Charming Towns Within Commuting Distance of Calgary

 Charming Towns Within Commuting Distance of Calgary

Charming Towns Within Commuting Distance of Calgary

Calgary stands as a beacon of urban prosperity, blending the vibrant life of a bustling metropolis with the serene beauty of the Canadian landscape. It's a city where the energy of the oil and gas industry meets the tranquility of the Rocky Mountains, making it a magnet for professionals, families, and adventurers alike. Yet, for those drawn to the charm of smaller communities, the towns and cities near Calgary offer an appealing alternative.

This guide explores the best places to live for those who cherish a small-town lifestyle but require close proximity to Calgary for work opportunities. From the quaint streets of Cochrane to the scenic paths of Canmore, each locale presents a unique blend of comfort, community, and convenience.

Benefits of Living Near Calgary

Choosing to reside in the towns and cities surrounding Calgary presents a number of advantages. These areas offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, providing a more relaxed pace and a sense of belonging within tight-knit communities. Residents enjoy the best of both worlds: access to Calgary’s comprehensive urban amenities — including top-tier shopping, dining, and cultural experiences — and the tranquility of a smaller town setting. The proximity to natural wonders, such as the majestic Rocky Mountains and various provincial parks, facilitates a lifestyle rich in outdoor activities, from hiking and biking in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. This balanced lifestyle not only enhances physical well-being but also contributes to mental health, offering a peaceful retreat from the stresses of city living.


Just a stone's throw away from Calgary, Cochrane is a town that epitomizes the allure of Alberta's landscape while fostering a vibrant community spirit. Its location on the banks of the Bow River provides stunning vistas and a playground for those passionate about the great outdoors. Cochrane combines the rustic charm of a small town with a growing array of amenities — from quaint local shops and cafes to recreational facilities and parks.

The town is renowned for its friendly atmosphere, where neighbors are more than just acquaintances, and community events bring everyone together. Whether it's enjoying a leisurely stroll along the river, participating in the famous Cochrane Ranche Day festival, or savoring the world-renowned Mackay’s ice cream, life in Cochrane is about savoring the simple pleasures. Its proximity to Calgary, a mere 20-minute drive, ensures that residents have easy access to urban conveniences while enjoying the tranquility and closer community connections of small-town living.

When it comes to housing, Cochrane offers something for everyone—from starter homes to larger estates. The variety of available housing makes Cochrane a great community for people just getting started on their own, or seasoned professionals looking for a space to grow their families.

Entry-level homes, including condos and townhouses, start in the $200,000 to $500,000 range. If you’re looking for a bit more space, homes over 2,000 square feet start at around $600,000.

Larger properties in Cochrane start closer to $800,000, depending on the location. These larger properties boast amenities such as pools, gardens and golf course views. If you're interested in more space than what's available in town, you’ll find multi-acre properties just outside town limits.

Not looking to buy? Rental options in Cochrane include apartments, condos and townhouses. These rentals often include high-end amenities, such as pools and gyms. Spread out across Cochrane, you’ll find rentals in both the historic downtown area and in established communities near schools and other local services.

Elementary schools:

Middle schools:

High schools:


Airdrie, located just north of Calgary, is a rapidly growing city that retains its small-town heart amidst its expansion. With a community-focused atmosphere, Airdrie prides itself on its family-friendly environment, showcased through an array of parks, playgrounds, and walking trails that knit the community together.

The city boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, with annual festivals and events that cater to all ages, such as the Airdrie Festival of Lights and the Airdrie Pro Rodeo. Education and healthcare facilities are top-notch, reflecting the city’s commitment to its residents' well-being. The blend of affordable housing, quality public services, and a low crime rate makes Airdrie an attractive option for those looking to settle near Calgary. Its direct access to the Queen Elizabeth II Highway offers a smooth commute to Calgary, making it ideal for individuals working in the city but wishing for a suburban lifestyle.

Airdrie, Alberta is served by three school districts:

Rocky View Schools (public) is the largest district, with 19 schools in Airdrie, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Some of the notable schools in this district include:

George McDougall High School: This is the largest high school in Airdrie, offering a wide range of academic and vocational programs.
École Airdrie Middle School: This is a French immersion middle school that offers a strong academic program in both English and French.
Heloise Lorimer School: This is a well-regarded elementary school that offers a variety of programs and extracurricular activities.
Calgary Catholic School Division (Catholic) has four schools in Airdrie, including elementary and junior high schools.

École Francophone d'Airdrie is a French-language school district that offers a full immersion program from kindergarten to grade 12.

For more information on Airdrie schools, you can visit the websites of the school districts or the City of Airdrie.


Nestled along the Sheep River, Okotoks is a friendly town that embodies environmental stewardship and innovation. It's renowned for its sustainable practices, including the Drake Landing Solar Community, a global model for renewable energy integration. Okotoks provides a serene living environment with a strong emphasis on green living and outdoor activities.

The town features extensive trail systems, beautiful parks, and recreation facilities that support a healthy and active lifestyle. Okotoks’ vibrant downtown area, with unique shops, restaurants, and cultural venues, adds to the town's charm and appeal. Its community-oriented approach is evident in the wide range of programs and events designed to engage residents of all ages. Living in Okotoks means enjoying the tranquility of rural Alberta while being close enough to Calgary to benefit from its economic opportunities and urban amenities.

Okotoks Schools Okotoks, Alberta, has several school options, including public, Catholic, and private schools. Here's a breakdown:

Public Schools:

Managed by the Foothills School Division, Okotoks offers public schools for Kindergarten to Grade 12:

Elementary Schools (K-6):
Big Rock School
Dr. Morris Gibson School
École Percy Pegler School
Westmount School
Junior High Schools (7-9):
École Okotoks Junior High School
Westmount Junior High School
High School (10-12):
École Secondaire Foothills Composite High School/Alberta High School of Fine Arts

Catholic Schools:

Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools operates schools across Alberta, including Okotoks:
St. Mary's School (K-8): Offers a Catholic education program alongside the Alberta curriculum.

Private Schools:

Edison School (K-12): Provides a unique learning environment with a focus on core academics, project-based learning, and character development.
Additional Resources:

Foothills School Division:
Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools:
Town of Okotoks - Schools:


Chestermere, immediately east of Calgary, offers a lifestyle centered around its stunning lake. Originally developed as a summer village, Chestermere has grown into a dynamic city where water sports, fishing, and beachside activities are part of daily life. The lake is not just a recreational asset but also a focal point for community gatherings and events.

Chestermere’s pathways and green spaces encourage an active lifestyle, while its schools and community services make it a great place for families. The city is known for its welcoming community, where newcomers quickly feel at home. Real estate in Chestermere includes a range of options from lakeside properties to family-friendly neighborhoods, catering to diverse preferences and budgets. The close proximity to Calgary via the Trans-Canada Highway makes commuting for work or leisure convenient, blending the benefits of city accessibility with the perks of lakeside living.

Chestermere is served by two school districts:

Rocky View Schools (public): This is the larger district, offering five schools in Chestermere, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Notable schools include:

Chestermere Lake Middle School: Offers a strong academic program and various extracurricular activities.
West Chestermere Elementary School: Known for its diverse programs and extracurricular offerings.
Calgary Catholic School Division (Catholic): This district has two schools in Chestermere, one elementary and one junior high school.

For more information on Chestermere schools, you can visit the websites of the school districts or the City of Chestermere:

Rocky View Schools:
Calgary Catholic School Division:


Canmore, situated at the gateway to the Canadian Rockies, is more than just a picturesque town; it's a lifestyle choice for those who yearn for adventure amidst natural beauty. Its stunning mountainous backdrop provides endless outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and golfing, appealing to nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Canmore's vibrant arts and culture scene is reflected in its galleries, festivals, and community events, which draw both residents and tourists. The town’s economy is robust, with tourism and small businesses thriving side by side. Despite its popularity, Canmore maintains a tight-knit community feel, making it an attractive place for those looking for a dynamic yet peaceful lifestyle. Its proximity to Calgary, approximately an hour’s drive, allows residents to enjoy the tranquility of mountain life while having the option to commute to the city for work or leisure.

Canmore, Alberta Schools:

Canmore offers diverse educational options for students, managed by both public and Catholic school boards:

Public Schools:

Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS):
Canmore Collegiate High School (Grades 9-12): Provides academic programs, second languages, career and technology courses, and various extracurricular activities.
Lawrence Grassi Middle School (Grades 4-8): Offers both English and French immersion programs.
Elizabeth Rummel School (Kindergarten-Grade 3): Provides English and French immersion programs.

Catholic School:

Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy (Kindergarten-Grade 12): Offers a faith-based curriculum alongside the Alberta provincial curriculum.
Additional Resources:

Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS):
Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy:

High River

High River, located to the south of Calgary, embodies the spirit of Alberta's rural heritage while embracing growth and innovation. Known for its historic downtown and friendly community, High River offers a peaceful, family-oriented lifestyle. The town is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, providing residents with ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

High River has a rich arts and culture environment, with various galleries, theaters, and live music venues. The community is resilient and vibrant, having come together to rebuild and strengthen after the floods of 2013. This sense of community spirit and the town’s commitment to sustainability and growth make it an appealing destination for those seeking a supportive small-town atmosphere with convenient access to Calgary.

High River offers a mix of public and Catholic schools, providing various educational options for students:

Public Schools:

Managed by the Foothills School Division (FSD #38), these schools cater to students from kindergarten to Grade 12:

Elementary Schools (K-6):
Spitzee Elementary School
École Joe Clark School (French immersion)
Middle School (7-8):
École Senator Riley Middle School (French immersion)
High School (9-12):
École Secondaire Highwood High School (French immersion program also available)
Foothills School Division also offers resources and information for families, including:

School Calendar:
Find a School:
Contact Information:

Catholic School:

Holy Spirit Academy (K-6): Operated by Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools, this school offers a Catholic education program alongside the Alberta curriculum.


Strathmore, to the east of Calgary, offers a blend of agricultural heritage and modern living. Its roots in farming and agriculture are still evident, giving the town a rural charm and a strong sense of community. Strathmore is known for its excellent schools, parks, and recreational facilities, making it an ideal location for families.

The town hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the famous Strathmore Stampede, which brings the community together and attracts visitors from across the region. With a variety of housing options and a lower cost of living compared to Calgary, Strathmore provides a comfortable and affordable lifestyle. The ease of access to Calgary via the Trans-Canada Highway makes it a practical choice for commuters looking for a balance between country living and urban employment.

Public Schools:

Managed by the Golden Hills School Division (GHSD #75), these schools serve students from kindergarten to Grade 12:

Elementary Schools (K-6):
Brentwood Elementary School: Offers an English program.
George Freeman School: Offers an English program.
Wheatland Elementary School: Offers an English program.
Westmount Elementary School: Offers an English program.
Junior High Schools (7-9):
Crowther Memorial Junior High School: Offers an English program.
High School (10-12):
Strathmore High School: Offers an English program.
GHSD #75 provides resources and information for families, including:

School Directory:
Contact Information:

Catholic School:

École St. Michael School (K-8): Operated by the Calgary Catholic School Division, this school offers a Catholic education program alongside the Alberta curriculum.
Private School:

Trinity Christian Academy (K-9): Provides a Christian-based education program.

Good Places to Settle in Alberta for a Small Town Lifestyle but Close to Calgary for Work Opportunities

For those seeking a balance between a quaint small-town atmosphere and the dynamic work environment of Calgary, the towns of Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks, Chestermere, Canmore, High River, and Strathmore stand out.

Each offers unique advantages, from Cochrane's community vibe and natural attractions to Canmore's outdoor adventure lifestyle, ensuring that regardless of where one chooses to settle, they can find a community that feels like home. These towns not only offer a serene living environment but also boast accessibility to Calgary, making them ideal for individuals and families looking for a blend of tranquility and urban opportunities.

Living Costs Comparison

When considering relocating near Calgary, understanding the living costs in neighboring towns is crucial. Generally, towns like Airdrie, High River, and Strathmore offer a more affordable cost of living compared to Calgary, especially in terms of housing. However, towns with unique geographical advantages, such as Canmore, may exhibit higher living costs due to their popularity and limited space. Utilities, groceries, and transportation costs tend to be slightly lower in these smaller towns, contributing to a lower overall cost of living, making them attractive options for those looking to stretch their budgets further while still enjoying a high quality of life.

Real Estate Overview with Diane Richardson, Realtor (403.397.3706)

The real estate market in towns near Calgary varies significantly, catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets. Diane Richardson, a seasoned Realtor in the area, notes that Airdrie and Cochrane have seen a steady increase in demand for single-family homes, reflecting the growing interest among families and professionals seeking a community-oriented lifestyle. Meanwhile, Canmore's real estate market is characterized by its luxury segment, with properties offering stunning mountain views and access to outdoor recreation.

Chestermere's lakeside homes provide unique water-related activities, setting it apart from other areas. According to Diane Richardson, understanding the local market trends and future development plans is key for buyers to make informed decisions. For personalized advice and insights into each town's real estate opportunities, Diane can be reached at 403.397.3706.

Accessibility and Transportation

One of the key considerations for living near Calgary is the ease of access to the city for work and leisure. Most towns mentioned, like Airdrie and Chestermere, are connected to Calgary by major highways, making the commute straightforward and relatively quick.
Public transportation options, including bus services and, in some cases, commuter rail lines, are available for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The infrastructure is continually being improved to keep pace with the growing population in these areas, ensuring that residents can enjoy the best of both worlds: living in a peaceful, small-town environment while having efficient access to the urban center of Calgary.

Educational Facilities

Families considering a move to towns near Calgary will find a range of educational facilities, from public and Catholic schools to French Immersion and private institutions, ensuring that children have access to quality education.

These towns also offer various extracurricular activities, sports programs, and community centers, providing a well-rounded educational experience. The commitment to education in these communities is evident in the investment in new schools and educational resources, catering to the growing population and diverse needs of students.

Healthcare Services

Healthcare services in towns near Calgary are comprehensive, with hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical services available to residents. Efforts have been made to ensure that healthcare is accessible and meets the needs of the growing communities, with ongoing investments in healthcare infrastructure and services. Whether it’s routine check-ups, emergency services, or specialized care, residents can find the necessary healthcare support within their community or in nearby Calgary.

Whether you're drawn to the mountain vistas of Canmore, the lake life in Chestermere, or the community spirit of Cochrane, there's a place near Calgary that meets your desires for a peaceful, small-town living with the convenience of city access.

The allure of living near Calgary extends far beyond the simple charm of small-town life. It’s about finding a community where you can thrive both personally and professionally, with the backdrop of Alberta’s stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re drawn to the adventurous lifestyle offered by Canmore, the family-friendly atmosphere of Airdrie, or the unique lakeside living in Chestermere, there’s a nearby town that matches every preference and lifestyle.

The comparative affordability of these areas, coupled with the diverse real estate options highlighted by experts like Diane Richardson, Realtor, makes the prospect of settling here even more enticing. The commitment to maintaining high-quality educational and healthcare services, alongside the continually improving transportation infrastructure, ensures that residents enjoy a high standard of living.

Choosing to reside in one of these towns near Calgary means embracing a community-oriented lifestyle where nature, convenience, and a sense of belonging converge. It’s about enjoying the peace and tranquility of a smaller town while benefiting from the economic opportunities and urban amenities of Calgary, just a short commute away.

For those contemplating a move, the blend of affordability, community spirit, and access to nature makes these towns near Calgary not just places to live, but places to call home. Each town offers its unique advantages, inviting you to be part of a community that supports your lifestyle choices and personal growth. As Calgary continues to grow and evolve, so too do its neighboring towns, each providing a unique contribution to the vibrant tapestry that is life in Alberta.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, family life, or a quiet retreat, the towns near Calgary offer a spectrum of opportunities to live your ideal lifestyle. With the insights provided by real estate professionals like Diane Richardson, and the wealth of amenities available, making a home in one of these communities is an opportunity to experience the best of Alberta living.


  1. What is the average commute time from these towns to Calgary?

    • Commute times can vary depending on the town and traffic conditions, but on average, you can expect a 20 to 60-minute drive to downtown Calgary.
  2. Are there public transportation options available from these towns to Calgary?

    • Yes, most of the towns near Calgary offer public transportation options, such as bus services. Some, like Airdrie, also have commuter rail services connecting to Calgary.
  3. How do the schools in these towns compare to those in Calgary?

    • Schools in these towns often offer a high standard of education, similar to Calgary. Smaller class sizes and community involvement can enhance the educational experience.
  4. What kind of recreational activities are available in these towns?

    • Depending on the town, residents can enjoy a wide range of activities, including hiking, biking, skiing, water sports, community sports leagues, cultural festivals, and more.
  5. How does the cost of living in these towns compare to Calgary?

Generally, the cost of living in these towns is slightly lower than in Calgary, especially regarding housing costs. However, this can vary by location and individual lifestyle choices.

Ready to Discover Your Dream Home Near Calgary?
Contact Diane Richardson Today!

Embarking on the journey to find the perfect blend of small-town charm and urban convenience near Calgary? Let Diane Richardson, your trusted local realtor, guide you through the diverse real estate landscapes these charming towns have to offer. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the market, Diane is your go-to expert for personalized, insightful advice on making your dream home a reality.
Diane Richardson Real Estate agent
Don't miss out on the opportunity to find a place where community, nature, and accessibility to Calgary come together seamlessly. Whether you're drawn to the adventurous lifestyle of Canmore, the family-friendly atmosphere of Airdrie, or the unique lakeside living in Chestermere, Diane Richardson is here to help you navigate your options and make informed decisions.
Call Diane Richardson at 403.397.3706 to start your journey towards finding the perfect home in one of Calgary's desirable neighboring towns. Your dream home awaits!


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