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A Guide to the Best Things to Do in Calgary

Photo by Lisa Bourgeault

Nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is a city that offers a vibrant blend of natural beauty and urban charm. Known for its friendly locals, a thriving arts scene, and an array of outdoor adventures, Calgary has something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, this city has a plethora of experiences waiting for you. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the best things to see and do in Calgary.

Explore the Majestic Rockies

Calgary’s proximity to the Canadian Rockies means you’re never too far from breathtaking mountain landscapes. A short drive from the city takes you to Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hike, bike, or simply enjoy the stunning vistas, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife. In the winter, hit the slopes at world-class ski resorts like Lake Louise and Sunshine Village.

Experience the Calgary Stampede

Known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the Calgary Stampede is a 10-day celebration of western culture. This iconic event, held every July, features rodeos, chuckwagon races, concerts, parades, and more. It’s an exhilarating experience that allows you to immerse yourself in cowboy culture and enjoy thrilling entertainment.

Visit the Heritage Park Historical Village

For a taste of the region’s history, Heritage Park Historical Village is a must-visit. This living history museum takes you back in time to experience life in Alberta from the 1860s to the 1950s. Explore over 180 exhibits, including historic buildings, a steam train, and costumed interpreters who bring the past to life.

Discover the Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from around the world. It’s a family-friendly attraction that offers an opportunity to learn about and connect with a diverse range of species. The zoo also places a strong emphasis on conservation efforts and education.

Walk Across the Peace Bridge

This iconic pedestrian bridge spans the picturesque Bow River, connecting the vibrant neighbourhood of Sunnyside with the bustling downtown core. The Peace Bridge is a symbol of unity and harmony, exemplified by its name, and is characterized by its sleek, white, helical design with a single leaning pylon that gives it a unique and artistic appearance.

Take a Stroll through Prince’s Island Park

Located in the heart of the city, Prince’s Island Park is an oasis of greenery. This urban park is perfect for a leisurely walk, picnic, or a scenic bike ride. It often hosts outdoor concerts and festivals during the summer months. The beautiful Bow River runs alongside the park, making it a tranquil spot to relax.

Indulge in Culinary Delights

Calgary’s dining scene is vibrant and diverse. From gourmet restaurants to food trucks, you’ll find a wide range of culinary delights. Be sure to try local specialties like Alberta beef and the famous Caesar cocktail. The city also hosts an annual Calgary Poutine Week, a culinary event that celebrates this Canadian comfort food.

Go Shopping at Inglewood and Kensington

Inglewood and Kensington are two trendy neighbourhoods that offer unique shopping experiences. Inglewood, Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood, is known for its eclectic boutiques, vintage shops, and vibrant arts scene. Kensington, on the other hand, offers a mix of independent shops, cafes, and a bohemian atmosphere.

Catch a Calgary Flames Game

Calgary is passionate about hockey, and watching a Calgary Flames game at the Scotiabank Saddledome is an electrifying experience. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, the atmosphere in the arena is infectious.

Step into Wonderland at Studio Bell

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, is a striking architectural marvel. Inside, you’ll find a world of music and interactive exhibits that celebrate Canada’s musical heritage. It’s an immersive experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for music.

Admire the Bow Building

Calgary’s skyline is adorned with modern architectural marvels, and the Bow Building is one of the most iconic. Designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster, this 778 ft tall skyscraper is a sight to behold. You can enjoy its beauty from the outside or take an elevator ride to the top for panoramic city views.

Explore the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. This urban oasis provides a tranquil escape for birdwatching and nature walks. With over 270 bird species documented in the area, it’s a prime location for wildlife enthusiasts.

Visit the Calgary Tower

No trip to Calgary is complete without a visit to the Calgary Tower, originally known as the Husky Tower. Ride the glass elevator to the observation deck for breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding Rocky Mountains.

Enjoy the Festivals

Calgary hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. From the Calgary International Film Festival to the Calgary Folk Music Festival and the GlobalFest fireworks festival, there’s always something happening in the city.

Calgary: Be Part of the Energy

With a wide array of activities and attractions, Calgary is a destination that caters to the interests of travelers from all walks of life. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, culinary delights, and vibrant festivals, Calgary has something to offer everyone. So, whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, be sure to add The Stampede City in Alberta to your list of must-visit destinations. Calgary has the best of both worlds, and it’s waiting to enchant you with its charm.

Wendy Silva

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