Calgary is a brisk and compact city with over one million people, a phenom of a flagship event in the annual Stampede, a lively multicultural dynamic and parks galore.
The paragon city in the province of Alberta is on the doorstep of UNESCO World Heritage glory as well: Banff and the rest of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site resides less than two hours away. From ski resorts to museums, nightlife to restaurants, the Western Canada hub and 1988 Olympic Winter Games host is a delight.
Calgary’s Top 10
10. Fairmont Palliser Hotel Calgary is a grande dame landmark in the city.
5. Heritage Park Historical Village is a fine open-air museum.
9. EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts is the home of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
4. Fish Creek Park is four times the area of Central Park.
8. Prince’s Island Park is where you want to be on Canada Day in Calgary.
3. Telus World of Science - Calgary is a major science museum in Canada.
7. Fort Calgary Historic Park is a national heritage landmark.
2. Olympic Plaza is a pre-eminent urban public space and site of many city events and festivals.
6. 17th Avenue is a major leisure, entertainment, restaurant and nightlife artery in the city.
1. Glenbow Museum is one of the best in Western Canada, with exhibits on cultural history, ethnography and mineralogy.
- Heritage Park - Designed to show people how life was lived long ago, this historic village also features a museum.
- Glenbow Museum - There are exhibits on Native American culture, military history, art, and even a library at this museum.
- The Military Museums - Explore the military history of Canada with hands-on exhibits.
- Lougheed House - An historic building that offers guided tours, or you can explore on your own.
- Fort Calgary - This complex began as a headquarters for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and has now become an historical park.
Calgary Art & Culture
- The Uptown Stage and Screen – You can see films here you that can't see at a chain movie theatre.
- Chinese Cultural Centre - Learn about the Chinese contributions to Canadian history in a building that was patterned after Beijing's Temple of Heaven.
- The New Gallery - A gallery and museum operated by artists that allows them to create and display their works.
- Cantos Music Foundation – This museum is also a performing arts centre where you can get guided tours or see one of their events.
- One World Drum Co. - You can see a performance or take a class and learn how to drum.
- Chinook Centre - Formerly the largest shopping centre in Calgary, this mall has numerous stores ranging from moderate to pricey.
- Stephen Avenue Walk - An historic place within Calgary, people have been shopping here for almost a hundred years.
- Gord's Running Store - This store has absolutely everything you need for running.
- Eau Claire Market - You can buy food and handcrafts or catch a movie.
- Rubaiyat - This 6,000-square foot store doubles as an art gallery known for blown glass.
Gay & Lesbian Calgary
- GayCalvary - The online guide to all businesses and organisations for the Calgary LGBT community.
- Fairytale Film Festival - An annual film festival that takes place in May and June.
- The Calgary Eagle - The local leather bar, where jeans and t-shirts are okay, too.
- Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association - Rodeo and the western lifestyle are fun for everyone.
- Calgary Westways - A gay-friendly Victorian bed-and-breakfast perfect for privacy.
- Prince's Island Park - Take a break from city life to bike, walk, and enjoy the outdoors.
- The Calgary Zoo - An enormous zoo with over a thousand animals.
- Nose Hill Park - A very large, open area good for running.
- Calaway Park - This is the largest amusement park in Western Canada.
- Edworthy Park and Douglas Fir Trail - Hike along these trails with amazing views.
- Watch the Calgary Flames play hockey at Stampede Park.
- See world-class equestrian jumping events at Spruce Meadows.
- Ski in the winter or mountain bike in the summer at Canada Olympic Park.
- Visit the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to test your sports knowledge.
- Challenge yourself at the Heritage Pointe Golf Course.
The Calgary Stampede is one of the most popular annual events in Canada. Known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, the rodeo, festival and livestock exhibition takes over the city for ten days in July.
Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Sunshine Village and Norquay provide world class ski slopes less than three hours from Calgary in Banff National Park.
The Calgary Flames sell out the 20,000-seat Saddledome arena throughout the National Hockey League season.
The Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League play to capacity crowds at McMahon Stadium.
The Jube - or Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium - is home to the Alberta Ballet and Calgary Opera.
The first Thursday of every month features a slew of special exhibits and events in Calgary’s Cultural District.
The $100 Film Festival is a small low-budget independent film festival that takes place in March.
The Calgary Folk Festival has been a mainstay on the annual arts calendar since 1980.
The Calgary International Film Festival takes place over ten days in September.
When To Go
What time of year you go to Calgary depends largely on your affinity and tolerance for winter. All that cold and snow from late October to early May can represent fun on the one hand (ski resorts, hockey games and such) or, on the other, sheer hell.
Either way, make no mistake about it: Calgary is icy. Average lows dip well past 32°F (0°C) for seven consecutive months, with extreme windchills of -22°F (-30°C) several times per winter.
The three month summer interval features amenable temperatures between 57°F (14°C) and 73°F (23°C) from June to August. Despite the humid continental climate, however, the humidex rarely hits the morbid, torrid levels of a Toronto or Montréal. One notable bonus of Calgary weather is abundant and inordinate sunshine: 2,400 hours a year, on average.
Calgary International Airport is a major hub for Air Canada and the headquarters for WestJet. The airport handles close to 13 million passengers a year, with service to far-flung destinations like Tokyo-Narita, London-Heathrow, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago-O’Hare, Honolulu and Las Vegas.
As a result of Conservative government austerity measures, Via Rail no longer provides passenger service to Calgary. The luxury Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian Pacific rail tours both make use of the old city terminal.
The city operates a small light rail transit system (the C-Train) and has a very efficient bus network as well. Downtown Calgary is a pleasure to walk in summer. In inclement weather and the winter months, savvy pedestrians make use of the Plus 15 skywalk system, which spans a total of 10 miles (16 km). Moreover, Calgary has one of the most extensive (and scenic) bicycle path networks in North America.
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