10 places to go in Calgary’s vibrant Kensington

By Shane Flug

Nestled just north of Calgary’s downtown, Kensington Village – centred in the historic neighbourhoods of Sunnyside and Hillhurst – is a lively place that many local businesses call home. Here are among 10 of Kensington's best to check out. [Image credit: Alyssa Quirico]

10 places to go in Calgary’s vibrant Kensington

An organic cup of joe

With its direct-trade, shade-grown selections, Higher Ground Café and its cozy atmosphere is a green choice when you’re in need of your next caffeine fix. Chat with friends, work away for an hour or two or just grab a cup to go and people watch outside.

Wine and dine

Don’t let the basement location fool you – Winebar Kensington strikes the perfect atmosphere of casual and classy! Have a glass of cabernet or pinot gris with your date and nibble some aged gouda and oysters. Love surprises? Try their meat & cheese chef’s board.

Red meat bliss

For the shameless carnivores: Modern Steak is Kensington’s prime showpiece when it comes to Alberta beef – and without the “old boys’ club” pretense of other steakhouses. Their Wagyu, grass-fed, grain-fed and dry- and wet-aged selections are all from Alberta ranches.

Satisfy your sweet tooth

Adulthood is overrated, and the staff at Gummi Boutique live by that creed. From giant gummies to soda licorice, this candy shop’s selections are just as wacky as your childhood self was while on a sugar rush. Relive the ‘90s with a case of Cherry or Vanilla Coke. Delivery is also available via the Skip the Dishes website and app. Gnarly!

Teatime

Opened by former dancer Jonathan Kane in 2008, the Naked Leaf has earned its rep in Kensington as the place for a hot beverage that will make your taste buds dance. Sit by their fireplace and feast your eyes on the tins with images made by local artists.
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Get a new used spring outfit

Kensington’s most organized, professional boutique clothing consignment shop helps women stay trendy without breaking the bank. "Trend [Fashions] in Kensington is the best!” says music journalist Sarah Kitteringham. “They have great selection and taste, it's clean and organized… Lots of high end stuff in there, too.”

Treat the skin you're in

Calgary’s high elevation and dry climate can make for a rough environment for the skin. Fortunately, the Skoah approaches skin care as a part of overall wellness. Go for a facial or take home some made-in-Canada creams, moisturizers and serums (products for gents, too). You can also order online.

More than just a flick

Standing for close to a century, Kensington’s oldest building – once a stable – is today home to the landmark Plaza Theatre, which has been in business for more than 75 years. In addition to independent cinema’s latest offerings, the theatre also hosts monthly classic screenings with local bands courtesy of The Fifth Reel and live entertainment with Late Night at the Plaza every second Wednesday.

Pop in to pop culture

From crime-plagued Gotham City to the halls of Riverdale High School, Another Dimension Comics is Kensington’s universe to immerse yourself in the frame-by-frame worlds of all your favourite comic book heroes and heroines. Featuring not only the latest and hard-to-find issues, the store also offers collectables and toys.

Gifts abuzz

Need a gift idea for your sweetheart, mom or even fur baby? The Beehive is a charming (and pet-friendly) yellow house that offers personal care products, beeswax candles, and, of course, honey – all made with natural ingredients. Comb through the shelves in store or check them online on Etsy and their website.

From people watching to patios, there are plenty of ways to spend a day in this urban Calgary hotspot. From established trademarks to young upstarts, Kensington Village is rich with local businesses sure to help write many more years of its vibrant history to come.

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