things to do in calgary

As my train pulled into the station, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. Calgary, the vibrant city in the heart of Alberta, Canada, was about to unfold before me, and I couldn’t wait to discover its hidden gems. With its laid-back “Cow Town” atmosphere, thriving cultural scene, outdoor adventures, and bustling culinary landscape, this city had captured my imagination, and I was eager to explore it to the fullest.

From the iconic Calgary Tower to the scenic Banff National Park, this city promised to be a hidden gem that would leave a lasting impression. Whether I was interested in festivals, outdoor pursuits, cultural immersion, or family-friendly fun, Calgary had something to offer for everyone. As I stepped out of the station, I couldn’t wait to dive into the vibrant tapestry of this dynamic city and uncover all that it had to offer.

Things To Do In Calgary,

1. Vibrant Festivals and Events

Calgary is renowned for its vibrant festival and event scene, offering a diverse array of celebrations throughout the year. The city’s calendar is punctuated by a variety of captivating festivals that showcase its cultural richness, lively entertainment, and community spirit.

Calgary Stampede

The iconic Calgary Stampede, often referred to as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” is a 10-day event that celebrates the city’s Western heritage. Visitors can immerse themselves in rodeo competitions, thrilling amusement rides, live music performances, and a plethora of delectable food options, all of which come together to create an unforgettable experience.

GlobalFest

GlobalFest, a multi-day event, is a captivating celebration of Calgary’s diversity. Through song, dance, food, and a mesmerising fireworks display, this festival showcases the city’s cultural richness and its commitment to embracing people from all walks of life.

Calgary Folk Music Festival

The Calgary Folk Music Festival, held annually on Prince’s Island Park, is a must-visit event for music enthusiasts. Featuring over 70 artists from around the world, this festival provides a captivating platform for both established and emerging talents, offering a diverse array of musical genres and an immersive experience for attendees.

2. Outdoor Adventures in Calgary

Calgary is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wealth of opportunities to explore the city’s natural beauty. From leisurely strolls to thrilling outdoor pursuits, the city boasts an array of picturesque destinations that cater to a diverse range of interests.

Prince’s Island Park

Nestled in the heart of downtown Calgary, Prince’s Island Park is an idyllic urban sanctuary that provides over 20 acres of trails, wetlands, and open spaces for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful respite from the bustling city or an opportunity to engage in calgary hiking, calgary biking, or calgary walking, this oasis offers a tranquil setting for outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in calgary nature and calgary recreation.

Bow River Pathway

Winding its way through the city, the Bow River Pathway offers a captivating network of pedestrian pathways that allow visitors to experience the serenity of Calgary’s calgary river activities. Boasting stunning vistas and a chance to connect with the city’s calgary outdoors, this scenic route is a popular destination for calgary outdoor activities and calgary outdoor adventures among locals and tourists alike.

calgary parks

Outdoor Destination Key Features Activities
Prince’s Island Park Urban sanctuary with trails, wetlands, and open spaces Hiking, biking, walking, nature exploration, recreation
Bow River Pathway Network of pedestrian pathways along the Bow River River activities, outdoor adventures, nature appreciation

3. Cultural Immersion

Visitors to Calgary can immerse themselves in the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene. From historic landmarks to world-class museums, Calgary offers a diverse array of cultural experiences that showcase the region’s captivating history and artistic prowess.

Heritage Park Historical Village

The Heritage Park Historical Village is a popular attraction that transports visitors back in time, showcasing the history of Western Canada through an array of interactive exhibits, memorials, and historical structures. Wander through replica streets and buildings, and gain insights into the lives of early settlers, Indigenous peoples, and the region’s pioneering past.

Studio Bell, National Music Centre

Situated in the heart of downtown Calgary, Studio Bell is a one-of-a-kind heritage building that celebrates Canada’s rich musical legacy. Housed within this stunning architectural marvel are state-of-the-art recording studios, a vast collection of musical artefacts and archives, and interactive displays that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the country’s vibrant musical culture.

These cultural institutions offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore Calgary’s diverse heritage and artistic offerings, providing a captivating glimpse into the city’s past and present.

4. Family-Friendly Attractions

Calgary caters to families with a variety of engaging and educational attractions. The

Calgary Zoo

, one of the largest zoos in Canada, is home to over 1,000 animals and a vast array of plant life, providing a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. Families can marvel at the diverse wildlife, from the majestic polar bears to the playful penguins, while learning about conservation efforts and the natural world.

Complementing the Calgary Zoo’s natural wonders, the

TELUS Spark Science Centre

offers a hands-on, interactive exploration of science and technology. This interactive science museum sparks curiosity and ignites a love for science through engaging exhibits and displays that encourage visitors to get hands-on with the principles of physics, biology, and engineering. From experiencing the thrill of a lightning bolt to delving into the mysteries of the human body, the TELUS Spark Science Centre is a must-visit destination for families seeking an educational and entertaining day out.

calgary family activities

These family-friendly destinations offer a fun and enriching way for families to explore Calgary’s diverse offerings, fostering a love for learning, discovery, and the great outdoors. Whether you’re visiting the Calgary Zoo or the TELUS Spark Science Centre, these attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression on both children and adults alike.

5. Iconic Landmarks

One of Calgary’s most renowned landmarks is the iconic Calgary Tower, which stands tall at 191 metres and offers visitors a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Travellers can ascend to the observation deck and marvel at the breathtaking vistas, gaining a unique perspective on Calgary’s dynamic skyline and urban landscape. The Calgary Tower is a must-visit attraction for those seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s iconic buildings and views, providing a comprehensive understanding of Calgary’s captivating landmarks and natural setting.

6. For Sports Enthusiasts

Calgary is a captivating destination for sports enthusiasts, offering a wealth of opportunities to immerse oneself in the city’s passion for athletics. Two of the most renowned attractions for sports lovers are the Scotiabank Saddledome and the WinSport Canada Olympic Park.

Scotiabank Saddledome (Calgary Flames Hockey)

The Scotiabank Saddledome, home to the Calgary Flames hockey team, is a must-visit destination for hockey fans. Visitors can soak in the electric atmosphere and cheer on the local team as they compete on the ice. The Saddledome’s impressive architecture and state-of-the-art facilities create an unforgettable experience for sports enthusiasts.

WinSport Canada Olympic Park

The WinSport Canada Olympic Park, a legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics, is a hub for sports and recreation enthusiasts. This dynamic venue offers a range of thrilling winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, allowing visitors to reconnect with their adventurous spirit. Whether you’re an avid athlete or simply seeking to try your hand at new winter sports, the WinSport Canada Olympic Park provides an exhilarating experience.

Attraction Key Features Highlights
Scotiabank Saddledome Home of the Calgary Flames hockey team, state-of-the-art facilities Electric atmosphere, thrilling hockey matches, impressive architecture
WinSport Canada Olympic Park Legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics, wide range of winter sports activities Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, opportunity to reconnect with adventurous spirit

calgary sports activities

7. Culinary Delights

Calgary’s culinary scene is a diverse and delightful mix of flavours, catering to a wide range of tastes. Visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the local food culture flock to the Calgary Farmer’s Market, a popular destination offering a bountiful array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and tantalising street food.

Calgary Farmer’s Market

Strolling through the bustling stalls of the Calgary Farmer’s Market, one is greeted by the tantalising aroma of freshly baked breads, sizzling street food, and the vibrant hues of locally grown fruits and vegetables. This vibrant marketplace showcases the city’s commitment to supporting calgary local food producers and celebrating the rich calgary culinary scene.

Notable Restaurants

Beyond the lively Farmer’s Market, Calgary boasts an impressive collection of acclaimed restaurants that have earned the city a reputation as a calgary foodie destination. Establishments such as CHARCUT Roast House, Foreign Concept, and Pigeonhole have captivated diners with their innovative dishes, expertly crafted using calgary local food ingredients and delivered with a sophisticated dining experience.

These calgary restaurants have become cornerstones of the city’s thriving calgary culinary delights, attracting food enthusiasts from near and far who seek to indulge in the vibrant calgary food scene and taste the extraordinary flavours that Calgary has to offer.

8. Nearby Day Trips

Beyond the vibrant city of Calgary, visitors can embark on captivating day trips to explore the surrounding natural wonders. Banff National Park, located just a short drive from Calgary, is a breathtaking destination that offers a wealth of outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, and wildlife spotting.

Banff National Park

Nestled within the majestic Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is a true natural wonder that showcases the best of Alberta’s rugged beauty. From the turquoise waters of Lake Louise to the awe-inspiring glaciers and mountain peaks, this UNESCO World Heritage Site provides an idyllic setting for adventure-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re lacing up your hiking boots, hitting the ski slopes, or simply taking in the serene landscapes, Banff National Park is a must-visit destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in Calgary’s captivating outdoor offerings.

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump

Another notable attraction near Calgary is Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a unique cultural experience. This ancient hunting ground, used by Indigenous people of the Plains for over 6,000 years, showcases the remarkable practices and traditions of the region’s First Nations communities. Visitors can explore the interpretive centre, witness the impressive cliff formations, and gain a deeper understanding of the area’s rich heritage and the sustainable hunting methods employed by the Indigenous inhabitants.

calgary day trips

9. Shopping and Entertainment

Calgary offers a vibrant shopping and entertainment scene, with the 17th Avenue & Entertainment District and the Stephen Avenue Walk being two of the city’s most popular destinations.

The 17th Avenue & Entertainment District is a lively neighbourhood brimming with restaurants, shops, boutiques, and nightclubs, providing visitors with a diverse array of shopping and dining options. From high-end fashion to independent boutiques, this area caters to all shopping enthusiasts, offering a truly immersive calgary shopping experience.

17th Avenue & Entertainment District

The Stephen Avenue Walk, a pedestrian-friendly zone in the heart of downtown calgary, is another hub for local businesses, street performers, and cultural events, offering a unique and immersive urban exploration. Visitors can stroll along the tree-lined avenue, popping into charming boutiques, lively pubs, and trendy eateries, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere that makes calgary’s entertainment district a must-visit destination.

Stephen Avenue Walk

Nestled in the heart of the city, the Stephen Avenue Walk is a bustling hub of activity, where locals and tourists alike come to shop, dine, and be entertained. This pedestrian-only thoroughfare is lined with a diverse array of calgary boutiques, from independent fashion stores to specialty shops, offering visitors a unique and immersive shopping experience. Whether you’re in the mood for a lively night out or a leisurely daytime stroll, the Stephen Avenue Walk is the perfect place to explore calgary’s lively retail and entertainment scene.

10. Public Art Tour

Calgary is renowned for its vibrant public art scene, with a diverse array of sculptures, murals, and installations scattered throughout the city. Visitors can embark on a self-guided calgary art tour to explore the city’s creative landscape and gain insights into its cultural history. This free and open-to-all activity allows travellers to discover the city’s artistic spirit and connect with the local calgary art scene.

The calgary public art tour offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the city’s calgary creativity, showcasing a range of calgary street art and public installations. From large-scale murals that adorn the walls of downtown buildings to whimsical sculptures that dot the calgary art walk, the tour allows visitors to uncover the city’s vibrant cultural exploration.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply seeking a captivating calgary cultural experience, the public art tour is a must-do activity during your visit. Embark on this journey of discovery and let the city’s calgary public art inspire and delight you.

calgary public art

Things to do in Calgary for Free

Calgary offers a variety of free attractions and activities for visitors looking to explore the city without breaking the bank. From scenic urban sanctuaries to immersive cultural experiences, there are plenty of budget-friendly options that allow travellers to savour the best of Calgary’s offerings.

Prince’s Island Park

One of the city’s most beloved free attractions, Prince’s Island Park is a tranquil urban oasis nestled in the heart of downtown Calgary. This lush green space provides over 20 acres of trails, wetlands, and open areas for visitors to enjoy a peaceful respite from the bustling city. Wander along the serene pathways, take in the stunning views of the Bow River, and soak in the calming atmosphere of this hidden gem.

Heritage Park

Delve into Calgary’s rich cultural heritage by visiting the Heritage Park, a National Historic Landmark that offers free admission to the public. This expansive outdoor museum transports visitors back in time, showcasing the history of Western Canada through interactive exhibits, historical structures, and engaging educational programmes. Explore the vintage street, ride the steam-powered train, and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant past, all without any entry fees.

These free offerings make Calgary an accessible and cost-effective destination for travellers seeking to experience the city’s diverse attractions and cultural offerings without breaking the bank. With a wide range of budget-friendly activities, Calgary caters to visitors of all backgrounds, ensuring a memorable and enriching exploration of this vibrant Canadian city.

Conclusion

Calgary, the vibrant city in the heart of Alberta, Canada, offers a diverse array of attractions and experiences that cater to a wide range of interests. From its iconic festivals and outdoor adventures to its rich cultural heritage and family-friendly attractions, Calgary is a destination that truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a lively city experience, a serene outdoor escape, or a deep dive into the local culture, this hidden gem of a city is sure to leave a lasting impression.

With its stunning natural surroundings, dynamic culinary scene, and bustling entertainment options, Calgary is a must-visit destination for travellers looking to explore the best of what Canada has to offer. Whether you’re planning a visit to Calgary for the first time or a return trip, this city’s diverse offerings are sure to captivate and delight, leaving you with a comprehensive overview and a summary of the city’s vibrant travel and tourism experiences.

So, why not embark on an exciting exploration of Calgary and discover all that this remarkable city has to offer? From its iconic landmarks to its hidden gems, Calgary is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impact on your experience and memories.

FAQ

What are some of the top attractions and things to do in Calgary, Canada?

Calgary offers a diverse range of attractions and activities, including the iconic Calgary Stampede festival, outdoor adventures in Prince’s Island Park and along the Bow River Pathway, cultural immersion at the Heritage Park Historical Village and Studio Bell, family-friendly destinations like the Calgary Zoo and TELUS Spark Science Centre, and iconic landmarks such as the Calgary Tower.

What are some of the major festivals and events in Calgary?

Calgary is renowned for its vibrant festival and event scene, including the world-famous Calgary Stampede, the multicultural celebration of GlobalFest, and the popular Calgary Folk Music Festival.

What outdoor activities can visitors enjoy in Calgary?

Calgary is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities to explore the city’s natural beauty in places like Prince’s Island Park and along the Bow River Pathway, which provide scenic trails, wetlands, and open spaces for visitors to enjoy.

What cultural and historical attractions can be found in Calgary?

Calgary’s rich cultural heritage can be discovered at the Heritage Park Historical Village and the Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, which showcase the history and artistic legacy of Western Canada.

What are some of the family-friendly attractions in Calgary?

Calgary caters to families with the Calgary Zoo, one of the largest zoos in Canada, and the TELUS Spark Science Centre, an interactive science museum that sparks curiosity and ignites a love for science.

What is the iconic Calgary Tower and what can visitors expect?

The Calgary Tower is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, standing 191 metres tall and offering 360-degree views of the city and the surrounding Rocky Mountains from its observation deck.

What sports-related attractions and activities are available in Calgary?

For sports enthusiasts, Calgary offers the Scotiabank Saddledome, home to the Calgary Flames hockey team, and the WinSport Canada Olympic Park, a legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics that provides a hub for winter sports and recreation.

What can visitors expect from Calgary’s culinary scene?

Calgary’s culinary scene is a diverse and delightful mix of flavours, with the Calgary Farmer’s Market and notable restaurants like CHARCUT Roast House, Foreign Concept, and Pigeonhole offering a taste of the city’s local food culture.

What day trips can visitors take from Calgary?

Travellers can embark on captivating day trips from Calgary to explore the surrounding natural wonders, such as Banff National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump.

What are some of the top shopping and entertainment districts in Calgary?

Calgary’s vibrant shopping and entertainment scene can be found in the 17th Avenue & Entertainment District and the Stephen Avenue Walk, offering a diverse array of restaurants, shops, boutiques, and cultural events.

Can visitors enjoy free attractions and activities in Calgary?

Yes, Calgary offers a variety of free attractions and activities, such as Prince’s Island Park and the Heritage Park, which allow visitors to explore the city without spending any admission fees.