Every city has its hidden gems, and in Calgary, my happy place is a spot that never fails to light up my day: the Bow River along 4th Avenue downtown. Especially in the summertime, this place is like a magnet that draws me in, urging me to leave my car behind, embrace the great outdoors and get moving.

One thing that makes this place so special to me is the water. It reminds me of my childhood in Peru, where I always felt a deep connection to rivers and lakes. I might not be an expert swimmer, but there’s something magical about being close to water that makes my heart sing.

If you’re like me and don’t have all the gear for river adventures, rentals are readily available, and you can even decide on a whim to float down the river. As a busy dad and university student, I appreciate the flexibility this spot offers. But when Mother Nature isn’t in the mood for river fun, a simple walk by the Bow can be just as satisfying.

What’s fantastic about this location is its convenience. If you head west on 4th Avenue, you’ll find the Memorial Drive-Kensington area in just a few minutes. There, you can discover a variety of shops and restaurants for all sorts of occasions. If you’re a dog lover like me, you can even run into a secluded off-leash dog area, where your best friend can run and play for hours.

The Bow River begins deep in the heart of the Rockies at Bow Glacier in Banff National Park. The river flows through the city and continues through the prairies until it merges with the Oldman River. This combination creates the South Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson’s Bay. Additionally, the Bow River is renowned for its trout fishing.

I used to drive for quite a while to reach this beautiful part of the city before I moved downtown. Now, realizing that I’m just a few minutes away from this spot fills my heart with joy.

Whether you’re floating on the water, taking a leisurely walk, or simply enjoying the nearby amenities, this spot never disappoints.

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Marco is a fourth-year Journalism & Digital Media student and one of the Newsletter editors for the Calgary Journal. Marco successfully completed an internship as a reporter at Airdrie City View newspaper.