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What are the best Calgary neighbourhoods? Where is the best place to live in Calgary for young singles or young families? Where to live in Calgary depends on your preferences and particular needs, and in this article we outline the most common Calgary neighbourhoods for newcomers.
Calgary is divided into four quadrants, and the quadrant in which a particular neighbourhood of Calgary is situated is reflected in its street address, which ends in NW, SW, SE or NE. Avenues typically run east-west, while streets run north-south. Once you adjust to this system, navigating around Calgary becomes very easy.
The public transport system in Calgary isn’t as comprehensive as those seen in other large Canadian cities. That doesn’t mean that you need a car here, but, compared to some other cities, proximity to your workplace may be a more important consideration when assessing the best Calgary neighbourhoods for your needs.
Travelling between quadrants (e.g Southwest to Northeast) can be tricky on public transport, and heavy traffic congestion is also common if you have to drive across bridges during rush hour. The morning and evening commute shouldn’t be your only consideration when choosing new place to call home among the many Calgary neighbourhoods. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of these four Calgary quadrants.
Calgary is one of the most geographically dispersed cities in the world. Rather than high-rise multi-story apartments, housing in Calgary generally consists of separate, detached homes and buildings.
Calgary, like Alberta in general, relies heavily on the oil and gas industry, thus generating regular ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ cycles. The city is recovering from tougher economic times, and there’s plenty of residential construction taking place across the city. New condominium (condo) units are popping up across Calgary, boosting an already steady supply of residential properties.
As with most cities, Calgary neighbourhoods closer to downtown tend to be more expensive, and neighbourhoods that are further out tend to be less expensive. Bear this in mind when researching where to live in Calgary. Downtown locations, such as the Beltline and Kensington, are becoming increasingly popular, however, because there’s no need for residents to splash as much cash on public transport or hefty parking costs.
The suburbs of Calgary are typically newer and, with an ever-sprawling city, many larger homes have been built in the suburbs. Houses in desirable inner-city Calgary neighbourhoods tend to retain value and appreciate more than houses in the outer suburbs.
When selecting the best place to live in Calgary, you may also be influenced by your age and lifestyle. For example, if you have a young family, the best neighbourhoods in Calgary for you may be in the suburbs, where your kids can walk to school and participate in sports.
If you have university-aged children, you may want to live in the NW quadrant, in which the University of Calgary (U of C) is situated, or SWS where Mount Royal University is situated.
If you are single, or if you have a partner but no kids and want a more urban lifestyle, perhaps the downtown core is the best place to live in Calgary. Some Calgary neighbourhoods close to downtown, like Inglewood, are experiencing a revival and draw in lots of young adults from around Canada and further afield.
It’s generally accepted the best Calgary neighbourhoods, in terms of aesthetics, lie in the northwest and southwest suburbs. These are closest to the Rockies with attractive mountain views.
Much of Calgary’s commercial and industrial enterprises are situated in the southeast quadrant. Rents are typically higher in the northwest and southwest quadrants, and closer to facilities such as U of C. RentFaster and Kijiji are two of the most popular websites for accommodation listings in Calgary, and both are regularly updated with new houses, apartments, and condos.
Calgary neighbourhoods list
The table below contains key information on every residential Calgary neighbourhoods. The data is from 2012.
|Name||Quadrant||Population||Dwellings||Area (sq km)||Population density (people per sq km)|
|Albert Park/Radisson Heights||SE||6234||2709||2.5||2493.6|
|CFB Lincoln Park PMQ||SW||1973||729||0.4||4932.5|
|Country Hills Village||NE||2615||1467||1||2615|
|Downtown Commercial Core||SW/SE||8015||5121||1.3||6165.4|
|Downtown East Village||SE||2782||1230||0.5||5564|
|Downtown West End||SW||2322||1628||0.4||5805|
|Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill||NW||2954||1109||1.2||2461.7|
|Lower Mount Royal||SW||3180||2266||0.3||10600|
|North Glenmore Park||SW||2386||1020||1.2||1988.3|
|North Haven Upper||NW||622||246||0.3||2073.3|
|Queens Park Village||NW||415||188||0.6||691.7|
|St. Andrews Heights||NW||1588||645||1.2||1323.3|
|University of Calgary||NW||2725||927||2.7||1009.3|
|Upper Mount Royal||SW||2542||1071||1.3||1955.4|
|Total City of Calgary||1120225||459339||848.2||1320.7|
Southwest (SW): the best neighbourhoods in Calgary
Bankview, Killarney, Mount Royal are among the best neighbourhoods in Calgary’s Southwest quadrant. The Southwest, along with the Northwest, is seen as the best place to live in Calgary, so naturally this area has higher rent and home prices.
The northern part of the Southwest quadrant offers easier access to the C-Train Blue Line, which makes for a much easier commute downtown. The Southwest also includes many of the most popular downtown accommodation locations, such as the Beltline. You’ll be paying a little bit extra for housing in this prime location, but it’s one of the better places to be if you want to experience the nightlife buzz more regularly.
17th Avenue in the southwest is a short walk from downtown. It has an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, and shops. 12th Avenue to 30th Avenue is a popular area for young singles and couples. This is due to its close proximity to 17th Ave and the downtown core.
If you go a little further out from downtown, there are many popular Calgary neighbourhoods such as Haysboro, Acadia, Sundance, and Chinook Park. These areas are all serviced with ample amenities, and with Macleod Trail and the C-Train, all have excellent access to downtown.
The further west or south you look in the Southwest quadrant, the more important it becomes to have access to a car. This is where a lot of popular, new neighbourhoods are popping up, places which are more suitable for young families rather than Calgary newbies looking for a bit more excitement.
Where to live in Calgary’s Northwest (NW) quadrant
Arbour Lake, Hamptons, and Edgemont are regarded as some of the best Calgary neighbourhoods, and are in prime location for commuters seeking to hit the road for the Rockies on a regular basis. Calgary’s Olympic Park, the scene of the 1988 Winter Games, remains a popular recreational facility too, and is located close to the large and popular neighbourhood of Bowness.
The Northwest is slightly better served by the C-Train than the Southwest, with the Red Line offering easy downtown access for residents near the University of Calgary, Kensington, and further into the suburbs. The vast expanse of Nose Hill Park in the Northwest also offers a wonderful countryside feel, a welcome escape from busy city life.
Kensington has eclectic mix of cafes, pubs, bistros, boutiques, arts and crafts shops. It’s generally a fun place to hang out for a few hours and just a short walk from downtown. This neighbourhood, along with nearby Crescent Heights, are becoming increasingly popular among younger residents and newcomers to Calgary.
Make your Calgary move with confidence
Where to live in Calgary’s Northeast (NE) quadrant
Calgary Airport is located fairly centrally in the city, in the NE quadrant. There also are some commercial areas in the Northeast.
Perhaps as a result of their proximity to these commercial facilities, the Northeast Calgary neighbourhoods tend not to be the best neighbourhoods in Calgary. It is commonly heard that east of Deerfoot Trail is not as nice due to higher crime rates and gang problems.
This is not to say all of the NE is like that, but it’s known as the area that experiences the most petty crime.
However, this may be the best place to live in Calgary, depending on your circumstances. Lower rent has meant the Northeast quadrant is one in which younger couples and some new immigrants buy their first Calgary homes. This is often with a view to relocating later in their stay.
Keen shoppers are also in prime location to pick up some good deals at the vast Sunridge Mall and Crossiron Mills complexes, both situated in the Northeast. Some nicer areas in the NE, such as Bridgeland, are closer to downtown.
Where to live in Calgary’s Southeast (SE) quadrant
The Southeast is the primary industrial hub of Calgary, but there are still some neighbourhoods worth checking out. The areas that are adjacent to the commercial and industrial zones are not considered prime areas when choosing where to live in Calgary, but housing there is typically lower priced.
The far south part of the SE quadrant, which is well removed from the commercial and industrial zones, is just as popular as any other residential zone. McKenzie Lake and Midnapore have good reputations, but a car is almost a necessity in these areas. The Southeast, in general, isn’t as well served by public transport as the Southwest and Northwest.
Further north, closer to downtown, is the likes of Inglewood. This area is experiencing a rebirth, and has a vibrant young population. It has become home to many breweries, antique stores, and funky shops, which make for an enjoyable trip at weekends. It’s also situated close to the Scotiabank Saddledome, home to the city’s NHL (ice hockey) franchise, the Calgary Flames, as well as the biggest music concerts that the city can offer.
Want more help getting settled in Calgary?
Moving2Canada is here to help all those living in Calgary.
- Explore our Moving to Calgary city guide.
- Read our Living in Calgary guide.
- Download our Getting Started Guide to plan your move to Canada.
- Visit our Outpost Recruitment agency for construction and engineering jobs in Calgary.
A special thank you to Michael Brophy for his help with updating this article.
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