Choosing between the different Inner City Neighborhoods of Calgary
There are many different rental neighborhoods within Calgary’s inner city. They differ in terms of amenities, quality of suites, proximity to downtown, transit options, safety and personality. Below, we give you our take on choosing between Calgary’s most popular inner city neighborhoods.
Inner City Map
Below is a map of the different inner-city neighborhoods in Calgary. Each of the areas shown have many rental options, and are affordable. Higher-end single family neighborhoods like Upper Mount Royal and Elbow Park are not shown.
Summary of Life-Style Attributes of Each Inner City Neighborhood
Below is a table summarizing how each of the inner city area scores in terms of overall lifestyle.
Choosing Between the Areas:
Best All-Around Life-Style: Mission-Cliff Bungalow
Mission-Cliff Bungalow offers the best overall lifestyle of Calgary’s inner-city neighborhoods. It is a walk-to-everything neighborhood. At the heart of this neighborhood is the laid back and relaxed day-life of 4th Street which features some of Calgary’s best restaurants (Sushi, Burgers, Italian, Pizza, Mexican) and coffee shops, along with the city’s best patisserie. Meanwhile, the upbeat nightlife of 17th Avenue and 1st Street are walking distance, but not too close as to disrupt this boroughs calm. Adding to the boroughs calm is the meandering Elbow River and bike and walking pathways. The downtown core is a 10-15-minute walk away, or an 8-minute bus-ride.
This neighborhood is also in close proximity to the world class Repsol Centre (a public recreational facility), and the River Pathway System providing for an oasis in the inner-city. The building architecture and residents of Mission give the neighborhood a close-knit feeling that is hard to find in other areas.
A Close Second: Connaught Central, Lower Mount Royal, Sunnyside-Hillhurst
Central Connaught is in the middle of all the action. It is in close proximity to the high energy day and nightlife of Calgary’s infamous 17th Avenue, and is also within 5 walking minutes of the downtown core. At times, the energy level of Connaught can be too much, and you can be left feeling like you live in a concrete jungle.
Lower Mount-Royal is an area with a good vibe. It is anchored around 17th Avenue, providing the same day and nightlife that you have living in Connaught Centre. The architecture and buildings feel like less of a concrete jungle, so the neighborhood feels a bit cozier. On the downside, the walk to the downtown core is a bit longer relative to Central Connaught.
Sunnyside-Hillhurst is an area that has many of the same amenities as Mission. The area is anchored by Kensington Road and 10th Street SW. These streets offer a laidback day-life of coffee shops and bistros. The area also contains some great restaurants. Nature can be found within a short walk at Riley Park, Princess Island Park and the River pathway system. The C-Train stops in Sunnyside, and will take you to downtown within 5-minutes, and to the University of Calgary within 8-minutes. The only negatives? It is a longer walk to downtown (around 15 minutes) and the area lacks the nightlife options of 17th Avenue SW or 1st Street SW.
Neighborhoods in Transition: Victoria Park, West Connaught
Lack of space in Connaught, Mission and Lower Mount Royal has seen inner-city residents pushing into West Connaught and Victoria Park in recent years. As a result, these areas have started to become more appealing, but still lack all the amenities offered by the best areas mentioned above.
Victoria Park is has transformed markedly over the past decade. Its main thoroughfare, 1st Street SW, offers restaurants, coffee-shops, and pubs, but does not have the same variety of more established areas. New condos have been developed around 1st Street SW, but the side-streets serve as a reminder of a time when the area was considerably less desirable. The buildings and façade on these side-streets lack curb-appeal, limiting the walk-to-everything lifestyle and affecting the personality of the neighborhood. Victoria Park is also in close proximity to the East Village and housing for Calgarians in much need. Rental prices in Victoria Park are similar to those found in Mission, Lower Mount Royal, and Central Connaught.
The evolution of West Connaught is occurring from East-to-West. The area closer to Connaught Central feels just like Connaught Central. However, as you move west, the personality becomes distinctly different from Connaught Central in terms of day-life, night-life, curb appeal, and safety. The area starts to lack the same quality and variety of restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops of more established areas. In addition, this older area can become quite deserted at night. That said, it is close to downtown, and provides a walk-to-everything lifestyle at a lower cost relative to the more established areas. West Connaught tends to be 10%-20% cheaper than Mission or Central Connaught.
Best Value for Money in a Safe Inner-City Neighborhood: Bankview
Bankview is our pick for those looking for an inner-city neighborhood offering great value-for-money. Comparable rentals in this area tend to be around 20%-30% less than in Mission or Central Connaught, and good quality rentals are easy to find. As a result, the bang-for-your-buck is high in Bankview. The area is still close to all the action, and fairly central to the downtown core. Most importantly, the neighborhood is safe. It is a great option for those who like the amenities of the inner-city, but who have their own car. It is also a great option for couples, and those looking to save some money without giving up the inner-city amenities.
Most Expensive Areas: Eau Claire, Downtown Core, and West-End
The more expensive rental areas within Calgary’s inner-city – Eau Claire, Downtown Core, and West-End, tend to have two things in common. First, they are extremely close to the Corporate Offices and Financial District found in the heart of the downtown core. Second, many of the rental options are luxury condominiums. The neighborhood residents in these areas also tend to be more mature. As such, the amenities tend to be a bit more expensive and parking in these neighborhoods is pricey. Because the Downtown Core of Calgary also tends to empty out in the evening, these areas can feel almost too quiet at night.
The Rest: Sunalta, East Village, East Victoria Crossing
In our opinion, these neighbourhoods are still coming up and so currently do not tick enough boxes for desirable neighbourhood traits. The East Village is currently under redevelopment. East Victoria Crossing is on the edge of the inner-city, with fewer amenities, although some of rental options are beautiful. Finally, Sunalta is an up-and-coming neighborhood that lacks the walk-to-everything options of the more established areas, but apartments tend to be in close proximity to the Sunalta C-Train station. The nearest grocery stores are a walk aways, as are places to attend in the evening such as coffee shops, lounges, and restaurants. However, it can be a good option for those who have a car, want to be in the inner-city, and take the C-Train to work.