Particularly on days when a Chinook, a warm winter wind, blows over Calgary, the Rocky Mountains on the western horizon seem like an impassable barrier rising from the plain. The proximity to these mountains, with their well-known national parks, makes Calgary an excellent choice for a skiing, hiking or sightseeing holiday. But for those looking for some fun and entertainment right in the middle of the city, there’s plenty to do and see. From the world famous Calgary Stampede held in July to the spectacular views from the Calgary Tower, the city does not disappoint.
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1 Calgary Stampede
The ten-day Calgary Stampede is the highlight of Calgary’s summer and cements the city’s reputation as a cowboy town. Held in July, this famous rodeo features all sorts of cowboy-style entertainment and pancake breakfasts. The population dresses accordingly, and blue jeans and brightly colored Stetsons become the order of the day. Events include rodeo competitions, neck-breaking chuck wagon races, an authentic First Nations village, and agricultural displays.
Adres: 1410 Olympic Way SE, Calgary
Official Site: https://www.calgarystampede.com/
2 Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey
The luxuriously appointed, privately owned Rocky Mountaineer runs between Calgary (or Jasper) and Vancouver, cutting west on the historic Canadian Pacific line through the rising mountain wall of the Rockies. On Canmore, if the weather is good, there is a nice view of the snow-capped “Three Sisters”. Soon after, the popular winter resort of Banff is reached. Other highlights in this mountainous section (with peaks at 3,600 meters) include Lake Louise, Kicking Horse Passin Rogers Pass.
Official site: https://www.rockymountaineer.com
3 Calgary Zoo and Prehistoric Park
Founded in 1912, the Calgary Zoo is located on St. George Island in the Bow River. The zoo is home to many examples of rare and endangered species, as well as botanical gardens. Spring is always a fun time at the zoo with the arrival of newborn animals.
Adres: 1300 Zoo Road NE, Calgary
Official Site: https://www.calgaryzoo.com/
4 Heritage Park
Heritage Park in Calgary is a quintessential pioneer village, with dozens of reconstructed historic buildings and vibrant costumed interpreters from four different time periods – from an 1860s leasehold to a 1930s town square. An old steam engine provides transportation on the park and the Gasoline Alley museum offers a hands-on, interactive experience featuring unique vintage cars. The village is nearby Glenmore Reservoirwhich is popular with sailing, canoeing and rowing enthusiasts.
Adres: 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
Official site: https://www.heritagepark.ca
5 Canada Olympic Park
Canada Olympic Park
In the foothills of the mountains west of the city, rise the strange-looking towers of Calgary Olympic Park. In 1988 this was the main site for the XV Olympic Winter Games. Today, the hill is still open for skiing and snowboarding, and offers opportunities for sledding, zip-line, sledding, and mountain biking. Guided ski jump tower tours give a panoramic view of the Calgary skyline from the top of the ski jump. Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is also located in the park.
Adres: 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary
6 Editor’s Pick Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s Island Park is a large green space in downtown Calgary, on an island in the Bow River. The park is adjacent Eau Claire Marketand many tourists make a joint visit to these two attractions. The park offers hiking and biking areas, as well as outdoor concerts and plays during the summer months.
Address: 698 Eau Claire Ave SW, Calgary
7 Calgary Tower
At the top of the Calgary Tower, a viewing platform and revolving restaurant placed viewers 600 feet (191 m) high in one of the city’s landmark buildings. Until 1984, the tower was the tallest in the city. Although it no longer holds that title, there are still excellent views of the city and beyond to the mountains. It is particularly beautiful at dusk or sunset. In 1988, the tower’s giant torch testified to the spirit of the Olympic Games.
Adres: 101 9 Ave SW, Calgary
Official site: https://www.calgarytower.com
8 Fish Creek Provincial Park
Fish Creek Provincial Park in the far south of Calgary is a huge green space where hiking trails lead through forest areas and along the creek. Fish Creek Park is a nature reserve and perfect for those looking for a taste of nature. There are also a number of heritage buildings within the park.
Adres: 15979 Bow Bottom Trail SE, Calgary
Official site: https://www.albertaparks.ca/fish-creek.aspx
9 Aero Space Museum van Calgary
The Aero Space Museum focuses on the history of Canadian aviation and Western Canada in particular. Canadian pilots who fought in World War II started the museum, which has grown to showcase a variety of aircraft, simulators, aviation art prints, radio equipment, and aviation history information. The museum is located in a large building near the Calgary airport.
Adres: 4629 McCall Way NE, Calgary
Official site: https://www.asmac.ab.ca
10 Fort Calgary
The first outpost of the North West Mounted Police, Fort Calgary was established in 1875 at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers. The foundations of the original fort can still be seen, and the Calgary Fort Museum helps interpret the foundation of the city. On the other side of the bridge is Hetane House, built in 1906 for the fort’s commander. There is also a gift shop, which sells souvenirs and RCMP collectibles.
Adres: 750 9th Ave SE, Calgary
Official Site: https://www.fortcalgary.com
11 The military museums
This collection of Canadian Armed Forces Museums explores the history of the Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force. Exhibits highlight interactive experiences, whether walking through World War I trenches or from a wheelhouse. There are a variety of military vehicles on site, including several tanks.
Adres: 4520 Crowchild Trail SW, Calgary
Official site: https://www.themilitarymuseums.ca
12 Spruce Meadows
A world-renowned equestrian facility, Spruce Meadows welcomes visitors year-round to tour the stables, watch show jumping champions train, and stroll through the pleasant grounds. Outdoor tournaments take place in the spring, with indoor competitions in other seasons.
Adres: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, Calgary
Official site: https://www.sprucemeadows.com
13 Devonian Gardens
On the fourth level of the Core Shopping Center, visitors arrive somewhat unexpectedly at the floral paradise of Devonian Gardens. The indoor gardens span approximately one acre and feature beautiful tropical palms, sculptures, fish ponds, fountains, and a living wall. About 10,000 plants form the screens, and despite Calgary’s cold winters, they thrive under a glass ceiling. The Devonian Gardens are free and open to the public to wander.
Adres: 400 – 317 7 Ave SW, Calgary
14 Glenbow Museum
At the Glenbow Museum, visitors can see a number of rare exhibits that illustrate the historical development of Western Canada. The museum travels back in time and explores the lives of early fur traders and the North Western police force, Métis rebellions under Louis Riel and the development of the oil industry. This Calgary Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions from around the world.
Adres: 130 9 Ave SE, Calgary
Official site: https://www.glenbow.org
Where to Stay in Calgary for Sightseeing
The best place to stay in Calgary is the vibrant downtown area, which is central to many of the major attractions. Staying near the Bow River, which runs through the city center, puts you close to hiking trails and beautiful parks. Another popular downtown area is 17th Avenue, with trendy restaurants and shops. Below are some highly rated hotels in convenient locations:
- Luxe hotels: In the heart of the action near 17th Avenue, Hotel Elan offers modern rooms with balconies, underfloor heating and a free breakfast. Located in the central business district, the elegant Hotel Le Germain Calgary is within walking distance of the Calgary Tower and the EPCOR Center for the Performing arts. The new and conveniently located Hyatt Regency features rooms with city views, a rooftop sundeck and an indoor pool. It is connected to the Telus Convention Center.
- Mid-range hotels: Right downtown, just a short walk from Prince’s Island Park in the Bow River and offering large suites at an affordable price is the luxurious International Hotel. The award-winning, boutique Arts Hotel, within walking distance of the Calgary Tower, features custom contemporary décor in all rooms. The Wingate by Wyndham Calgary is located south of downtown, but close to Fish Creek Provincial Park. With an indoor pool and a waterslide, this hotel is a good choice for families.
- Budget Hotels: A good budget option downtown is the BEST WESTERN PLUS Suites Downtown, offering oversized rooms with a fully equipped kitchen or kitchenette. The new Fairfield Inn & Suites offers large suites with city views and a free breakfast. Just south of downtown, near the Stampede grounds, is the BEST WESTERN PLUS Calgary Center Inn with very reasonable rates.