie Pepneck Photography)

For my last birthday, my closest girlfriends and I spent the morning getting pampered at Uptown Nails in Mission. This salon is great for group gatherings – they set up our manicures and pedicures together as we chatted and sipped on bevvies. It’s so soothing to have someone else take care of you – plus a great way to get your toes ready for sandal season. 

After getting our nails did, it was a quick jaunt down the street to Anju to enjoy Chef Roy Oh’s tasty Korean-style brunch eats. I don’t get to see my friends very often as we deal with work, families, babies and other responsibilities, so it’s great that a birthday can get us together, even for just a little while.

How a Calgary foodie celebrates her birthday

One of my go-to sites for recipes is Dinner with Julie. Run by top Calgary foodie, Julie Van Rosendaal, I know her recipes will always turn out perfectly. Here’s how this maven rolls on her special day.

My birthday usually centres around what I’m going to eat from hour to hour. Ideally I’d sleep in, and Mike always brings me a coffee from Gravity or Rosso. Depending on the day, I might go for breakfast – I always love breakfast at Sidewalk Citizen.

birthday party ideas in Calgary
Not only does Julie make food for everyone, she makes her own hats, too!

My birthday is in October, so it would be a gorgeous drive out to Turner Valley for a burger at the Chuckwagon Cafe and a gin at Eau Claire Distillery. I’d come home and have a nap- my favourite thing! – and then maybe go to the central library and pick up some books, and then pop over to Dandy (a few blocks from me) for some beers and snacks with friends.

And then walk over to Gorilla Whale or somewhere close by – we have so many fantastic restaurants in Calgary – for dinner with family and friends. Birthdays generally aren’t over the top, but my favourite thing really is to eat and hang out with the people I love. And get some sleep!

Calgary cakes

You need a cake for birthday celebration, of course you do! If, like Leigh McAdam, you’re hankering for fresh raspberry pie, you’ll want to order yours from either Pie Cloud or Pie Junkie. But if you’re into straight up cakes, Calgary has plenty of options.

Not all bakeries are created equal, at least not in Calgary. If you want your cake to be epic I recommend ordering yours from either:

calgary birthday cake
Does this unicorn cake from Crave have your name on it?

Decadent Brûlée

They can do vegan and flourless layer cakes that are so good, you won’t know the difference, trust. For chocoholics, their Chocolate Obsession cake is intense, but my fave is their Lemon Raspberry.


Calgary’s most famous cupcake shop also whips up lovely layer cakes to suit any occasion. Their cakes are so pretty, you almost don’t want to cut into them. And you know their icing is fantastic.

Pretty Sweet

Another bakery with epic icing, their cakes go down to 4” which is perfect for two to enjoy. Salted Caramel Chocolate is so good, but other flavours to wow your guests include Maple Bacon Stout and Cinnamon Bun.

Swirl Cakes

This appointment only, custom bakery does a lot of weddings, but they do cakes and macaroon towers for every occasion.

Have you ever celebrated a birthday in Calgary? I’d love to hear what you got up to.

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