Things to do in Calgary, Canada
Calgary is the fourth-largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Alberta. It is considered as the eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountains as it sits about 80 km on the front ranges of Rocky Mountains. It is located at the convergence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the Alberta at the prairie and foothills area of Rocky Mountains. Calgary is the heart of the largest metropolitan area between Toronto and Vancouver. It has even the best point of access for Banff and Jasper National Parks. Above 1,239,220 people live in this Calgary city as of 2016 Census. Calgary is an important center of trade and tourism for the western landscape. Calgary was the first Canadian city to host Winter Olympics Games in 1988. Calgary is been ranked at no.2 for hosting the second-highest number of corporate head offices in Canada out of the country’s 800 largest corporations. The economy of Calgary comes from various sectors including energy department, financial services, Film, and TV production, technology, transportation, logistics, aerospace manufacturing, health and wellness, and tourism sectors. The Climate of Calgary is dry in comparison to other regions of Canada. Let’s have a look at the best Things to do in Calgary, Canada.
#1 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Spend a Day at the Prince’s Island Park
Canadians like their urban green spaces. Every small and big city in Canada has its own parks and green spaces. You won’t find any Canadian city without a significant urban park, and Calgary is no different than the others. This Prince’s Island Park is near the Calgary Zoo and a great place to go for a walk, picnic, and to play football or Frisbee. The park gives the opportunity to see the beautiful city views. It is a clean park that sits in the middle of the city. The trails are lined with cottonwood trees that appeal everyone to this green urban. People here ride bikes or do walk or running as the trails are wide. The park also features a seasonal skating ring A park is a good place for a picnic on a holiday when you want to have some time off from the daily routine. Here you will have the sightseeing views of nature along with the city views.
This park also hosts many festivals and events round the year. You can have the opportunity to buy food here as well, just follow the footbridge across the Bow River and you will find many stalls of food at the Eau Claire Market.
#2 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Visit the Heritage Park Historical Village
Calgary was used to be the wild west of Canada a few centuries back but it still has the traces of Wild West past at the 127-acre village known as the Heritage Park Historical Village. It is basically located in the south of downtown Calgary, beside the Glenmore Reservoir. This place holds the titled of most beloved and Canada’s largest living museum. Though there is nothing left of the past age they have created a replica of 1860s historic village in which you can explore the fur-trading post and a ranch. There are above 200 displays spread all over this place. Notable displays here include a First Nations Encampment from the 1880’s and a glimpse into the lives of prehistoric railway people. Everything here functions properly and you can see first-hand out in the open. For transport here, you can use a horse-drawn wagon, the steam locomotive or a cruise the reservoir by paddle-wheeler boat. In short, this place gives the best feel of being in the old era. It is a must see place for everyone. If you have kids, they will love the whole setting of this place.
Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ
#3 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Visit the Glenbow Museum
The Glenbow Museum of Calgary exhibits the finest artifacts of Canadian history. This Glenbow Museum is located on 9th Avenue Southeast in the downtown area of Calgary. The artifacts here mainly display the culture of western Canada. There are extensive displays of First Nations tribes, military memorabilia collections related to Canada’s western culture. Along with the Canadian stuff they have huge displays of Asian sculpture, European art, and West African artifacts. The Museum is rather small but it has an extensive display that keeps people interested in this museum. There are few activities for children too.
#4 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Enjoy Horseback Riding at the Spruce Meadows
The Spruce Meadows is a horseback riding arena but it is not an average arena, it is considered among the best sporting arenas. Its name came from the surrounding spruce trees. The facility is top-notch and this place hosts Canada’s most prominent horseback ridings. The horse jockeys here compete with the national level jockeys and win many prizes too. Another advantage here is that you can get up close and personal with the horses here. You can explore the perfect gardens here. You can run into the Canadian Superstore Playgrounds here.
They say you can experience the horseback riding at the Calgary Stampede but the real fun is in Spruce Meadows. This facility also hosts numerous events round the year including Christmas Market.
#5 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Enjoy the Annual Race at Calgary Stampede & Stampede Park
People always think of south for as a good rodeo because the rolling hills of Montana or Wyoming, or the ten-gallon hat capital of the world, Texas which they really are but the Greatest Outdoor Show of Horseback Riding on Earth happens right here in the modest city of Calgary. This century-old show strikes with the innovativeness of the 21st century to create one of the most entertaining displays of Wild West heritage. It is to be noted that good old fashion rodeo takes the main stage at night. There you can see the cattle auctions, chuck wagon races, midway rides and many other southern-inspired games, and of course, lots of cowboys. Food is not so southern here for your information. The Calgary Stampede happens annually in July and it is always full of tourists from all over the world.
This Calgary Stampede Park is located in the south of downtown Calgary. Every year people come here to see the cowboy parade, horse races, and concert. Don’t forget to visit this stampede even you are not in the season of races. There still be many horse shows.
#6 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Catch the Calgary’s Flames Game
Canada is a true hockey country, with 7 National Hockey League’s teams and millions of fans all across the country. While you are in Calgary, make sure to visit the Scotiabank Saddledome which is a home of Calgary’s Flames. The Alberta is home to two Stanley Cup champion teams, the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. Both teams are the pride of Calgary. If you have the chance to visit Calgary from October to April, then delight yourself with true sportsmanship by attending some of the exciting and fast-paced hockey in Canada.
#7 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Watch the Iconic Calgary Tower
Just like every other city of Canada, Calgary tower is the tall iconic structural landmark of Calgary located in the heart of downtown Calgary. It is 1228 meters above sea level and was constructed in 1967. You can watch the panoramic views of Alberta and the Rocky Mountains from the Calgary Tower. They have special tours of 62 seconds from the bottom to different observation decks where you can have the uninterrupted views of the whole city. At the second observation deck, you can have cocktails and other foods too. Visitors suggests that it is a must do thing in Calgary and worth every penny.
#8 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Shopping at the 17th Ave
Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto are considerably more renowned for epic shopping destination. However, the Calgary’s shopping destination is Calgary’s famed 17th Ave. You can find everything here. All the local brand shops are located here including West Elm and Frank & Oak, Gravity Pope, chic knitting boutiques, Jewelry shops and plus a few old shops you won’t find elsewhere. There are also 400 shops and restaurant where you can find rather economic stuff. Find yourself at the hottest wine bar in town after shopping here.
#9 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Shop at the Stephen Avenue Walk
This shopping area occupies the three blocks of downtown’s 8th Avenue. The Stephen Avenue Walk is considered among one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations. All the shops are placed on pedestrian-only shopping area. This area is also nicknamed a National Historic District. Whole Avenue is lined with fashionable stores, mouthwatering restaurants, and numerous nightclubs. The Stephen Avenue Walk greets shoppers every day, though the store and restaurant hours vary depending on the day. Beware of pickpockets here. This Stephen Avenue is also considered as the place to go for devoted local cultural charm, local artists, street performers, public art, and many festivals are often found here.
#10 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Go on a Public Art Safari
In 2012, Calgary was named as the cultural capital of Canada, despite its rough cowboy reputation. After getting this designation, a number of outdoor arts were installed throughout the city. The artists from all around the country and even across the borders gathered to Calgary to experiment with their own unique mediums of art. Just grab your camera and walk along somewhere. At the Stephen Avenue Walk, you can find 10 metal tree sculptures of white color, all standing between 21-26 meters high, and they lit up at night. If anyone is interested in paintings, Calgary artists Ivan Ostapenko, Kai Cabunoc-Boettcher, and Daniel J. Kirk have great temporary installations of paintings in the East Village area.
#11 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Visit the Fort Calgary Historic Park
If you want to see where it all began in the 19th century you should first go to the Fort Calgary Historic Park and see the historic site of Calgary. It is located just a few blocks east of downtown. The location includes a burned Fort and open grounds around it. You have the opportunity to see the historic life of mounted police back in 1875s.You can also have the virtual tour of the site where the first train arrived. These 40 acres remains were still enclosed until discovered in the 1970s. With few artifacts, you can explore the life of Western Mounties back in the day.
#12 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Visit the Calgary Zoo
The Calgary Zoo is a massive zoo and it houses more than 1,400 animals. The enclosures of this zoo are representative of animal’s natural habitats. The Authorities here have successful breeding programs and diversity in mammals that will take you to the habitat of these animals. Due to these special cares, this zoo has been ranked among the best zoos in the world. See Tigers, Australian Kangaroos, Bears, Moose, and even gorillas in this zoo. Apart from the Animal section, this zoo has a beautiful botanical garden which features flora from all over the world and a Prehistoric Park where you can learn regions history while it was a stomping ground for dinosaurs, a butterfly conservatory, and Centre for Conservation and Research. This zoo is a must see thing to do with family and even solo. There are so many gardens where you can relax for some time and then continue your tour again.
The Calgary Zoo is located east of downtown area in the Bow River.
#13 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Go to the Canada Olympic Park and Museum
The Canada Olympic Park is a massive sports complex where Winter Olympic Games 1988 were held.It is located at the northwest of the city. This Sports Complex is still used for young athletes. People here learn cross-country ski lessons and many more local sports. The Associated Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum is also an attractive site. The whole museum is placed on 40,000 square foot and it has many sports-related artifacts including costumes and many historical competition’s photographs. Don’t forget to check out the torch used to light the 1988 Olympic Winter Games here which was from Greece.
#14 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Go to the Royal Tyrrell Museum
This museum in Calgary, Alberta is a heaven for the paleontology fans. This Royal Tyrrell Museum will have you back in time 65 million years where there were dinosaurs roaming in Calgary. It is considered as the richest dinosaur deposits on earth as it has 30 most completed dinosaur’s skeletons in the world. The staff here is very cooperative and will let you know the prehistoric journey of their development. This Royal Tyrrell museum also features a new exhibit of marine specifies which dates back to 75 million years.
#15 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada –Enjoy Dancing at the Cowboys Dance Hall
For the amazing cowboy dance, you will have to leave your kids at home. This place has been voted as one of the Top 3 Megabars in North America by the USA today. Also, this is the official stampede headquarters. Even if you are not in the season of the stampede, this bar is still rushed with beautiful girls and boys. The music is so good and everyone loves to dance here.
#16 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – A Fishing Expedition on the Bow River
Well, Canada is home to many waterfronts and fishes but if you are looking for trout fishing expedition then Calgary is the best place. Here, at the Bow River, you can enjoy the best fishing expedition on the planet. Bow River is one of the world’s top three trout streams which have the most consistent trout run. The water is clear, the scenery is great and the fun is outstanding here. The official season of fishing expedition starts from November to March’s end, however, the May to September is also considered as the prime season. This area attracts the people from all over the world. make sure to follow the rules of fishing here.
#17 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada –Drink Fresh Beer at the Big Rock Brewery
While you are in Calgary, enjoy the freshly brewed beer at the Big Rock Brewery. Craft brew has become a fastest growing business in the world and Calgary has adopted this trend. A barley farmer Ed McNally was used to represent a small contingent of barley farms who wanted to do more with their crop than feed cattle. So, Ed decided to open the Big Rock Brewery which was Alberta’s first craft brewery at that time. With time it grew it into the 54 million dollar business as of today. The Big Rock Brewery Visit is now rated as one of the most popular things to do in Calgary by the Trip Advisor.
#18 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Plan a Weekend Trip to Banff National Park
They say no trip to Calgary is complete without a visit to Banff National Park and it is so true. A trip to this resort town of the world would be worth every penny because of its natural beauty in the province of Alberta. From Calgary, you have to travel an hour and a half to reach Banff National Park.The town of Banff is considered as the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. The Banff National Park is Canada’s very first National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The whole park is filled with wilderness and pristine amount of natural reserves. There are many sites for outdoor winter activities. The whole town is like a picnic resort. Ski, Ice skating, Hiking, Mountain climbing, kayaking, canoeing, and horseback riding are done in this National Park. Helicopter tours and zip line tours are also offered to people here. A lot many people visit this place in holidays.
#19 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Columbia Ice Field Tour
Canada has been experiencing the epic snowfalls since forever, so this place is home to many glaciers and rocks. Calgary is near to these glaciers and rocks. While you are visiting Banff National Park, try to go to the Columbia Ice Field. This whole place is full of hard snow. They have their own transport which is comfortable on snow. The Columbia ice fields get 7 meters of snow annually and this is a fact.
#20 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Ride in The Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer is the largest privately owned luxury tourist train company in the world located on the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Calgary. A trip here has been voted as One of the World’s Best Life Changing Trip by Travel + Leisure. We urge people to try this awesome adventure among the most impressive mountain ranges of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta.
Credit: Roderick Eime
#21 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Explore the Calgary Pathway System
The Calgary city is a fully planned and developed city in the world. The Calgary Pathway System is a widespread comprehensive network of pedestrian lanes and cycling trails that connect the city’s natural parks and communities. It offers an easy option of getting around in the city and enjoying the outdoors by walking, running, jogging, and cycling. The framework is comprised of a combination of regional and local pathways which give access to different accommodations all through the community, and non-cleared trails, which offer recreational courses through the city’s parks.
It is not easy to explore all in one day but we suggest you explore the few trails while you are staying in Calgary.
#22 of 22 Things to do in Calgary, Canada – Dine and Wine in Calgary
Calgary is home to top 50 restaurants, so you will have plenty of options for dine and wine. You can find the many diverse dishes in this locked land city of Calgary.