Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, and it’s also one of the most important business and financial centers in Canada and North America. Despite its reputation as a cowtown, Calgary has never shaken off its nickname as such.
A reference to the region’s rich history as a center for cattle-rearing, the name evokes romantic notions of cowboys, cattle drives, and the Wild West.
When you visit Calgary, you’ll find plenty of things to do related to the city’s vibrant history. For example, you can watch the famous Calgary Stampede, a rodeo and festival held every July. Or you can explore the city’s heritage at a museum or an amusement park.
One of the most beautiful places in the world is Colorado. This state has amazing views, especially of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains are an obstacle that rises up from the plain.
Just as the mountains are close to Calgary, so are the city’s tourist attractions. If you want to ski or hike, Calgary is an excellent choice because of its many well-known national parks. But if you want to stay in the city itself, there are plenty of entertainment options.
The Prince’s Island Park is especially beautiful at night. Before or after dinner, you can walk across the famous Peace Bridge. The park is located in the center of the city, and the bridge connects the east and west sides of downtown.
If you want to make the most out of your trip to Calgary, you should definitely read our list of the top things to do and attractions in Calgary, Alberta.
1. Visit during the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo festival. It has roots dating back to the 1880s, making it one of the oldest festivals of its kind in North America. It’s known for hosting western-themed events and activities that are held in July. These include bucking bronco competitions, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, and barrel racing.
The population and up to one million visitors dress in cowboy attire, and bright jeans and hats become commonplace. There are many events, including a big parade, rodeo competitions, exciting chuck wagon races, an authentic Native American village, concerts and stage shows, a fun fair, pancake breakfasts, and agricultural shows.
As the Stampede approaches, it’s time to prepare for Calgary’s big party. The Stampede is easy to get to by public transit or car. Plenty of parking is available. If you’re not attending the Stampede, a tour or concert will still be one of the best things to do in Calgary.
2. Take a Day Trip to Banff & Lake Louise
Banff National Park is one of Canada’s most beautiful places. It’s so beautiful, it’s a great place to visit from Calgary. If you want to visit Banff, there are many ways to get there, including driving or taking public transportation. Perhaps the best way to get there is to drive yourself or rent a car. This way you can stop whenever you want to take photos of the stunning scenery.
A new route is now available. It’s easy to travel, taking in incredible mountain vistas shortly after leaving the city. After passing the town of Canmore and entering the park gates, you’ll find yourself in Banff, a mountain town located in Banff National Park.
If you need a break from walking and exploring, consider hitting up Downtown Disney. You can explore shops and restaurants there, and it’s a great alternative to the theme park. One of the highlights of your visit, though, will be seeing Lake Louise.
Lake Louise is a stunningly beautiful place. It is framed by snow-capped mountains and filled with turquoise water. The Fairmont Château Lake Louise appears in the distance, and it is a great spot for selfies and for reflecting on the splendor of nature.
Other fun things to do in Lake Louise include strolling along the lovely lakeshore trail, enjoying a canoe ride, or taking the Lake Louise Gondola for the chance to view beautiful Lake Louise.
3. Take the Kids to Calgary Zoo
Calgary Zoo is a popular attraction that serves over 1.3 million visitors every year. It is Canada’s largest zoo. It sits on 120 acres of land on St. George’s Island in the Bow River, which is part of the greater Calgary area.
The zoo is a place for animals and plants. The zoo houses over 1,000 animals representing some 272 species. Some rare and endangered species live in the zoo. The zoo is always fun in the spring because of the arrival of newborn animals.
In the Canadian Wilds, you can view a variety of animals in their natural habitat including grizzly bears and two new pandas. You can also see other creatures in the Land of Lemurs, which is a popular section that allows you to learn about lemurs and other creatures in Madagascar.
You can spend time exploring the six-acre dinosaur park attraction with its full-size replica dinosaurs. If you are visiting in winter, make sure to check out the Zoolights Christmas festival. The address is 210 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary, Alberta.
4. Learn about Calgary’s Past at Heritage Park
The Heritage Park in Calgary is a collection of historical buildings and life-like interpreters. For example, you can see a fort from the pioneer period and an old 1930’s town square. One of the most exciting things to do there is to take a ride on the steam engine, which transports you around the park.
Another way to enjoy the Glenmore Reservoir and its surrounding areas is to board a paddlewheel boat and take a scenic cruise. Beautiful sights and photo opportunities abound. Visitors can also enjoy other popular outdoor activities in the area, such as sailing, canoeing, and rowing.
You must not miss the Gasoline Alley Museum in Heritage Village. It’s a unique and fun place to see vintage cars and automotive memorabilia. Address: 1900 Heritage Drive SW, Calgary
5. See the Views from Calgary Tower
A platform with a glass floor and a restaurant that revolves 191 meters above the city is located atop the Calgary Tower. It enables sightseers to experience the thrill of viewing the city from such a height.
This famous tower was opened in 1968 and was the tallest building in the city until 1984. It is still a beautiful structure, and its architecture is particularly beautiful at night. The lights around the building are lit up each evening to give a stunning effect.
In 1988, the Olympic torch was lit in this building. It has since become a symbol of the city’s spirit, and it is still lit to honor special occasions. The tower also shows a funny movie about its construction. The address is 101 9 Ave SW, Calgary.
6. WinSport: Canada Olympic Park
In 1988, Calgary hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games, which took place in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The primary site for the event was WinSport, which today is still open to skiing and snowboarding. There are opportunities for sledding, ziplining, tobogganing, snow tubing, and mountain biking at the site.
The Canada Olympic Park has indoor ice skating, too. It’s a great place to see professionals compete and also to skate casually. Tourists and locals can enjoy events such as guided tower tours that show off the Calgary skyline from the top of the ski-jump slope. The Canada Sports Hall of Fame is located in the park.
7. Take a Walk to Prince’s Island Park
Prince’s Island Park is a large green space located near downtown Calgary. The park is adjacent to Eau Claire Market, one of the city’s top tourist destinations. Many tourists visit both sites during their trip.
This is a park with three pedestrian bridges that connect it to the mainland. This park is the place for people who want to go for a walk or bike ride, or to see some outdoor theatre or concert. A restaurant with good food is also on the island.
8. Take the Train: Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey
The award-winning Rocky Mountaineer runs between Calgary and Vancouver on the Canadian Pacific Line. It cuts westward through the Rockies, through soaring mountains. The tour is privately owned, luxurious, and it’s just for you!
Canmore is a scenic town in Alberta, Canada. The Three Sisters are three mountain peaks that are visible from the town. The mountain-peaks are the backdrop for your journey to Canmore.
After a day driving through the rolling plains, the tour reaches its second, and most popular, destination: Banff. The town is a winter resort with mountains reaching 3,600 meters. The highlights of the mountainous section include Lake Louise, Kicking Horse Pass, and Rogers Pass. A variety of day trips are also available.
Banff is a popular option for outdoorsy types. If you’re one of those people, you can visit Banff and hike in Banff National Park.
Planning ahead is a must when taking a train trip. The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the most popular scenic rail journeys in North America. It’s a good idea to book this vacation well in advance, especially if you want to ride in the GoldLeaf dome car.
9. Visit the Glenbow Museum
The Glenbow Museum, a Western Canadian museum, opened in 1966. It contains a variety of exhibits that show the historical development of the region. Walk through the museum and you will be taken back in time to learn about old traders, Métis uprisings, and the development of the oil industry.
The remarkable Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the perfect place to visit for art lovers. It has a large collection of paintings and sculptures that are rotated frequently. The center also hosts temporary exhibitions from artists around the world. Additionally, guided tours and educational programming are available to visitors during their stay.
If you visit Calgary, visit Telus Spark. Perfect for families, this science museum has tons of interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations. It also features lectures and educational workshops. The address is 130 9 Ave SE, Calgary.
10. Studio Bell, Home of the National Music Centre
Music lovers have something to celebrate in Calgary, which has opened the largest music center in Canada. The center is located in East Village, an area that can trace its roots back to 1987. The center includes attractions such as the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection.
Two Canadian museums have joined forces to collaborate on innovative music-related exhibits. The first exhibit is a mobile recording studio that once belonged to the Rolling Stones. It’s decked out with vintage microphones and mixing boards. The second exhibit, which is still being constructed, will be a piano once owned by Elton John.
The building is gorgeous. It features 226,000 attractive terra-cotta tiles, as well as the many interactive exhibits. In addition to its daily program, Studio Bell offers a diverse range of events and workshops as well as concerts.
The museum offers guided tours along with a fun tour that includes time playing some of the instruments you’ll see. Address: 850 4 Street SE, Calgary, Alberta
11. Fish Creek Provincial Park
Canada’s second largest urban park is Fish Creek Provincial Park, which is nearly 14 square kilometers in size. Located in Calgary’s far south, it is popular for its many pleasant walking trails that lead through forest areas and along the creek. Some of these trails connect to other trails that crisscross the city.
If you’re looking for a natural experience, Fish Creek Park is the place to go. The park is so popular with bird-watchers that there are guides who can show you how to identify birds. You can even take classes if you want to be more than just another bird-watcher.
There are many fun activities to enjoy at Fish Creek Provincial Park. These include fishing, swimming, biking, and enjoying an organized nature tour. The park has several heritage buildings that are fun to explore as well as a visitor centre and a restaurant.
12. Bowness Park
If you’re still looking for another park to visit in Calgary, try Bowness Park. Located in the northwest corner of the city, this 74-acre urban green space is very popular with families and is a great place for outdoor activities like picnics or barbecues (fire pits are provided), or even a fun paddleboat ride on the lake.
A fun way for children to enjoy the outdoors in the summer is to take a ride on the mini-train. Come winter, ice skating, ice biking (bikes on skates!), and other winter sports are available. The area is especially nice in the fall when the trees change color. The restaurant is located in Calgary at the address of 8900 48 Ave NW.
13. The Hangar Flight Museum
The Hangar Flight Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Western Canada’s aviation history. It was founded by Canadian pilots who fought in WWII and has since grown dramatically. The museum’s current home is the old Commonwealth Air Training Plan facility at the Calgary Airport, which houses 24 aircraft, including old military planes, helicopters, and even an air ambulance.
The museum is located near the Calgary airport. There are a variety of events and programs, including lectures, tours, and movie nights. A fascinating display of artifacts and information related to Canada’s space programs is also available.
14. Fort Calgary
Fort Calgary was the first outpost of the North West Mounted Police in 1875. The original fort can still be seen, and a museum interprets the founding of the city. Fort Calgary is on one side of the bridge, and Deane House is on the other. It was built in 1906 for the commandant of Fort Calgary.
In addition to the exhibits, there’s a gift shop that sells souvenirs and RCMP memorabilia, as well as a theater showing related movies. If you visit on Sunday, come early for the popular brunch (reservations recommended). Address: 750 9th Ave SE, Calgary
15. The Military Museums
This collection of Canadian military museums is a must-see for any history buff. Exhibits depict Canada’s navy, army, and air force in a variety of interactive ways. Whether it is walking through WWI trenches or steering a ship from a wheelhouse, visitors can experience history in a new way.
The Military Museum of Alberta is located in Calgary, and it has many tanks. It’s not only a museum but also a library, and it has several events each year. People can visit the gift shop.
16. Spruce Meadows
Spruce Meadows is a world-renowned equestrian facility that welcomes visitors of all ages. They can tour the stables and watch horses jump and perform dressage. The grounds are full of pleasant surprises — gardens, exhibitions, and more.
A must-see destination for any sports enthusiast is the Spruce Meadows equestrian facility. It takes place in the spring, but there are indoor tournaments throughout the year. There’s also a football stadium on the grounds, as well as shopping and dining. Address: 18011 Spruce Meadows Way SW, Calgary
17. Devonian Gardens
On the 4th floor of the core shopping center, visitors will come upon a beautiful indoor garden full of flowers and trees. This floral paradise includes 550 trees, such as tropical palms, along with sculptures, ponds, fountains, and a 900 square foot living wall.
The Devonian Gardens are an indoor botanical garden in Calgary, Alberta. They are located under a glass ceiling and house about 10,000 plants. A children’s play area is included. The Devonian Gardens are free and open to the public year-round.